AO 2022 Day 2: Immortal Murray

 - Alex Sharp

Another day at Melbourne Park, another collection of captivating matches unfolded as the world class tennis continues Down Under.

Andy Murray Australian Open 2022©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT

The opening days of a Grand Slam are always frenetic, with memorable performances springing up across the grounds.

Day two of the Australian Open 2022 was no different as the crowds at Melbourne Park were delivered a real treat of top drawer tennis.

Here are some of the key headlines from Down Under.

Medvdev off and motoring


US Open champion Daniil Medvedev escaped any form of trouble to fend off Swiss Henri Laaksonen 6-1, 6-4, 7-6(3).

“After US Open, I kind of know that I'm capable of playing seven great matches in a row on the same court or same venue, beating the best players in the world,” stated the Russian. “Sometimes maybe playing worse but still capable to win matches, and that's the biggest confidence I can give myself is just knowing that it's possible.”

How about this as a second round? The 2021 finalist will have to nullify the explosive artillery of Nick Kyrgios.

The Australian embraced raucous support and put on a hot shot show (including an underarm tweener serve) to dismiss British qualifier Liam Broady in straight sets.

"It's going to be a hell of an experience for me. He's probably 'the' best player in the world at the moment. I'm excited for that moment," said the world No.115, holding a 2-0 record over Medvedev.

"That was always something I wanted to prove to people that someone like me could do, win those matches. I'm not going to go into it with a lot of expectation, have a pretty set-in-stone game plan of what I need to do to have success.”

Seeds punch second round ticket

Last year’s semifinalist Stefanos Tsitsipas utilised his all-court artistry to launch past world No.86 Mikhail Ymer 6-2, 6-4, 6-3 to close out the night session.

US Open champion Emma Raducanu extended her Grand Slam winning streak to eight encounters, edging fellow major winner Sloane Stephens in three sets. The 17th seed raced through the opener, dropping just four points in 17 minutes, then managing to regroup in the decider 6-0, 2-6, 6-1.

Home wildcard Storm Sanders threatened a huge upset. The world No.128 led second seed Aryna Sabalenka by a set and a break, before the Belarusian illustrated her quality 5-7, 6-3, 6-2, on Rod Laver Arena.

Earlier on Tuesday, Third seed Garbine Muguruza navigated by French youngster Clara Burel 6-3, 6-4, whilst 2020 Roland-Garros champion Iga Swiatek had all the answers 6-3, 6-0 over British qualifier Harriet Dart.

Playing in here 12th consecutive Australian Open, Simona Halep, champion in the Melbourne Summer Set earlier this month, was a 6-4, 6-3 victor against world No.105 Magdalena Frech. Sixth seed Anett Kontaveit evaded any danger 6-2, 6-3 facing Katerina Siniakova.

A ruthless showing from fifth seed Andrey Rublev surrendered just seven games to Gianluca Mager. Fellow Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova made an impressive 6-2, 6-1 start against Anna Bondar.

The likes of Jannik Sinner, Grigor Dimitrov and Roberto Bautista Agut booked a second round ticket.

Ninth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime was forced the distance 6-4, 0-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 by Next Gen Finn Emil Ruusuvuori.

Match of the day

There were a few contenders, but none had the sentimental extra in comparison with another absorbing Andy Murray rollercoaster.

The former world No.1 returned to the court he thought he was waving goodbye to tennis on back at the 2019 Australian Open. Since then the three-time Grand Slam champion has hauled himself back towards the Top 100.

His trademark grit was required in a 6-1, 3-6, 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-4 four-hour battle with 21st seed Nikoloz Basilashvili.

“It's amazing. It's been a tough, tough three, four years. Put in a lot of work to get back here,” stated the five-time finalist at Melbourne Park.

“This is where I thought potentially I played my last match on three years ago, but amazing to be back winning a five set battle like that. Couldn't ask for any more.”

Green and gold shock

Australian wildcard Madison Inglis grabbed her opportunity with a memorable 6-4, 6-2 triumph to stun 23rd seed and US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez.

“I'm super stoked at the moment,” said the world No.133. “This is my first main draw win. I had thought of that moment for a long time. It was just pure happiness. I saw the ball go out and I looked at my box. It was an amazing moment. Really lucky.”

There was Estonian euphoria as Kaia Kanepi spoilt 2016 champion Angelique Kerber’s birthday 6-4, 6-3. World No.38 Sorana Cirstea needed just 71 minutes to outmanoeuvre two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova 6-2, 6-2 on John Cain Arena.

Feel good factor

Sam Stosur is on her farewell Australian Open. The former US Open champion and Roland-Garros runner-up gave the home Kia Arena crowd a treat with a 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-3 comeback over fellow wildcard Robin Anderson.

Flying the French flag

Alize Cornet enjoyed a confident 6-3, 6-3 start against qualifier Viktoriya Tomova.

Richard Gasquet rolled back the years to overcome his compatriot, 29th seed Ugo Humbert 3-6, 7-6(4), 7-6(3), 6-3.

The flamboyant Benoit Paire was lapping up the local support after his topsy-turvy 6-4, 3-6, 7-5, 2-6, 7-5 encounter with Thiago Monteiro.

There was more home celebrations as Australian wildcard Christopher O’Connell pushed past Hugo Gaston in four sets to earn an encounter with 13th seed Diego Schwartzman.

American qualifier Hailey Baptiste fought back 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-3 versus Caroline Garcia, whilst Romanian veteran Irina-Camelia Begu erased a set deficit to oust Oceane Dodin 6-3 in the decider.