The Australian Open got underway today as the world’s top tennis players battle it out in the season’s first Grand Slam. Petra Kvitová is the favorite to win the women’s title after her meteoric rise on the circuit last year.
Czech betting firm Fortuna have priced up a rate of 3.80 on the Czech star picking up her second Grand Slam title. Current world no.1 Caroline Wozniacki is a much bigger price at 12.00, which reflects she has still yet to win a Grand Slam and the concerns of her injured wrist.
But despite the negativity and criticism that often surrounds Wozniacki and her failure to yet win a Grand Slam; she strolled through her opening game against Anastasia Rodionova 6-2, 6-1.
Kim Clijsters (pictured above, 2011 champion), Victoria Azarenka, Sam Stousr and Serena Williams will make up the other leading contenders for the women’s title.
Kvitová will make her first round appearance tomorrow (1am CET) against Russian Vera Dushevina. Hopefully, she should be able to breeze through the early rounds without too much fuss but a potential clash with Aussie and home favorite Sam Stousr in the 4th round could be a difficult task.
The opening day saw mixed results for the other Czech women in the tournament as Lucie Šafářová was beaten by the unseeded American Christine Mchale 6-2, 6-4. But there were positives in the shape of Petra Cetkovská and Iveta Benešová who ensured their place in the next round.
Tomáš Berdych also booked his place in the second round after victory over the Spaniard Albert Ramos 7-5, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3. For his efforts, the world no. 7 Berdych was rewarded with a match with Oliver Rochus. Czech men Radek Štěpánek and Lukáš Rosol will be also hoping join Berdych in the second round as they start their campaign tomorrow (5am and 1am CET respectively).
There were no major shocks on the opening day in the men’s tournament as Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal scored routine wins, although there was an injury scare for the acrobatic Spaniard when he felt his knee crack before his match with Alex Kuznetsov – but some heavy strapping later and Rafa cruised past Kuznetsov.
The game of the day was between young Aussie Bernand Tomic and Fernando Verdasco, Tomic came back from two sets downs to see off Verdasco 4-6, 6-7, 6-2, 6-4, 7-5. The home fans will have breathed a sigh of relief after seeing the talented 19 year-old battle his way back and he remains a lively outsider to win the tournament.