Published: Wed, January 17, 2018
Sports | By Ivan Ross

Highlights - Australian Open day two

Highlights - Australian Open day two

This year's Australian Open has to be considered a wide-open Open, and Williams' experience, and suitable game style for the hard courts here, could possibly deliver an eighth overall Grand Slam title, and her first since Wimbledon 2008. But the Swiss said that at his age and in his 19th Australian Open, he liked to play down his chances.

With a prize money allotment of just over $43 million for both the men and the women, ATP professionals can bank big numbers of the dollars and points which can enable them to continue to support a fuller staff and a wide array of resources throughout the year.

There is also the question of the sport's ability to police itself credibly, which will soon be back in the spotlight with the lengthy and costly Independent Review of Integrity, created to investigate potential match fixing and corruption, expected to recommend this year that the game combine its anti-doping and anti-corruption organizations into a single independent entity.

In the opening match at the Australian Open, Svitolina has served 2 aces, made 1 double fault, made 23 vinners and won 82% of the jokes on the first pass.

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Brisbane finalist Aliaksandra Sasnovich claimed a convincing 6-3 6-2 win over American Christina McHale.

Will Roger Federer defend his crown? Confidence has to be low for (11) Mladenovic who can't buy a win... Last edition final, was a real revival.

Nadal, the top seed, has the easier quarter and half compared to Federer, the man who beat him in the final a year ago. The Lithuanian also went 3-0 up in the fourth set, however, 2014 Australian open victor recovered to take the tiebreak and win 6-3, 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (7-2). She could face two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in the third round and Karolina Pliskova in the quarters. Nadal was one match away from meeting Cilic at last year's Wimbledon quarterfinals, but he lost in the fourth round to Gilles Muller.

Venus is also in the same quarter as U.S. Open victor Sloane Stephens. That would be a blockbuster. Denis Shapovalov will try to see if he can be a threat from an unseeded position.

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Halep, the current No. 1, can be challenged for the top position by five players at this year's Australian Open.

Tournament director Craig Tiley noted that the sanction was over and the 30-year-old Russian was there as a former champion. The German, who finished 2016 as world No.1 had a troublesome 2017 in which she slid down the rankings to end the year in 22nd place. Interesting starts for the struggling (7) Ostapenko vs. the former Slam victor Schiavone, (24) Cibulkova vs. the veteran Kanepi (winner to meet the Stosur-Puig winner), (10) Vandeweghe vs. Babos (winner to meet Suarez Navarro), (30) Bertens vs. the American upstart Bellis, and (2) Woz in an interesting match-up vs. the streaking unknown Buzarnescu who is in the Hobart final this weekend...(7) Ostapenko is 1-3 in last 4 matches and 0-1 in 2018.

The Spaniard did have a tune-up, with organisers obliging his request to play a game under match conditions.

"There's a lot of great players", Stephens said. No other major tournament has this feature.

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