It was a mixed day for the Aussies on Monday at the Adelaide International 2 at Memorial Drive with Aussie wildcard Aleksandar Vukic and Storm Sanders progressing through to the next round after impressive wins, however, John Millman and Luke and Daria “Dasher” Saville were not so lucky losing their matches.
Vukic, current World No.160 produced one of the biggest wins of his career with a 7-6(5) 6-2 victory over No.6 seed Kazakhstani Alexander Bublik.
The hard-hitting New South Welshman will play at his second Australian Open this year after receiving a wildcard in the main draw.
He is in career-best form and finished 2021 with a bang, having reached a career-high world ranking of No.156 and making two finals on the ATP’s second-tier level.
In the second round, Vukic will now take on the winner of Adelaide’s very own World No.142 Alex Bolt or American qualifier Steve Johnson.
Vukic was not afraid to go to the net where he led his opponent 14-5 whilst Bublik was not at his best serving eight double faults and making 33 unforced errors as opposed to Vukic’s 19.
Vukic was understandably ecstatic after the match with his upset win over the No.6 seed.
“Yeah, it was a tricky match, he’s a very tricky opponent,” Vukic said.
“He can throw a 120-kilometre-per-hour serve or 240, or underarm serve for that matter.
“I luckily got that first set, which was very tight and could have gone either way.
“But, yeah very happy to get the first win.”
The first set was an arm wrestle which resulted in a tie-break, Vukic going on to win it 7-5 and take the first set.
The turning point came in the first game of the second set when Vukic broke Bublik’s serve, when the Aussie held serve, he led 2-0.
Vukic broke serve again in the fifth game and when he held serve, he was up 5-1 and a spot in the next round was so close.
Bublik managed to hold serve in the seventh game, however, Vukic was not going to let this one slip and went on to win the second set 6-2.
Spain’s former World No.52 and quarter-finalist last week at the Melbourne Summer Set, Jaume Munar continued his good recent form with a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory Aussie veteran John Millman.
His win sets up an enthralling second round encounter with veteran No.4 seed and last week’s Adelaide International 1 semi-finalist Croatian Marin Cilic.
Millman was at his usual fighting best, however, he had no answer for the power of Munar who smacked 21 winners as opposed to Millman’s 8.
Munar served superbly and despite his best efforts, Millman was also unable to break Munar’s serve for the entire match.
Munar broke Millman’s serve twice and won 88% (14-16) of his first serve points on the way to a comprehensive 6-2 first set win.
It was much of the same in the second set with Munar breaking Millman’s serve in the first game and held his own serve to lead 2-0.
Millman had a game point on his serve on the third game, however, he wasn’t able to take it and Munar went up 3-0.
Millman had his chances to break Munar in the fourth game with two break points but couldn’t take his opportunity and Munar led 4-0.
The Spaniard went on to win the second set 6-2 and showed that he could be one to watch in 2022.
Earlier former Aussie World No.20 and wildcard Daria “Dasha” Saville lost her first-round match against current Croatian World No.65 Ana Konjuh 2-6, 6-7(4).
Dasha is making a comeback to tennis after battling chronic foot injuries in the past few years which has seen her ranking drop to 421.
The Aussie wildcard had her chances in the match and despite dropping the first set, she led 4-2 in the second.
Konjuh fought back though and evened the match at 4-4.
In the eleventh game, Konjuh had two breakpoints, however, Dasha maintained her composure and led 6-5.
After Konjuh held serve, a tie-break eventuated and unfortunately for Saville, it was Konjuh who prevailed, winning it 7-4.
Up next for Konjuh is a tough challenge against Czech No.6 seed Marketa Vondrousova who won in three sets 5-7, 6-4, 6-3 against Swiss Viktorija Golubic.
It was not a good day for the Saville’s with Dasha’s husband Luke losing his qualifying match against Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka 6-7(4), 7-6(0), 2-6.
Saville led 4-0 in the first set, however, he let his Japanese opponent back into the game.
Nishioka took the opportunity and forced the first set to a tie break which he took 7-4.
Saville bounced back in the second and eventually took the second set in another tie break which he won comprehensively 7-0.
The final set was all Nishioka and in hot conditions, he wore his Aussie opponent down and went on to win the decider and the match.
Fresh from winning the doubles title with Ash Barty at the Adelaide International 1, Storm Sanders has continued her good form with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Kirsten Flipkens from Belarus.
Sanders has a tough matchup next against Italy’s Jasmine Paolini who reached a career-high ranking of No.51 in late 2021.
In other women’s singles action former World No.7 Madison Keys showed she could be one to watch in the tournament after thrashing No.2 seed Elina Svitolina 6-2, 6-4.
Keys was ruthless against Svitolina with a combination of powerful serving and groundstrokes. Keys served 14 aces for the match (8 in the first set) and smacked 28 winners in a match that lasted only 67 minutes.
Whilst an out of sorts Svitolina made 31 unforced errors compared to her opponent’s 17.
In the fifth meeting between the two, it was current World No.87 Keys who was out of the blocks, breaking Svitolina’s serve twice and leading 4-0.
Svitolina had no answer in the first set for the power of Keys and was unable to break the serve of her American opponent and struggled to defend her strong forehand.
Keys won 84.8% of her first serve points in a first set that lasted only 28 minutes.
It was much of the same early in the second set with Keys taking an early break and leading 3-1.
Svitolina held serve in the fifth game to make it 3-2.
Keys and Svitolina held serve on the sixth and seventh games respectively and it was 4-3.
At 5-3 and serving to stay in the match, Svitolina had four-game points and was finally able to hold serve to take it to 5-4.
Keys was able to stay composed whilst serving for the match and is now one to watch out for in this tournament.
Earlier, Tommy Paul caused an upset in the men’s draw when he defeated fellow American and No.7 seed Frances Tiafoe 6-2, 6-3 in the first round.
In stifling heat, Paul was in blistering form and produced immaculate groundstrokes against Tiafoe in the fourth meeting between the pair.
Paul led the winners 20-14 and Tiafoe had an uncharacteristic 26 unforced errors as opposed to Paul’s 12.
Paul will now take on the winner of the match between Lorenzo Musetti (Italy) and Benjamin Bonzi (France).
Adelaide has not been a happy hunting ground for Tiafoe after he was eliminated in the second round of the Adelaide International 1 last week by Aussie wildcard Thanasi Kokkinakis.
In men’s doubles first-round action, it was an Aussie battle with Aaron Addison and Thomas Fancutt victorious against Harry Bourchier and Brandon Walkin 7-6(4), 6-3.
Aussie pair of Luke Saville and John-Patrick Smith have progressed through to the second round of the doubles after they defeated Benjamin Bonzi (France) and Hugo Nys (Monaco) in three sets 6-7(5), 6/3, 10-2.
In the women’s doubles, the Aussie wildcard pair of Maddison Inglis and Olivia Tjandramulia lost their first-round match against Switzerland’s Viktorija Golubic and Jil Teichmann 6-1, 6-2.
Elsewhere, at the Sydney Classic, Jordan Thompson and Chris O’Connell both won their matches.
Thompson advanced to the second round after defeating American Marcos Giron 6-4, 6-2 in an hour and 18 minutes. The Aussie faces fourth seed Reilly Opelka in his next match.
O’Connell had a great win over World No. 78 Stefano Travaglia 6-3, 6-4 in an hour and 38 minutes to qualify for the main draw. The Aussie faces fellow qualifier, Sebastian Baez, in the opening round.
Aussies Alexei Popyrin and Matt Reid won their opening-round doubles fixture 6-2, 6-2 over Pablo Andujar and Pedro Martinez.
Unfortunately, Priscilla Hon lost her first round match 6-7(5), 5-7 to Romanian Jaqueline Adina Cristian. Fellow Aussie Astra Sharma lost 1-6, 3-6 against seventh seed Ons Jabeur.