Live tennis commentary: 2013 Australian Open - day one

sport icons

Our live blog coverage of the opening day of the 2013 Australian Open has come to an end. It's been an enjoyable day of tennis but, sadly for the drama nuts out there, a day desperately in need of a decent upset. Several of the top seeds were pushed hard but, in the end, they came up trumps. The Aussies in action thus far have been gallant, namely Matthew Ebden, Ashleigh Barty and Olivia Rogowska, but they couldn't quite pull off first round wins. Some of the top women enjoyed clinical victories, particularly Maria Sharapova and Venus Williams. Don't forget Lleyton Hewitt is still in action tonight, with a daunting first round assignment against Janko Tipsarevic on centre court. See you all again tomorrow.

Australia's contingent has proved to be gallant at the very least on the opening day. Olivia Rogowska, another wildcard recipient, pushed qualifier Vesna Dolonc, of Serbia, all the way before losing in three sets. The deciding set lasted 73 minutes with Rogowska going down 5-7 7-5 6-8 on court six. The Serbian only won six more points than the Australian.

Some of the best images from the opening day of the 2013 Australian Open tournament.

Australian Open image
Fist pump ... Australia's Matthew Ebden pushed his opponent all the way.
Fist pump ... Australia's Matthew Ebden pushed his opponent all the way. Photo: Getty Images

Matthew Ebden's gutsy first round effort comes to an end, the 25-year-old losing a gruelling four-hour, five-set clash with Russia's Mikhail Youzhny. The Australian led by two-sets-to-love and held a match point in the fourth set before the No.23 rallied and closed out the tough opening round encounter. Ebden couldn't quite complete the task with his match point chance, facing a break point at 5-4 up in the fourth set on the Russian's serve. Youzhny showed his experience and cleaned up with the next three points. He even brilliantly saved three break points when leading 6-5 in the same set, even though he eventually lost the game anyway. To his credit, Ebden continued to push the Russian in the deciding set, Youzhny needing 44 minutes to close out the match.

Australian Open image

Young Australian Ashleigh Barty is out. The 16-year-old was able to win a set but was steamrolled thereafter, going down to Slovaikia's 15th seed Dominika Cibulkova 6-3 0-6 1-6 on Hisense Arena. It was an admirable effort by the wildcard recipient, taking 46 minutes to claim the first set. No doubt the teenager will be better for the experience.

A fan takes in the action during Ashleigh Barty's first round match against Dominika Cibulkova.
A fan takes in the action during Ashleigh Barty's first round match against Dominika Cibulkova. Photo: Justin McManus
Back to top

A couple of locals have already bitten the (Plexycushion) dust but most have yet to even step foot on court. There's still time to vote in our poll. Which Australian will progress the furthest at Melbourne Park? Tomic? Stosur? Hewitt?

Australian Open image

Mikhail Youzhny fights back and takes the fourth set. Two sets all. It went to a tie-break and the Russian came up with the answers when it counted. After holding one match point, it's a huge challenge now for Matthew Ebden to recover in the deciding set. On Rod Laver Arena, Australia's Ashley Barty crashed in the second set against Dominic Cibulkova, losing it 6-0, but the teenager has shown she can play. Both Ebden and Barty now in the deciding sets of their tough first round matches.

Aussie update: Matthew Ebden has had one match point against Mikhail Youzhny but the Russian was able to save it. The Australian still leads by two-sets-to-love. And young gun Ashleigh Barty has taken the opening set against Slovakian No.15 seed Dominika Cibulkova on Rod Laver Arena.

Here's some hope for Australian tennis. Matthew Ebden is up two-sets-to-love against Russian Mikhail Youzhny on the traditionally Aussie-friendly Margaret Court Arena. Ebden claimed the first two sets 6-4 7-6 (7-0) before his opponent fought back to take the third set 6-2. The Australian is also ahead 2-1 in the fourth set with games going on serve. The decisive second set took two minutes shy of one hour. Demand for seats is strong on the popular outside court with queues starting to form outside.

Australian Open image

Two-time defending champion Novak Djokovic is safely through to the next round, defeating France's Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-2 6-4 7-5 on Rod Laver Arena. The world No.1 needed little more than 90 minutes to win through. Another top player in his section of the draw, Czech Tomas Berdych, also progressed with a straight sets victory, taking out American Michael Russell 6-3 7-5 6-3 on show court two.

Back to top
Age journalist Greg Baum

Greg Baum tweets: Last remaining reason to choose live tennis over televised gone: Aust Open now airing loud ads on court at change of ends. Tacky.

The countdown is on ahead of Lleyton Hewitt's tough first round match against Serbia's Janko Tipsarevic tonight. In the first instalment of our Top Spin videos for 2013, Peter Hanlon and tennis expert Linda Pearce assess the Australian veteran's chances of somehow advancing further in the tournament.

Aus Open Day 1: Hewitt in good shape for first round

Lleyton Hewitt is in good form going into tonight's first round match of the Australian Open against Janko Tipsarevic.

Australian Open image

The seeds continue to survive. Spaniard Fernando Verdasco is through to the second round but not without a five-set struggle. The No.22 seed defeated Belgian David Goffin 6-3 3-6 4-6 6-3 6-4 in a long tussle on Hisense Arena. Ferdasco won a total of 142 points to Goffin's 128.

Stop the press! Last week Fairfax Media reported on the fact that Canadian world No. 15 Milos Raonic could have potentially played for Australia. Well, it gets better! AAP writes about Roger Federer's recollection of breaking down in tears as a teenager when his father told him the family wasn't moving to Australia. Federer, who was 13 at the time, was shattered when the move was ruled out and wonders how it would have been if he had ended up playing Davis Cup for Australia.

"I remember that period quite vividly actually and it would have been a life changer, no doubt about it," Federer told AAP ahead of his first-round Australian Open match on Tuesday. The Swiss superstar touched on the subject three years ago, but only revealed just how heartbroken he was during a candid pre-tournament interview in Melbourne. "That was serious stuff. My parents were serious," Federer said. Read more HERE.

Some of the women's seeds have enjoyed comprehensive first round wins at Melbourne Park on Monday. Watch our video about second seed Maria Sharapova's demolition of countrywoman Olga Puchkova, completing her achievement of 'double bagel' victories at all four grand slam events!

Sharapova thrashes Puchkova in first round

Second seed Maria Sharapova beats fellow Russian Olga Puchkova 6-0 6-0 in the first round.

Back to top

Sam Stosur has completed her media commitments after her first round win. Naturally, the fact Australia's highest ranked female has safely advanced into the second round was the subject of some questioning. Stosur said she didn't have a problem with those who comment on her performances in Australia, but she still turned to her close circle for the best advice. "Yeah, look, people get asked what their opinion is and they say it and it comes out there. I mean, it's fine. You know, everyone is entitled to think what they think. But of course I have got a group of people around me I trust all year round not just during the summer of the Australian Open. Maybe some people had valid points, but at the end of the day, I'm always going to go back to who I know and who I trust the most." Stosur also confirmed she had been battling a bit of a cold in recent days. "I have had it for a few days and my voice is still a little bit croaky today."

Australian Open image

If Australian players don't quite have the capacity to pull off major upsets at their home slam, they can at least boast about taking a set or two off more fancied opponents. Speaking of such .... Matthew Ebden has claimed the opening set against Russian No.23 seed Mikhail Youzhny on the court that all home-grown players love, Margaret Court Arena. Ebden took the set 6-4 after 44 minutes. Spaniard Fernando Verdasco is under severe pressure on Hisense Arena, down two-sets-to-one against Belgian David Goffin. But the 2009 semi-finalist is up 5-3 in the fourth set.

Australian Open image

The day two schedule is out. No real surprise that tournament organisers have decided to put Bernard Tomic's first round match against Argentine Leonardo Mayer as the feature match of the night session. Andy Murray will open proceedings on Rod Laver Arena against Dutchman Robin Haase, followed by women's No.1 seed Victoria Azarenka against Monica Niculescu and Roger Federer versus Frenchman Benoit Paire.

Fans have converged on the revamped Melbourne Park for the opening day of the 2013 Australian Open. See the best images thus far from the first day of competition.

10th seed Nicolas Almagro can breathe easy. The Spaniard is through to the next round despite being pushed to five sets by qualifier and grand slam debutant, American Steve Johnson. Almagro eventually progressed with a 7-5 6-7 (4-7) 6-2 6-7 (6-8) 6-2 victory in the opening match on show court three.

Back to top