Monday, January 18, 2010
Updated: January 19, 10:22 AM ET
After four decades, Magician runs out of tricks
Here are five things we learned on Day 2 at the Australian Open:
1. The magician has no regrets
Fabrice Santoro, the French magician, couldn't turn down history.
Coaxed out of retirement for just one more tournament, Santoro became the first man to play in Grand Slams across four decades when he faced Croatian Marin Cilic in Melbourne.
The match was completed Tuesday, with Santoro losing in straight sets.
"For Christmas, for New Year, [I] received a lot of phone calls, texts, e-mails from friends," Santoro, 37, told reporters. "They said, 'OK, maybe why don't you go to Australia. You can play one more, you're fit and you like the game.' So I said, 'OK, I have to go.' I love Melbourne. This is my favorite city outside France."
Santoro reached his lone Grand Slam quarterfinal in Melbourne in 2006.
2. Marcos is feeling good
Easily one of the most talented players on the tour, 2006 Aussie Open finalist Marcos Baghdatis is starting to rediscover his old form.
Baghdatis, who drifted outside the top 150 last year, beat Italian Paolo Lorenzi in straight sets to reach the second round. He now is ranked 31st after finishing 2009 strong and winning a title in Sydney last week.
"The last six months, I didn't have any injuries, so I could work in the right way," Baghdatis told reporters. "I could build up my body, and I feel much fitter than last year. I can say much, much better."
Up next for Baghdatis is Spanish 17th seed David Ferrer, a much tougher proposition. Ferrer won all 14 games played in his Aussie opener before Portuguese opponent Frederico Gil retired.
3. Williams is a shoo-in
Tennis, like sport in general, can be unpredictable. But bank on Serena Williams not losing in the first round of a major.
Williams cruised past the younger of the Radwanska sisters, Urszula, to make it 41 straight visits to the second round at Slams.
"I love playing in Grand Slams, and I love doing the best that I can," the defending champion told reporters. "Just to have an opportunity to have not lost yet in the first round of a Grand Slam -- knock on wood -- is really good for me. That's something that I want to keep up just for my career."
4. Honesty is a good thing
How many times have we heard a player, when asked whom he or she would rather face in the next round, say, "It doesn't matter"?
Not Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the 2008 Aussie runner-up.
After beating Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky in surprisingly easy fashion, Tsonga's wish was to face Italian Fabio Fognini, not big-serving U.S. net-rusher Taylor Dent.
"Because he's not really offensive, so it's better because I don't have to run when the player in front of me is not offensive," Tsonga told reporters.
Poor Tsonga. He got Dent instead.
Count the aces.
5. Fame doesn't appeal to Davydenko
Nikolay Davydenko wants to win majors. He just doesn't want all the attention.
Davydenko, an outside contender to earn a maiden Grand Slam title in Melbourne, says he prefers to lead the quiet life.
"I am not Paris Hilton," the charismatic Davydenko said after a straight-sets win over German qualifier Dieter Kindlmann in one and a half hours. "I don't want to be like this. I don't want to be like [Rafael] Nadal, [Roger] Federer. These guys I never see by breakfast. They stay in the room and take room service. For me, much better to go downstairs, take breakfast, or dinner to go somewhere."