Sports Thread For 1/19/15: 2015 Australian Open Day 2 Runthrough
The key matches to look for on Day 2, already an intriguing day:
Wozniacki/Townsend & Stephens/Azarenka - The toughest section of the draw just to get to the Round of 32, where two young American top talents going in slightly different paths face two recent formidable number ones also going in contrasting directions. All four differently cringed at their draw, with the lefty of the quartet maybe the most frustrated by it.
After a close first set in Auckland two weeks ago against the Danish #1, Townsend just was overwhelmed by Wozniacki's return to top form and bowed out in straights. Although dangerous on any day against any player right now, Townsend knows in the back of her mind that she hasn't improved that fast enough in a fortnight's time to get through Wozniacki, who despite her wrist ailments coming in seems to be ready to go.
Although Wozniacki is the sound favorite in that eye-opening contest, Azarenka can't be given that label despite beating Stephens the last two years in Melbourne. A frustrating, close loss to Karolina Pliskova in Sydney again puts questions marks into the head of the two time Australian Open winner, as this is the last place she defends major points on her ranking. A loss here to Stephens and Azarenka could be out of the Top 70 after the first month of 2015.
But Stephens still is one of the tour's major mysteries, a continuous display of instability on and off the court. Now with her third major coach in the last year watching her in Nick Saviano, the capriciousness of the Under Armour client's game and attitude are the only things predictable about her at the moment. That will further make Azarenka feel a bit more comfortable at believing she would play her former (and at times still) BFF Wozniacki in Round 2, as last year's regression by Stephens in their Round of 16 rematch of their much discussed 2013 Australian Open semifinal encounter is likely to happen again.
Stosur/Niculescu- Another Scared Sam at home adventure awaits in in the all spin and slice match with Niculescu.
Also of Note:
Putinsteva-Svitolina - All emotional Match
Pennetta- Giorgi - Another feisty Italian matchup between these two, with the stoic, energetic Girogi against the always determined & still determined Pennetta.