If you were following the 2015 Australian Open on day 2, you might find my blog title to be a bit of a contradiction. Victoria Azarenka and Caroline Wozniacki both opened their campaigns down under with straight set wins…over young Americans. Yet I say American women found success. Luckily, for fans of American tennis, Taylor Townsend and Sloane Stephens were not the only women from the United States in action on day 2. Taylor is going to be fine. Her game is developing and she’s made Caroline work in their last two match-ups. I have to say something about Sloane, though. I think the media has come down a little too hard on her following this loss to Vika. She was facing a 2-time Australian Open champion, who was only unseeded due to injury. That Sloane lost 3 and 2 in the first round has to have an asterisk based on the circumstance of whom she was playing. I know this is not the first opening match exit for Sloane in big tournaments but on this day I still have to give her a break. I don’t know if Vika has the stamina to make it through a Major yet. She is still working her way back. I wouldn’t be surprised if she lost her next match or won the whole tournament. Vika has the game to win it all…if her fitness and timing are back where they need to be.
Overall, the American women gave a great effort on day 2, even Taylor and Sloane…they were just up against the dynamic duo of Wozniacki and Azarenka. But the two Madisons, Madison Keys and Madison Brengle, both registered wins for the Americans. Brengle is on an early season run. She made the final of Hobart last week. Now she has sent the #13 seed Andrea Petkovic crashing out of the draw. Former NCAA singles and doubles champion Nicole Gibbs also was an American winner down under, as was Irina Falconi. Falconi made some noise a few years ago at the US Open. Taking out Kaia Kanepi in Melbourne is arguably Falconi’s biggest win since then. Lauren Davis ousted Alexandra Krunic, who made a deep run last year in New York. Coco Vandeweghe beat former Roland Garros champion Francesca Schiavone. Vandeweghe, Davis, Gibbs, and Davis are barely into their 20s, all 23 or younger. Townsend and Keys are still teenagers. Brengle is the oldest of the group at 24. That’s is, oldest of the Americans I have mentioned so far. There were two other American winners on day 2. Maybe you’ve heard of them…Serena and Venus Williams. But as a whole, the young American women look like they will be a force in the near future when the Williams sisters step aside.
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4 PETRA KVITOVA (won 6-1 6-4 vs Richel Hogenkamp)
6 AGNIESZKA RADWANSKA (won 6-3 6-0 vs Kurumi Nara)
8 CAROLINE WOZNIACKI (won 7-6 (1) 6-2 vs Taylor Townsend)
11 DOMINIKA CIBULKOVA (won 3-6 6-3 6-1 vs Kirsten Flipkens)
VICTORIA AZARENKA (won 6-3 6-2 vs Sloane Stephens)