After one week of play, the cream of the ATP has risen to the top at the Australian Open. Although some had a tougher road than others, eight of the top seeds are still in the hunt. Here’s a look back at the tournament’s key moments to date.
In the first round, Igor Andreev’s forehand gave world number one Roger Federer all sorts of headache. After stealing the first set, Andreev was just one forehand winner away from serving for a two set to one lead. When Andreev’s shot sailed long, so did his opportunity at an upset. Thereafter, Federer cruised through his matches.
Another difficult challenge lays ahead for Federer in the fourth round in Aussie Lleyton Hewitt who will have the support of the crowd. Still, Federer is favored in that match. Should Federer advance, his tasks gets more complicated since he could face Nikolay Davydenko in the quarters, a man who has beaten him their last two meetings.
While Fernando Verdasco, a semifinalist last year, struggled through his first round match then benefited from a retirement his last round; Davydenko, his fourth round opponent, has been in peak form through three rounds. If Davydenko moves on to the quarterfinals, Federer’s streak of 22 consecutive majors semifinal will be in serious jeopardy.
An astounding fatality in the first round was French Open finalist, Robin Soderling. Playing Marcel Granollers ranked 113, Soderling let a two set to none advantage evaporate. Current U.S. Open champ Juan Martin Del Potro who has been dealing with a wrist injury also made an early exit. After defeating James Blake in a thrilling second round match, in the fourth round, Del Potro fought hard but came up short against Marin Cilic in another five setter. Cilic who has now gotten to the quarterfinals in the last two majors will battle Andy Roddick.
Although Roddick has been pushed with each passing round, he’s had the answers. After straight sets wins in rounds one and two, Roddick required four sets against Feliciano Lopez, then five versus Fernando Gonzalez, the Australian Open 2007 finalist and his coach’s former pupil. If Roddick aces the Cilic exam, it will be either Rafael Nadal or Andy Murray his next nemesis.