Josselin Ouanna

Australian Open in Photos: Vekic, Watson, Robredo and more

Our esteemed tennis photographer is currently at Melbourne Park and will be providing daily tennis galleries from the 2013 Australian Open. Make sure to check back each day for a new gallery and don’t miss the fun from down under!

January 15, 2013 — Our Tennis Grandstand photographer is back and today’s featured gallery includes Heather Watson, Donna Vekic, Tommy Robredo, Jesse Levine, Garbine Muguruza, Christina McHale, Olivia Rogowska and Josselin Ouanna.

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St. Pete seeds lack Simon survival skills

The St. Petersburg draw is already in shambles after just two rounds of the tournament, as seeds are tumbling out at an alarming rate. No. 5 Marin Cilic, No. 6 Dmitry Tursunov, and No. 7 Mario Ancic were all upset in their openers. No. 2 Nikolay Davydenko, No. 4 Mikhail Youzhny, and No. 8 Marat Safin followed suit in round two, much to the chagrin of the Russian fans. Davydenko pulled out after his first-round win with a wrist injury, while Youzhny lost to doubles partner Mischa Zverev and Safin fell to qualifier Andrey Golubev.

The only seeds to reach the quarterfinals were No. 3 Fernando Verdasco and–not surprisingly–No. 1 Andy Murray. Murray won the Masters Series Madrid last week and has had no problems so far in St. Petersburg taking care of Viktor Troicki and Ernests Gulbis.

Pehaps the six unfortunate seeded players in St. Petersburg should be taking notes from Gilles Simon. The Frenchman won five matches in three sets–four in third-set tiebreakers–last week en route to the Madrid title match, and he is already up to his old tricks in Lyon. Simon recovered from being a set and a break down in the first round to outlast Juan Monaco in three. He went to three again on Thursday with Andreas Seppi, but was far too strong mentally and physically in the end for the Italian.

Simon will play countryman Josselin Ouanna, who got into the event as a wildcard, in the quarterfinals. Frenchmen Julien Benneteau and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga are also through, while Richard Gasquet got upset by Steve Darcis in the second round.

Over in Basel, top two seeds Roger Federer and David Nalbandian have been doing their best Simon impersonations. Federer struggled with Bobby Reynolds in his opener and lost the second set in a tiebreaker, but he outlasted the American in three. The Swiss then saw Jarkko Nieminen serve for the first set on Thursday, but Federer came back to win the match in two tiebreakers. Nalbandian cruised in his first match, but the Argentine needed a third-set breaker to overcome Kristof Vliegen.

James Blake and Juan Martin Del Potro are still looming large as potential semifinal opponents for Federer and Nalbandian, respectively.

Mixed Fortunes for Swiss in Basel

Roger Federer got his bid to capture a third straight title in Basel off to winning start on Tuesday, but not without a scare. American Bobby Reynolds took the second set in a tiebreaker, but Federer turned things around to prevail 6-3, 6-7(6), 6-3 in one hour and 50 minutes.

Fellow Swiss and Olympic doubles gold medalist Stanislas Wawrinka was not as lucky on Monday against Benjamin Becker. The unheralded German, known almost exclusively as the man who beat Andre Agassi in the final match of Agassi’s illustrious career, stunned Wawrinka 3-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(5). Not only did Wawrinka suffer a setback in his own country, but his Masters Cup hopes were dealt a serious-probably crippling-blow.

In St. Petersburg, seeds Marin Cilic and Dmitry Tursunov are already out after just one match. Nikolay Davydenko, Mikhail Youzhny, and Ernests Gulbis, however, took care of business to reach the second round. Gulbis crushed Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in a mere 48 minutes on Tuesday. He could get Madrid champion and No. 1 seed Andy Murray in round two. The Scot faces Viktor Troicki in his opener on Wednesday.

The French favorites, for the most part, are still alive in Lyon. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Richard Gasquet, however, both needed three sets to advance on Tuesday. No. 1 seed Andy Roddick and fifth-seeded Tommy Robredo are also safely through to round two. Ivo Karlovic, on the other hand, crashed out to Nicolas Lapentti in straight sets just days after reaching the Madrid quarterfinals. The surprise of round one-much to the delight of the French crowd-was wildcard Josselin Ouanna, who stunned Ivan Ljubicic 6-7(2), 7-6(5), 6-4.

The women, meanwhile, are in Linz, Austria and all eyes will be on Ana Ivanovic to see if she can end a dismal season-ending slump before the conclusion of 2008 play. Ivanovic is the No. 1 seed and is joined as a first-round bye recipient by Vera Zvonareva, Agnieszka Radwanska, and Patty Schnyder. So far all eight seeded players are still alive.