aEven an hour and a half after his surprise first round at the Australian Open, Jan Leonard Struff was still struggling with explanations. “I’m so frustrated,” said the 30-year-old Warsteiner. Germany’s second seed started their first Grand Slam tennis season with extremely high expectations. After a solid performance in the ATP Cup, Struve also wanted to go further in the Australian Open. But then he is suddenly thwarted by Australian fitch owner Christopher O’Connell. In Struff’s view, it was 6: 7 (2: 7), 6: 7 (5: 7), 1: 6 a little over two hours later.
“I was hoping to benefit from the ATP Cup,” said Struve. But at Stadium Seven in Melbourne Park, he wasn’t able to build on his performance in the team competition. In the ATP Cup, he scored important points for Germany against Canadian Milos Raonic and Serbian Dusan Lajovic and also beat Russian strongman Andrei Rublev in a narrow defeat of three sets. Plus, as is often the case, the Sauerlander can be counted on in doubles.
‘Just a disaster’
But against O’Connell, there was suddenly nothing else to see. “It was just a disaster today,” Struve admitted in astonishment. From the start, he could not take the risk. And when he was on the tiebreak for the first set of his serve, which had been good so far, he left him for a short while, the group suddenly disappeared.
Struve tried to stay positive and got a steady ball in the second round. But when he didn’t change it and lost it again shortly after the tiebreaker, frustration and frantic activity gripped the actual candidates.
“I couldn’t believe it because I played so well in the ATP Cup,” Struve said slightly desperate. The 37th man in the world said, “Today I looked and looked, but I couldn’t find a way.” “I invested a lot in preparing. That is why it hurts me today.”
Victoria Asarenka also no longer exists
Since Yannick Hanfman also lost out soon afterwards, only Alexander Zverev and Dominic Kupfer were among the men from a German perspective. Zverev will meet American Maxime Chrissy on Wednesday, and Kupfer will face title favorite Dominic Thiem of Austria. Hanfman had no chance against the powerful Russian Rublev in 3: 6, 3: 6, 4: 6. The 29-year-old Karlsruhe had to concede defeat to the ATP Cup champion after 1:42 hours.
Surprisingly, Victoria Asarenka is no longer in the tournament. The twice-winning Belarusian from Melbourne, who, like failed Angelique Kerber on Monday, was forced to spend two weeks in strict quarantine before the tournament, to Jessica Bigula of the United States 5-7 4-6. But defending champion Sophia Kenin of the United States and last year’s runner-up Garbine Muguruza of Spain advanced after two group wins.