Rafael Nadal moved on to the second round in Brisbane
At the heavily stacked Brisbane International Tournament, first round matches have been highly competitive. As a first-time tennis tournament goer, this was the perfect tournament for me to witness live tennis.
Brisbane boasted its highest attendance for a Tuesday because of the top billing of Rafael Nadal. Fans took advantage of the “Free after Five” promotion to come see tennis on the outer courts for free after 5 pm. The doubles match between Lukas Pouille/Stan Wawrinka and Thanasi Kokkinakis/Jordan Thompson proved especially popular, with the European pair going on to win the match in a final 10 point tie break 11-9 even as the Australians chanted “Aussie Aussie Aussie!” with gusto. Kokkinakis has taken to twitter to state he is happy to be playing competitive tennis after a long injury layoff.
Brisbane will be able to see plenty more homegrown talent since Destanee Aiava, 16, won her first round match against Bethany Mattek-Sands this afternoon 2-6, 6-3, 6-4. This is her first win on the WTA tour and she is the first woman born in the 2000s to win a main draw match. Meanwhile, Sam Groth prevailed over Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-3, 5-7, 7-5, showing a positive start to the season after battling injury last year.
The Tuesday night session at Pat Rafter Arena proved to be great value for money, with even the cheapest seats (at around AUD 60) offering intimate views due to the coziness of the stadium. The first-night session match between Garbine Muguruza and Daria Kasatkina went down to a third set tie-break at just under 3 hours. Both players saved match points before Muguruza managed to win 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (9/7).
Rafael Nadal took to the court just after 10 pm to face Alexander Dolgopolov, who had defeated the Spaniard in the last two times they had met. Nadal’s serve got broken immediately, but he rallied to win five games in a row to take the first set 6-3. He then kept up a high first serving percentage to win the match in straight sets in around 90 minutes 6-3 6-3. Nadal thanked the crowd for their support and spent considerable time signing autographs afterward.
Nadal will play his second round match on Thursday.