Australian Open Begins with Korda and Keys Knocking Out Seeds

Australian Open Begins with Korda and Keys Knocking Out Seeds

4 min read

The first day of the Australian Open did not disappoint with a handful of upsets already in the books as the top half of the men's and women's draws got underway. Madison Keys (UTR Rating 12.71) ousted No. 11 seed Sofia Kenin (12.62), while 21-year-old Sebastian Korda (15.56) took out No. 12 seed Cameron Norrie (15.74).

Tournament favorite Ashleigh Barty (13.38) lost just one game to qualifier Lesia Tsurenko (12.35), while Novak Djokovic's replacement at the top of the men's draw, lucky loser Salvatore Caruso (14.74), lost to Serbia's Miomir Kecmanovic (14.92).

"It's felt like an eternity since I have been back on this beautiful court," Barty said on Rod Laver Arena. "And last year was just incredible. Obviously highlighted by Wimbledon. It was a dream of mine and I was extremely fortunate that it came true and I had so much fun in that week. I'm just glad I was able to enjoy it with my team and everyone back here in Australia.

"But it's certainly nice to be back on home soil now and playing as well as I did tonight. It was a lot of fun out here."

Let's take a look at what more we can expect in the coming days from the action Down Under.

Lower Seeds Fall on Day 1

Vukic is no stranger in the Universal Tennis world as he played in three UTR Pro Tennis Series events during the pandemic in the summer of 2020. The 25-year-old will take on qualifier Radu Albot (14.63) in the second round, with Universal Tennis INSIGHTS predicting Vukic as the favorite with a 67% win probability of moving on. This tournament marks Vukic's seventh Grand Slam and first time winning a main draw contest.

Korda will be up against fellow youngster Corentin Moutet (15.14) and is favored at 72% with a higher UTR Rating and better win-loss record in the past 15 months (44-22 to Moutet's 26-22). While it's Korda's first time winning a match in Melbourne Park, he's been to the fourth round of both Wimbledon (2021) and Roland Garros (2020).

The biggest upsets per UTR Rating were wild card Aleksandar Vukic's (14.91) win over No. 30 seed Lloyd Harris (15.51) and Harmony Tan's (12.08) victory over Yulia Putintseva (12.75). Another notable women's upset was No. 18 seed Coco Gauff (12.85) losing to Qiang Wang (12.29).

INSIGHTS Predicts Next Women's Matches to Watch

While Keys taking out Kenin is an upset given Kenin's status as a seed and 2020 Australian Open champion, 26-year-old Keys has the higher UTR Rating and was the 2017 US Open finalist. Keys started the year with a title in Sydney and looks poised to do more damage this week. Her serve's in great shape as she hit 15 aces in her 7-6 (2), 7-5 victory.

She takes on Romanian Jaqueline Adina Cristian (12.27) next, with INSIGHTS dubbing Keys the favorite at 72%. Keys has the higher UTR Rating and better record versus common opponents. At 23, Adina Cristian is making her Grand Slam main draw debut.

Keys missed the 2021 Australian Open due to COVID and then struggled to put together results for the rest of the season.

“Missing Australia was really tough,” she told press. "And then I felt like I just had this pressure on me to almost catch up to everyone else because I felt like everyone else had had such a good year and I just kept comparing myself to everyone else and their success and all of that..."

Madison Keys got past former champion Sofia Kenin in two close sets on Monday. (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)

Another name to keep your eye on is 19-year-old Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk (12.42). She eased past wild card Diane Parry (12.17) to set up a showdown with No. 30 seed Sara Sorribes Tormo (12.54). This marks one of the most evenly matched second-round women's matches (so far) with Sorribes Tormo at 56% to Kostyuk's 44%. Kostyuk is settling into the tour after high expectations exploded when she made the third run of the 2018 Australian Open as a 15-year-old qualifier.

INSIGHTS Predicts Next Men's Matches to Watch

Tallon Griekspoor (15.31), a 25-year-old from The Netherlands, ousted veteran Fabio Fognini (15.29) in the first round in straight sets and could challenge No. 19 seed, Pablo Carreno Busta (15.37), next. Per INSIGHTS, Carreno Busta has a slight edge at 52%. Griekspoor's win-loss record is better at 62-19 but he played mainly on the ATP Challenger Tour in 2021, winning a whopping eight of them including five in a row to close out the season. He's riding a 29-match win streak dating to a loss to Djokovic at the US Open.

Griekspoor has yet to go beyond the second round of a Slam, while 30-year-old Carreno Busta is a two-time semifinalist and two-time quarterfinalist. The winner of this match takes on the winner of the Korda vs. Moutet match.



Former UCLA Bruin Mackenzie McDonald (15.30) made his mark in Australia last year by reaching the round of 16. He's got a shot at taking out No. 18 seed Aslan Karatsev (15.55), who did a few rounds better than McDonald last year in making a stunning appearance in the semifinals. Karatsev just won the Sydney title (over Andy Murray) and is favored to beat McDonald at 67%. It makes McDonald the serious underdog, but compared to other second-round matches, this is one of the most likely to be competitive.

Honorable Mention

An honorable mention goes to wild card Stefan Kozlov (15.06) for scoring his first career Grand Slam win over Jiri Vesely (14.91) in straight sets. The 23-year-old American, who played a UTR Pro Tennis Tour event in Naples last year, will look to challenge No. 7 seed Matteo Berrettini (15.82) in the second round.


Stay tuned for more from INSIGHTS, and to learn more about Universal Tennis, click here.

•UTR Ratings and INSIGHTS probabilities as of 9 a.m. EST, Jan. 17, 2022.

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