Women's world number one Victoria Azarenka is through to the third round of the Miami Masters, extending her winning run in 2012 to 24 matches after beating Michaella Krajicek of the Netherlands in straight sets.
Recently we seem to have had some especially spectacular and even tragic defeats. But, of course, in sport we don't devote much extended contemplation to those who lose -- unless, of course, they should come back and win.
1. Break time: For all the gripes about the schedule, it's easy to forget just how many soft "pockets" exist throughout the year. Since the U.S. Open ended two weeks ago, virtually no top player has been in action. An early loser such as Andy Roddick hasn't played in upwards of a month. Today, it's back to work for the likes of Caroline Wozniacki, Jelena Jankovic, Maria Sharapova and Sam Stosur (in Tokyo) as well as for Rafael Nadal, Fernando Verdasco, et al., in Bangkok. As a bonus, Juan Martin del Potro makes his return at the Thailand event as well. No one is dismissing the demands made on top players, especially given the travel time and distance. But it's worth remembering that a lot of athletes would kill for a few weeks of down time in the middle of a season.
After a week of play, the 2009 Australian Open has reinforced what most already thought to be the case in tennis: the men's game is gripping on account of the consistently excellent performances of the top players. The women's game is gripping because of the inconsistency at the top, and the wide open fields it creates. Herewith our midterm grades.