Australian Open: R2 Drama & Highlights

  • Nicolas Mahut reaches R3 of a Grand Slam for the 2nd time in his career.  He defeated Tatsuma Ito 1-6 7-6 6-2 6-2 and had a mirthful celebration on court:

Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

  • Mahut’s doubles partner Julien Benneteau pulled off an upset over fellow Frenchman Gilles Simon.  Gilles came from two sets down to level the match, only to lose in the decider.  It’s a great and unexpected win for Benny.

Benny roar (Photo: Getty Images)

  • Stanislas Wawrinka pulled a solid win over Marcos Baghdatis in a tense match.  Stan grew very irritated with the Cypriot (or as DelPo would say, chipriota) fans during the match.  This led to a minor catfight where Baggy and Stan exchanged words.  Thankfully, Stan kept his head and pulled through, 7-6 6-4 5-7 6-1.  Baggy was not a happy player during the match, breaking 4 racquets in succession during the changeover.  He was eventually fined $1250 for his misbehaving efforts.

**

My R2 Combativity Award: Daveed Headbandian

Originally, I wanted the winner of the match between Hewitt and Roddick to receive the recognition of combativity.  Unfortunately, Roddick injured his right hamstring during the match and retired after losing the 3rd set (he won’t be playing the R1 Davis Cup tie between the U.S.A. and Switzerland).

Even if that match had gone the distance, the best mix of combativity and artistry was shown by Nalby in his cruel R2 loss to The One That Will Not Be Named.  For the better portion of the match, Nalby was the superior player.  That’s how I see it and my mind cannot be changed!  The inaugural R2 Combativity Award goes out to Nalby:

It hurts. Still hurts. (Photo: Getty Images)

Kei Nishikori gives a nod to Nalby here.  Kei is asked who his 3 toughest opponents are, aside from Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.  Special Kei mentions Nalby, and also names Ferru and Muzz.  It looks like Kei finds a certain type of player tough to play:

Special Kei’s response reminded me of Reeshard’s response to the same question in 2009 (only Reeshard didn’t get the memo about not automatically naming Fed & Rafa):

I am so entranced by Reeshard’s English.  He has such creative pronunciations that I’d never realized possible.  I think he’s in the top 5 of best non-English speaking tennis players’ voices.  Also, is it just my imagination or does Feli walk past in shorts at 0:50?

Kei and Reeshard are official masters of good taste.

**

Related News:

  • In his post-match presser, Roddick raises an interesting point.  He says the slower pace of the hard courts is the factor contributing to the growing injury count among players, rather than the total number of HC tournys.  Amid the calls from tennis players for a shorter season, one factor that’s remained largely untouched is the slow surfaces.  The ATP contends slower courts contributes to longer rallies, which fans enjoy.  However, this exacts a heavy toll on the players’ bodies and it also undercuts tradition — the once-quicker surfaces at Wimbledon and the Paris Masters are now noticeably slower, which leads to longer rallies.  Reversing this trend could address the actual problem at hand, that of player fatigue and injuries.
  • Ahead of Bernie Tomic’s R3 match with Alexandr Dolgopolov, Bernie shared a few words about his opponent.  Dolgo must be over the moon, because Bernie doesn’t trash Dolgo’s game.  Bernie seems to respect the fellow slicer-and-dicer, crazy shotmaker, and occasional junkballer, Dolgo.  Who is the improved mirror image of himse — now I understand why Bernie wasn’t trashing Dolgo 😉

He’s a very difficult player to play.  I think he doesn’t like my game.  I don’t like his.  So it’s very difficult.  He is a very good player, and a lot of people struggle with him … he’s very unco(ordinated) and very weird to play, and I’m sure a lot of players say the same thing about him.

  • Notable R2 exits: Mardy Fish (in straight sets to Falla), Victor Troicki (to Kukushkin), Gilles Simon (to Benneteau), and Andy Roddick (to Hewitt)
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About mariposaxprs

I play favorites with Juan Martin Del Potro, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, David Ferrer, Feliciano Lopez, Gilles Simon and the long line of mercurial talent that drives me to despair in front of the screen at odd hours during the week.
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7 Responses to Australian Open: R2 Drama & Highlights

  1. Pingback: Indian Wells: DelPo Will Play Istomin in R4 | mariposaxprs

  2. Iram says:

    oh my goodness where do u get the time to write such a great post? You put all the fun stuff in! thanks so much. loved it.

    I’m surprised that Roddick had to pull out. I feel for him. I heard that Mardy spat in the direction of the crowd- is that a rumor? (Hope it is, I have this good image of him) I don’t think of Baghdatis as a person who shows his frustration that way. But it did amuse me.

    Is there someone in particular you want to see win? I love Ferrer, but honestly I think if he makes it to the QF’s, he could meet up with Nole- and that can be disastrous! (Cant believe he had to go 5 sets with Ryan Sweeting) I want Murray to have a good year. I’d be happy for him if he can finally win a slam.

    Okay I gotta run, but hope u’re well!

    • mariposaxprs says:

      Haha thanks, Iram! I guess I’ve been pretty engrossed in the tennis since it’s the first Grand Slam this year.

      It’s sad that the Roddick-Hewitt match ended in a retirement, esp since both players are nearing the end of their careers. The Mardy Fish incident happened a week or two ago at Hopman Cup. He was playing an exhibition match and he got angry w/Bulgarian fans and spat in their direction. It was pretty bad 😦

      Honestly, at this year’s Oz Open, I don’t have a clear idea of what to expect. I def want Ferru to make it to the QFs and maybe have a repeat of his performance against Djokovic at last year’s World Tour Finals, when he beat Djokovic. I think he has it in him to do that! He’s still showing pretty impressive form. I hope it happens!

  3. queridorafa says:

    Haha, I do think that might be Feli! (who, incidentally, I would also nominate for top-5-non-English-speaking-voices!)
    Roddick’s answer was interesting–but, also a little contradictory I think. He says hard courts are the “neutral” surface that everyone theoretically can play well on, but then suggests they’re too slow and that’s what is contributing to injury. But if most hard courts were super fast, the points might be shorter/injuries might be reduced, but then the courts wouldn’t be all that “neutral”–they would heavily favor big servers/flat-hitters. So it’s a bit of a Catch-22. Obviously the solution is to simply play all tournaments on clay, which all players pretty much concede is much more forgiving and less taxing on the joints, despite the longer points. (joking 😉 )

    • mariposaxprs says:

      Yes, Feli too! JMDP-Rafa-Reeshard-Ferru-Feli need to sit down and do an English-language radio show. It’d be a symphony of languid mumbles, stacatto Mallorcan sounds, French horns, and the refrain “I am with confidence.” Feli’s actually the best English-speaker among them, huh? That’d be worth a chuckle. I can imagine the group of them engaging in awkward English-as-a-second-language banter, with Feli trying to direct the group conversation. Lololol.

      Hah, more clay-courts is a fine alternative! In mid-’08, JMDP played the clay tours instead of HCs, b/c he was worried about back injuries. He won his 1st titles on clay too, so that surface works for him 😉

      Honestly, I feel even if they sped up the court surfaces, Rafa wouldn’t have any trouble w/the adjustment. It seems like fatigue is actually the biggest reason why he doesn’t do as well during the indoor HC season, since it’s so late in the year. I’ve read about suggestions for more grass tournys, which I guess makes sense, given the extremely short grass season. If Rafa can win Wimbys on grass, more grass tournys could help him overall too, right? He could win w/o as much time spent on court. It’s all very interesting stuff!

      • queridorafa says:

        That’s what’s funny–the South Americans, the Spaniards, the French, even big-hitters like Soderling and Berdych–I think they all would be okay w/ more clay! (even Muzz–I distinctly remember in one of those “Road to Roland Garros” specials, he said clay was his favorite surface to play on (not necesssarily to “win” on, one would assume, though…). It’s just the darned North Americans who can’t warm up to the stuff! I think more grass would be great–love watching Rafa on grass! I think it makes him feel like a soccer player. Unfortunately w/ the the quick turnaround b/t RG and Wimbledon, doesn’t seem like that will be happening anytime soon!

        • mariposaxprs says:

          Yea, I never thought I’d find the arguments related to shortening the tennis season and etc. so engrossing. The surfaces question makes it even more complicated!

          I read an interview from 2009 with Peter Luczak, who’s a voting member of the Player’s Council (I think — each member of the Council votes, right?) He said that when he was younger, he was absolutely opposed to any calls for shortening the tennis season. Now that he’s much older, he can relate to some of the players’ demands. But then he says it’s too complicated to change anything. Sigh. It seems that’s the common roadblock any time there’s an initiative for change!

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