Friday, February 05, 2010

ATP January Awards: He is Risen... again.

As 2010 began, everyone gathered Down Under and wondered if a member of the ATP's talented corps of young would-be champions, in the wake of Juan Martin del Potro's U.S. Open victory last September, was ready to rise up and claim a second straight slam, thereby officially ushering the tour into a period where every major title was up for grabs for the first time in nearly a decade.

The environment seemed right for the movement to begin.

Not only did del Potro become a rare major "interloper" in the Roger/Rafa Era in New York, but as the Australian open began Nikolay Davydenko had also done his part in the ATP field's ongoing attempt to "dymystify" Federer and Nadal for everyone else's well being, knocking both men off in back-to-back events to end '09 and begin '10. Melbourne seemed to present the perfect opportunity for someone -- anyone -- to step up and seize the moment.

If not now, then when?

But then Novak Djokovic, the original "interloper" two years ago at the Australian Open, went down in flames while raising more questions about his fitness/intestinal fortitude. del Potro couldn't survive a second consecutive marathon match. Davydenko folded in a slam yet again. Then Andy Murray put up too little and too late a fight, as well. Meanwhile, Nadal's knees limited his effectiveness and his hopes to defend his AO title went down the drain.

When the dust settled, only Federer was left standing. Again. Some things just never seem to change. Sure, there are still three more slams to go this season... but, for some reason, it's easy to believe that more of the same could be the ATP's immediate future.

**2010 January Awards**
1. Roger Federer/SUI
...he could have lost his #1 ranking to Djokovic in Melbourne, but slam title #16 ended up adding the notion that he could end up being the "sole survivor" of the Rafa/Roger War to his career bio.
2. Nikolay Davydenko/RUS
...ATP watchers wonder why so many either don't know much or, frankly, care at all about Davydenko? Well, one look at how the Russian squandered all his momentum/belief in Melbourne should answer any lingering questions about that.
3. Andy Murray/GBR, he's supposed to be "The One," huh? Well, if that's the case, when is he going to learn that he has to take that power position rather than just wait for it to fall in his lap?
4. Marin Cilic/CRO
...2010 was set up to be the Croat's breakthrough slam year, and he didn't disappoint with his first career slam SF in Melbourne. He won a title in Week 1, too.
5. Bob Bryan/Mike Bryan, USA Federer, the brothers were again the last men standing in Melbourne.
HM- Daniel Nestor/Nenad Zimonjic, CAN/SRB
...they seem to be fated to forever be the SECOND-best doubles team in the world.

1. Andy Murray, GBR
2. Marin Cilic, CRO
3. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, FRA
4. John Isner, USA
5. Stanislas Wawrinka, SUI
6. Gael Monfils, FRA
7. Tomas Berdych, CZE
8. Philipp Kolhschreiber, GER
9. Nicolas Almagro, ESP
10. Thomaz Bellucci, BRA

1. Tiago Fernandes, BRA
2. Sean Berman, AUS
3. Marton Fucsovics, HUN
4. Gianni Mina, FRA
5. Somdev Devvarman, IND
HM- Lukas Lacko, SVK

1. Lukasz Kubot, POL
2. Kevin Anderson, RSA
3. Dudi Sela, ISR
4. Alejandro Falla, COL
5. Ivan Dodig, CRO
HM- Louk Sorensen, IRL

1. Roger Federer, SUI
2. Nikolay Davydenko, RUS
3. Andy Roddick, USA

1. Bob Bryan & Mike Bryan, USA
2. Daniel Nestor & Nenad Zimonjic, CAN/SRB
3. Leander Paes, IND

1. Marcos Baghdatis, CYP
2. Arnaud Clement, FRA
3. Richard Gasquet, FRA
4. Xavier Malisse, BEL
5. Mardy Fish, USA

1. Rafael Nadal, ESP
2. Novak Djokovic, SRB
3. Sam Querrey, USA
4. James Blake, USA
5. Robin Soderling, SWE

The Federer Express Rolls Deeper into History
at the Australian Open, Federer extended his consecutive slam SF streak to twenty-three, reached his eighteenth slam final in nineteen events and won his sixteenth major title.
Still, Who in Their Right Mind Would Ever Bet Money on This Guy?
after sweeping through both Nadal and Federer at the Masters Cup, Nikolay Davydenko did it again in Doha.

Doha Final - Davydenko def. Nadal
The Russian saved two match points. Not that the experience helped his match toughness in Melbourne.
Australian Open 4th Rd. - Cilic def. del Potro
in winning this 4:40+ clash, the Croat earned the right to be mentioned amongst the "NextGen" stars looking to crack through the Rafa/Roger fortress.
Australian Open Final - Federer def. Murray
...(3rd set tie-break) Federer 13-11.
Murray holds five set points. Federer takes three match points to finally win. If the Scot had played like this all final, the match might have been as good as billed. Then again, even when he DID raise his level of aggression, he still couldn't put away the set despite having multiple opportunties.
[5th Set]
Australian Open Final - del Potro def. Blake
...(5th set) del Potro 10-8.
Blake has made a career of being just good enough to lose close.

"I can cry like Roger. It's a shame I can't play like him." - Andy Murray, after choking up during his post-match comments following the Australian Open final

Goran Would Be Proud
...Marin Cilic moved into the Top 10 with a Week 1 title in Brisbane and his first career slam SF appearance in Melbourne.

Murray's First Set and a Half vs. Federer in AO Final
Davydenko after the First Set and a Half vs. Federer in AO Quarterfinal

...put them together and they actually played a full match. In reality, though, they both were presented with grand opportunities, yet wasted them yet again.

"You're too good to not win a slam. Don't worry about it." - Roger Federer, to Murray during the post-match Australian Open final ceremony

Davydenko defeats Federer and Nadal in Doha
Roddick wins his first career title in Australia
Murray reaches his second slam final
Malisse's WADA suspension is lifted by a Belgian court

Davydenko leads Federer in the Australian Open QF, only to fold like a broken lawn chair
Roddick experiences more injury questions and exits Melbourne in the QF
Murray again falls victim to tension in a major final
Nadal's lingering and increasingly worrisome knee problems

A ball boy wet himself during an Australian Open match, causing a forty-minute clean-up delay

Murray's girlfriend apparently broke up with him because he played too many video games

During a television interview with Andy Roddick in Australia, two koalas in the background were clearly seen having sex in a tree

All for now... unlike the koalas, I have a headache.

Read more!


Post a Comment

<< Home