Monday, February 04, 2013

Australian Open Review


I'm very busy currently...taking two weeks out is always going to cause problems down the line...anyway I shall crack on by covering how the top ten men in the world did at the Aussie Open. I think due to Nadal's absence I will do the top ten seeds:

1. Djokovic
... Two time defending champ and the top seed. He survived a heroic performance from Stan and came through in four against Murray. He was not tested apart from that, though (he was never in danger from Berdych). Every player has a slam at which they do best at, though they may not necessarily have won the title there. Henin, Kuznetsova and Stosur like the French and Li Na likes the Aussie. Serena prefers SW19, as does Venus. Nadal likes the French whilst Roger likes Wimbledon. It is where the game and the style of each player is strongest and so where they do best. Djokovic is so fit and trains so hard in the off-season. Perhaps that is why he does well here. Maybe there is another reason. Baghdatis has done well here before because of the crowd. Anyway, I love Wimbledon the best, personally. It is the atmosphere and the fact that it is pure tennis. In any case, Djokovic was perfect pretty much. Not much you can do when someone is playing that well, and to weather that storm and come though shows amazing guts. Overall A+
2. Federer
... He had the hardest draw of any of the top four seeds by quite a ways. He came through vet Davydenko and the incredibly dangerous Tsonga. He also put away the younger generation -- for a while anyway -- quite comfortably. He ran out of steam in the semis against the world number three. He is proving time and time again he can still get down when he needs to. He pretty much made sure Murray was drained going into the final. He played excellent tennis throughout and has also been to 35 quarterfinals on the trot. He has had a very good tournament. The Goat may be waning but he isn't done. Overall A
3. Murray
... He served for the match against Federer and completely crumbled. He went away against Djokovic mentally and he had an extremely easy draw so he wasn't tested till the semi-finals. He played well but the opposition was easy. However he has been to the finals of the last three slams. B+/A- overall.
4. Ferrer
... Apart from a dropped set against Smyczek, he has been imperious. Or rather he was until he got to the quarters. Luckily for him, Almagro is a complete train wreck mentally. Almagro probably called Dr. Heimlich after that match. Ferrer has been to the quarters of the last six slams. He is 4-2 in those but 0-4 in the semis. Overall he is 5-5 in quarters but 0-5 in the semis. He looked very average for the first two sets against Almagro. He then managed to grit his way out of trouble -- as he usually does -- and then once it was two sets all there was never any doubt. Murray -- apparently -- isn't playing until the two big tournaments in March. Perhaps the number three spot in the world is open for Ferrer. Anyway he got to the semi finals here and was spanked by Djokovic. Really spanked. It was brutal. A bit like how Daniel and the Lions would have gone if God hadn't been protecting Daniel. It was reminiscent of Ferrer/Nadal at the '12 French Open. In fact the scorelines were identical. 6-2 6-2 6-1. Overall for Ferrer though...B+.
5. Berdych
... He wore unsponsored clothes. I believe his new sponsorship deal comes through after the Aussie or has come through now. He looked very good through the first four rounds. He was awesome against Russell, Rufin and Melzer. They are all good players. Berdych was fantastic though. He even managed to keep Anderson down and win in straight sets. Then he nicked a set off Djokovic. To do that against Djoko is impressive. His slam results are extremely erratic. He has reached three consecutive quarters here and has reached the semis of the French and US. Apart from those, though, combined at those events he has reached the fourth round five times since 2003. Also, at Wimbledon he has lost at every single round except the second and at the semi final stage. I can't find many patterns. He has a similar Slam record to fellow Czech Petra Kvitova. Anyway....overall B+
6. DelPo
... Unacceptable. Poor. Shocking. F-.
7. Tsonga
... If things had gone differently then maybe Tsonga would have beaten Djokovic at last year's French and Roger this year. In that Universe "I love Lucy" never got cancelled and Bette Midler became a famous painter. In that universe, Nadal became a footballer and Federer went into Men's fashion and I won "The Apprentice." Ahem. Anyway, Tsonga had a tricky draw but came through an entertaining match against compatriot Llodra, then beat Soeda and Kavcic pretty comfortably. He was pushed by Gasquet but eventually his fellow Frenchman crumbled like Feta Cheese. Tsonga is 67-22 in slams. He has only played in 22 slams, though. He loves the Aussie and Wimbledon, too. The fabulous Frenchman was very good here but needs to know how to finish matches off and to close. B overall.
8. Tipsarevic
... His time in the top ten is limited. You just get that feeling with him. He has had two QF at the Open in the last two years. Apart from that his slam record is not great. He beat Lleyton Hewitt in straight sets but then struggled the next few rounds. He had to come through in five tight sets against both Benny and Lacko. Then he retired. 6-1 5-1 down to Almags. Hmmm...C overall
9. Gasquet
.... Ohhhhh. That was the sound of me sighing...a loud sigh. A sigh of pain. He is 1-14 in slam fourth rounds. That is abysmal. Everyone from Calais to Paris to Vichy to Nice is shaking their heads. That one was his fifth in a row, however. One day the draw will fall for him. One day. He was sparkling against Montanes, Falla and he managed to tough out a win against Dodig. He showed guts, too, which is something he has been lacking. He looks very good right now and well worth his ranking of ten. He should have pushed Tsonga harder however. He played excellent tennis and I think he will make a quarterfinal this year at one of the slams. I -- like Cher -- believe. I believe in Gasquet and, err, life after love. Ahem. Overall a B for Gasquet. For now though, I'm happy he has a bronze medal.
10. Almagro
... Almagro escaped Johnson but after that he was inspired. He put away Traver. He took down Jerzy in three straight sets. Then he came through after a retirement. Nothing wrong with winning via retirement -- just ask Amelie Mauresmo -- and he made good use of it. He served for a 6-4 6-4 6-4 victory against David Ferrer. But then he choked and all went to hell in a handcart from was like watching a cheap slasher film for the second time. You knew what was going to happen. And it did. And boy was it awful. Poor Almagro. Overall though B.

Davis Cup tommorrow. Go to WTA Backspin please.

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