Brisbane, Doha, and Chennai: The only thing that’s happened at these events is a bunch of qualifying matches have been played. I honestly barely recognize any of these guys. I think most of these guys are challenger/future players as opposed to the young crop that could potentially make noise in a few years.
In Chennai, Donald Young lost a tight one to Louk Sorensen of Ireland 7-6(4) 7-6(8). I don’t know how Young expects to get anywhere when he’s losing to guys from Ireland. In Doha, Andre-Agassi-career-ender Benjamin Becker rallied to beat a Polish guy 6-4 in the third. Becker is actually ranked 40 at the moment and I think it goes to show how deep the men’s tour is when a guy ranked 183 isn’t that far from a top 50 player.
Belgian underachiever Xavier Malisse is barely ranked inside the top 100 but he’s made it through the qualies in Brisbane and has actually scored a win over Rafael Nadal back in 07 in Chennai, one of the other Australian Open warm ups. On the women’s side, reigning US Open champ Kim Clijsters (somehow strange to see her as the top seed already) scored an easy win over Tathiana Garbin.
The Brisbane draw for the women’s side is particularly lame if you give it a quick skim. Only notable names that popped out to me were the hotties Daniela Hantuchova and Ana Ivanovic. Hantuchova doesn’t have the game to beat Clisjters. And Ivanovic is in Justine Henin’s half, but she probably won’t get that far anyway. This tournament is set up nicely to see a Henin-Clijsters clash in the very beginning of the season.
And for those who are expecting a Roger Federer-Rafael Nadal clash in Doha, well, don’t get your hopes up. Criticize me all you want but both of them have a tendency to get upset randomly before reaching the final in small events. It happens almost all the time. The only time these guys manage to face each other is in the slams and the occasional Masters event (and those are all on clay).
Hopman Cup: This event feels so bland to me. Two or three big names playing amongst a bunch of hasbeens. No real relevance to anything going on anywhere else in the tennis world. Plus the great Marat Safin used to play here all the time but now he’s retired so my interest is dying without a wimper. Luckily Lleyton Hewitt, Andy Murray, and John Isner are trying to keep me tuned in.
Australia lost to Romania (see what I mean by hasbeens) even though Hewitt won his match. I don’t think I’m the only one who’s noticing how Hewitt’s becoming more and more likeable with age, even though his game is getting worse and worse. The most interesting thing to come out of this was the implement of the new time-out rule(s).
Victor Hanescu was cramping in the third set against Hewitt but was not allowed a time out. “New medical time out rules do not allow medical timeouts for cramps alone — treatment may only be received during a maximum of two changeovers.” Is that two change overs per set? I will definitely look into this more (especially since it will have a big effect on one of my fave’s, Novak Djokovic). Apparently Hanescu served underarm when he was down match point. Way to take stand, Hanescu! You really showed them!
Today, Spain shut out USA when Melanie Oudin and John Isner failed to score any type of win over Tommy Robredo and Maria-Jose Martinez-Sanchez (that’s her name, four names in one, crazy Spaniards). “I was not OK. I threw up also, but now I’m much better,” said Martinez-Sanchez after her win over Oudin. And I was really starting to like Oudin. The US never performs well here and I don’t understand why, it’s on hardcourt! They were playing Spaniards. Oh well, I’m sure Murray won’t disappoint tomorrow, he never does!
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