Young Tomic (AUS), Raonic (CAN), Berankis (LTU) Shine in Men’s Upsets at Australian Open; X-Notes
by Staff | January 20th, 2011, 9:09 am
  • 30 Comments

Four lower seeds exited on Thursday in Melbourne, a day that saw the majority of the top seeds cruising into the third round at the Australian Open, and highlighting the next generation of Canadian talent. Is that an oxymoron?


Front and foremost was unseeded Australian teen Bernard Tomic, whose varied, consistent play frustrated No. 31 seed Feliciano “F-Lo” Lopez 7-6(4), 7-6(3), 6-3.

“It’s the first time I’ve been in the third round,” said Tomic, who will next face world No. 1 Rafael Nadal, who on Thursday dropped only four games against American Ryan Sweeting. “I can’t believe that I’m playing [Nadal]. What an opportunity it is to play him, in a third round as well. It’s a dream come true. Look, I’ve got nothing to lose. I’m hitting the ball great. My confidence is up there, especially after two matches. I played a left hander before I played him, that’s always good.”

Other young breakthrough upsets on the day were Canadian Milos Raonic straight-setting No. 22 Michael Llodra, and former junior world No. 1 Richard Berankis advancing when No. 27 David Nalbandian retired in the third set citing illness — or something like illness.

“I was like empty, you know? Didn’t feel good. Is tough, very tough,” said Nalbandian, who acknowledged his earlier five-set win over Lleyton Hewitt took a lot out of him, but had a hard time pinpointing his problem. “Everything. Nothing specific. Like empty, you know? I toss a ball for the serve and everything was moving around. It’s tough playing like that. Call the doctor. Told me that dangerous playing like that. That’s why I retired.”

31-year-old Czech Jan Hernych was also an upset winner, defeating No. 30 Thomasz Bellucci 8-6 in the fifth. The Canadian Raonic served his way into his first Grand Slam third round.

“I feel like lately I’ve been working a lot on my serve,” said the Canadian qualifier Raonic, who the Australian media has been comparing to Mark Philippoussis, and who will next face No. 10 seed Mikhail Youzhny, who was a five-set winner on Thursday. “And I think a lot of pressure is taken off my serve because of my second shot, I’m playing well with it, dictating a lot. Because always I was getting a lot of block returns. Maybe I would get tight or not play the first ball after as aggressively and effectively. Now I’m taking care of that, so that’s taking even more pressure off my serve. So this is letting me relax more.”

Other Top 10-seeded winners Thursday, all posting straight-set victories, were No. 4 Robin Soderling (d. Gilles Muller), No. 5 Andy Murray, and No. 7 David Ferrer (d. “Iron” Mike Russell).

Other seeded winners were No. 11 Jurgen “Tuna” Melzer, No. 13 Jo-Wilfried(-”Ali”) Tsonga, No. 15 Marin Cilic, No. 20 John Isner (d. Radek “The Worm” Stepanek in four), No. 21 Marcos Baghdatis (d. Juan Martin Del Potro in four), and No. 31 Guillermo “G-Lo” Garcia-Lopez.

“I knew before the match that he didn’t have a lot of matches on his feet,” Baghdatis said of Del Potro. “That put the pressure on me because I was a bit the favorite, but play fast balls, don’t give him time to play, and that’s what I did today, so I’m very happy, I played good today. When you’re [not injured] it’s easier to keep the competition, keep working hard, it’s been a year and a half I don’t have any injuries — touch wood — I’m working very hard, it will take time for sure, the same for Juan Martin.”

Baghdatis will next meet Tuna Melzer.

Isner and Cilic will next face off on Saturday in a serving contest.

“He’s kind of steamrolled through his first two matches,” Isner said. “He obviously likes playing here in Melbourne. The game plan is going to be the same: just go out there and try to hold my serve early on, try to get into his serve games a little bit. But he’s hitting well from the back and serving well. Just try to hold serve and keep pace with him and see what happens.”

Matches to look out for on a loaded Friday in Melbourne include (2) Roger Federer vs. Xavier “X-Man” Malisse, (19) Stan Wawrinka vs. (12) Gael “Force” Monfils, an all-Serb in (29) Viktor Troicki vs. (3) Novak Djokovic, (8) Andy Roddick vs. Dutchman Robin Haase, Kei “Special K” Nishikori vs. Fernando “Hot Sauce” Verdasco, (6) Tomas Berdych vs. (28) Richard Gasquet, and (14) Nicolas Almagro vs. (17) Ivan Ljubicic.

TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
Roger Federer
has won 12 straight matches…Andy Roddick and Robin Soderling are the only two men yet to drop serve…Canadian Milos Raonic has hit 48 aces is six sets of tennis…Rafael Nadal has lost 4 games in two matches…The future has arrived: Richard Berankis, Bernard Tomic, Milos Raonic, Kei Nishikori, Alexandr Dolgopolov, all of whom made the 3rd RD…There are 64 players left in singles (men and women) but zero from the continent of South America…Bernard Tomic has been broken just twice…Shahar Peer is the only female yet to lose serve…Caroline Wozniacki lost to Dominika Cibulkova last week in Sydney…Viktor Troicki and Novak Djokovic will play for the second straight Slam. In the heat at the US Open, Djokovic escaped in five sets. Temperatures are expected to be warm again Friday…What will Venus wear Friday? Does anyone care?…Julia Georges wears Maria Sharapova’s dresses. Some, no, many say she looks better in them…Before Bernard Tomic, the last 18-year-old to reach the 3rd RD at the Australian Open was Rafael Nadal in 2005. Tomic plays Nadal Saturday…Venus Williams has still never retired from a Grand Slam match…Novak Djokovic has beaten Viktor Troicki six straight times…Andy Roddick has reached the 3rd RD at the Australian Open nine straight years…Fish Population Decimated in Melbourne: Mardy Fish was diagnosed with a thyroid problem before the Australian Open, then lost early to Tommy Robredo. “The thyroid problem is strange. It sort of zaps you. You don’t feel really ill or anything but just a little helpless. It’s disappointing because I had put in the hard yards in the off-season and was really looking forward to playing here, especially being seeded higher than I have ever been at a Grand Slam at No. 16. But the doctors tell me this condition will pass and I will just concentrate on getting in shape for San Jose.”…Nicolas Lapentti has announced his retirement at age 34 after suffering from knee problems: “I’ve worked with great doctors but could not get a full recovery,” said the former world No. 6 and close pal of Anna Kournikova. “It’s an important decision so I didn’t want to rush, I wanted to be 100% sure.”…Kim Clijsters caught former ATP player and TV commentator Todd Woodbridge sending a text to fellow commentator Rennae Stubbs saying Clijsters looks like she is pregnant: “I saw a text you sent Rennae Stubbs,” Clijsters said to former doubles specialist Todd Woodbridge in a courtside interview, reported by Reuters. “You said you thought I was pregnant!” “Well, are you?” asked Woodbridge, trying to hide his embarrassment. “No I’m not pregnant!” Clijsters shot back with a laugh. She added: “The text said: ‘She looks really grumpy and her boobs look bigger.’” “Well that’s the end of my TV career,” said a horrified Woodbridge as a giggling Clijsters wrapped an arm around him to the delight of the Rod Laver Arena crowd.” — Good thing for Woodbridge that Clijsters has a breezy personality, that exchange wouldn’t have went so well with Serena. There would have been a Woodie on the ground.


Also Check Out:
Milos Raonic and Friends: The Future or Typical Over-Hype?
Bernard Tomic: Once The Federers, Nadals, Djokovics Are Gone, I’ll Have A Chance To Dominate
Querrey Losing Streak Hits Six in San Jose, Del Potro Wins; Murray Returns in Rotterdam
Preview: Citi Open Tennis in Washington D.C.
Americans Isner, Querrey, Harrison, Blake Highlight Memphis Tuesday

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30 Comments for Young Tomic (AUS), Raonic (CAN), Berankis (LTU) Shine in Men’s Upsets at Australian Open; X-Notes

jane Says:

“Raonic has hit 48 aces is six sets of tennis…Rafael Nadal has lost 4 games in two matches…The future has arrived: Richard Berankis, Bernard Tomic, Milos Raonic, Kei Nishikori, Alexandr Dolgopolov ”

Wow, lots of aces; pretty amazing re: Rafa too although e first match wasn’t really a ‘match’ ;)

Woohooo for the young guys having their day: it is nice to see.


gabsvamos Says:

Just noticed that you posted 4 stories about Federers 2nd round win and not even one about the number 1 seeds’ victory today….if this is just a federer fan site please do let me know so I can find a more objective site to read everyday.


grendel Says:

gabsvamos

what you ain’t noticed chum is that Nadal hasn’t played yet. The vagaries of the draw. Goes both ways – for instance the #2 seed has played twice: first, a chap who bagelled Nadal couple of weeks or so ago, and then someone who is perhaps the quickest man in the field and with a game to trouble anyone. The #2 seed just scraped through and admitted he was “lucky” to win. Now that’s drama, catches peoples’ attention, gets tongues wagging.

Meanwhile, I am hoping Cilic beats Isner, partly because I like Cilic and he seems to have been pretty low profile for too long. But also, it would be nice to see Nadal in a proper match. I don’t see Isner troubling Nadal – a Cilic returned to decent form certainly might.


piyush Says:

why is melzer called Tuna???


Gregoire Gentil Says:

The 14 first women seeds are still in the draw (except #7 Jankovic)…

The 15 first men seeds are still in the draw…


Eric Says:

well wtf Nalby, now I’m not just disappointed but also annoyed you beat Hewitt. What a waste.


margot Says:

eric: just posted same on another thread. V. V. Cross!
BTW guys, just got an email from bracket and thought I’d give u all a wave from the top of Mount Olympus..;) Just enjoy it while I can b4 I slide wildly down the slopes to the very bottom, hope it’s not Hades……


gabsvamos Says:

Grendel, Nadal played Sweeting 18 hours ago….I get that it was not dramatic but it’s still worth more than a passing mention. A small discussion on his fine form would have been nice…

I believe he will win this AO and very little can stop him. When fans follow their heroes we do need a little more than an x-note, especially when that hero is a huge inspiration to their fans.

I just needed to get that off my lovely chest!


dari Says:

How does it feel, margot?! ;)


dari Says:

gabs- what could we possibly discuss about Rafa’s first two matches?
If you wanted to talk about implications of the Rafa slam or what not, that’s cool, but a lot of that was discussed in pre-tournament posts. Since the tournament has started, though, rafa has not made much news with his matches!
His press conferences are more interesting than his matches, and tennis x acknowledged that by posting Rafa’s post-match press after sweeting.
Meanwhile, others are playing 5 setters, trying to make injury comebacks, and young ones are making waves. Much more exciting, I think!
Check back after the tomic match :)


dari Says:

I’m ready for my bracket to perform. I’ve already taken the hit with JMdP, nalby, Davy, etc, but at this point we’re getting into the nitty gritty and Ive picked people I want to actually perform well. Please make my bracket’s dreams come true!


Kimberly Says:

Grendel—normally I find this site very pleasant and articles very interesting but since the start of this tournament the articles and posts have become very nasty towards Rafa. I agree with gabsvamos. I was tempted to holler out to Rick and Fedend to get it going on for those of us in the Nadal camp!

Rafas first two matches were easy but his next two are not so we will see how it goes. Its actually hard to judge his form. Murray too.


stu Says:

margot, i hope you stay at the peak of Olympus all the way to the final!


Tennis Vagabond Says:

OK, Rafa: His wins are meaningless- one guy could hardly walk, the other couldn’t fight. But his shots were not meaningless. They looked awesome. He is getting angles on that forehand, controlling the extreme topspin in a way I really haven’t seen before. And his net game looks amazing right now, his improvement as a volleyer is incredible.
Considering the trouble Andy and ROg have had with old Rafa, I think its safe to say they will need to be at their absolute best to have a shot. I’m a huge fan of Rog, I think the way he played in 05-07 is about as good as any tennis player ever, but man, Rafa is getting there…
I don’t expect to get much more to judge him on until the semis, there’s no way anyone can bother him till then (unless…. Raonic??)


Catherine Says:

^^ well it’s pretty easy to look ‘great’ as a top player (THE top player) when you play 1) a cripple, and 2) a fellow who has never made it beyond challengers level. So I am not drawing any conclusion about Rafa’s form yet – I’m waiting for him to play Sod/Murray first to do so.

It’s been like this before – noone expected him to crash out against Tsonga in 2008, and neither did anyone do so last year when he was forced to pull out against Murray. One Match At The Time!

As for Rog… well we’ve seen what he’s capable of at the WTF against Rafa. But he sure needs to avoid making all those buckets of UEs like he did yesterday. Coming to speak of Simon, the way he played yesterday, he might well have beaten Rafa.
In all: nothing is set-in-stone yet, folks.


grendel Says:

gabsvamos

“I believe he will win this AO and very little can stop him. When fans follow their heroes we do need a little more than an x-note, especially when that hero is a huge inspiration to their fans.”

With your first sentence, I think I agree. Guess I was just being a bit sour. But don’t worry, as the victories mount up, your chap will get plenty of attention – and deserve it.


margot Says:

dari: feels a bit chilly up here on my own..;)
stu: could that possibly be cos u know who I’ve put into that final…:)
from here on went with heart so expecting to crash and burn very soon… …
kimberly: have seldom seen Andy looking so relaxed and apparently at ease with himself! Am hoping this is a good sign but with Andy who knows?


margot Says:

sar: these topics are now disappearing as fast as snow in July so will say here too, loved your comments from AO, keep ‘em coming!


gabsvamos Says:

Am feeling some love for the site again and it’s thanks to grendel, kimberley and vagabond…very objective so thank you.

I do agree that his first 2 matches have been gifts but I can also see in these matches an improved (if possible!) forehand, one Nick Bolliteri is calling the helicopter blade, and a much more consistent first serve. Rafa is in great form and it’ll be a very determined and talented man that takes that piece of history away from him in the next 10 days.

My favourite part of this entire tournament is the amazing gift of wonderful tennis to watch and in the true spirit of nadal-like sportsmanship, may the best man win.

Vamos Rafa!!!

P.S. ” As for Rog… well we’ve seen what he’s capable of at the WTF against Rafa. But he sure needs to avoid making all those buckets of UEs like he did yesterday. Coming to speak of Simon, the way he played yesterday, he might well have beaten Rafa.”

Catherine: What Roger is capable of in perfect condition indoor hard-courts in the best of 3 sets after his opponent had THE match of the tournament the night before is not the same Roger as the one who couldn’t reach 3 GS Finals last year. As for Simon, he has a 1-4 win loss against Nadal so am quite sure that should they have played, Nadal would have improved that record in his favour.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Gab, I don’t think anyone really believes that Rafa could be anyway hurt by having one tough best of 3 match after a month’s rest. That simply beggars belief regarding a pro athlete at the peak of his sport. Sorry. When your player loses, you take it.


Kimberly Says:

margot, i agree andy has looked, good, fast and calm, but like Rafa, his opponents were so vastly inferior that it makes it kind of hard to judge.


gabsvamos Says:

Vagabond, I can take it, Roger played incredible tennis that day and also that whole week. He deserved the win.

Signing off in Botswana so good night all and am sure I’ll see you all tomorrow;-)


Kimmi Says:

dari says – Look at you kimmi, #1 in the bracket?
Since you’re so good, can you tell me what the tie break column by the store means?

……

thanks dari. ha ha, just got lucky though. i will be dropping fast now we are getting deeper.

margot1 has snatched the lead. way to go margot!

the tie break column has the answer to the question “how many aces in the finals match?” if i am not mistaken.


Kimmi Says:

guys that picked haase to upset roddick today could get it right. i think this will be a tough match for roddick.


van orten Says:

rafas new serve is actually better for fed!!! i noticed that he often returns better first flat serves than spin 2nd serves…except when he plays del potro or berdych federer seems to manage first hard hitten serves pretty well..even roddicks serve is normally no problem for the fed..and nadals first serve is better flatter and faster now but no bomb as delpos when he was at his best…most of his break chances or matchpoints above all last year he blew returning second serves not first e.g. us open semi final ..


jane Says:

Hellooooooo up there margot ;) Do you have a queen-like-royal wave? I’ve taken a nosedive down to number 8: below (ironically?) “go gulbis”.

Am worried about Nole vs. Troicki; visions of the USO marathon in the heat are popping into my mind.

Cheer loudly sar!


dAri Says:

oh, of course that’s it kimmi. thanks!


van orten Says:

haase is actually a good player ..he played phenomenal vs rafa at wimby but was a bit unlucky with his knee injury


sar Says:

Margot,saw Malisse/J. Murray play dubs and they really are good together. Tried to get into Murray/Marchinko on Margaret Court arena but forget it…too crowded. Was disappointed in the Djok/Troicki match. I wanted Novak to win but not like that. Someone behind us mentioned that Novak was on an outer court after his short match and was doing the cha cha with a dancer. lol Then watched the exciting Roddick/Haase match. I really thought Haase had a chance while watching the first set but he had ankle problems from the beginning and like yesterday with Vera/Bojana, experience takes over.
Sharapova/Goerges- The crowd was really rude to Maria. They all, in unison,started imitating her shriek and laughing. I don’t know but I hate when crowds hurt players’ feelings. It was unnecessary.
PS This town is hugely expensive in general and prices from the AO: a small Heineken is 7.50 Aus dollars. That’s one to one with US dollar. A small meat pie, 4.70, coffee 4.50, fish and chips one small fish 9.00 and not wonderful. A daily draw sheet is 4.50 compared to Cincy 1.00. We brought in our own water and snacks to save money.
Today was our last day at the AO. We will be doing tourist things the next few days then driving the coast road from Melbourne to Sydney.


jane Says:

Thanks again for the “road report” sar; it’s so interesting to hear these details! Glad you were able to see Novak (though only briefly and yes, shame for Victor), Roddick, Sharpie. I enjoyed the Sharapova match, what I saw of it – totally missed that crowd tidbit. Have fun on your drive.

Top story: Serena Returns Tonight In Stanford; Berdych, Raonic, Isner Begin In Washington
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