And then there was just Andy Murray. The stars of tennis came out for the opening week of the new season and the only big name to reach the weekend was Andy Murray.
Serena Williams slipped and sprained her ankle. Kim Clijsters injured her hip. And today in Doha Roger Federer withdrew and then Rafael Nadal was upset. Leaving Murray as the lone Top 5 player on either tour still competiting.
In a few short hours, Murray will meet Australian phenom Bernard Tomic in the Brisbane semifinals.
The match will also be the courtside debut of Murray’s new coach Ivan Lendl who is expected to be in Andy’s box for this first time contest.
“He’s very unorthodox, very intelligent on court, got a good tennis IQ,” Murray said of sizing up Tomic who in many ways plays like the Scot.
The 19-year-old Tomic, who is appearing in his first career ATP semifinal, is ready for the challenge.
“I have played the other players Roger, Rafa and Novak but I haven’t played him – it is a good opportunity,” Tomic said.
“I am ready. I know I can take sets off these [world top four] guys,” he added. “In a best-of-three match like this … maybe I can pull off a win.”
In the earlier semifinal, another unorthodox player Alexandr Dolgopolov faces No. 2 seed Gilles Simon.
A year ago Simon defeated The Dog in the Sydney quarterfinals.
“He’s a really solid player, I’ll have to be really concentrated and probably have to go a bit to the net because he’s really good at the baseline and doesn’t make mistakes,” said Dolgopolov.
The nighttime Brisbane women’s final features Daniela Hantuchova against Kaia Kanepi.
In Doha, a French champion will be crowned as Gael Monfils and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga square off in the title match Saturday.
Tsonga leads the series 2-1 winning their first two meetings easily at 09 Tokyo and 08 Bangkok, then dropping a three-setter at ’10 Montpellier.
“It’s always really tough to play against Jo because he has a powerful game, the kind of game where it’s tough to manipulate him from the baseline,” Monfils said. “It’s also always tougher to be in a final against a friend. You want to show you’re the best, but sometimes you’re going too fast and sometimes you’re a bit shaky. You have to find a balance.”
Tsonga advanced when Roger Federer withdrew due to a back injury while Monfils scored his second career win over Nadal (both in Doha) today beating the Spaniard 6-3, 6-4.
“I don’t think the match was bad for me,” Nadal said who remains without a title since the French Open. “The second set, I started doing well, doing what I have to do to win a match against him… I didn’t play well at the end the match. I was a little bit unlucky in a few decisive movements. He did better than me and I congratulate him. He’s playing really well.”
The Chennai semifinals tomorrow pit top seed Janko Tipsarevic against surprising Go Soeda. In the second it’s Milos Raonic vs. Nicolas Almagro.
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