Tomic, Stosur Mark Aussie Exit from Australian Open; Raonic Rises
by Staff | January 22nd, 2011, 9:20 am

Lots of fireworks Saturday on the men’s side at the Australian Open as the “next generation” of players attempted to take the main stage away from the veterans in Melbourne in third-round action.

Successfully stepping up was big-serving Canadian qualifier Milos Raonic, who shocked world No. 10-ranked Mikhail Youzhny 6-4, 7-5, 4-6, 6-4.

“I knew the chances were in his favor, but I knew I was prepared to fight for every point, however long it took,” said the not-so-shocked Raonic. “I can’t say I would be shocked if I wasn’t here. But I’m not really shocked I am here. I worked hard and I’ve put in the hours, so it’s all coming together.”

Fellow upstarts who failed to similarly close the deal Saturday were Aussie headliner Bernard Tomic falling to world No. 1 Rafael Nadal in straight sets, former world No. 1 junior Ricardas Berankis getting only five games off No. 7 David Ferrer, and Japan’s Kei Nishikori straight-setted by No. 9 Fernando “Hot Sauce” Verdasco.

Tomic thought he had a set in pocket when he led Nadal by two breaks at 4-0 in the second set, but it was not to be.

“I thought it was over at 4-love,” Tomic said. “Just shows how much he can come back. Against these guys, especially in the Top 10, you can’t afford to lose concentration. That’s the important part. Physically-wise he’s a machine. He just wears you down. That’s where I’m going to need to improve on in the next few years. I’m improving on that since the last year and the year before. It’s getting better for me physical-wise. I think there’s a lot more to improve on like that. The way I’m hitting the ball, I can’t say I’m not hitting it good, I’m hitting it really good.”

Also on the upset tip in third-round action were Alexandr Dolgopolov defeating No. 13 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-1 in the fourth and fifth sets, and No. 19 Stan Wawrinka beating No. 12 Gael Monfils in straights.

“Yeah, maybe fitness,” said the perpetually-injured Tsonga of only winning two games in the final two sets. “But for me it’s reasonable, you know. Because when you are used to play every day, two, three hours, to play one match every day, every week, after that you get used to play a match like this. But I’m not. So I need that. So maybe it’s good. I will go out of this tournament. Yeah, I’m out of this tournament, so I can prepare the next tournament. Maybe in the season I will feel better and better every day.”

Dolgopolov will next face No. 4 Robin Soderling, who dismissed Jan Hernych in straights.

Other winners were No. 5 Andy Murray putting a beating on No. 32 Guillermo “G-Lo” Garcia-Lopez, allowing the Spaniard only four games, No. 11 Jurgen “Tuna” Melzer over No. 21 Marcos Baghdatis who retired with injury in the fourth set, and No. 15 Marin Cilic winning the serving contest against No. 20 John Isner 9-7 in the fifth.

Melzer’s result will line him up against Murray next, and will put him in the Top 10 rankings for the first time after the Aussie Open.

“It is a big accomplishment. I’m still in the tournament,” Tuna Melzer said. “I mean, it’s great to be there. But right now the focus is on Andy Murray. First of all, play doubles tomorrow, and I’m looking forward to playing Andy.”

Murray opined that it will be an interesting match against the 29-year-old Melzer.

“He’s very unpredictable on the court,” Murray said. “He played his best year last year on the tour. Yeah, he takes a lot of chances on the court. He can also make some mistakes, too. He plays quite high risk tennis. I played him quite a lot. I don’t think I played him last year. But he’s definitely improved, you know. The older he got, he’s started to play better. He’s started to understand his game better.”

Only some mild surprises on the women’s side Saturday in third-round action, as No. 25 seed Petra Kvitova toppled No. 5 Sam Stosur, No. 22 Flavia Pennetta came from a set down to beat No. 10 Shahar Peer, unseeded Russian Ekaterina Makarova outlasted No. 13 Nadia Petrova 8-6 in the third, and stick-like Czech Iveta Benesova outlasted chunky No. 16 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 7-5 in the third.

“I actually thought I played really well so…It’s hard to walk off the court thinking you played well,” Stosur said after the loss. “It was so close, I mean, that first set. Don’t really know how I lost it, to be honest. Felt like I started playing a bit better and was probably on top of her and then all of a sudden it was gone and I was a set down. I thought she played extremely well pretty much the whole way through. I think it was a match of a point here and a point there and she got the ones that really mattered.”

World No. 1 Vera Zvonareva put away No. 31 Lucie Safarova 6-3, 7-6(9), while No. 3 Kim Clijsters likewise had a tight contest against Frenchwoman Alize Cornet, triumphing 7-6(3), 6-3.

“She was a tricky player,” Clijsters said of Cornet. “I think, like I said out there on the court, I think her forehand and backhand, it’s like two different players almost. She really has a lot of variety in her game, not so much by touch, slice and everything, but I think with her forehand she was really putting a lot of heavy spin on it, moving a lot of balls as well. With her backhand, she was hitting shorter, low over the net flat balls. It was up to me to keep my footwork on key every time ready to adjust.”

Zvonareva said she let Safarova into the match in the second set before eventually prevailing in the tiebreak 11-9.

“I think there was a moment where maybe I was not aggressive enough, and I let her dominate a little bit before I was dictating the game, and then I let her step up and go for her shots a little bit,” the Russian said. “So that was the reason she was able to get back on the scoreboard in that second set. Then I maybe started playing a little bit too passive and just doing the same thing over and over again, so I couldn’t close it out.”

On court Sunday in fourth-round action are (1) Caroline Wozniacki vs. Latvian Anastasija Sevastova, (9) Na Li vs. (8) Victoria Azarenka, (2) Roger Federer vs. Tommy Robredo, (30) Andrea Petkovic vs. (14) Maria Sharapova, (8) Andy Roddick vs. (19) Stanislas Wawrinka, (14) Nicolas Almagro vs. (3) Novak Djokovic, and (23) Svetlana Kuznetsova vs. (6) Francesca Schiavone.


INDIAN EXPRESS WON’T LET SPANIARDS BOARD — The Indian Express got into it in men’s doubles against Feliciano “F-Lo” Lopez and Juan Monaco when Leander Paes kept yelling “Vamos!” during the match, so Lopez/Monaco started trying to tag Paes during points. Moral of the story: if you are not a Latino, don’t yell “Vamos!” when playing a Spaniard. “One of the players, he was trying to provoke us all the time,” F-Lo said after the match “At one point, we were a little bit tired of the style he was using on the court, and that’s all what happened. But at the end, I was talking to Mahesh [Bhupathi] and everything was fine…[Paes] was trying to provoke us all the time. I know it’s the style he been using the past 20 years.” Bhupathi said after the match, “They were probably not happy that we used the word ‘vamos.’ I don’t think they have a patent on that one. Small things like that added up. Kept adding to their frustration that we were playing good tennis as well.” The Indian Express say they will bring out the “Vamos!” in the next round against another pair of Spaniards.

Rafael Nadal
has won 24 straight Grand Slam matches…Stanislas Wawrinka has won 8 straight matches. Wawrinka has 2-1 edge over Andy Roddick but he’s never won a match point over the American…Milos Raonic is the first Canadian man to reach the fourth round at the Australian Open. Roanic also leads all players with 79 aces…No player has even gotten to four games in a set against Andy Murray…For the second straight year Marin Cilic beat a big serving American in five sets at the Australian Open…Sam Stosur has never reached the QF at the Australian Open…Your daily reminder, Jurgen Melzer is still in the draw…Roger Federer has won 13 straight matches. Federer is 9-0 against Tommy Robredo…There are five Spaniards in the men’s R16…Maria Sharapova is the only former champion left in the women’s draw…Andy Roddick has hit a total of 2 backhand winners in three matches. Is that good?…Milos Raonic has the fastest serve of the event at 143 mph in the second round. David Ferrer has won 7 straight matches…Roger Federer is trying for his 27th straight Grand Slam QF (tying Jimmy Connors)…Serena Williams will slide down to at least No. 13 in the WTA rankings, Venus out of the Top 5…Caroline Wozniacki has reached seven straight Grand Slam R16s…Anastasija Sevastova and Caroline Wozniacki are the two youngest players left in the women’s bracket…Francesca Schiavone is trying to reach the QFs at all four majors…Li Na has won 8 straight matches…Andrea Petkovic got a walkover to reach the US Open R16, now got a quick retirement from Venus Williams to advance to the Australian Open final 16…Maria Sharapova has won 73% of her 3-set matches…Caroline Wozniacki’s agent, John Tobias, speaking to the NYT on the Woz switching to Yonex racquets: “It was a really strong commercial deal. It was also a little bit strategic, because we really want to get her into Asia and expand her brand in Asia, and a Japanese company does that for us.”…Seven years ago after introducing wife Steffi Graf at her induction, Andre Agassi in 2011 will be the only player in the Recent Player category inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport: “I don’t know what to expect,” Agassi said. “I think it’s probably doing yourself a disservice to expect anything one way or the other…I will put a lot of thought behind it — and I will make my best attempt to communicate what tennis has meant to me, what it means to others and what it means certainly to a lot of children’s lives here in northwest Vegas.”…No Australian has won the Aussie Open since Aussies won weak fields in the 1970s when few pros wanted to make the trip Down Under — Mark Edmondson won the men’s in 1976, and Chris O’Neil the women’s in 1978…Best Bernard Tomic headline, the Sydney Morning Herald, “The Great White Hype.”…From AFP: “Frenchwoman Camille Pin went out in style at the French Open last year, announcing her retirement with a flourish as she turned up drunk to the press conference. “I’m sorry. I’ve drunk two glasses of champagne on a bare stomach. I wanted to be totally drunk here. I thought it would be funny,” Pin said.”…Aussie Bernard Tomic gets all the headlines, yet to crack the Top 100, but Canuck qualifier Milos Raonic will be Top 100 after the Aussie Open…Andy Murray had the betting line straight before the Rafael Nadal-Bernard Tomic match: “Well, I see Rafa winning, and I think it will be pretty comfortable. The first set I think will be the tightest of the three sets. But, I mean, I think it will be a great experience for Tomic. I’m sure he enjoys it. I’ve seen a little of his matches so far; he’s played very well; he’s a nice player to watch. He’ll be very good in the future, that’s for sure.”…Canadian Milos Raonic moved his training camp from Canada to Barcelona three months ago. The Canuck says a big part of his success has been getting his temper under control: “It’s something that’s been talked about many times between myself and my coaches, especially my coach now, Galo Blanco. We’ve sat down numerous times and had a heart to heart talk about this. This was almost the reason why I lost last round in the quallies. I was able to change it around. I’ve been keeping it together. I feel it’s a thing I have to stay on top of myself to keep together, but I know I can keep it together.”

You Might Like:
Bernard Tomic Is 24 And He And Just Played His Ninth Australian Open
Safina Folds, Ivanovic, IW Winner Zvonareva All Exit Miami
Bernard Tomic Was Arrested And Handcuffed Last Night In Miami!
Stosur, Cibulkova Set Up Thrilling(?) French Open Semis
Bernard Tomic: Once The Federers, Nadals, Djokovics Are Gone, I’ll Have A Chance To Dominate

Don't miss any tennis action, stay connected with Tennis-X

Get the FREE TX daily newsletter

68 Comments for Tomic, Stosur Mark Aussie Exit from Australian Open; Raonic Rises

El Flaco Says:

I told you Tuna Melt-zer is berry gude in top 10 now, but Murray will toast Tuna Melt. You can use in headline Sean

Isner tenderer(?) Cilic meat 4 1/2 hours for Nadal to slice like butter.

Wawa weak serve return berry no gude contra Roddick serve. Berry gude match can be anyway.

Kimmi Says:

well, 4 great matches

djoko over almagro
berdy over verdasco
federer over robredo

wawa vs roddick is tough to call. a year ago i would go for roddick..but wawa is playing well since beginning of this year..he is confident.

Kimmi Says:

ah milos. great win. it was a great display of serving in that 4th set. never taken to duece the whole set, that frustrates youzhny a lot, he got nervous when serving to stay in the match.

ferrer will be tough..but who knows? if milos serves well, ferrer could be under a lot of pressure to hold his own too. good luck!

Kimmi Says:

“They were probably not happy that we used the word ‘vamos.’ I don’t think they have a patent on that one



Kimmi Says:

“Andy Roddick has hit a total of 2 backhand winners in three matches”


Nina Says:

I was very impressed with Tomic and not just because he gave a scare to Rafa in the second set. Even tough Rafa didn’t play well at all, Tomic was anticipating all his moves effortlessly. That’s what impressed me more about him, how well he positions himself on the court returning Rafa’s serve with ease and everything without almost breaking a sweat. Rafa was doing all the running and all the sweating, Tomic looked fresh and untroubled. It’s amazing how this kid can do so much with his limited movement on court. He hardly ever runs, but he’s always there. Uncanny.
Nadal is suffering with the short time he has spent on court since the beginning of the tournament. He needs to grind out matches in order to play his best tennis in the latest stages of the tournament. He even looked tired after just one set. Not normal for him.
So far I think both Djoko and specially Murray are playing their best tennis and maybe Federer and Nadal not so much. Of course that doesn’t mean a lot, because we know that Fedal always steps it up in the later stages of a slam. But still it gives me hope.

jane Says:

Nina, i haven’t seen any of Nole’s matches so it is a little strange; i have no sense of his form, other than what i have read, and even his match with Nico makes me nervous. Almagro took Tsonga to five sets here after all.

Didn’t see Rafa’s match but the symptoms of fatigue and excessive sweating (how many times did he change shirts?) makes me thing mono. Hope not but one can’t help but see the parallels. Assuming, however, as i said on the other thread, that Rafa’s doctor has checked him for it.

jane Says:

Thing s/b think

sheila Says:

everyone thought federer was so dominant when he was winning majors, but, imo, nadal is even more dominant because he doesnt even lose sets. sports commentators are saying how gr8 solderling, murray, djokovic & berdych r playing, but until ic these guys take it to nadal in a best of 5 i dont think they come close to the mental tuffness of nadal. i dont include federer because he is 5-6 yrs older than these other guys & quite frankly i dont think he has anything to prove as far as his gr8ness w/16 major titles. i think nadal will surpass federer in major titles 4 the very reason being no other player can beat him in a best of 5. nobody can win a set off of him. i read lots of opinions about how boring it was 2watch federer win most of the majors, well quite frankly its even more boring watching nadal win everything w/o being challenged by anyone.

Nina Says:

Nadal said in his press conference that he was getting more tired than normal and sweating a lot (not sure that awful shirt helps). He also said he was tired after jus one practice which is the most worrying. Clearly he hasn’t recovered from that bug he got in Doha yet.

But Mono? It’s not that common an illness I think. Up until Fed’s mono I had only heard of it in House’s episodes. Then Roddick got it too. It’s very weird. Don’t you get that through kissing or something?

Fot Says:

MISC said: “Wawrinka has 2-1 edge over Andy Roddick but he’s never won a match point over the American”.

Uh… huh? Maybe I’m not reading that correctly but how does he have a 2-1 edge without having a match point? Did Roddick retire in both matches?

Also on Nadal (so far in this tournament). Nadal’s first 3 opponents were ranked (93, 116, and 199). So he should have taken care of them like he did. I want to see how he does when he faces someone at least ranked in the top 20 and he gets that in the next round (although how much Cilic has left after that 5th set remains to be seen) lol!

margot Says:

Nina you wrote that Andy said Corretja was his “coach and best friend” I was surprised but listened to the interview and Andy said Dani Vevulu (spelling?) was his “coach and best friend.” more likely as best friends are usually nearer your own age :)

Fot Says:

Nina – Mario Ancic was the first one I heard had Mono (and a very bad case too). But you can get it without ‘kissing’! lol! See below. My problem would be as a ballboy or kid, handling all those towels after the players wipe their mouths, face, etc. I’d have to use a stick or something to handle it! lol!

How is mono transmitted or spread?
Mono is spread by person-to-person contact. Saliva is the primary method of transmitting mono. Infectious mononucleosis developed its common name of “kissing disease” from this prevalent form of transmission among teenagers. A person with mono can also pass the disease by coughing or sneezing, causing small droplets of infected saliva and/or mucus to be suspended in the air which can be inhaled by others. Sharing food or beverages from the same container or utensil can also transfer the virus from one person to another since contact with infected saliva may result.

Nina Says:

Yeah but even though I don’t know anyone in my environment that has had mono yet. So it’s not that common an illness, is it? Why it is so common in tennis then? A real mystery.

Anyway i don’t think Nadal has mono, no. Maybe avian flu? there is a huge new bout of it right now. And it leaves you feeling like shit for weeks. Recently Broadcast’s singer died from it with a pneumonia complication. Nadal should take care of his body right now.

Swiss Maestro Says:


interesting point about djokovic/murray and others failing to beat rafa in best of 5s. you must understand, the tour has cut down on best of 5 matches – at masters, and other tournaments where finals were best of 5s. so in a way, the GS and davis cup are the only places you get 5set experience.

last 2yrs, nadal’s titles on hardcourt/grass = aussie open, us open, wimbledon, indian wells, tokyo. i think there is a pattern there. nadal can use his greater experience of 5sets and better fitness to get across the line in GS. he has not been invincible outside of GS. (which is not really bad, considering it is only the GS that count and nadal can make up the title count on clay) but it should be worrying in one sense – fed and sampras started concentrating on GS only when they approached 30. nadal seems to be doing so when he has hit just 24. (though he has not said so officially, you can see his sole focus right now are the GS. good attitude for a veteran like fed/rod, but for a 24yr old?

nadal is more dominant than fed? look at 2005. 4matches fed lost in the year. 3 of them (AO semis to safin, monte-carlo to gasquet and master’s final to nalbandian) reached atleast final-set tie-break. and 4th one he lost on his worst surface to probably the greatest player ever on that surface. now, that is domination. nadal lost about 10matches last year and got thoroughly outplayed by murray in 2matches. doesn’t sound like invincible to me.

Swiss Maestro Says:

Uh… huh? Maybe I’m not reading that correctly but how does he have a 2-1 edge without having a match point? Did Roddick retire in both matches?


retired/ with drew, i am guessing.

Eric Says:

– federer won plenty of his majors dropping only a few sets when he was in his prime too, as rafa is now.
– of the players you mention, soderling, muray, and djokovic have all destroyed rafa in best of five matches.
so….. :)

Rafa doesn’t have mono, he just missed the chance to fine-tune his conditioning. This getting tired is clearly overblown, he’s won all of his matches in straight sets, so clearly it’s not a problem. Maybe Cilic will be able to test him.

grendel Says:

I’d never heard of mono when Ancic (who never seems to have quite recovered) and Federer contracted it. Then I realised it was the American name for “glandular fever”. Perhaps you have come across people having had “glandular fever”.

grendel Says:

I look forward to any match with Federer in it, but Fed/Robredo does not set the pulse racing. Robredo seems to me to be the sort of player you can only really appreciate if you’re a knowledgeable player yourself. He does everything well, but nothing spectacularly well. He’s the true professional playing at the limit of somewhat limited powers. He is, therefor, to be greatly admired since he has absolutely made the most of his abilities. Doesn’t make for an absorbing spectacle, however – for most of us.

I expect Federer to attempt to play within himself, and every now and then have to raise his game (is that necessarily a straightforward matter?) since Robredo with his consistent not quite top-notch game can cause damage to the complacent.

federico Says:

jane; he changeD his shirt 6 times

dAri Says:

Before the match with nadal I had seen a set or so of tomic’s tennis, and Nina makes the point that is most fascinating to me: no, Bernard does bot move that well, but at least half of of the time HE IS ALREADY THERE. It was really bizarre to see against nadal, because usually he sends players scrambling. Nadal dis the in the match for sure, but not as much as usual.
As for Rafa’s serve, not as consistent/dominant as expected? Especially after USO.
I’ve got cilic beating him in my bracket. Mega long shot, but nadal does not look invincibke for once. He still has time to work up to that, though, as he usually does!

dAri Says:

AND a good head it seemed on Bernie! He stayed pretty calm and not overly emotional. Seemed to reflect well on the opportunity before and after the match. With all the stories about him and his dad, I expected him to be a head case.

fetarD Says:

sheila: naDal feDerer
2005 79-10 81-4
2006 59-12 92-4
2007 70-15 78-9
2008 81-11 66-15
2009 66-14 61-12
2010 71-10 65-13

TOTAL:426-72 443-57


contador Says:

Fot- agree and empathize will the ball and towel people!

isner had mono. he was pretty sick in 2009, wasn’t it? he had a case of it sorta like fed’s. roddick had a super lite mono and ancic, sadly, had a career ending type. depends on how one’s immune system handles it. but the way it is spread makes me wonder what the rate of occurrence is for locker room attendents, ect too. observe isner for example: he dumps some kind of energy powder in his hand, licks it off the hand, wipes the hand on his shirt and a towel – tosses towel to attendent…and he’s handling the tennis balls, the opponent handles some of same tennis balls…on and on…i try not to think abt it.

EBV is in most of us ( 95% is the stat ) and we are “hosts” to the virus without getting sick. others are very vulnerable and have to build immunity. less common are cases like ancic – someone seemingly strong. doesn’t surprise me – the many in cases in tennis – the way the virus is spread….it’s contained in saliva and nasal secretions ( sorry grendel )

it’s in the atp more than wta, hm…

i guess age and health of “ball kids” is key, since most of us are exposed as kids and at that point, don’t get full blown glandular fever/mono, maybe a sore throat, if any symptom at all. it’s more common to get a bad case in late teens, twenties. then later in life in the immunocompromised and elderly the virus manifests itself in even worse conditions.

i hope rafa doesn’t have it….but he has likely been tested. doha was how many weeks ago?

anyway Fot…i’d have to use gloves or “the gripper” or something for handling balls and towels… mask.

and i’m with you, i doubt cilic will have much left to challenge rafa after that isner marathon. ( i wondered if cilic had a mono lite or something last summer ) he had such a bad 2010 and look ill in toronto.

contador Says:

s/b “with” not “will”

Kimberly Says:

Eric Says: – of the players you mention, soderling, muray, and djokovic have all destroyed rafa in best of five matches.
so….. :)

Djokovic has never beaten Nadal in a GS. Federer has not destroyed Rafa. In fact I think the only destruction in all of their grand slam matches was RG and Rafa did the destruction. The rest of their GS matches were competitive. Murray has destroyed Rafa arguably in USO 08 and AO 09 would have, had Rafa not retired.

Who knows whats wrong with Rafa. Maybe its the shirt! Maybe his opponents game was uncofortable. Hopefully he can right the ship.

Kimberly Says:

btw, sorry if I am grouchy today but I went to bed late and woke up at 4am to watch Rafa’s match.

dAri Says:

whew, all the sick talk…
conty, feel better!
ready for the matches this evening! i want to see fed have something un-weird and straight forward.

contador Says:

Fot brought up the “ball kids” and mono. i couldn’t resist. sorry. dari, i could give you a full page report on how i’m doing but i’ll spare you. your welcome. : )

agree with grendel’s take on the robredo-federer match. just get it done, fed. same goes for djoko…just get it over in 3.

the most interesting atp match for me is roddick -wawa, which comes on at a time it’s too hard to stay awake.

berdych-verdasco? idk

wta matches look more interesting today.

van orten Says:

hot sauce should get it done.. i hope that he can beat some quality player at the open ! berdych is def. one…hope we won´t see much of his annoying fist pumping though

thark Says:

the highest prevalence of mononucleosis in the world is on the tennis-x blog ;)

i hate to rehash the “fat dave” discussion, but can we please forgo the “stick-like” and “chunky” modifiers? not necessary and not in good taste imo…

credit to cilic, who has started playing well after luring me onto the naysayer bandwagon.

credit to milos – who seems to really have the attitude to climb the ladder in this game (and some skills to back it).

and begrudging credit (grrrrr…) to dolgo after taking out my man tsonga :(

however spirits here are still high – as long as soda pop is still poppin’ all is well in the world :)

dari Says:

ive got no prob with sick talk, im taking MCAT soon, but its just weird when you put it with the tennis. REALLY screws with the dynamic and a pity when it catches up to even the best players and always at the worst times!

jane Says:

Ancic, Fed, Isner and Roddick have all had mono. Not saying Rafa has it just that symptoms could apply… But they could also be viral. After some flus / colds, i feel tired for 2-3 weeks after before fully back to normal.

Agree with contador: both Fed & Nole need to get it done, no drawing out the matches if possible, as it will be tougher next round – for Nole for sure, and probably for Fed.

Tough to call Rod vs Stan but i am leaning towards Rod who generally does well at the AO in odd years.

Fot says “Nadal’s first 3 opponents were ranked (93, 116, and 199). So he should have taken care of them like he did. ”

I take your point, esp. w/ Daniels, but ranking doesn’t always tell the whole story. Tomic is clearly more talented than his ranking implies! People were talkling about Roger’s form versus Lacko, who is ranked #97 but has some talent, though not sure if he will be a riser like some of the others we have seen here, including Tomic.

Eric Says:

You are right – I checked, and Djokovic has never beaten Rafa in a slam, surprisingly. I guess I was thinking of some of their other matches. IT also turns out that they’ve never played each other at a hard court slam, except for the USO final six months ago of course.
Soderling, however, and Murray have beaten Nadal in slams, as you know. Soderling broke Nadal five times in four sets at his favorite and most important tournament, Roland Garros, where he has won every other match, while Murray of course owned Rafa in straight sets here last year (knee or no knee), as well as in 4 at the USO open in 2008.
Federer was never mentioned. :)

Now, in a more positive vein, we are in for a truly epic second week. Think of the upcoming matches: Roddick-Wawa, should be a long, close match. A tense encounter in Berdych-Verdasco, who will stay energetic for longer… I am even quite interested for Melzer-Murray, although I don’t think Andy will have any trouble there. And of course Nadal-Cilic could be either a blowout or another close tense match, depending on Cilic. Looking forward, Ferrer is dangerously in form and could be trouble for Rafa, Soderling will have to unleash his northern fury if he wants a chance to get past Murray, which could be either a really boring match or a really excellent one. And Federer will probably roll on rather easily until the semis.

jane Says:

Murray will beat Tuna I think; he played him here last year and served a bagel in one set. Mind you at the USO in 2008 they did play a 5 setter.

jane Says:

Oops just checked. That was in2009 when Murray played Melzer here; they did not play in 2010.

steve-o Says:

I don’t think Cilic’s physical fitness will be the decisive factor against Nadal.

Last year at AO, Cilic played three five-setters (and one four-setter) on his way to the semis, ousting Del Potro and Roddick back-to-back, and he still had enough to take a set off Murray–the only player besides Federer to do so.

His game doesn’t expend a lot of energy, he controls the court very well and runs his opponents without doing a lot of running himself.

I knew he would have a hard time against Isner’s huge serve, but he made it.

Physically he has enough; and tenniswise he can do it. The question is his mentality.

contador Says:

why is melzer tuna?

Eric- didn’t meant to sound negative on the matches. i do love the first week of a GS and it’s over : (

and the most interesting atp matches you describe above are tomorrow.

good luck with your mcats, dari!

ESPN2 into the college basketball over tennis of course. good atdhe stream for woz and sevastova…. the latvian out-playing woz…better groundies so far and she’s fast. woz just getting warmed up maybe..

thark – with u on soda. go soda!

meanwhile, AO radio doing a good job of calling woz play by play..

Eric Says:

steve-o, agreed. Cilic is never going to be able to live up to his fullest potential as long as he continues to be unable to focus. He can’t string together more than about 10 games of good tennis in a row. He should have ended Isner in four, not five. But he also tends to rise to the occasion and I think he CAN take out Rafa, of course he probably won’t, but it’s a real possibility. He should be in fine shape physically by then though.

jane Says:

Agree with steve-o on Cilic also i watched a lot of his match with Isner, including tge post match interview. Cilic said he was not at all tired and felt physically excellent. But on some points last night he got tight, which is a mental thing. I would add to steve-o’s points that Cilic’s tennis cannot always do it. He runs very hot and cold, and can be very inconsistent within one match, which is why, i suspect, he often gets embroiled in so many five setters. Because when he goes off the boil, he lets his opponent back in, and he can get very error prone.

Eric Says:

Woz gets the break back with a WICKED passing shot. I think I would be scared to be across the net from her after that. It looked like she was trying to use the tennis ball to rip a hole in the court…

thark Says:

@contador – tuna is a pun on the “tuna melt” sandwich – tuna melt(zer).

not sure who coined that one but they were flexible enough for the stretch involved ;)

dAri Says:

contador, are you able to access on the comp? it should have better quality streams. its saved my life this tourney when i wasn’t near the tv or if they weren’t playing the match i wanted on tv.
also, they have REPLAYS of matches already finished this week!

dAri Says:

jane, may i ask where you were able to watch the cilic post match interview?

Eric Says:

… And the AO in-house reporter continues his train of absurd predictions (Venus out to whoever-the-hell-her-no-name-first-round-opponent-was, anyone? lol):

NOVAK DJOKOVIC vs. NICOLAS ALMAGRO: Almagro, 25 and ranked No. 14, is a bit of mystery. A fine and heavy hitter of the ball, it is perplexing that he has never broken into the world top 10. His competitive jam has been questioned but his latest coach Jose Perlas, who guided Carlos Moya to the 1997 French Open title, is trying to improve that. Djokovic has been on a charmed run since early December – leading Serbia to the Davis Cup, going undefeated at the Hopman Cup and winning three rounds at Melbourne Park.

SELECTION: Almagro in four.

Seriously? “Almagro is up and down, Djokovic has been playing awesome lately. Obviously, Almagro is the pick here.” Very confusing…

Kimberly Says:

Eric, I would go on a limb and say rafa probably has a winning record against the rest of the top five in grand slam play. I would go on another limb and say fed has a winning record against all but rafa. I think rafts gs head to head with Murray is probably closest to even.

Cilic could go either way. He could beat rafa. He can also beat himself with unforced errors.

Why on earth would someone predict almagro in four? That must be a mistake. On clay, I don’t know that I would agree, but I would certainly understand. It makes no sense on hard court. I’d wager this is probably the deepest almagro has ever gone in a hard court slam. I cant even think of a hard court event he’s gone to the quarters in. With Novak at the top of his game this is a very silly prediction. The only thing incannthink is the writer accidentally inverted the names and meant djokovic in four.

WTF Says:

“Nadal is suffering with the short time he has spent on court since the beginning of the tournament. He needs to grind out matches in order to play his best tennis in the latest stages of the tournament. He even looked tired after just one set. Not normal for him.”

He didn’t look tired to me at all. In fact, it looked like he was ready to go 5 sets if he needed to. He chased down a lot of balls that looked futile and wasn’t willing to give away the second set even at 4-0. If a player was tired, they would have just let the set go and think about the 3rd set already. He continued to fight for every point and not give anything away.

I think it had something to do with that racket he sent back for restringing. Maybe whatever he was using wasn’t the right tension for him and it was bothering him mentally. This guy seems to be bothered mentally if his water bottle faces the wrong way, so it’s not hard to imagine. Or perhaps his current racket wasn’t doing what he wanted it to.

I sincerely hope he isn’t tired. He barely played his first two rounds. Both opponents capitulated pretty fast. The sweatiness on his shirt was normal. He was just wearing a glossy shirt so it contrasted more than normal. Darker colors or whites are less unflattering. Pinks and greys are bad.

Tomic played well nonetheless. Smart game, good shots. Has a bright future. He’s only 18 and really took it to the world no.1 which is very good to see. I expect a lot from him when he hits Murray’s age and I do think he’ll beat Nadal by then. He’s got a lot to work on until then, but when he’s improved he has top 5 potential.

It’s looking like Rafa vs Murray semis. And then Fed vs Djokovic would be the safe bet. But if any of these guys get upset before the SF it would likely be Murray against Soderling. The weather seems to be treating Djoker unusually well, so he shouldn’t have breathing problems.

contador Says:

ah…thark…thanks. i didn’t think he looked like a fish. hm, his last name is “melzer” so tuna melt? okay…

no, dari. my cable / wifi bundle does not carry tennis channel at all or offer espn3 without paying too much extra for me. i have complained but i believe i’m in a minority. atdhe has been great and for free.

Eric Says:

Kimberly, yeah, I think it has to just be a mistake. And of course, Rafa has a winning record against them (I think it might be close level vs Murray, they have not played much in slams). My point was just that sheila’s argument (“Rafa is better in slams than Federer because he doesn’t drop sets, no one can beat him in slams”) doesn’t hold water since Rafa has been badly beaten in slams by both Soderling and Murray, not to mention Federer, Del Potro, and others.

jane Says:

Dari, i meant Cilic’s interview court side, right after the match. Was watching on TSN2, which is Canada’s ESPN network. We cannot get espn3 coverage here, btw. : /

jane Says:

Wasn’t Nico/almagro in the QF or at least R16 last year here, when he took Tsonga to 5 sets?

dAri Says:

Eric, I wish it were true that federer has “badly” beaten rafa in slams, but it aint! Delpo, Sod at FO, and Murray last year at AO, i can allow that modifier, but not quite roger.

dAri Says:

listen to me, “allow”?! who am i kidding, how about “understand”

dAri Says:

alright then, i will stop plugging espn3 as it is not available everywhere!

Eric Says:

dari, haha, okay, true, if I were writing only about Federer I certainly would not use that adverb. I meant it to apply to the others, of whom it is certainly true…

Kimberly Says:

Jane, it was a fourth round match withbtsonga. I looked it up. But again reviewing his playing activity, he is probably a top five player on clay but really has not gotten results on hard. Surprising because the guy has or had a HUGE serve. Watched him an a smaller court in Miami and was stunned.

If this were Roland Garros and I were a Nole fan, or even a Rafa fan I would be shaking in my boots. But he has yet to prove to me he can translate his clay success anywhere else. He has won seven tournaments. I wonder how many clay. My guess all.

Good luck to Novak. Can’t wait to watch the match as wozniaki was booooring.

jane Says:

Thanks for checking that out Kimberly, Almagro i think has a new coach so that can sometimes inspire a player. Anyhow, hope Nole can win. Just checked the bracket finally, thought i would be lower than 13, so am pleased to be in the middle-ish.

dAri Says:

Li Na, one to watch!

dAri Says:

azarenka is a fave of mine if she could put it all together at once.

Eric Says:

spot on, Almagro’s seven titles and two runner-up finishes are all on clay. But he did take a set off Federer, beat Ljubičić, Nieminen, and Florian Mayer all in straight sets at Cincinnati in 2007 (ah, Wikipedia, so full of knowledge), so he has displayed a quite fine run of form on hard courts as well.

Kimberly Says:

Eric maybe I’m missing something but florian Mayer and nieman aren’t really impressive wins. He’s beaten decent players before but cant seem to get deep in any hard court tournament. I think his fourteen ranking relflects the average of probably a number four player on a clay where he racks up a lot of points at smaller tournaments nadal doesn’t play and a thirty player everywhere else.

dAri Says:

li na taking care of azarenka
djoko the same for nico so far
both matches are playing fast!

Eric Says:

Well this was back in 2007 when Nieminen was hovering around world 15. (And Ljubicic was deep in the top 10 – number 4 or 5 or something). I definitely agree with your analysis that Almagro is a top-5 guy on clay and nowhere near that on hard, but he has beaten good players on hard before and 2011 has been good for him so far.

Eric Says:

Okay, I stand corrected – I just checked, and Nieminen was no. 27 at the time of the 2007 Cincinnati tournament (after being no. 13 a year earlier) and Ljubicic had fallen from no. 3 a few months earlier to 11. But still – good wins over good players.

Kimberly Says:

I’m not saying he’s awful. Hes not a scrub, hes a top player, but nowhere near the danger he represents on clay. I wonder why? He’s a pretty powerful player. Huge serve.

Eric Says:

Well he is powerful, but his shot selection is usually mediocre and uninspired and he typically has a ludicrous number of unforceds, so he tends to lose anything resembling long rallies. I guess clay just helps him stay in them or something.

Kimberly Says:

Also not known for mental strength.

Cherry Says:

So far, Raonic is playing very well in this competition. He believes in himself more than anybody else and it is actually doing him good.

Top story: Muguruza Stops Clijsters' Comeback In Dubai