Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Five Set Feast on Day 2 at the Aus Open

Another long day at the tennis, but this is never a bad thing, unless the results don’t go the way that you would like and we know that this is subjective of course.

Almagro vs Massu :
This was the first of the 5 set feast that happened today and it was a high quality match, with plenty of fighting and extended rallies. Almagro had the better of it and was handling the match comfortably, using his big serve effectively to open up the court and then have Massu on a string. The backhand was working very well, but Massu is gritty fighter and Almagro had a lapse of concentration and Massu was able to hit some big forehands and then broke serve and won the 3rd set.

The match had plenty of atmosphere with the Chileans of course and there was a small Spanish contingent, which made plenty of noise, but knew when to shut up as well. Both were hitting the ball well, Massu was hitting the off forehand well and even his backhand was quite acceptable, as Almagro’s lazy footwork on the forehand side was exposed again. Massu continued with the momentum to take the 4th set and it went down to 5 sets, which this deserved.

The 5th set started with both players hitting good length, Almagro with the heavy forehand, waiting for the short ball from Massu, so he could pin him with the down the line backhand and Massu trying to mix the off forehands with cross court ones to expose Mucho. Almagro got the early break and was able to hold his serve all the way through, though in the final game, he was very nervous, pulling off the ball and not accelerating through the ball, which happens when they are tired and nervous. A fun match to watch and Massu grunting on slice backhands, haha.

Granollers vs. Gabashvili :
The apprentice started very well and got an early break. I thought this match could have gone 5 sets, but Marcel handled the heat much better than Gabash. There were some long rallies with Gaba trying to be aggressive, mainly because he didn't want to be out there for that long, but Marcel was defending very well and when he had the chance to move forward to the net, he took it and showed excellent feel at the net, by finishing off the points.

The second set was the key here Gabash was up 2-0 40-0 on serve, but he lost serve and then Granollers held and got it to the TB, which he won. Gabash was getting annoyed, though he went for it more and it went in for him and took the 3rd set, but Granollers hung in there and ground down the Georgian and ran away with it in the 4th set.

Karlovic vs. Gimeno-Traver: This was my comedy match of the day, not because I dislike Gimeno, in fact he is a good guy. It was more for the fact that with his very Western grip on the forehand in addition to the fact that the court was taking bounce very well factoring in Karlovic's serve. He was 3m behind the baseline and jumping in the air on the forehand side to return serve and it wasn't getting in, but Dani was a good sport about it.

Koubek vs. Youzhny : This was the best performance of the day for me. Koubek started very well and was in the mode where nothing was going to get past him and also he wasn't being passive, which can happen at times, when he gets in the lead. Had a positive feeling about this match beforehand, not exactly sure why, but glad this one worked out.

Youzhny didn't look himself, but confidence is a funny thing, great when you have it and when you don't, the opposite is just as true. It was still warm when they played and a bit of a swirling breeze, which Koubek used to keep Youzhny off balance and also changed the spins which helped him. Koubek the times he lost serve, he broke back straight away, he had to be careful not to throw away the 3rd set, and have the momentum shift against him. Excellent all round performance from the El Fashionista, his match with Monfils should be entertaining, if he brings this form.

Polansky vs. Andreev : Roman (Polansky) went in there with nothing to lose and it showed for the first 2 sets as Andreev was struggling with his game and the tactics Roman used effectively. Instead of backing off when Igor was hitting his monster forehands, he was stepping into them taking it on the rise and going to the forehand, then finishing the points off at the net. This worked for the first 2 sets.

Andreev served for the set at 5-3 after getting the break, but Roman broke back straight away, then Igor broke to take the set 6-4, from there Andreev was able to impose his game, this and a lack of experience on this stage from Polansky contributed to Andreev getting the cash here, but Polansky has a good base to work from, needs to get a bit stronger, but hope he can do well on the main tour.

Hanescu vs. Herynch :
Lurch was down 2 sets and Hernych served for the match in the 3rd set and on one of his match points, he double faulted it away. Hanescu started serving better and using his backhand with more impact and was able to take the next 2 in tiebreakers.

Herynch was struggling in the conditions and Hanescu looked fresher, big Vic was broken, when Hernych took chances and it came off and Hernych had another chance to serve it out at 6-5, but was broken easily. Hanescu then won the next 3 games, not making errors and taking advantage of Hernych's tiredness.

Canas vs Kindlmann : Got here a bit late for this one, but it was the classic Canas getting through on courage, and not on the way he played. Kindlmann was hitting flat and Canas is making more errors than he used to, he looks like he has lot a bit of speed around the court. I mean he is still fit as, even fitter physically, but doesn't quite have the same spark.

The 5th set there were a few breaks and Canas served for the match at 5-4, but he played a weak game and got too far behind the baseline in the rallies and Kindlmann broke back. Even then it didn't feel like Canas was going to lose, but going 5 sets with Kindlmann isn't a good sign for Gonzalez. He broke him and then able to serve it out.

Serra vs Karanusic: Great win for Roko, this was a funny match, there were a few Aussies cheering for Roko, they had money on him for sure. Serra was getting pissed off with the fans, and after the match he wanted to have some words with these guys.

Serra got a couple of dead netcords and didn't acknowledge. Roko pulled off a couple of screamers, he was on the backhand side, then Serra placed it in the forehand corner and he hits a squash shot forehand angle that landed on the line for a winner. He was struggling with cramps, he broke for 5-3 and Serra was up 40-0 and then when Roko served for the match, he was down 0-40 and got out of it.

Stepanek vs. Lapentti :
Excellent match here that didn't involve ballbashing, a lot of slices and Thunder Lips was quite restrained in this one, mainly because I think he had this one under control, but Lapentti played a solid match, definitely no lack of slice in this one.

In the 3rd set there was a hilarious service game from Lapentti that went 20 minutes at least, but which Lapentti ended up winning saving around 8 break points, but Radek was able to eventually break Lapentti's serve, he was excellent around the net and Lapentti's passing shots weren't up to the level they used to be, with this being said, he would have defeated a lot of players in this draw, but that goes into the what if scenarios.

Speaking of what if, it's time to submit this entry and go and watch some matches for the day.


A. said...

Did Koubek sport the yellow duds?
Did you see Victor? So happy for coming back from 2 sets down :) Maybe he can beat Sela. After that, who knows....:(

Hackie said...

Wow, just watching Stani vs Klein and wow, this dude looks like a big dumb log (a new candidate for Captain Charisma?). He's also acting like a dick - hope Stani wipes the court with him.

Martine said...

Thanks for the reports! Great read as always.

Particularly loved the one about the Koubek match. It's so good to have him back :D

Rose said...

Congrats to Koubeck and his fans, even though I was supporting Misha:-(( I always seem to support different people to everyone else here! LOL! As usual - thanks for the reports, and for letting me use the Janko one from yesterday.

Denys said...

Great report and got to love the extra details, especially when we can't see these matches that aren't on the TV.

Lee said...

Thanks for the report on Almagro and Polansky.