Sunday, January 30, 2011

Yes, the tournament is almost over, but there are still reports that need typing

Not sure how to write this report, well starting with something called words would be a good start. Think it will be done in two parts. The overdue match reports, so they will be done in chronological order and the final overview with the people that helped me, who I met and appreciate who make the Aus Open an excellent experience for me. In other words the second part will be so saccharine sweet, that your teeth will fall out.

Round 2

Monaco vs. Haase

This was going to be an interesting match between two players of contrasting styles. Monaco with the strong work ethic and not many major weapons, whereas Haase has a big game when it’s on.

The match panned out as expected with Haase attempting to be aggressive with the serve and groundies, whereas Monaco was defending and using his forehand when he could to gain the upper hand.

Haase broke to take the first set and the pattern was similar in the second with Haase being more offensive and taking his chances whereas Monaco wasn’t able to create many opportunities. When he did he wasn’t able to take them.

Monaco made more balls in the court in the 3rd set and Haase has a concentration lapse, which Monaco takes advantage of to take the set. Any thoughts of a 2 sets down to 0 comeback which Monaco made against Llodra, was closed very quickly as Haase raced off to a 4-0 lead and held the momentum through the day.

Better attacking player got through in this match and coach Mariano Zabaleta is still awesome, though smoking in the front row is a bit naughty.

Malisse vs. Montañes

The betting markets had Malisse quite short in this match, bit too short in my eyes. Then again this is why they are bookies and I am not. Montañes might have had some injury problems, but he isn’t the hardcourt hack like he used to be a few years ago.

Match was out on Court 7 which was reasonably full and not just full of Belgians. Fat Albert should have a strong female fan base, then again who can tell these days, there are people that believe Justin Bieber is talented.

The match started off with a few breaks of serve, which is not surprising at all, since they aren’t known for their serves. Montañes running as usual, trying to use his off forehand and Malisse moving the ball around with effortless timing.

After the 1st set, then it was just ugly, unless you love Malisse and hate Montañes. Not sure what to say in this one then and still not sure now. Malisse played very well and was in a good mood, but not that good that he could chop Fat Albert after the loss of only 1 game. It was a mix of excellent play from Malisse and rubbish from Montañes, who looks underdone at the moment. Albert will come back better in the South American clay season, though it’s good to see Malisse in the 3rd round of a Slam, should get another year of singles on tour at least.

Almagro vs. Andreev

Big Igor and Big Head have had some very tough matches in the past and this was no different. Definitely not one for the people that like finesse, tactics or other fancy stuff in their tennis.

Didn’t get to see all of this, but managed to see the last 3 sets. Andreev was serving well and able to keep Almagro off balance and expose the poor footwork he has at times. Have to say for old Big Head he has shed some extra kilos, seems Perlas has got through to him, but the head is still massive.

Andreev was not hitting as many forehands as usual down to 97% instead of the usual 99%, he was able to get them high to Almagro’s backhand. When they were short Big Head was able to put them away, though both of them defended quite well.

The 4th set tiebreaker where Andreev had 2 match points, it’s difficult for him at the moment as he was not in any decent form last year for a long time. Like anything losing becomes a habit, he was lucky he drew Volandri in the 1st round as that is a bye to the next round on a hardcourt. Staying in the moment and playing the ball on its merits, instead of thinking about the potential consequences is one of the games greatest challenges and something the great players do easily.

When it came down to it Andreev couldn’t hit the backhand when he needed to on those points, it’s a common theme that the weaknesses are the ones that get tested in crunch times. Mucho was able to take into a 5th set, which looked over for him once Andreev got the break in the 5th. However the oldest rule in tennis was failed in this case, it’s not a break of serve unless it’s held straight away, this was not the case here.

As the match went on, Almagro had the confidence and was playing better than Andreev not making as many errors and had the belief where he could win, whereas Andreev looked like he hoped he could win. Very tough loss for Andreev in these circumstances, but Big Head has improved his hardcourt form over the years, especially since losing to the character known as Bobby Reynolds in Melbourne a few years ago.

Kavcic vs. Youzhny

After the excellent win in the 1st round for Blaz he was up against the 10th seed Colonel Mikhail Youzhny. Not the easiest second round match to have. Feliciano Lopez would have been, though the thought of having sit through a match with LaLo winning against someone I like would be too much at this given time.
Youzhny hasn’t had the best preparation for this event. The injuries towards the end of the last year, plus he goes through periods where he is just off form, though at the start of the match this was not the case.

It’s interesting watching these top guys on outside courts and Youzhny with his timing initially was great to watch. He was using his backhand well, in the backhand to backhand to exchanges. The Colonel with military precision would change the direction when the time was right, then throw in some excellent dropshots which would catch Kavcic out a lot of the time.

The extra class was showing in this match with Colonel taking the 1st set, while Kavcic improved in the 2nd, the pattern remained that Youzhny served well enough to keep Kavcic off balance and then dominate the rallies. One of the shots of the tournament was on Youzhny’s set point in the 2nd set. There was an extended rally with Kavcic able to take advantage, he comes to the net, then Youzhny hits a between the legs lob winner, which Kavcic had a play on and decides to let go and it fell in.

Youzhny has been known to have his lapses in matches, amongst the circle we call him the “4 set specialist”. He’ll usually drop a set somewhere along the line where he shouldn’t but still get out of the match, it was a surprise it didn’t happen against Ilhan. Kavcic as usual was fighting hard and the Colonel wasn’t making as many serves as before. Kavcic is able to make the most of the chances that came his way and take the 3rd set.

Still had the feeling that the Colonel was going to run this out in 4 sets. He starts get pissed off, no chance of seeing the blood from the head though. Old Boris Sobkin, who has been with Youzhny for so long, starts copping the abuse from Misha. It helps having Russian speakers nearby. “I can’t make a fucking ball cross court”. This is the case, he is missing shots and Kavcic who has the problem that he plays aggressively when he is behind in the match and too passive when he has break points. But at the moment so far he is winning that battle and took the 4th set.

The air of upset is a possibility, but the turning point in this match was at 2-1* Kavcic serving. He was struggling very hard, mostly because Kavcic couldn’t make enough first serves and relying on his very weak 2nd delivery. The game went for over 10+ minutes, but sorry the photographic memory broke down and can’t remember the exact time of the game.

At Kavcic’s game point, there was a slow ball hit and Kavcic doesn’t play it because it’s out. I didn’t see it at the time, but saw it later and he was right. There was no overrule from Pascal Maria and Kavcic was going crazy at the lack of overrule. This impacted on him and the Colonel was able to break serve and the extra experience and class carried him to victory in this match.

Voinea has done an excellent job so far with Kavcic and hope they stay together for some time, as there are possibilities if he can improve the serve, get some leg drive into it and not throw it so far out into the court. He can stay in the top 100 for a while. Sure he got a bad call, but got to stay in the moment and just play the ball and not dwell on the past. This happened in this match, but he fought well during the qualies and into the main draw.

Pascal "the Peacock" Maria came up to me after the match and asked me if I knew where Voinea was. I said I didn't know at all, he wasn't happy at all with the spray Kavcic gave him at the end of the match and during the bad call.

Seppi vs. Tsonga

Didn’t get to see any of this match, though since Seppi lost maybe it was a good thing. My friend was there and said Seppi had a chance in the TB, where he was up a mini break, though nothing is ever easy with Seppi. He would have to play very well, take his chances and Tsonga wasn’t too off on this match. The fact that Seppi doesn’t have many weapons and this was the case here against Baby Ali.

Russell vs. Ferrer

This one had the potential to be quite a long match, though the reality was different. In the words of the man himself Mikey, he made a rookie mistake. As he was next match on after the Cilic/Giraldo match, which had been to a long 2nd set tiebreaker. Russell decided to carbo load naturally believing that his match with Ferrer was going to involve a lot of running and energy reserves were needed.

Like all plans, there are hitches and the fact that Cilic thumped Giraldo 6-0 in the last set, and he was on quicker than he planned. This meant that he was even more behind the eight ball before than he was at the start of the match. Ferrer was playing his usual solid game, whereas as Russell spent the first 2 sets digesting the food, making errors and worked over.

In the 3rd set which was definitely more competitive, though this was not hard and was more of what was expected in this match. Lots of running, grinding, but the main difference is that Ferrer is a younger, fitter version of Russell, who didn’t have the guns to take out Ferrer. At the moment Ferrer isn’t far off his top 5 form, definitely these two have made the most of their ability.

Nalbandian vs. Berankis

Nalle looked even more disinterested than usual. Berankis was playing quite well and as long as he works hard, doesn’t get too cocky then he has a good future in the game. The fact for a midget, he has a very solid serve which can win him free points which is a major advantage he has over players of a similar height, while he moves as well as the other shorter players.

Berankis takes the first easily and Nalle can hardly move at all. Then not long into the 2nd set, he decides to pull the pin which was disappointing but expected, disappointing after he did the tennis world a favour and took out Hewitt.

It’s the classic Nalbandian in reality, he has a lot of soft issue injuries and no I am not referring to his mid section as soft.


finishingmove said...

thx for the almagro - andreev report, i didn't get to see it.

and also, great analysis of the kavcic - youzhny match

Denys said...

Excellent as always, yes a bit late but still worth the read.

Kavcic-Youzhny, that was a fine summary of events, would have been great if he could win another round. There is always time.

Monicaselesfan3 said...

Nice read, seeing that i saw almost nothing from this AO :(
Should I read any further or you wrote something nasty about Nadal? :((