Apologies for the late reports, could come up with some real elaborate excuses but won’t, but lack of sleep, heat and beer are part of it.
Bogomolov vs. Gimeno-Traver
It was pretty clear to see that this was Gimeno-Traver’s first match of the season, the classic signs were there. The shanks off both sides, the lack of timing even on his forehand, it didn’t help with the wind as well.
The rise of Bogomolov up into the top 40 has confounded many people, since it has came so late in his career. The potential was always there , just needed a few good results to give him some confidence. He wasn’t missing too much in this match and DGT was the perfect opener for him.
Gimeno-Traver’s backhand was awful to be honest in the 1st set, he was netting so many of them. Finally worked out what the main problems are with it, he doesn’t generate enough racquet head speed and bend the knees sufficiently. The combination of the two results in plenty of netted backhand, naturally when under pressure technical deficiencies are going to be exposed in greater detail, this goes for all players.
Bogomolov was under no threat in this match, but DGT showed some positive signs in the 3rd set. He was able to get that outstanding forehand working, the amount of work from the core and legs unleashing the ferocity of the forehand stands in such contrast to the backhand. He was even slicing the backhand which was working quite well, he didn’t have enough matches in the legs to trouble Bogomolov in this.
As for how DGT will go this season. With his game he shouldn’t be finishing out
side of the top 100, has nothing at all to defend until Madrid. The game is good enough well apart from the backhand, then again with confidence from winning matches, that will improve remarkably.
Gasquet vs. Seppi
Tough draw for the South Tyrolean manbeast here, he has had a few at the Aus Open, at the same time can only beat what’s in front of you. Seppi tends not to be the guy who gets the section of a GS draw that opens up.
First two sets were quite tight, watching Gasquet’s forehand preparation live is one of the better experiences as a tennis fan. It almost has the Florian Mayer wind up, but without the sexiness, something that can’t be taught, they didn’t bother to change it as it worked for him when he was beating up other juniors.
Seppi went down an early break in the 3rd, which was the key set in this one, he was able to get back on serve. As the set developed Gasquet stepped up the level of his play especially with the backhand and Seppi was smothering the forehand big time, once Richie got the 3rd set it was comfortable in the end.
Chela vs. Russell
Never in doubt that this would be a gruelling match and the first set was the definition of a grindfest. 38 degrees with a hot wind, it was 93 minutes of 30 shot rallies corner to corner, this is the reason the unforced error count was high because they were trying to force errors.
Russell had his chances in the 1st set had set points, but that’s the story of his career on main tour against the better opponents besides those massive quads that could smash bowling balls, the lack of a big shot hurts him. It was even more apparent when playing the human backboard Chela, this Chela after one point looks like he is tired and Russell looks like he can go for hours.
Once Russell didn’t convert his chances then Chela did what Chela does, stands 2m behind the baseline grinding to the corners and Russell was becoming more visibly frustrated with the match always looking at the racquet. Once, this is happening it’s a clear lack of focus, like the tradesman who blames the tools instead of looking at his own performance.
One thing with playing Chela the slice backhand landing inside the service line is key to exploiting his forward movement which is poor, whereas the lateral movement is acceptable. Once Chubby Chela lost serve, he just refocused and broke back. It was frustrating for Russell having the chances in the 1st set and not taking them.
Andujar vs. Kunitsyn
Excellent win for Andujar who has improved significantly on outdoor hardcourts. The backhand has progressed on this surface whereas previously it was just a liability waiting to be exploited.
Kunitsyn who is known as "Mr Kremlin Cup" for his tendency to peak at that event. Andujar was outplaying him from the back, then moving forward to put away with the volley. After the 2nd set tiebreaker that Andujar won, Kunitsyn was thinking about the ice bath.
Gil vs. Dodig
Freddy Gil is a small and animated guy who is working with a new coach, not sure what he has done but it seems to be working well at the moment.
Dodig took the 1st set comfortably, then Gil stepped it up on the forehand stepping into the court to dictate play. By being aggressive and using his excellent defensive skills he was able to turn around the match around.
Seems like Dodig was bothered with his back or shoulder, but Gil was out there loving life and the Portuguese fans were very vocal but in a good way. Even funnier after the match some lass is trying to hit on Gil as he was walking back to the locker room.
Troicki vs. Ferrero
Watching a match between two guys you don't like too much provides its own amusement, though Ferrero doesn't annoy me as much as he used to so it was easy to cheer for him. It doesn't help Troicki has the antics but without the humour and some idiotic fans.
Ferrero was excellent in the first 2 sets working Troicki around corner to corner. Troicki stepped up in the 3rd, he was serving better. The Troicki shuffle before serve is amusing but his serve is hard to read with the low ball toss and gyrations before he hits it.
Ferrero couldn't convert 2 matches, the first one saved from an excellent 2nd serve, the other Ferrero was dominant in the rally and mid court forehand which he went for and the net didn't favour him. Troicki then ran away with the 5th set, momentum is a funny thing.
Got to give it to Troicki, he moves and defends very well for a big guy, this got him back into the match.
At the same time Troicki is always bitching, he bitched to the umpire about being heckled in the 5th set, yet most of his Serbian fans were heckiling Ferrero calling him "dirt', walking in or screaming out in between points.
These people know nothing about the sport, but the security here are pretty ordinary, at least the women in the crowd aren't.