Sorry for the lack of updates after qualies, there were quite a few annoying side issues going on at the time which needed to be sorted out.
Yesterday was a long day and there will be some help from one of my best friends Sammy who was at matches, that I couldn't make, so there won't be a lack of snark in the reports. Before we get under way have to say that I was immaculately turned out in a Wigan Athletic football shirt and a bright red Sporting Gijón hat with fluro socks. It's all about the looks.
Benneteau vs. Dimitrov
Dimitrov has a lot of fangirls in general and they call him "Baby Fed". One played well in Brisbane, then the other in Sydney and Mats Wilander summed up Dimitrov pretty accurately. "He has mind set on imitating Federer and yes it looks good. But he has no idea what to do on the court".
Sammy said Benneteau played some good tennis and was solid but Dimitrov was awful and if he is "Baby Fed", then it must be the left handed, can't hit the ball in court, leaden footed version of Federer. It's the classic all sizzle and no steak. He has the potential to do very well, but it's up to Dimitrov to work it out for himself.
Gimeno-Traver vs. Kubot
This was quite a good standard match out in Court 22 aka the "Car Park". Tight 1st set with a classic poor DGT breaker giving it to Kubot who was his usual aggressive self coming in on everything.
Second set was the key to this match. DGT went up a break twice but failed to follow the cardinal rule of not confirming his break of serve. The only way he was going to win the set was to break which he did to take it 6-4. Kubot was off his game for a bit and Gimeno-Traver steamrolled him with the usual solid first serve and massive forehand combo.
Kubot pulled himself together and was attacking even more, the forehand wasn't leaking the errors and he was coming to the net on anything short from DGT and having success taking the 4th set.
DGT had the advantage of starting the 5th set serving, in my own eyes it's a big advantage to be serving first whether you have a good service or not. Pressure on is from the start against the player serving second, which is even more of a mental battle in a 5th set.
There were some absolute morons at this match for some reasons and no I'm not talking about the young Poles who were supporting Kubot. The 5th set was DGT trying to dominate with the forehand and Kubot trying to make Gimeno-Traver defend on the forehand which he has problems with due to his grip and can't make the grip changes quickly.
Kubot had break points and DGT played some very good tennis, though there were some classic DGT backhands. The guy has a top 20 forehand, reasonable serve but a village level backhand.
At match point on Kubot's serve, the only one Gimeno-Traver had in the match ended in a delicious irony. Kubot worked the point to come in on the DGT backhand expecting a passing shot bouncing into the net or halfway up. Nooo, he stayed down on the ball and swung through making a fine backhand pass to take out the match.
Yes, Gimeno-Traver won his first ever match at the Aus Open on a backhand pass. He was over the moon and one of the morons were going about his reaction. I just told them, "you see this is his first ever win at the Aus Open, not everyone can and will peak for the second week, hope this helps".
Harrison vs. Giraldo
Went there after being in the car park. Giraldo's coach Francisco Clavet is still looking like a better looking version of Jerry Seinfeld. This is match where Giraldo will be kicking himself for losing this in the manner he did.
Harrison wasn't too bratty just the odd whine, but nothing over the top. After splitting sets Giraldo was up a break in the 3rd, playing reasonably well and then as he can do, decided to play his dumb service game where his lack of defensive skills and at times poor shot selection came in cost him.
Got to give Harrison credit, he was just massaging the ball around as Giraldo doesn't like the pace off the ball and in the 4th Giraldo dominating from being up an early break, loses 3 games in a row two of them on his serve. Harrison takes it, but he will be fodder for Djokovic.
Bautista-Agut vs. Fognini
It was good to see Bautigol in person to see how much he has improved and it's pretty clear. The only Spaniard in the top 100 with a continental forehand grip and better on hardcourt than clay, but the level between the surfaces isn't that great so he should be able to stay in the top 100 barring injuries for some time.
What can be said about "the Fog" what we already don't know. He was his usual grumpy self as Bautista gives him a bagel in the 1st set, hitting deep, flat and too the corners.
Fognini wakes up a bit and Bautista drops his level slightly so the Fog takes the 2nd set. The Fog was complaining about the conditions, being footfaulted, the crowd in general. The main difference in this match was Bautista kept a fairly constant level and the Fog was a mix of the "I don't give a shit", trying when he felt like it. Once Bautista got the early break in the 5th, the Fog folded the tent.
Bautista's coach is a Sporting Gijón fan he loved the hat as you'd expect.
Millman vs. Ito
This was the toughest result of the day. In the first 2 sets Millman was making too many forehand errors, pulling off the ball not staying down for long enough. Ito was just solid not doing anything spectacular but it was effective.
Millman lifted his game in the next 2 sets, but couldn't get the early break in the 5th which would have helped him. Ito served for the match, but Millman broke easily as Ito was so passive in the game.
Millman had a break point at 5-5, played a very good point but he doesn't have good hands at the net after a big forehand which put Ito on the defensive he hesitated coming in. Once he came to the net after the hesitation, he hit a volley which was neither short nor deep. Ito got a lob into the corner and then held that game and broke for the match.
This was a huge missed opportunity for Millman, but he will learn from this and come back better and stronger for the experience of his first Slam match but that is small consolation at the moment.
Stepanek vs. Troicki
Got there at the middle of the 4th set. Said to Sammy that Steps is winning in 5 sets even when Troicki was 0-2 up. Such a difference between these two games. Trociki is the big serving grinder, ugly but effective whereas Stepanek with the cagey serve, smooth volleys but without the power.
There was one drunk idiot who was totally on Troicki, he must have had a bet on it. Every single point he was screaming out something, but it wasn't funny. Use some humour it always works better.
Troicki had more fans in number, but that was only cause of nationality not his game. Stepanek who can get tight when serving out matches failed at the first time of asking at 5-4, then he broke Trocki straight back and served it out.
Always a good day when Troicki loses from 2 sets up and Stepanek was just his usual sexy self with some fine volleys, good backhands and got to admire someone who can still survive with a continental forehand.
Big day today got to watch Kavcic, Bedene, Zemlja, Seppi, Weintraub thankfully all are in the same area of the complex.
Pretty good results all round, though the Millman one was tough coming back from 2 sets down, not taking the break chance, where he could have attempted to serve it out. It's all about taking your chances as within any field.