Day 1 of the Aus Open had to republish this blog due to some technical error, will do my best to keep updated on the action outaside the main courts.
Giraldo – Querrey
This was a frustrating match, then again watching Santi Giraldo is one of those experiences. The first set Santi lost on one break of serve at deuce, he gets a dead let cord and a miss hit forehand ends up being a high moonball mid court with nothing on it which Giraldo dumps it.
Querrey takes the 2nd set comfortably, but has a lapse in the 3rd which Giraldo takes advantage of as he starts to read Big Sam’s serve which more regularity and makes less errors.
Naturally Giraldo drops his opening serve but is able to get it back on serve with a mix of some good play and the odd easy missed shot from Querrey.
Giraldo takes the early initiative in the buster, but it’s always a question of when the loose shot is coming. In this case not very long and Querrey who isn’t known for his tactical acumen played a solid breaker. He was patient when he needed to be, on the return of serve he blocked the first serve back and pounced on Giraldo’s weak second serve.
Big Sam who looks like the goofy American tourist deserved the win, he played the bigger points better and for a South American Giraldo does have feet of concrete. A guy like Davydenko at his peak, Dolgopolov with his very fast feet, Djokovic or Federer they know how to move on the court but Santi he is more reactionary than the Tea Party.
Giraldo would love him to win a title but can see why he is ranked where he is. As a shotmaker he is excellent when set, but has poor defensive skills, average footwork at best and a very weak second serve.
Nieminen – Sela
This one smelt of a 5 set match and wasn’t disappointed. To those who read this rather strange blog know I’m a big fan of the Shark and got a lot of respect for Dudi Sela doing for the small guys with a single hand backhand.
Sela was on fire at the start of the match slapping backhand winners for fun and putting Nieminen under pressure who was struggling not hitting his forehand at all, a combination of pushing and smothering it. When he did try and hit the ball it was missing the lines clearly.
The crowd for this match was fun and entertaining. Had the Israeli fans creating plenty of noise but weren’t obnoxious unlike some groups. Some Finns supporting Nieminen and a group of Swedes as well since there are no Swedish male players doing it for Norden.
Since neither player has a strong serve there were always going to be a few breaks of serve. Sela had a 4-1 lead in the 2nd but Nieminen while not playing well kept fighting managing to get it to a tiebreaker and got the job done.
They swapped 3rd and 4th set a mix of some extended rallies corner to corner with Sela trying to dominate with the backhand and Nieminen with the forehand down the line to expose the weaker Sela forehand.
Once it got to the 5th set Sela looked tired but Nieminen still had to finish the job and it was far from convincing. It was a very poor first attempt to serve it out, still don’t know how he managed to get it done second time around. Nieminen was only hitting gentle first serves that had “hit me, hit me” all over it.
In the end the fitter and better player got up. At the end of the match a warm embrace between the two players. Sela went to the fans on the other side of the court and high fived everyone not just the Israeli fans, well imagine if he won and Nieminen as per usual was classy with the fans after the match.
Dzumhur – Hajek
Been an excellent few days for Dzumhur he was the best player in the qualies took out the in form Dustin Brown in the first round and continued today.
First set was pivotal in this match, it was a tight first 8 games. Hajek was trying to use his forehand and Dzumhur was being more aggressive from the ground and off the serve.
Once the Bosnian got the break in the 9th game and served out the first comfortably, then it was always on the cards the last two sets were going to be easy. Hajek has been known to tank some matches. Even then Dzumhur served well worked Hajek all over the court and used the forehand drop shot to great effect.
Next match against the ferociously determined Ivan Dodig will be a big challenge for Dzumhur but never know in this sport.
Thiem – Sousa
Austrian youngster and qualifier Domi Thiem was excellent today against the feisty Joao Sousa who definitely put on a show with some antics against the officiating, himself and the odd comment to Thiem. Sousa has white line fever.
Thiem served for the first set at 5-4 but failed to take this chance but he didn’t panic and was able to control his emotions. Thankfully he improved his court positioning and was timing the ball well unlike Sousa.
In the final set Thiem looked tired and took a medical timeout for a supposed leg injury, but probably needed a massage so this is the way to get that done since allegedly players can’t be treated for cramps. This was a good win for the youngster and now plays big Kevin Anderson.
Benneteau – Carreño Busta
First time seeing Carreño Busta live, it’s always better to see players live than on TV or livestream as you pick more things and nuances which are more visible live.
As for the Asturian he played quite well in unfamiliar conditions where the ball was flying against a wily customer like Benneteau. PCB dropped the first set but through his aggressive forehand was able to keep Benneteau beyond the baseline working him over. Unlike many youngsters he had the testicular fortitude to move into the net and finish the point off.
Benneteau stepped it up and once he got the early break in the 4th set, he wasn’t allowed Carreño any room at all. This was welcome to the big boys club now and Benneteau took the 4th and 5th sets easily.
This was a case of the stronger, fitter and more experienced player getting the job done. Carreño has a bit to improve, needs some more variety but like Thiem they’ll develop their speed endurance levels as they get older. It helps he is working with Javi Duarte who guided Carlos Costa and Alex Corretja among others.
The big Levante fan Andujar played an excellent all round match in the derby. He hasn’t been playing well, this match was perfect him as Albert Ramos hasn’t been on fire either.
Andujar was very consistent and used his forehand to break down the very average backhand of Ramos. As the pattern continued Ramos attempted to change things up by running around his forehand but was pressing too much making a multitude of errors, getting pissed off in the process.
Mantilla would be happy with that performance of Andujar. He can put up some reasonable results on hardcourt, like anything it comes down to confidence on the surface.
Leo Mayer – Montañes
Mayer was dominant in this match from beginning with strong serving and aggressive hitting from both sides. It was the first time he has won a match in Melbourne and to be honest Fat Albert Montañes should have put on his visa application that he was here for tourism and not professional.
It’s obvious that Montañes didn’t care too much, but he struggles with the movement on the hardcourt and since his peak days where he actually won some matches, he is exposed big time these days.
This was the worst result of the day for so many reasons. First of all some positive things about Tommy Robredo is that he is very tough to beat, he has maximised his potential and this is all you can ever ask from a tennis professional. Young players could do worse than see how Robredo competes and emulate it.
First set Rosol was playing cricket and Robredo doesn't have any problems taking it. Rosol settles down and takes a hotly contested tiebreaker with a bit of controversy where Fergus Murphy gets involved, well more on this guy later.
Rosol is hitting the ball well takes the 3rd set and is up a break in the 4th set. As talented as Rosol is as a ballstriker he isn't a tactical genius. This is obvious as Boredo is standing 5 metres behind the baseline to return serve, when someone does this then the obvious thing on the deuce side is to hit a slice serve going taking them even further off the court, after this either hit behind them as the run to the open court or do it on the second shot. On the ad side then it's a kicker wide, that's pretty standard.
Rosol isn't doing any of this and getting tight in the process. Boredo is moonballing like Conchita Martinez except with less flair and Rosol isn't reacting well to this under 10s tennis, naturally Robredo gives more moonballs.
The main things that stunk about this result are the most important thing Rosol had so many chances and opportunities to put this match to bed. Had a break in the 4th set outplaying Boredo from the back, then in the 4th set tiebreaker he was up 5-1 but refused to make a 1st serve, not everyone has an Isner like second serve and Boredo being tougher than $2 steak gives nothing away and nor should he. Rosol had a break in the 5th as well, had some chances early as well. Not sure his girlfriend would want to be around him right now.
Back to Fergus Murphy now. Rosol had a match point hits an ace and he's celebrating like he has won the match. Robredo didn't complain and was going up to the net to shake hands. However the lineswoman makes such a ridiculously late out call which no one heard but Fergus saw it and calls out "Official Interference", it seems like he is making it up as he goes along calling a first serve.
Robredo is rather urined off as he correctly pointed out if the serve as out, then how can it be a first serve and Fergus then calls second serve. Murphy handled this very poorly then he gives Rosol an audible obscenity warning, when Murphy should have got one for that village level officiating.
This doesn't excuse two factors that Rosol murdered this tennis match and while Robredo in the eyes of the Fog who spoke for many he is a "hombre di mierda', he is one tough "hombre di mierda".
There were way too many people today at the grounds today. You know it's an issue when matches that aren't normally on most radars are full and a pain to find a set. The balls were flying today, hot weather and low humidity makes it a challenge.
Not sure if this is the last of Michael Russell we'll see in Australia but I hope this isn't the case unlike Robredo he is no "hombre di mierda".