Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Qualies Day 1 : Here I Go Again On My Own

Yes, it’s that time of the year when one of the world’s laziest bloggers decides to do some writing. For the ten people who appreciate the quirks, random nonsense and weird references I love you long time.

With that out of the way it was Day One of the quails for the Australian Open and yes I really enjoy going to these for a few reasons. They are mostly hardcore fans who are quite interesting to talk to as we all got hooked on the game for different reasons and always good to hear, but there is a funny incident with a fan coming up.

Before I get into the fun stuff of reporting the matches that I have seen today. There are a few points, yes they bought out the metal detectors for qualies, the steps to go over to court 16 and beyond has been replaced by a ramp. There is a stupidly large car park within the grounds for some reasons they decided to build, could have put another court but hey I am just some random who doesn’t know shit from clay but worst of all.

The 3rd set advantage has been crapped and replaced by the crap shoot that is a tie breaker. It’s simple when you are in a Grand Slam you should break serve to win the match, this didn’t start the day very well as I’ve been to many qualie battles going the 10-8 and beyond. Thankfully it hasn’t happened in the main draw, yet but I see it coming because the ITF which stands for Idiots Tools and Fuckheads don’t have the best interest of the sport at hand, even less so than before so enough of that.

Brown vs. Andreozzi

Naturally this was the first match, on the cards with the flamboyant German-Jamaican with the best hair on tour and the dogged Andreozzi who is now being coached by “Polaco” otherwise known as Juan Pablo Brzezicki. Polaco famously retired from an ATP match and the umpire asked for a reason and he said mental. Got to say he’s looking lean these days.

It was the classic clash of styles with Brown using the combination of massive serves, slapshot forehands, drop shots and serve volley against Andreozzi who was steady from the back looking to extend the rallies.

The match pretty much went to the above script. Dreddy Brown got an early break in the 1st set but after a few hairy moments he was able to serve it out. That’s the deal with Brown he plays what he feels and not the percentages. Of course there are some who would love the chance to coach him and make him more pragmatic, but finding the balance about when to unleash the flair and when to reign it hasn’t been easy.

Dustin Brown

One thing both players were getting very pissed off about where fans just walking into the court at non change of ends. It only took 5 minutes for the herd of cattle to start doing it, got to the point where security has to stop the herd. Brown was quite tetchy today, there were a couple talking the whole match and he turned around asking then is that all they do.

In the 2nd set Brown had a lapse in concentration and played the poor game that he is liable to throw in there. Andreozzi took advantage and was able to keep Brown from attacking on his terms and these two Latin lasses were being very loud supporting the Argentine.

The predictable thing about a Dustin Brown is the unpredictable and in the 3rd set it was like this. He played some spectacular shots and made some basic errors but he was focused enough to get the break and then hold all the way serving the match out convincingly.

Back to the Latin lasses halfway through the point they celebrated really loudly on a Brown error who then with a scowl and fine delivery asks “Have you ever watched tennis before””. Brown wins the next point and then celebrates very loudly looking directly at them. Funny enough they were very quiet after that.

Robert vs. Ofner

The young Austrian against the unconventional Frenchman was an interesting match up. My feeling before the match and still holds true that whoever wins this will make the main draw.

Robert started a bit slowly, while Ofner was hitting well and got the early break, though thankfully he broke one of the golden rules in tennis that it’s not a break of serve unless you hold serve. Back on level terms both were playing at a reasonable level with Robert after about 6 games got used to the Ofner serve and was returning it well. Ofner was looking to be aggressive with the forehand. The 1st set tiebreaker was a fair on the balance of play but Robert with his quality returning and started to serve well was able to take it. Though there was a close call which went in Robert’s favour seems like one of those days.

Riding on the momentum train Robert definitely was milking it for all it was worth. Ofner wasn’t serving badly but the Frenchman was able to get most of his serves back in excellent positions and got an early break. Ofner was getting visibly frustrated but didn’t go into his shell though he wasn’t brainless ballbashing to get out of the situation.

Stephabe Robert

Then it came to the time which many people who know Stephane Robert’s game just hope, yes it was time to serve the match out. Whereas he had been serving well, his first serve deserted him and when he did get it in it wasn’t well placed and Ofner broke back. With the pressure relieved Robert held easily and said to the guy next to me, it’s better Robert breaks for the match. Then at 30-40 on Ofner’s serve he hits a first serve fault, but the ballkid was moving as he was in motion and the umpire called a first serve which is the correct call, but one you hardly see. There was a little bit of a discussion but Robert eventually took the match point and the show continues.

Overall I thought Robert played reasonably well, but he didn’t share the same opinion entirely. After the match he said “I was not feeling the ball, sure I served well and fought hard but was just happy to get through”.

Paul vs. Rola

Tennis is a brutal sport, you don’t have to be the better player throughout, you can win less points overall, can make more winners and less unforced errors, can play well and lose, can play shit and win. The only point that really counts is the last one.

The Ayatollah of Blaz Rola is now being coached by Ziga Janskovec and newly retired Grega Zemlja is helping out. He started the season well in Bangkok losing to Marcel Granollers in the final.
Ayatollah of Rock N Rolla

While the scoreline was close this was a match of missed opportunities in fact a sea of missed opportunities. Rola started a bit slowly but found his groove whereas Paul was content to grind and play defensive tennis. In the first set Rola was prepared to take more chances and deservedly won it in the first of 3 tiebreakers yes, a 6-7 7-6 7-6 sounds like an Isner vs. Karlovic match at altitude.

Rola continues where he left off breaking Paul and wasn’t looking too troubled and then as what happens with players at the Challenger level, they will give you one poor service game just a question of whether their opponent is able to take advantage in this case Paul does. They get to the tiebreaker, whereas Paul continues to be solid and Rola played an awful breaker.

Blaz Rola

Both go off the court for toilet breaks for quite some time, think Rola must have been reading a novel in there. They come back and the same pattern continues Rola with a bit more meat on his shots breaks serve, they continue holding. Then at 5-4 Rola serves for the match, he definitely went after the first serves at 30 all but just not enough spin to get them in. yes, it’s a cliché but it’s true serving out a match is difficult at any level.

They make it to the tiebreaker Paul is battling and grinding, Rola hitting well and takes a deserved lead. Another chance to serve it out in the tiebreaker 5-4 up with 2 serves to come and doesn’t win either point the legs are very heavy which comes down to nerves. Paul has one match point and takes it at the first attempt.

Yes, tennis is a brutal sport for which I appreciate and the lesson of the day is your opportunities when on offer.

Ruud vs. Ito

This match was moved to Court 3 and when I arrived Ruud was playing like crap, Ito was being solid and there was this drunken Aussie gronk cheering over the top for Ito and grinding Ruud’s gears big time.

Ito takes the first set, then Ruud calls for the supervisor we thought it was because of the drunken fool but more on him later. It seems like Tennis Australia is struggling financially as not all the lights were on and the court was very dark, it was almost time for the miner’s helmets. This delay was about 10 minutes and then the brains trust realised we better turn the other ten lights on and surprisingly the court wasn’t dark.

Ruud settles down and start making less errors and working over Ito’s forehand who can’t do anything when it’s shoulder high. It seems like he has gone the Paolo Lorenzi forehand style without the pop and thankfully without the grunt, yes this blog is very pro Lorenzi but that grunt is loud.

It finally happened after Ruud make a basic error the drunken arseclown was into it again with the over the top cheering. Ruud had enough and starts talking to the guy, couldn’t hear all of it but heard the drunk say “you should be more professional””, yeah fair enough but it’s not football where you act like a boorish fool. Here is the thing good trolling is an art form which has truth based in it, this was just obnoxious stuff. Security got a hold of the gronk and he got the red card. After that Ruud’s mood improved and did enough to get the cash.

Casper Ruud

So what have we gathered from Day 1, there is a meaningless car park built in the middle of the complex, the herd of cattle walking in between points and games hasn’t changed and tennis is a brutal sport.

Tonight there was Tiebreak Ten Tennis which like Fast 4 is a shit gimmick and as a wrestling fan I know about gimmicks. The best ones are something that have something behind it, these formats have nowt they appeal to the lowest common denominator, gloryhounds, the epitome of fast food and nothing memorable about them.

Thankfully I discovered going to Slam qualies, there are many current top players who had to go through Grand Slam qualies, it’s always more rewarding watching when something major is on the line.


Martine said...

Great stuff as always! Really enjoyed the read. Your write ups always succeed in making me feel I was there too :)


Anonymous said...

funny stuff man!

Andy said...

Top read as usual mate - boo third set breakers and go the great man Stephane.

Scott Campbell said...

Beautifully written Nils. You capture not only the tennis but the atmosphere around the match very well. You almost feel like you are there. I really like the interesting anecdotes like the drunk Japanese, the Dustin Brown Latin hecklers and the feelings of Robert after the match. I also really agree with you about the third set tiebreak shit fest. The advantage should be played in the qualifying and who knows it may have helped the three Aussies who were stopped at that stage yesterday.

cobalt60 said...

Great write up. And to echo others sentiment; I really feel like I was there! Hope you are attending for more than qualies. What's the plan?

Denys said...

Excellent read very informative with humour as well and look forward to the next editions.