As we know by now, Jerzy Janowicz had a successful debut at this year’s Australian Open, beating Simone Bolelli 7-5, 6-4, 6-3. Unfortunately for him, he got off to a rocky start, losing his serve to start the match. This was largely due to a pretty strange distraction that took place right before the match started: as Janowicz and Bolelli were wrapping up their warm-up routine, an official from the Australian Open came on court and asked Janowicz to remove a sponsor patch (for the Polish cement company Atlas) from the front of his Nike shirt (link via Marcin Wojtowicz). As we know, Janowicz has yet to sign for a clothing company, so the Atlas patch was stitched right over the Nike logo. The Official apparently gave Janowicz scissors to remove the patch himself.
Apparently there is an ITF rule that strictly regulates the size of non-apparel sponsor logos on the front of tennis shirts. After all, it’s not the first time we’ve seen someone come on court with that kind of patch (just in this tournament, Sam Stosur and Julia Goerges have worn non-apparel logos on the front of their shirts). What I can’t understand is why the officials took so long to notify Janowicz: a couple more minutes and the match would have started. The tall Pole had to be surprised and slightly freaked out, since he just played a regular tour event in Auckland with the same shirts and nobody said a thing. As always, ITF-ATP dysfunction at play.
Regardless, Janowicz regained his composure in that first set, and imposed his will over a sloppy Bolelli, who lest we forget, was wearing this:
Before you ask, yes, Bolelli is wearing a shirt with a skull on it.
Anyway, Janowicz will return to the same court where he beat Bolelli, Court 8, which fortunately for us, is a TV court. His opponent today is 27-year-old Somdev Devvarman, who had an impressive career as a college tennis player here in the United States, but hasn’t been able to translate that kind of success on the pro tour. Janowicz and Devvarman have never met in regular tour events, but they did meet in the 2009 US Open qualifying rounds, where the man from India won easily.
The players are on court, so we’ll be starting soon! Remember to refresh this page often, as I will be providing game-by-game updates throughout the match.
Here is what Janowicz looks like today, along with his 2012 stats:
Beautiful day in Melbourne, it seems. Nice and sunny.
First Set – Devvarman will serve first
0-0: Did Janowicz drop shot Somdev in the first point of the match? Of course he did. And in the second one, too. He’s up 0-30 already. This kid just cracks me up. Somdev survives an onslaught of huge forehands at 15-30, only to mishit Janowicz’ weakest shot of the rally, an awkward smash. 15-40. First break point goes begging on a bad backhand down-the-line that missed by two miles. But Janowicz uses the drop shot to good effect, and breaks to start.
There are some crazed Polish fans in the stands today. It’s fun. They just chanted “Polska” to the tune of the ubiquitous White Stripes song we all know.
1-0, Janowicz: A bomb of a service winner up the T brings Janowicz to 30-all. But then he double faults, and Devvarman has his first break point of the match. The former UVA star gets a good return in play off a second serve by Janowicz, and the Pole misfires with his forehand on the second ball. Back on serve.
1-1: Janowicz uses the slice backhand significantly more than I remember him doing in previous matches, and eventually forces the error from Devvarman. 0-30. Somdev makes Janowicz play for leaving the Ad court wide open, and it’s 15-30. We get a repeat of the same pattern, and it’s 30-all. Janowicz has his first unsuccessful dropper of the match, and Somdev has a chance to hold, which he does, after an ace.
A troubling pattern emerged in that game for Janowicz: he went for big cross court forehands on two straight points (not a surprise), but he didn’t realize that Devvarman was right there. The ex-Cavalier found it easy to send a forehand down-the-line and expose Janowicz lack of court coverage.
These Polska chants on Court 8 are something. #ausopen
— Victoria (@unseededlooming) January 16, 2013
2-1, Devvarman: Yet another backhand mishap by Janowicz brings us to 30-all. It’s feast or famine for the Pole on that wing. And then we get a WONDERFUL point: Janowicz pummeled an inside-in forehand, and somehow Devvarman got it back, and his defensive shot landed just past the net. Janowicz showed incredible improvisational skills to bunt it back for a winner. An error later, and it’s deuce, but an ace gives Janowicz a chance to hold for the first time. Another nice volley, and Janowicz holds.
It’s really impressive how natural Janowicz’ transition game is, particularly after he goes for the inside-in forehand, which is his safe approach shot. About the backhand … he just needs to get more air under that shot. He doesn’t have a whole lot of margin of error on it as it is. It’s something to work on.
Devvarman has impressed me with his defense, but it’s pretty clear why he hasn’t been able to make a significant move in the ATP: he just lacks power. Sometimes it’s as simple as that.
2-2: Janowicz hits a monstrous running cross court forehand, sets up a backhand put-away, and misses it by two feet. He really needs to get under that shot and put some spin on it. He drop shots Devvarman on the next point, but Somdev is onto the Pole’s tricks, and wins an exchange at net.
3-2, Devvarman: Devvarman comes up with a beautiful backhand down-the-line return winner, and it’s 30-all. Janowicz is not having an easy time during his service games today. But he unleashes his wicked slider from the deuce court, and it’s 40-30. That serve is just incredible. He then goes up the T, gets a shot response, and pushes his short long. More spin would help that. Deuce. Second ball drop shot? Why not? Because Somdev is onto you, Janowicz. Break point for the Charlottesville resident. A short return again, but this time Janowicz puts a ton of spin on his cross court approach, and it pays off. Deuce number two. A tame forehand unforced error from Janowicz gives Devvarman another chance to break. Another great (and safe) cross court forehand approach from Janowicz, and another very pretty volley. That was nice, and very sound tennis, to boot. Deuce number three. The tall Pole gets a look at a forehand, goes cross court, and misses. Break point again for Somdev, which is erased by a service winner. Deuce number four. A double fault gives Devvarman yet another chance to break. It’s slightly windy out there, but nothing major. No matter: a service brings us to deuce number five, and then Janowicz finally gets a backhand approach shot inside the baseline, and puts away a simple volley. In the next point, Janowicz is faced with the chance to blast an inside-out forehand, but instead hits a forehand slice at Devvarman. I shake my head. But he holds.
Janowicz has three double faults already, but more worryingly for him, he’s winning just 18% of his second serve points (two out of 11). That’s bad. Fortunately for Janowicz, he’s hitting 63% first serves.
3-3: A beautiful drop volley by Janowicz makes it 30-all, but Somdev fires an ace for a chance to hold. Unfortunately for him, he produces a Janowicz-esque backhand error, and it’s deuce. Now Janowicz comes up with the bad backhand unforced error, and it’s Ad-Devvarman. Mid-rally, Janowicz again tries that weird forehand slice, and it goes long. I laugh.
Can Janowicz find a way to have an easy service game? He hasn’t had one since. Kudos to Devvarman for being all over Janowicz’ second serve.
Also: POOOOO-PO-PO-PO-PO-PO-POOOOOOOOOLSKA to the tune of this:
4-3, Devvarman: A couple of good forehands into the deuce court by Janowicz, and he’s up 40-15. He’s also got his Oakley glasses on, instead of the Nike cap. He double faults, and curses (I imagine – not fluent in Polish here). Janowicz then drives a backhand slice approach straight into the bottom of the net. That was a good idea, horribly executed. He does put away a short reply by Devvarman, and holds after a huge forehand of his is called in by the chair umpire, but out by the linesperson. Devvarman is not happy about the overrule.
4-4: Devvarman double faults at 40-0, in what was shaping to be the easiest service game for either player. A tame forehand unforced error from the former UVA man and it’s 40-30. However, Janowicz mishits a forehand badly, and Somdev holds.
In related news, Somdev is still arguing with the umpire about the overrule in the previous game. He says the umpire said “Game, Janowicz,” too early. Whatever that means.
5-4, Devvarman: Janowicz successfully puts away a short ball with his backhand, and it’s 40-15. He then misses a forehand by a mile, and it’s 40-30. Things can’t be easy for Janowicz today, it seems. The hat is back, and the Oakley sunglasses are gone. A successful switch, because Devvarman fails to deal with a nice backhand slice from Janowicz, and the Pole holds to 30. A rarity.
5-5: A service winner gives Devvarman a 40-15 lead, and a big ace up the T completes a rather straightforward hold. Janowicz will have to hold to send us to a breaker.
A nice table to summarize Janowicz’ UFEs:
6-5, Devvarman: Janowicz races to a 30-0 lead, but then can’t handle a good Devvarman pass. 30-15. He blasts an inside-in forehand for a 40-15 lead. He’s wearing his sunglasses again. Another repetition: he comes to net a little late, and nets the tough volley. Devvarman yanks Janowicz wide on his forehand corner, and we’re at deuce. Janowicz uses a dropper for the first time in a while, but Devvarman tracks it nicely, and sets up a set point. Which is saved when the man from India rushes a second serve return into the net. Janowicz then blasts a forehand past Devvarman after a short reply, and he has a chance to send us to a breaker. Somdev shows some amazing speed to get back a volley that should have ended the point, but the next ball is just a little too far. Breaker!
Tiebreaker – Devvarman will serve first
0-0: Janowicz dumps a backhand slice into the net. Unforced error.
1-0, Devvarman: Janowicz double faults. Unforced error number two.
2-0, Devvarman: Janowicz blasts a backhand into the baseline, Devvarman can’t handle it, but it’s called out, and then overruled by the chair. Replay the point. Tough break for Janowicz there. They replay the point, and Somdev’s mishit return somehow lands in a corner, and a few moments later, Janowicz misses a forehand cross court. Unforced error number three.
3-0, Devvarman: Devvarman returns one of the minibreaks with an unforced error of his own.
3-1, Devvarman: A Devvarman shot seems to have landed out, but is called in (no Hawk-Eye on this court), and Somdev puts away a forehand moments later. Janowicz explodes in anger.
4-1, Devvarman: Janowicz has a short ball, he lines up an inside-out forehand, and dumps it into the net. Unforced error number four. That might have been the set, right there.
5-1, Devvarman: Janowicz keeps moving forward, and Somdev can’t handle a forehand volley by Janowicz.
5-2, Devvarman: Another inside-in forehand approach by Janowicz, another point won. That’s such a safe, nice shot. A minibreak is recovered.
5-3, Devvarman: Two gorgeous cross court forehands by Janowicz get the second minibreak back, after a put-away volley. Beautiful tennis.
5-4, Devvarman: A dropper! And even though Devvarman got to it, his counter-drop was tentative, and Janowicz puts it away. Of course the dropper had to show up.
Set point for whoever wins the next point.
5-5: Devvarman gets lucky with a framed forehand return that lands in, but then badly misses a forehand. Costly, costly unforced error from Somdev. Set point Janowicz.
6-5, Janowicz: Devvarman rights the ship with a very good inside-out forehand that Janowicz struggles to get back. Nice play.
6-6: Janowicz gets a good look at a forehand return, and tamely sends it into the net. First set point for Somdev.
7-6, Devvarman: Janowicz puts away a very deep volley, and he’s still alive.
7-7: Janowicz gets a short reply, and puts away the cross court forehand. Set point number two for him.
8-7, Janowicz: Another look at a forehand return, another return dumped in the net.
8-8: Janowicz comes up with a HUGE forehand return winner up the line! Incredible shot. Will serve for the set.
9-8, Janowicz: Second serve – Somdev hits a forehand into the far corner, and it’s called in. Janowicz drops to his knees screaming, “How many times????”. Not having Hawk-Eye on this court is kind of embarrassing, Australian Open. Janowicz gets a warning for yelling at the chair umpire. Undeterred, he keeps arguing with the chair.
9-9: Janowicz goes for a backhand putaway, and miraculously it’s called in. It barely caught the line, if it did. Set point number three for him.
10-9, Janowicz: Janowicz gets a great return in, moves forward, has a makeable forehand volley…and pushes it wide. Oy.
10-10: Janowicz sends a backhand tamely into the net. Unforced error number five.
11-10, Devvarman: Somdev gets a great return back in play off a Janowicz first serve, and two strokes later, Janowicz sends a forehand way long. Unforced error number six, and that’s the set.
Woof. That was quite the tiebreaker. I thought Devvarman had it after going up two minibreaks, but Janowicz came back and had three set points of his own, one of them on his serve. Not having Hawk-Eye at least cost Janowicz his peace of mind, since he now believes he got screwed on a bad call in the biggest point of the set (for him). Here he is, on his knees, pleading to the chair:
Still, there were way too many unforced errors from Janowicz in that breaker. Six of the 12 points Devvarman won were off Janowicz mistakes. That’s way, way too high. It will be fascinating to see how Janowicz reacts to missing such a tough set, all the while still believing he got screwed.
Here are your first set stats:
32 unforced errors compared to eight for Devvarman. That’s too much of a disadvantage. Also a disadvantage? Winning just 39% of your second serve points. Looking at the stats, it’s kind of nuts that Janowicz had chances to win that set. Three of them, to be precise.
Second Set – Jerzy Janowicz will serve first
0-0: Janowicz comes up with an incredible reflex volley just as Devvarman hit a shot straight at him. Amazing. Or not. That point went to Devvarman, apparently. Janowicz saves the break point, but has another one immediately after a Janowicz unforced error. Janowicz gets a short reply off a good second serve, and he puts away the forehand inside-out. Deuce number two. A huge, HUGE cross court backhand forces Devvarman’s error, and Janowicz has a chance to hold. He comes in after another cross court forehand approach, but Devvarman gets a great forehand passing shot by Janowicz. Deuce number three. A monster forehand into the deuce court by Janowicz, and he has a second chance to hold. Rinse and repeat, and Janowicz comes up with a key hold.
Unless the Sponsorless One finds ways to hold serve more efficiently, I don’t see him lasting much longer in this match. Every single one of his service games has been a battle.
1-0, Janowicz: A Somdev double fault makes it 30-all, and another Janowicz forehand return winner up the line gives Jerzy a chance to break. He’ll have a second serve to look at. Yet he dumps a backhand return into the net. That was a soft, soft second serve by Devvarman, and Janowicz bailed him out. He then moves in to put away a high backhand volley, and badly frames it. Somdev with a chance to hold, now. After a long-rally (by the standards of this match), Janowicz badly misses another forehand, sending it long. He wasn’t even trying to attack with it.
Interesting that both guys had a chance to break the other’s serve at the start of this set. It’s a very, very tight match.
1-1: After a Devvarman backhand unforced error, Janowic has a 40-0 lead. First time in the match! And he holds after another forehand winner. A hold to love. I thought that might not happen.
2-1, Janowicz: Devvarman holds rather straightforwardly, in a game that was punctuated by a gorgeous lob over the towering Pole. That was pretty.
2-2: Janowicz races to a 30-0 lead after a thundering forehand into the deuce court. Devvarman seems to be tracking fewer and fewer of those as the match wears on. The man from India has done a TON of running so far. A stunning backhand down-the-line (!!!) by Janowicz sets up another 40-0 advantage. He goes for the trusty forehand into the deuce court, but misses it well long. 40-15. Somdev tries to lob Janowicz again, but fails. Another easy hold for #SponsorJerzy.
3-2, Janowicz: Incredible get from Devvarman! Janowicz hits what seems like a point-ending drop volley, but the ex-UVA star tracks it down, and then smashes away Janowicz’s lob attempt. He holds moments later. Somdev is pumped up!
3-3: A double fault makes it 0-30 in Somdev’s favor, and then another drop volley is tracked back to set up triple break point. It will be played on a second serve. Janowicz goes for a big forehand on the second ball, and misses. A break to love for Devvarman.
That has to be deflating for Janowicz. He was holding easily for the first time in the match, and then he got broken at love after some bad errors. Credit to Devvarman for his hustle: his tracking back of what seemed like surefire winners from Janowicz has surely unnerved the 24th seed.
4-3, Devvarman: Somdev lobs the Polish tower again! Two aces later, and he’s consolidated the break. The air seems to have gone out of the Janowicz Zeppelin.
5-3, Devvarman: It seems like Janowicz has also hit a physical wall of sorts. He goes down 0-30 after another wild forehand unforced error. And it’s 0-40 after another double fault. The first set point is saved, as is the second one, by smart serves. But Somdev takes the set on, you guessed it, another Janowicz wild error on his forehand.
Strange second set. I thought Janowicz was en route to a recovery after surviving a couple of break points early, but mostly because of how easily he held serve the next few times. However, Somdev’s incredible track back of his drop volley at 3-2 seemed to kill his confidence, and he hasn’t won a game since. Strange.
I also thought that it was Devvarman who was starting to show signs of wear and tear from all the running, but it seems like it’s Janowicz who hit a wall after getting broken at 3-all.
Here are your second set stats:
Third Set – Somdev Devvarman will serve first
0-0: Devvarman just got broken at love. That was the worst game he’s played all match. At the worst possible time, really. Why give Janowicz hope?
1-0, Janowicz: Janowicz just hit a double fault to go down 15-40. This match has stopped making sense. The first set is taking its toll on both guys, it seems. Janowicz saves the first break point with a nice backhand putaway, and the second is saved by a thundering service winner up the T. Deuce. A nice volley later, and Janowicz has a chance to consolidate the break. But we’re back to deuce after he sends a forehand into the net. Deuce number two. A body service winner, followed by another service winner, and Janowicz has consolidated a break for the first time in the match.
2-0, Janowicz: A thundering inside-in forehand by Janowicz gives him a 0-30 edge. He’s on a roll, it seems, and Somdev looks like he’s reeling. An incredible forehand cross court return winner, and it’s 0-40. First break point is saved by yet another bad Janowicz backhand unforced error. The Pole goes for another big forehand return, but misses well long. 30-40. Rinse and repeat, and it’s deuce. A tame forehand into the net by Somdev gives Janowicz yet another chance to break, which he takes after the second blistering forehand return winner, this time inside-out. That was violent.
Devvarman will rue that opening service game of the set. He was in complete control of the match, having broken Janowicz for the second time in the second set. Janowicz was subdued, and seemed tired. You just don’t throw your opponent a lifeboat at the start of a third set. And let’s make it clear: it’s not like Janowicz did anything special to get that opening break: it was all Devvarman’s mistakes.
3-0, Janowicz: Janowicz holds to 15 without much of a problem – the only lost point was due to a double fault. Devvarman is quasi-tanking the set at this point. Can’t blame him: two breaks down against a guy with Janowicz’ serve is too much.
4-0, Janowicz: Janowicz comes up with a forehand unforced error at 30-all, and Devvarman has a rare chance to hold, which he does after a Janowicz backhand slice unforced error.
4-1, Janowicz: Janowicz hits two silly unforced errors at 30-15, so he faces a break point, which he saves after Somdev can’t handle his inside-out forehand. Deuce. A great return by Somdev triggers yet another break point in his favor. A familiar inside-in approach and backhand volley saves it, though. Deuce number two. A great forehand to the deuce corner, and it’s Ad-Janowicz. Two good inside-out forehands, and Janowicz finally holds.
5-1, Janowicz: A lucky return makes it 0-30 in Janowicz’ favor. Another great return, and it’s 15-40. Double set point, which becomes a single set point after a horrible return. However, Janowicz forces the error from Devvarman, and he wraps up this bizarre breadstick with another break of serve.
Thanks to our friends at The Slice, here is Janowicz’ first set outburst:
I’m sure that’s not going to get replayed over, and over, and over again! Oy, Janowicz. I find it hilarious that it’s the Australian Open official YouTube Channel that uploaded this. Now that we’re at it, how about setting up Hawk-Eye on that court, Australian Open? You put the TV cameras there already.
Here are your third set stats:
Not much to say, other than that was a horrible set from Devvarman. Depending on how much energy Janowicz has left in the tank, it could end up costing the 27-year-old dearly.
Fourth Set – Jerzy Janowicz will serve first
0-0: A very nice backhand volley by Janowicz makes it 30-15. He’s winning a ton of points at net today: 30 of 51, for 59%. He puts away a short ball by Devvarman, and fires a service winner for an easy hold.
1-0, Janowicz: Janowicz unveils that strange rally forehand slice, and Devvarman is distracted by it, sending a forehand wide. 0-30 on his serve. A blistering backhand return winner off a second serve, and it’s 0-40. Triple chance to break for the young Pole. First one is averted by a very bad backhand return that almost failed to hit the ground on its way to the back fence. Janowicz then has a baseline smash, but sends it into the net. An opportunity missed. 30-40. The pair play a most entertaining point, which ends when Janowicz hits a weird forehand dropper, Devvarman gets to it, but Janowicz masterfully puts the volley past him. That was pretty.
Devvarman is still in his third set funk. He was very, very sloppy at the beginning of that last service game, and now faces an uphill battle against a seemingly very confident Janowicz.
2-0, Janowicz: An ace makes it 40-15 for Janowicz, who is rollin’. A backhand down-the-line goes long by a few inches, and it’s 40-30. But an ace out wide consolidates the break, and Janowicz seems poised to take this match to a fifth set.
Just as in Paris, Janowicz sits at his chair like a CEO:
3-0, Janowicz: Janowicz just hit a lunging volley with so much backspin that it bounced back into his own court. Awesome shot. 15-all. Moments later, it’s 30-all. Janowicz has a short forehand in sight, but he sends it well long. Devvarman with a chance to hold for the first time in a long while. A dropper by Janowicz sends us to deuce. However, a service winner makes it Ad-Somdev. Janowicz comes in, gets a good approach in, and puts away a volley. He’s got such nice net instincts. Deuce number two. Janowicz goes for one of his trademark inside-in forehands, but nets it. Ad-Devvarman again. Janowicz hits a dropper, Devvarman tracks it back, Janowicz lobs Devvarman, Somdev hits a tweener, and Janowicz puts away an easy volley. Deuce number three. The Janowicz Artillery goes in full blast mode, and eventually forces the error. A break point for Janowicz, which he clinches after Devvarman can’t handle a blistering cross court forehand.
That should be the fourth set. The JerzyTrain is rolling through!
4-0, Janowicz: Two straight aces make it 40-15 for Janowicz. But a backhand unforced error makes it 40-30. No matter: another ace seals the game and consolidates the double-break. Devvarman will try to hold to avoid the bagel.
Devvarman has held serve just once in the last 12 games. That was at 4-0 in the third set. Holding here would be particularly beneficial, since he would force Janowicz to serve out the set, which would grant Somdev first serving privileges in the decider.
5-0, Janowicz: Janowicz comes up with the first return dropper of the match, and then nearly takes off Devvarman’s arm with a blistering backhand pass. 30-15. Janowicz goes for the big forehand cross court return, but nets it. 40-15. Moments later, it’s deuce after a thundering forehand return. Rinse and repeat, and Janowicz has a set point, which is sealed, as is the bagel, with a monstrous backhand down-the-line return winner.
Here are your Fourth Set Stats:
Man, was that lopsided and violent. Janowicz is killing Devvarman’s serve, and he’s at 82% first serves in, which is incredible. Devvarman is having a medical timeout at the moment, seemingly struggling with his left arm. Nice move: I would have called a timeout after that much bloodshed.
Fifth Set – Jerzy Janowicz will serve first
0-0: Janowciz misses a forehand cross court pass, and it’s 0-30 all of a sudden. He puts away a very short return by Devvarman, and it’s 15-30. Rinse and repeat for 30-all. A thundering service winner up the T makes it 40-30, and Devvarman misses a backhand wide to give the hold to Janowicz.
Devvarman last got on the scoreboard in the fifth game of the third set. That’s nine straight games he’s lost.
1-0, Janowicz: Janowicz hits a return winner at 30-0, but that serve is called a let. He complains. Devvarman serves again, and Janowicz botches the return. At 40-0, Janowicz does hit a “legal” return winner, backhand down-the-line. 40-15. A terrible backhand unforced error by Janowciz gives Devvarman just his second game out of the last 15.
In case you don’t know what Devvarman looks like, here you go:
1-1: Janowicz races to a 40-0 lead. He’s in a groove with his serve. A wicked inside-in forehand approach, and he seals a love hold.
The easier Janowicz holds, the more pressure Devvarman will feel on his service games. This next one could be telling. The ex-UVA man is getting his left arm rubbed yet again during the changeover.
2-1, Janowicz: Janowicz goes on the attack with his down-the-line backhand, and it’s 15-30. Second serve. Incredible backhand return winner down-the-line by Janowicz! That was a decent body serve by Devvarman, but Janowicz moved his feet beautifully to time that shot so well. Service winner by Devvarman, and it’s 30-40. Janowicz clinches the break after he pummels a forehand return into the deuce corner. A mistake to serve there, Somdev. The Jerzy Train keeps rolling!
3-1, Janowicz: Beautiful forehands by Janowicz to make it 15-all. Some more make it 30-15. A double fault ties it up at 30-all. A short return is put away by a nice forehand down-the-line, and it’s game point for Janowicz. He fist pumps. This is a huge game after all. A service winner up the T consolidates the break.
The Polish fans are enjoying this. So is Janowicz. An incredible comeback, since it all seemed lost after the way the second set ended. More left forearm rubbing for Devvarman, who has won only two games since going up two sets to love. Amazing. The guy just ran out of gas, it seems.
4-1, Janowicz: Janowicz has now won 66% of nets points played. And he’s come to net A TON. A beautiful volley makes it 0-30 on Devvarman’s serve. His transition game is so natural. Fantastic to see. A Janowicz backhand unforced error stops the run and makes it 15-30. Janowicz has an absolute brain cramp at 30-all, when he has a simple shot to put away emphatically, but instead lets it go softly. Devvarman tracks it back and wins the point. A botched return later, and Devvarman holds. That was pretty bad. And Janowicz better hope that it doesn’t end up costing him.
4-2, Janowicz: Obscene second serve ace out wide by Janowicz. Just obscene. 15-0. Janowicz wins a cat-and-mouse point at net for 30-all, and Devvarman can’t handle one of the many cross court forehand approaches by Janowicz. 40-0. The Pole gets caught in no man’s land in the next point, and promptly botches a backhand. 40-15. Janowicz goes for a backhand winner, and sends it long. 40-30. Janowicz pummels a serve, hits a dropper off the return, and swing volleys Devvarman’s counter-drop, celebrating wildly. He’s one game away from clinching an unlikely comeback.
Neil Harman approves:
Jerzy Janowicz is about to complete comeback from two sets down against Devvarman on No.8 with added value of bringing on Heather Watson
— Neil Harman (@NeilHarmanTimes) January 16, 2013
5-2, Janowicz: Devvarman goes up 40-15 after some silly errors from Janowicz, and clinches the hold with an ace. Janowicz will have a chance to serve out the match.
5-3, Janowicz: Janowicz starts with a backhand unforced error. 0-15. Then double faults. Keeps looking at one of his fingers. No idea what that’s about. Goes for the slider, misses. Second serve. He goes for a forehand putaway, misses. 0-40 in a blink of an eye. Not good. A thundering forehand saves the first break point. But Janowicz misses a backhand volley, and somehow, this match will continue.
A horrible, horrible game by Janowicz. All points won by Devvarman were Janowicz unforced errors. The Pole hadn’t had such a terrible game since the second set. He keeps looking at his right hand. Did he pop a blister? Lost his composure completely in that game. The trainer comes out, this time for Janowicz, who surely will get that finger taped. Seems like a bad blister at the base of the middle finger.
5-4, Janowicz: Janowicz goes for the forehand return winner, misses by a mile. 15-0. Ace by Devvarman, 30-0. Janowicz chips and charges to great success, 30-15. Great serve by Devvarman, 40-15. A short ball is there to be pummeled, and it is, but lands out. Devvarman with a very quick hold.
5-5: Devvarman takes a tumble after chasing down yet another Janowicz cross court forehand. That had to hurt. Then the Pole hits an incredible running forehand lob after a bad dropper, and it’s 30-0. Another bad dropper, different result: Devvarman tracks it back, forces Janowicz to hit a backhand pass, which fails. Service winner, and it’s 40-15. Bad backhand unforced error on the second ball, and it’s 40-30. No air on that one. An incredible forehand from an awkward angle seals the hold for Janowicz.
That hold was sorely needed for the JerzyTrain.
6-5, Janowicz: Janowicz with a great inside-out forehand and a nice put-away volley. 0-15. Janowicz comes to net after a backhand up the middle, but sends it well long. 15-all. Janowicz plays a smart, safe backhand cross court, and Devvarman cracks, sending a tame backhand into the net. 15-30. Danger for the ex-college star. Devvarman tracks back yet another Janowicz drop volley, and sends it past the towering Pole. 30-all. That could prove to be huge. Second serve. Janowicz comes to net after his return, gets some good volleys in, but Devvarman comes up with even better passing shots. Game point for Somdev. Janowicz gets another huge return in, comes in behind it, and this time Devvarman doesn’t have an answer. Deuce. Janowicz goes for the huge cross court forehand return, Somdev anticipates it and sends a down-the-line reply, jamming Janowicz. Ad-Somdev. They then play almost exactly the same point, but this time Janowicz is prepared for Devvarman’s reply, and forces the error. Deuce number two. Huge, HUGE forehand into the deuce corner by Janowicz, and it’s MATCH POINT number one. Wild first serve by Somdev. Janowicz plays the point well, comes in after his favorite shot, and nets a make-able volley. NOOOOOOOOOOOO! Deuce number three. Undeterred, the JerzyTrain keeps coming in after his favorite shot, and forces the error. MATCH POINT number two. Second serve. AND JANOWICZ CLINCHES IT WITH A HUGE INSIDE-OUT FOREHAND RETURN WINNER!
WHAT A SHOT! AND WHAT A MOMENT!
That was so Gonzo-esque. Amazing.
Here’s your winner, and your final score:
Your fifth set stats:
That was one wild roller coaster ride. Devvarman was impressive in the beginning, and raced to a deserved two set lead. After dropping his serve so listlessly midway through the second set, it seemed like the JerzyTrain was destined to crash out of the Australian Open in straights. But Devvarman then threw Janowicz a huge lifeline by opening the third set with his worst service game of the match, and started a rut that saw the ex-University of Virginia star win only one game in the third and fourth sets.
Finally, it seemed like Janowicz was on his way to a most emphatic comeback after breaking midway through the fifth set and consolidating for a 4-1 lead. Yet Janowicz played a loose return game at 5-2, and an even worse game when trying to serve out the match, and all of a sudden Devvarman was back on serve. The towering Pole was apparently troubled by a blister on his right hand, and after a medical timeout, it was impressive to see Janowicz regain his composure and remain so unwaveringly aggressive to force the final break.
Which was sealed with the most emphatic of winners.
I was impressed with Janowicz’ conditioning. Yes, he plays short points, but he was still quite fresh at the end of the match, and that first set was a tough, tough grind. This is something that bodes well for the future.
I was also very impressed with Janowicz’ transition game. According to the final stats, he came to net 85 times, and won 65% of those points. It was just nice to see someone so young have such a natural transition game. He seemed completely committed to coming forward, and he put away a lot of nice volleys. More importantly, he was aided by that trusty forehand-into-the-deuce-corner approach shot, so a lot of the volleys he put away were pretty straightforward. Yes, some drop volleys got him in trouble, but I’m going to give credit to Devvarman for tracking those down. Some of Somdev’s gets were just incredible.
Naturally, much will be said about the 22-year-old’s meltdown at the end of the first set, and if reports are true that he whacked the umpire’s chair with his racquet, he’ll surely be fined. It was an over-the-top reaction by Janowicz, but given the flow of that set, and in particular of that tiebreaker, it was perfectly understandable – if not excusable. Janowicz had just lost his third set point, this last one on his own serve, and the breaker was tied at 10 points. He felt that call was out, and he will never know whether he was right, since the Australian Open put cameras on Court 8, but forgot about the Hawk-Eye for that court. This will become a learning opportunity for Janowicz, and the good news for him is that he’ll surely play Nicolás Almagro in a Hawk-Eye court in the third round.
About Devvarman, I’ll say that he returned extremely well for two and a half sets. He fought like crazy, returning many of Janowicz’ missiles. Somdev only had 20 unforced errors for the match, so that tells you something about his consistency throughout. But the man from India will rue that loose game at the beginning of the third set. Time and time again we see players make that same mistake: they win the first two sets and relax, thinking the match is in the bag. I expected a little more composure at the beginning of that set from someone with so much big-match experience (mainly in college, but still) and who is 27 years old.
The stats for the match are staggering: Janowicz served at 61% 1st serves, and while he had 15 aces, he also had 12 double faults. He’s very aggressive with that second serve, and Devvarman was making him go for just a little bit more.
About that second serve: I think the issue is that Janowicz ends up two feet inside the baseline after his service motion, so while that helps him move forward for short replies on his first serve, it gets him in trouble if his opponent is reading his second serve and is sending hard, deep returns back. This is what Devvarman was doing for most of the first two sets, and Janowicz was struggling to adapt. The Pole and his coach need to work on the footwork after the second delivery, but that’s something that’s pretty fixable.
Janowicz ended with 91 winners, and 88 unforced errors. That’s bonkers. And it means that Janowicz decided the fate of around 55% of all the points played in the match. I liked what the Pole did in the last three sets, where he played some safer backhands to avoid the horrid unforced errors from that wing that plagued him during the first two sets. Janowicz also started hitting his inside-out forehand more, to try and make it difficult for Devvarman to anticipate his shots.
All in all, this was an eventful match, and one that Janowicz will surely remember for a long, long time. Thanks to everyone for following this Liveblog, and I hope to have you all back for the Round 3 match against Almagro!