1. Watch out, Roger Federer. Marcos Baghdatis has his eye on surpassing the Swiss’ reputation for being the worst Hawk-Eye challenger. During his Australian Open campaign, Baghdatis made a whopping 16 challenges. Only ONE of those was successful. Honorable mention to Gael Monfils, who has made eight challenges, only one successful. And he still has time to add to that total.
On the women’s side, the Serbian women take the cake. Jelena Jankovic challenged 14 times, only once successfully, while Ana Ivanovic has made 14 challenges, correct just three times. Valeria Savinykh was an impressive 5/6 on her challenges. That’s a lot of bad line calls.
2. Sergiy Stakhovsky loves to troll on Twitter during Sharapova’s matches. Don’t feed the trolls.
— Sergiy Stakhovsky (@Stako_tennis) January 18, 2013
3. Someone found The Changeover by Googling “Tomic is a wanker.” We love our readers.
1. I saw Madison Keys play tennis for the first time today, and I bought a ton of her stock. We’re going to hear a lot from that young woman in the next decade. I’d like to see Keys get that second serve to sit up a little less, but otherwise, she’s ready to go. It will be fun to see her climb up the rankings – she’s as inevitable as a prospect gets.
2. Watching Jelena Jankovic play makes me sad. She seemed thoroughly outclassed in her derby match against Ivanovic today, and if it hadn’t been for a streaky patch of good play in the first set, the final result would have been more lopsided. She used to be such a dynamic player, and now she’s a sad shade of what she used to be. Jankovic is predictable, erratic, and she’s easy to boss around the baseline. The dreaded “r” word looms large over her head in 2013.
3. Apparently Lotto can’t design more than one kit for their endless stable of ATP players. The Italian brand somehow has produced at least three different Australian kits for the women they sponsor (Radwanska has two different dresses, Makarova has a separates kit), yet all the men wearing Lotto (Ferrer, Almagro, Anderson, Malisse, et al) have shown up out using the same kit, with only one variation: Ferrer uses a bandana, while others use a hideous hat or nothing at all. Also, what does Ferrer need to do to get his own line? He just signed a new deal with Lotto, and 2012 was the best year of his life. If not now … when?
4. Jerzy Janowicz has a lot of trouble returning good serves. In his straight set loss against Almagro, the #JerzyTrain failed to create a single break point opportunity en route to winning just 20% of return points. That’s just shockingly bad, and worse than the numbers Bernie Tomic put up yesterday. I really do think that improvement in the return of serve is what will dictate just how far Jerzy Janowicz can go.
5. Maria Sharapova can still reach her 2008 Australian Open heights. She came a few late wobbles short of double-breadsticking Venus Williams. It was incredible to see Sharapova come up with huge forehand after huge forehand. Her timing was simply impeccable. Inflamed collarbone? What inflamed collarbone?
1. Julien Benneteau is very good at prolonging the inevitable. The Frenchman played some of the best tennis I’ve ever seen him play to get up two sets to one over Janko Tipsarevic, but then he withered away at the business end of the match. A lot of credit should be given to Tipsarevic, of course, who has turned his career around by gutting out these five-set matches that he used to let slip away. But Benneteau had the match on his racket, and simply took his foot off the gas. It was just another reminder of why the talented Frenchmen remains title-less. I think that Juan José best summed up the perils of Benny when he said, “His tombstone will read: This man once beat Federer, but he never could beat Jarkko Nieminen.”
2. Sam Querrey has a long way to go. The top American gave a very disappointing performance against Stanislas Wawrinka in the third round, falling in straight sets. I continue to see all the tools necessary in Querrey to give anyone on tour a run for their money, but it really is frustrating when he puts in performances like this. This is nothing against Wawrinka, who is a worthy opponent and the higher seed and absolutely deserves to be in the fourth round. (His present? Djokovic!) But at the 2010 US Open Querrey took Wawrinka to five sets, and this time he couldn’t even get one. It’s time for Querrey to make some strides this year.
3. Kevin Anderson seems to finally be living up to his potential. What an impressive January he is having. He finished off his match vs. Verdasco in style.
4. Maria Sharapova’s form this tournament is frightening.
5. On a non-tennis note, I was lucky enough to get to see the Broadway show “Once” last night with my aunt. If you get a chance to see that show run, do not walk. It was one of the best musicals I have ever seen.