In case you missed it, here is what we learned on Day One ,Day Two, Day Three, Day Four and Day Five.
1. Talking up your chances of beating Roger Federer doesn’t make it any more likely for you to do so. But in spite of that fact, Bernard Tomic proved a worthy opponent for Federer, pushing the World No. 2 in the first two sets of their third round match. He played well, but Federer played better. That doesn’t minimize how good he’s been since the start of the season. If he keeps the positive attitude and works hard, his game might start to catch up to his mouth.
2. I’ve never seen such a steep and unexplainable dropoff in form as I saw from Juan Martin del Potro in his first two matches versus what he did against Jeremy Chardy in his five set loss today. He was atrocious. I don’t know if it was an off day, but whatever it was, it was bad. I got carried away by his early round form, even though I try not to do that, because he was so good in those matches, it seemed like a sure sign of things to come. It was not. Lesson learned.
3. Jamie Hampton put on a gritty display against Victoria Azarenka, taking a set off the World No. 1 before succumbing in three sets. She was fighting through a painful back injury — later revealed to be two herniated discs, but she fought as hard as she could, and surely gave Azarenka something to think about.
4. Aside from Bernie himself, the rest of the Tomic family is pretty entertaining.
John Tomic, as quoted in the London Times: “[Bernard] is a very special kind of crystal, you have to polish it all the time.”
“In two years’ time, Bernard will be the standard of these [Djokovic, Federer, Murray]. I know it.”
Sara Tomic, 14, has won her first-round #AusOpen junior match and says Bernie “definitely thinks he will win” against #Federer tonight.
— Darren Walton (@DarrenWalton369) January 19, 2013
Words can’t describe how fun it would be to have Bernie and his sister on the ATP and WTA Tours at the same time. It’s every tennis writer’s dream.
1. Apparently, Jamie Hampton is 23 years old. I asked Twitter where she had been all this time, and here is the answer:
@juanjo_sports Two surgeries in her teenage years would do it.
— unseeded & looming (@unseededlooming) January 19, 2013
I was really impressed with Hampton’s fight today against Azarenka. I loved her attitude, even though the Auburn, Alabama resident seemed to be going through a lot of pain during her three set loss to the World Number 1. I also noticed that sweet forehand swing of hers: that’s as sound as it gets, and Hampton did a lot of damage with that shot, particularly cross court. Taking a set off the reigning Australian Open champion is no small feat: I hope Hampton manages to stay healthy enough to make a push up the rankings in 2013.
2. Juan Martín del Potro is not to be trusted as a Slam contender. I really don’t care what the explanation for his five set loss to Jeremy Chardy (read that name again) was. Someone who aspires to get into the top 5 just cannot lose in the third round of a Slam played on his favorite surface to an erratic and limited character as Chardy. I had Del Potro in the final of the Australian Open, and I still find it hard to believe that he will leave Australia before the second week of this tournament even starts.
3. Marin Cilic will never become who I thought he’d be when I saw him destroy Fernando González five years ago at this same tournament. I thought then that I saw a special talent — instead I saw someone who would lose a third round match to Andreas Seppi in 2013.
4. I might regret having given up hope on Bojana Jovanovski. The 56th-best female tennis player in the world is into the fourth round after ending Kimiko Date-Krumm’s amazing run in the singles draw. A while ago I thought Jovanovski was a surefire prospect, but then not much happened and I thought it was the Carla Suárez Navarro all over again. So I stopped paying attention to her struggles in the WTA tour, and now find it hard to believe that the 21-year-old has a real chance to make the quarterfinals. Jovanovski will face fellow youngster Sloane Stephens next.
5. Bernard Tomic’s forehand is weird, it’s kind of nonsensical from a technical and theoretical point of view, but it’s pretty damn awesome. That much was evident in Tomic’s straight sets defeat to Roger Federer tonight. Also evident? Bernie can’t return first serves.
1. I’m going to join the chorus and say that I learned that Jamie Hampton is one to watch. She first caught my eye at Indian Wells last year when she made it to the fourth round defeating Jelena Jankovic along the way, but I haven’t seen much of her since then. Now I know it’s because she’s been dealing with two herniated disks in her back, but boy do I hope that she can figure out a way to manage that pain. She played aggressive, fearless, and strong tennis against the world No. 1 and that’s just what you want to see. She had great balance and lower body strength that allowed her to hit top-level, jaw-dropping, on-the-run passing shots that are often missing from the WTA, and I want to see more of them.
2. I love Victoria Azarenka and think that she is often misunderstood, but I also don’t think she’s doing herself any favors. Red-Foo relationship aside, when she questioned the severity of Jamie Hampton’s injury after the match I was perturbed.
Q. So in the third set did you feel like you had to play consistent because you knew she was on and off and a little bit hurt? Or did you feel like, I really need to stay up and play more aggressive?
VICTORIA AZARENKA: I didn’t really feel she was hurt much. It was a little bit obvious she was walking, but, well, when the ball was in play she was going for her shots and they were like this from the line.
I don’t think she had malicious intent, but it’s not a good look for the top player in the game to be questioning the severity of her opponent’s injuries, especially with such a shady injury and retirement past of her own. Vika needs to be more careful.
3. Richard Gasquet showed unusual grit and determination by surviving an on-fire Ivan Dodig in the third round to make his fifth consecutive fourth round of a major. Now the challenge will be whether or not he can get farther. He’s only made one major quarterfinal in his career, and that was now six years ago.
4. This was the funniest question I thought was asked all day, addressed to Richard Gasquet about 28-year-old veteran and former Rafa-slayer Ivan Dodig:
Q. What can you say about your opponent? Is he a player to watch in the future?
5. I slept through Monfils-Simon, and I couldn’t be more devastated about it. As I wrote earlier this week, Monfils matches bring my favorite kind of drama.
Del Clowntro’s fitness is a joke these days. He spent the run up to Melbourne playing Exhos in Uruguay or something, not working hard.
His record in matches that go deep is shocking barring his fluke Slam in 09. Needs to sort himself out if he wants to be in contention. Has all the talent.
Er, didn’t Federer play in only exhos too before the Australian Open? Just pointing that out…
To compare Federer’s pre tournament preparation with Del Potro’s is nonsensical. The guy just won his 250th match at Grand Slam level. He knows what he needs to do to be in the right shape. Clearly Del Potro doesn’t.
I was just implying that it might be too simplistic to chalk del Potro’s loss up to fitness alone. A “fluke” or out-of-shape opponent doesn’t push Federer to a 19-17 final set at the Olympics and then overcome the physical and emotional exhaustion to beat Djokovic for the bronze shortly afterwards. And let’s not forget that del Potro played fantastically for the first two rounds; it wasn’t as if he looked unfit from the get-go. It could very well be that del Potro was mainly just unlucky to run into a hot opponent on one of his off days. It happened to Nadal at Wimbledon against Rosol, Federer at the US Open against Berdych, and even Djokovic at Indian Wells against Isner. Or it could be that del Potro is more vulnerable on his off days than the top players because he relies on his forehand to a greater degree than the top players rely on any part of their game. A lack of fitness just doesn’t seem to be the main reason he lost to me.
On one hand, Chardy was playing phenomenal tennis for much of the match and probably would have pushed any Big 4 member farther than they would have liked. On the other hand, WTH happened to you, del Potro? You were playing such great tennis for two rounds, and then your forehand suddenly drops off the face of the earth and you practically hand a break to Chardy in the final set when you should have had all the momentum on your side after managing to pull the match even?
Still, one match does not a pattern make. A “fluke” doesn’t win Olympic bronze after losing a marathon heartbreaker the day before or beat Roger Federer twice indoors. If del Potro continues to lose to lower-ranked opponents in the next couple of tournaments, *then* we can begin to really worry, and Chardy deserves more credit than he’s been given.
That said, it does invite comparison to Murray who turned in a surprisingly flat performance against an inspired opponent too but still won in straights because he played the big points better and could fall back on his serve and movement even when his weapons were misfiring, unlike with del Potro whose game relies heavily on his forehand.
That Delpo match was the first I’ve watched this entire AO (thus far). It was hard to watch the last few games of the final set because he came back when he was so close to losing in the third. To have fought back so hard and then to let it all go away…it’s depressing. I still am waiting for Delpo to have a phenomenal season, but as JJ said above…it’s probably never going to happen 🙁
Was Gasquet’s last QF the one in 2008 Wimbledon? Where he lost to Murray? *Bad Memories* Here’s hoping Gasquet gets to his second QF at the AO this year.
I really wanted to watch Sloane Stephens and Laura Robson, but sleep took over. And Gael vs. Gilles! That’s a devastating scoreline…oh Gael, I miss you! If I had to pick which Frenchies to win, definitely would have picked Gael over either Gilles or CHARDY.
I’m surprised Marin is still playing to be honest. Although that might be because I haven’t watched tennis avidly in so long that I forget that players do come back from injury. I think Marin was out with some injury when I fell off the tennis world, and I figured he was going to be Ancic’ed.
Lindsay, I agree with you regarding Azarenka. I love her and love her in your face attitude, but she just needs to tone it down. How can you question someone’s injury when you withdrew from a match because of a pedicure gone wrong? Even worse, during a recent after match interview with Davenport, she stated that she was out there to win not check statistics. She is so rude and I wonder sometimes if it is a case that she insecure or she feels threatened when people question her? Does she believe that she does not belong or what? I just don’t get it. I hope that the fact that she has hired someone to do PR for her is a way for her to neutralise all the bad press that she gets, some of which is unwarranted but some of it is oh so deserved.
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