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.”
— 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.