1. Agnieszka Radwanska looks dangerous. The World No. 4 has yet to drop a set in 2013. Could she have the next Vika-like run to winning the Australian Open title? It’s not impossible. She can probably beat anyone right now, with the exception of a healthy Serena. And that’s a big question mark.
2. Jerzy Janowicz might not be ready for prime time, but he passed the test today, beating Somdev Devvarman in five sets. Going forward, his temper will be something to watch. After an (admittedly bad) line call, Janowicz spent the second set sulking, which forced him to have to go five. It didn’t affect the second round results, but it could affect him when he’s in a future match and doesn’t have as much left in the tank because he spent extra hours on the court.
3. Sam Stosur really and truly can’t play in Australia. I mean, we knew this before, but she saved her most epic choke for her second round match against Jie Zheng. She served for the match at 5-2 in the third set, and proceeded to lose the next five games. It was depressing.
4. I think Radwanska managed to crush any self-confidence Dominika Cibulkova managed to muster from her great run in Sydney. After beating three top 10 players in Petra Kvitova, Sara Errani, and Angelique Kerber, Cibulkova was double-bageled in the Sydney final by Radwanska. Ever since Cibulkova arrived in Melbourne, she looked terrible, and World No. 159 Valeria Savinykh made her pay for it.
5. I love British tennis journos. I really do.
1. Brian Baker just has no luck. Up a set in his match against Sam Querrey, last year’s comeback man somehow tore his lateral meniscus and had to be taken off the court in a wheelchair. Baker will have to get surgery on his knee, and will be out four months. He had never had knee injuries before today (despite his long list of ailments).
2. The Australian Open will sooner put TV cameras on a court than Hawk-Eye. Court 8 is small, it’s quaint, and it’s a TV court. Somehow, it’s not a Hawk-Eye court. Look, Tennis Australia, everybody knows you’re loaded. Money shouldn’t be an issue, right? I’m not asking for you to put Hawk-Eye on all 20 courts (even though that should be a goal for the coming years), but please do install the challenge system in all courts that have TV cameras on them. Then you could help avoid episodes like this.
3. Somdev Devvarman is really, really fast. While liveblogging his match with Jerzy Janowicz today, I couldn’t help but notice just how quick the former UVA star is. He tracked down endless brutal forehands, but most impressively, Devvarman scooped up many Janowicz drop shots and drop volleys that had no business being salvaged.
4. Alizé Cornet plays the game as if she were an up-and-coming junior, still in her teens and flush with promise. In related news, she’ll turn 23 next week.
5. Lukas Lacko is a ton of fun to watch. He hit some outrageous shots during his five-set loss to Janko Tipsarevic. Lacko is 25 years old, and ranked at a career-best 44th in the world. That seems way too low for the kind of tennis the Slovakian can produce. Will he be the next guy who gets it together and climbs up the rankings during his late twenties? I’ll be rooting for him to do so.
1. Life is just not fair. I mean, we know this already but when Brian Baker tore his meniscus in his match against Querrey and had to be taken off on a wheelchair, my heart just sank. I wish there was a rhyme or reason for why bad things happen to good people, but I think we can all band together with hope that Baker will recover swiftly from his injury and be back on tour in no time. He was playing really well before the injury.
2. It’s not 2008. Both female Serbian former No. 1s fought their way to ugly three set victories today against much lower-ranked opponents. They will face each other in the third round for the first time in a Grand slam since the semifinals of the 2008 French Open, a tournament that feels like a lifetime ago. I’m sad to see how far these two have fallen in the past two years. Maybe facing each other on the big stage will bring back some of the magic? Yeah … probably not.
3. MADISON. KEYS.
4. The French Brain theory lives on. A couple of years ago I joked that there was only one brain between all the French players, and despite the fact that they had so much talent individually, there isn’t more success because they have to share the brain. They say the best jokes are based in truth, and it’s certainly been proven that the French players have a hard time playing their best tennis against one another. That was certainly the case as Julien Benneteau and Eduardo Roger-Vasselin faced off. There were certainly flashes of brilliance from each, but never at the same time. The match seemed destined to go to a fifth and traumatic set, as Roger-Vasselin went up a break three times in the fourth set, served for it twice, and had four set points. But Benneteau finally converted match points in the fourth set tiebreak, and will live to see another day. It’s never straightforward with the French.
5. Maria Sharapova and Venus Williams are ready for their showdown, and so am I. Cannot wait.