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It’s been a dramatic few days in Melbourne, topped off yesterday with some big upsets. A few random thoughts and feelings:
A second week without Serena and Jo-Wilfried? As the crowd watching Almagro vs. Berdych (the jerk) would say: Boooo! (Though huge props to Kei Nishikori for becoming the first Japanese male to reach the Australian Open quarterfinals since 1932!) In the case of Jo-Dubs, who has yet to score that elusive major, I’m starting to wonder how many more chances he can make for himself. I’m not going to start worrying yet about 13-time Major champ Serena, who looked sub par and stunned while playing a determined Ekaterina Makarova yesterday. I know she still has a few chances for the Big Ones. For now, I’ll simply admire Makarova for taking and making her own chances.
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The upset that wasn’t and was – that’s what I call Kim Clijsters‘s come-from-match-points-down victory over Li Na. All credit to Kim, of course, I just was in the camp that felt worse for Li. I was surprised to see Lleyton Hewitt’s name beside Novak Djokovic’s in the Round of 16. I thought Milos would wipe the plexicushion with the aging Aussie. And the way Nole’s dominated his opponents the first week, the fact Lleyton took a set off him last night is just short of miraculous. That word always brings to mind the miraculous Mr. Federer, who was in fantastic form vs. young Bernard Tomic in the round of 16 (I enjoyed the media’s Sorcerer’s Apprentice analogy). It seems like every Major, Roger gives fans at least one match to savor – let’s hope it’s not the last this go-around! Del Potro is looking very strong.
Mixed doubles note: I’m totally in love with the Hlavackova/Qureshi pairing. Cutest mixed dubs couple of the tournament! (Something about mixed dubs that brings out the squealing tween in me.) Tomic and Jankovic (their opponents, eventual losers) had a pretty big C factor, too. Jankovic on Tomic: “He feels like my younger brother on court. ‘Run! Do this!’’’ HA!
So, after all that drama, the Australian Open Quarterfinals are set. It’s getting serious, people:
Caroline Wozniacki vs. Kim Clijsters
Victoria Azarenka vs. Agnieszka Radwanska
Ekaterina Makarova vs. Maria Sharapova
Sara Errani vs. Petra Kvitova
Novak Djokovic vs. David Ferrer
Andy Murray vs. Kei Nishikori
Juan Martin Del Potro vs. Roger Federer
Tomas Berdych vs. Rafael Nadal
We haven’t had a surprise finalist on the men’s side for a few years (recent finalists Jo-Wilfred Tsonga, Fernando Gonzalez and Marcos Baghdatis were all novelties at the time) and at this point only Nishikori would qualify as a true shocker. On the ladies side, however, I could see an Agnieszka or Ekaterina break through. But for now I’m just going to look forward to watching Caroline battle Kim for a place in the semis and some much-needed respect in the press room. I’ve liked the way Caroline’s played so far this tournament – this is her chance. Or is it Maria’s? Or Petras? Or Kim’s (last)?
So, what do you make of the final sixteen?