Okay, some quick “one handed” blogging after watching some of the first round action down under. I’ll also touch on some early second round action, since Freaky Fry and I had a chance to watch some matches this afternoon.
1. Roger looked very good in his first round vs. Paire. (Although I wish Nike could have given him something other than the old “Aussie Open Blue” polo to wear. . .but whatevs.) Yes, he was playing a particular brand of nihilist Frenchman, but gosh, he showed some strong hitting. Does anyone hit an overhead better than Roger? I think not. (Ooh, just witnessed Stosur shanking one, big time. vs. Zheng Jie. Roger makes it look easy.)
2. This is very funny.
As are all of these. (Well done, Nial Smith. I’m sure you’ve launched a thousand imitators.)
3. I caught Madison Keys putting the smack down on Paszek. Before I recognized her, I was watching her hit and thought: “Who’s this baller?” Seriously, she doesn’t look like an up and comer but like someone who’s already arrived. Li Na, who was asked about Keys by ESPN after winning her match today, said she was “shocked” when she faced the young American in Sydney last week. “She doesn’t play like 17 (years old)” Li said. I agree. Keys plays Angelique Kerber next, who is a great match player. Could this be the early round match-up of the tournament?
3b. Yes, I know we’re all looking forward to Sharapova vs. Venus in the third round, but I am not convinced Venus can make it that far and that it would end up being a competitive match if she did.
4. It appears that Roger Federer is looking forward to some “this is how it’s done, son” moments in his anticipated third round vs. Bernard Tomic. “He will be making a mistake about thinking about me in the third round because he also has to get there,” Roger very helpfully said to the press before the tournament. Indeed, the early banter in both players’ press conferences shows that Roger’s already laying down the groundwork for a master class from Professor Fed while Tomic is playing cocky student to a tee. Should be fun – assuming of course that it happens.
4b. Speaking of brash Aussies, you can always count on Lleyton Hewitt for a good quote. After losing to Tipsarevic in the first round last night, Lleyton said that he didn’t think that Tispy was underrated as a player. “If he plays like that all the time, he is,” Hewitt said. “I don’t think he does play like that all the time. He’s only won four titles. There’s not too many guys in the Top 10 consistently that have only won four titles. So there’s something missing there. … He’s a quality player, there’s no doubt about it; otherwise he wouldn’t be in the Top 10. But for him to stay in the top 10, he has to play that level week in and week out.” (via Tennis.com)
5. I’m not too worried about Serena’s injury. Even if it was worse than a “scare”, we all know that she could beat most of the competition on one leg, right? But I am happy to hear that she’s mentoring Sloane Stephens and serving as a de facto role model for the rising crop of young American WTAers. Yes, I now she’s had her controversial moments, but we need more WTA stars who say things like: “I’ll be out there unless something fatal happens to me; there’s no way I’m not going to be competing…I’m here to play.”
5b. I am worried about Brian Baker’s injury, sustained after winning the first set today vs. countryman Sam Querrey. Of all the miserable luck, and you know that unlike Serena, this guy’s injury is destined to take him out of competition for a while (he’s even worse than Tommy Haas when it comes to shitty injuries.) Lets pray that the tennis gods show some mercy. (Yikes, just heard on ESPN that he could be out for 4 months. . .so he’s back to being the ultimate underdog at the French?)
6. Pity I missed Dolgopolov vs. Monfils, but I’m glad to hear it lived up to expectations. I wonder how Gael will perform now that nothing much is expected of him?
7. I’m digging the thinned- down Tsonga, not because I didn’t like him the way he was, but because I hope this is a sign of renewed focus and determination to reach his ultimate potential.
Okay, I need to wrap this up before Freaky Fry figures out that I’m sneaking in some non-baby worshiping into my evening. . .So tell me, what story lines have caught your attention over the last few days Down Under , and what are you looking forward to?
I’m hoping Nial Smith finds a muse in Roger. I’m still waiting for the Twilight poster with Roger as the vampire and Rafa as the werewolf.