Aussie-Observations: Day-3



Day 2 (Cont’d)

Hewitt vs Nalbandian
This one lived up to the hype.  Personally, I think the tournament directors have a responsibility to make sure that two players of this calibre don’t EVER meet in the first round, rankings be damned.  Consider this: Hewitt’s Tencap is -3, Nalbandian’s is -5 (trending -2).  By way of comparison, Andy Roddick’s Tencap is also a -5.  It’s just completely unfair to both players that they had to meet in the first round.  Nevertheless, we – the fans – were the beneficiaries.

Simply put, it was one helluva match.  And I’m surmising this from the 15-minutes I was able to catch before I left for work this morning, combined with what I’ve since read about it.  When I first tuned in, Nalbandian serving 4-3.  By the time I left they were at 6-6, and I couldn’t stall any longer.  Had to go.  I “watched” the rest of the match vis SMS text messages from my wife.  Here’s how I “saw” the end played out:

8:03am: Nalbandian just broke Hewitt.  7-6
8:06am: 30-15 Nalbandian
8:06am: 30-30
8:07am: 40-30 Nalbandian.  Match point.
8:07am: Nalbandian won

Check out those match stats a little closer.  Total points won: Nalbandian, 193; Hewitt, 193.
Remember the “Aggressive Margin”?  Well get a load of this (I’ve highlighted the significant stats):

Aussie Open Round 1 Nalbandian Hewitt
1st Serve %
Aces
Double Faults
Unforced Errors 83 62
Winning % on 1st Serve
Winning % on 2nd Serve
Winners 65 53
Receiving Points Won
Break Point Conversions
Net Approaches
Total Points Won 193 193
Fastest Serve Speed
Average 1st Serve Speed
Average 2nd Serve Speed
Points scored by forcing errors 66 57
Winners 65 53
Aggressive Points 131 110
Aggressive Margin 48 48

Doesn’t get much closer than that! And now you know why Nalbandian reacted like this:

Day 3

Roddick vs Igor Kunitsyn
Once again the scoreline (7-6, 6-2, 6-3) would seem to indicate a tough first set, and a routine beatdown in the following two sets.  But that ain’t what happened.  Once again, Roddick had to earn this win.  I don’t know if it’s just a tough-draw, or if these guys all believe they can beat Roddick and come out playing like it.  Either way, he’s had two VERY tough straight-set wins so far.

Fernando Verdasco vs Janko Tipsarević
“Beauty may save the world” but it wasn’t enough to save Janko Tipsarevic.  Up against the wall and staring down multiple match points, Verdasco hung in there and put himself into a tiebreaker.  About 0-4 in the tiebreaker, Tipsaravic threw in the towel.  You could just see him resign himself to refocusing on the 5th set.  And as it turns out, the there wasn’t anything left in the tank.  Verdasco won the 5th set 6-0.  Very tough to watch.  I picked Verdasco to win that matchup, but I didn’t wanna see Tipsarevic lose.  I don’t like watching guys (or gals) “lose” a match.  I’ve been there, and I know how much it hurts.  Hits just a little too close to home I guess, so I’d rather see one player outright win.  Better play, more winners, better tactics, etc.

BTW, the “Beauty will save the world” quote is in reference to the tattoos (written in Japanese) on Janko’s left arm.  He has similar tattoos on his right arm which represents the first two letters of the names of his father, his mother, his brother, and himself.

Venus Williams vs Sandra Zahlavova
I love watching players with nothing to lose going for their shots and playing without fear, and Zahlavova won that first set by doing just that.  And she won it before Venus sustained that injury to her upper-right thigh.  2nd set…different story.  I think Zahlavova thought to herself, “Hey, I’m beating Venus Williams!”  And then she realized, “Oh…I just beat Venus Williams…”  Going to miss the 3rd set.  Somebody tell me how it ends.

Berdych wins, Fish loses, Henin wins, Azarenka loses (thankfully, I can’t bear to listen to her play), Wozniacki wins as does Kuznetsova.

[sigh]

I wish I could stay up and watch these matches.  Have I mentioned yet that I hate this damn time difference.

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One Response to Aussie-Observations: Day-3

  1. Mel says:

    It was horrible to watch Tipsaravic toss it in. It really surprised me to see him totally tank the breaker and the 5th set. I can understand how whiffing a volley on match point can piss you off but you would think a pro at a grand slam could at least continue to fight. Very disappointing.

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