Sunday, 30 January 2011

Australian Open 2011 - a fairytale review

We are officially one Grand Slam into the season, can't believe we are staring at February now, where did January go! Both Djokovic and Clijsters deserved their titles and whilst I didn't watch any doubles matches I'm sure the Bryan Brothers, Dulko/Pennetta and Srebotnik/Nestor also deserved their wins. Of course not to mention the juniors where both singles champions won in the doubles as well, Jiri Vesely partnerly Filip Horansky and An-Sophie Mestach partnering Demi Schuurs.

Anyway a quick recap of the fortnight. Already on the 1st day we had some shocks. To me Nikolay Davydenko was a silent threat in this tournament but lost in 4 sets to Florian Mayer. This defeat will see his ranking plummet below the Top 32. In other main matches Gael Monfils nearly lost at two sets down to Thiemo de Bakker.

Some lesser shocks continued onto Day 2 notably Ana Ivanovic losing to Ekaterina Makarova. But the most engaging stories were Kim Clijsters thrashing of Dinara Safina 6-0,6-0 and Nalbandian edging Hewitt in a tough 5 sets.

Day 3 saw the loss of Marion Bartoli and Yanina Wickmayer as well as Federer's uncharacteristic 5 setter against Gilles Simon.

Day 4 saw Jelena Jankovic, the first Top 8 seed to fall. She was followed by Nalbandian, Kirilenko and Feliciano Lopez. Juan Martin Del Potro also lost, in 4 sets, it seems we'll still have to wait a while for him to return to full form. However the Australians were left with something to cheer on as Bernard Tomic, the only Australian left in the men's draw, advanced to Round 3. 

Day 5 saw the loss of some big names, including Venus Williams and Justine Henin. Nobody would have guessed that this would be Justine's last match on the tour. We will always remember Justine as one of the most dominant players of the WTA. The french also lost Gael Monfils and Richard Gasquet.

Day 6 saw the fall of another french player, Jo Wilfried Tsonga as well as Mikhail Youzhny. However it was Sam Stosur's loss and Bernard Tomic's resilient play against Nadal which probably made headlines. Of course we also witnessed the rise of Alexandr Dolgopolov as the danger of the tournament after claiming his first big scalp in the draw, beating Tsonga.

Day 7, the end of the first week and most of the big names began to falter. Among them were Roddick, Verdasco, Azarenka, Sharapova and Kuznetsova. Sharapova lost to Petkovic who had earlier played past Venus (though Venus retired 1 game in) and Roddick was denied by a Swiss, however this time Wawrinka - not Federer! Schiavone and Kuznetsova also posted the longest Women's Grand Slam match lasting 4h44m,  rounding off Day 7 as probably the most eventful yet.

Day 8 saw Dolgopolov claim his next win against Robin Soderling.

Day 9 was mostly comprehensive with all the favourites making it through.

Day 10 saw Nadal's dream grind to a halt. He lost to David Ferrer 6-4,6-2,6-3 (same scoreline as the final) supposedly playing injured a few games into the match. Murray ended Dolgopolov's run but it took him 4 sets.

Day 11 and Caroline Wozniacki was booted out of the tournament by Na Li, Na becoming the first Chinese woman to make a Grand Slam final. Whilst on the men's draw Djokovic beat Federer in straight sets meaning that Federer goes without any of the slam titles since 2003.

Day 12 Andy Murray went through to the final in 4 sets.

Day 13 and Kim Clijsters wins the Women's tournament.

and finally on Day 14 Novak Djokovic beats Andy Murray comprehensively in the final 6-4,6-2,6-3.

Tomorrow when the rankings come out we'll see Kim Clijsters at No.2, behind Wozniacki by only 140 points. Schiavone will reach a new high of 4th in the world whilst Na Li will make it all the way to 7th in the world. Elena Dementieva on the other hand would stay in the Top 10 despite having retired. Serena Williams looks to drop to 13th in the rankings, one above Maria Sharapova. On the men's draw Djokovic stays at No.3 but is only 85 points away from Federer. The Top 5 should stay as they are whilst the only changes to the Top 10 are Ferrer and Berdych changing position and Melzer taking over Youzhny.

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