Sunday, January 6, 2013

So much tennis action!

It was quite a first week of the season.  During the week or two before majors when there are a lot of smaller tournaments going on for both men and women, sometimes there is so much action happening that it's pretty much impossible, even for the most hard core tennis fan, to keep up with it all.  My tournaments of choice to pay attention to were Brisbane, Doha and the final in Auckland.

Aga Radwanska had the privilege of being the first person of the year to claim a title, doing so by beating Yanina Wickmeyer.  Though she looked a little shaky in her semifinal, she held strong to get through tho the final and claimed the title with a 6-4 6-4 win.

The final in Doha really showed the precarious nature of tennis scoring.  Played between Nikolay Davedenko and Richard Gasquet, Davydenko clearly was control of the match, winning the first set, with a break in the second and break points for a second break.  It looked like it would probably be a 6-3 6-2 scoreline, with Davydenko having played an aggressive match with many high quality shots.  Given that he hadn't been broken for the whole tournament so far it looked like a foregone conclusion.  But then, whether it was nerves on his part or determination on the part of Gasquet, things suddenly turned around once Gasquet managed to hold serve and momentum slowly began to shift.  Davydenko was broken for the first time trying to serve it out and Gasquet won the tiebreak and carried the momentum through the third set to victory.  I have seen it way too often in my own matches - sometimes if you let an opportunity slip through your fingers you're not going to end up with another one.  Credit to Gasquet for the fightback, but Davydenko's got to be kicking himself for letting that one go.  And on a side note, the match he played in the semi against David Ferrer was really jaw dropping tennis.  If you didn't see it and can find a replay on the internet, definitely inspiring tennis to watch.

Serena showed that she is serious this week in Brisbane with her comprehensive win over Pavyluchenkova.  She has implied that she could see herself winning all four majors this year.  After watching her win that title I certainly could agree.

I was impressed with first time finalist Grigor Dimitrov, who played in the hopes of getting his first ATP title against Andy Murray in Brisbane.  In both sets he was up a break and was playing some really impressive tennis.  He really didn't show any nerves at the start - the nerves came when he had to try to close the deal.  He started making more errors and Murray showed himself to be the more mature and higher ranked player in the moments he needed to in order to win the the title in a tight two sets.  Dimitrov showed himself someone to be reckoned with this year if he can keep up that level of play.  I could also see why he is sometimes called Baby Federer because his style of play does have a lot of similarities.

Li Na also won a title in a tournament in her home country, Janko Tipsarevic claimed one in Chennai India (against a finalist I had never even heard of, with all the other seeds falling early), and Spain was able to overcome Serbia in the exhibition Hopman Cup, in spite of the duo of Djokovic-Ivanovic teaming up.

Ok, I may have missed something, but that is a lot of tennis activity.  This week the majority of the top men will be resting and preparing while many of the top women are playing in small preparation tournaments.  In the meantime I am counting the days to Australia!

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