Federer’s record (57 wins at the Aussie Open)

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Xavier Malisse and Roger Federer met for the first time in a Davis Cup rubber in 1999. It was a quarterfinal tie, which Belgium won over Switzerland thanks to Malisse, who outplayed Federer in four sets. They both were prospective … Continue reading

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Australian Open – Day 4 (2R)

A young Canadian qualifier (was a set and a break down in his last qualifying match) of Montenegrin origin, 20-year-old Milos Raonic [152] is tall (6’5″ – 196 cm), possesses a huge serve and good nerves. Is he a material for the best player of Canada in the Open era? Time will tell, today he won his second straight match after #an identical scoreline – 7-6, 6-3, 7-6 – out-serving (21-10 in aces) inconsistent Michael Llodra [24]. Raonic states: “This is my biggest result. It’s my biggest achievement to date. But I hope to do more than this. I feel like I can. I feel like I’m playing at a level that I’m still there and I’m there with the top guys“. Also two tie-breaks and a set won ‘6-3’ needed Australian hope of Bosnian/Croatian descent – Bernard Tomic [199], and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga [13], but in different configurations – Tomic against Feliciano Lopez [31] won the first two sets after tie-breaks, Tsonga against Andreas Seppi [51] the last two. For both, Raonic and almost two years younger Tomic, the third round at the Australian Open is the best achievement at the main level in their short careers. Ahead of Tomic is much more difficult task in the next round as he faces the top seed and the main title contender Rafael Nadal [1], who has lost only four games in two matches in Melbourne this year!!
Jan Hernych [241] luckily escaped from the second nightmarish defeat in Melbourne within three editions. Two years ago in the first round, he wasted a match point in the 3rd and 4th set of his match against Victor Hanescu, and couldn’t seal the win also serving for the match in the 5th set! Today against Thomaz Bellucci [31], lost the 2nd set wasting a couple set points in the tie-break, lost the 4th set wasting a 3:1* (40-30) lead and was 0-30 down serving at 4:4 in the 5th set, having already a *3:1 lead. Eventually he prevailed after 4 1/2 hour by an 8-6 margin in the decisive set.

Longest match:
4 hours, 31 minutes: Jan Hernych d. Thomaz Bellucci 6-2, 6-7(11), 6-4, 6-7(3), 8-6
Most aces:
25 – Thomaz Bellucci, lost in five sets to Jan Hernych
5-set barometer:
14-9 Mikhail Youzhny
3-4 Thomaz Bellucci
3-3 Jan Hernych
1-1 Blaz Kavcic
# Raonic’s first two round at the Australian Open 2011:
1R: Raonic d. Phau 7-6(3), 6-3, 7-6(8) 27 aces (2 hrs. 7 min.)
2R: Raonic d. Llodra 7-6(3), 6-3, 7-6(4) 21 aces (2 hrs. 18 min.)
# Raonic saved a set point only in the 3rd set against Phau (7:8* in the TB)
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Australian Open – Day 3 (2R)

In the picture, Verdasco’s reaction after winning epic matches at the US Open ’10 & Australian Open ’11.

As Fernando Verdasco [9] won amazing five-set match from two-sets-to-love against David Ferrer during the last US Open, we would have expected a long time before he would win another match in such a difficult situation. However he did it today on Hisense Arena overcoming Janko Tipsarevic [49] in extraordinary circumstances. After winning the first two sets, Tipsarevic led 3:1* (40-0) in the 4th set, Verdasco saved the triple break point with an ace and two brilliant winners DTL. Later on, Tipsarevic led 5:3* (30-0), and Verdasco won two consecutive points with help of an amateurish drop-shot and overhead! The Serb served once again to win the match at 6:5, after the second-serve ace he had double match point – Verdasco saved both match points with passing-shots (Tipsarevic played three volleys at the second m.p.!). The drama was continuing when Tipsarevic saved two break points to get another match point. Two points before,  Verdasco signalized problems with his right ankle, but was running amazingly during the third m.p., and after a lot of stretching from both sides, Carlos Ramos overruled a decision of the linesman which would have given a match for the Serb, who couldn’t challenge the ball due to lack of challenges remaining! It was a turning point of the match, after that rally Tipsarevic lost everything, his energy, his concentration and his fighting spirit – Verdasco notched a streak of 19 points won in a row (!) and comfortably got the 5th set, finishing the match with three consecutive aces, served 23 aces during his almost 3-hour 2-6, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6, 6-0 triumph. Verdasco: “I think that…every time you win one match like this in a Grand Slam it’s important for yourself to get confidence to see that you are good physically and mentally. It was of course, very important win after coming again two sets to love down, and also saving match point in the fourth set…I think it’s very positive for me.”
Verdasco’s compatriot, Nicolas Almagro [14] also won a match escaping from match points in the 4th set. In the tie-break of the 4th set against Igor Andreev [75], Almagro saved two match points (5:6, 7:8) with attacking style – on the second match point Andreev had relatively easy ball to pass the Spaniard. Andreev led also *4:2 (deuce) in the 5th set but lost after almost 4 hours. Six years ago in Miami, Andreev beat Almagro (7-6, 2-6, 7-6) saving two match points in the final set tie-break…
Tomas Berdych [6] was virtually on verge to lose his second round clash from match points up in the 4th set as well, playing against one of the toughest unseeded opponents – Philipp Kohlschreiber [35]. In the 4th set, Berdych couldn’t convert match points in two games, then at break point, felt relief serving an ace and eventually advanced to the third round after 6th match point, in 3 hours 3 minutes (4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-4).

Longest match:
3 hours, 54 minutes: Nicolas Almagro d. Igor Andreev 7-5, 2-6, 4-6, 7-6(10), 7-5
Most aces:
23 – Fernando Verdasco, defeated in five sets Janko Tipsarevic
5-set barometer:
18-14 Roger Federer
14-8 Fernando Verdasco
13-7 Janko Tipsarevic
8-7 Nicolas Almagro
5-8 Igor Andreev
5-3 Gilles Simon
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Match of the 1st round (Nalbandian vs. Hewitt)

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Lleyton Hewitt [54] and David Nalbandian [21] met on Rod Laver Arena for the second time after six years (but on the surface with a different color) and just like in 2005, they played a wonderful, dramatic match, without any … Continue reading

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Australian Open – Day 2 (1R)

Juan Martin del Potro [236] came to Melbourne last year admittedly with suspicious physical shape, but in a glory of the US Open ’09 champion. Now, after a wasted year due to injury, tries to rebuild his position in the tennis world and his first step is notable – he beats Dudi Sela [92] in straight sets, winning #the third longest tie-break in the Australian Open history. In the tie-break of the 1st set he saved five set points (5:6, 7:8, 8:9, 11:12, 12:13), two of them on opponent’s serve, in impressive style the last one when played a forehand winner DTL of the tramlines.
Interesting battle on Margaret Court Arena survived one of the oldest players in the main draw – Michael Russell [100]. 32-year-old journeyman of America, after winning the first two sets easily against “wild card” Matthew Ebden [185], led 4:1 with a double break in the 3rd set but found himself at 3:5* (15-40) in the 4th set. Russell managed to save that double set point, saved another one in the tie-break at 6:7 and won 6-3, 6-2, 5-7, 7-6(9) after 3 hours 22 minutes.
John Isner [20] who wins more sets than anyone else being one or two points away from losing a set, once again showed his tremendous mental resistance in the 2nd set of his match against Florent Serra [69]. At *7:7 tried to finish the point with a forehand but missed by centimeters, wasn’t upset though and in the following point risked with his forehand twice to save the second set point (the first was at 6:7). Isner won 6-3, 7-6(8), 6-3, after exactly the same scoreline (except the score in a tie-break) won his match Feliciano Lopez [31], who will meet next the biggest Australian hope, 18-year-old Bernard Tomic [199] – a good performance on Hisense Arena against Jeremy Chardy [44] –  Tomic’s first win over a Top 50 player. “I think I played well as a junior,” Tomic says, “That’s totally different to the senior level. But I think I’m stepping up and beating all these players now. I think it’s just a matter of time before I win a lot of matches in a row in a tournament“. Other youngsters, Milos Raonic and Richard Berankis won their matches in straight sets as well, Raonic served 27 aces in his first Grand Slam win.
Two out of four main contenders to the title, Rafael Nadal [1] and Andy Murray [5] weren’t forced to work even trough three sets, because their opponents, respectively Marcos Daniel and Karol Beck retired quickly.
In one of the most entertaining first round matches, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga [13] came back for the first time in his career from two-sets-to-love to improve his perfect five-set record (5-0). The beaten Philipp Petzschner [57] has lost for the third time being two sets ahead ##, and for the third time after winning the first two sets easily…
Unfortunately there were many lopsided three-setters, the most surprising outcome was witnessed on Court No. 18 where Ernests Gulbis could not deal with Benjamin Becker.

Longest match:
4 hours, 48 minutes: David Nalbandian d. Lleyton Hewitt 3-6, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(1), 9-7
Most aces:
27 – Milos Raonic, defeated in three sets Bjorn Phau
5-set barometer:
30-16 Lleyton Hewitt
17-11 David Nalbandian
12-18 Arnaud Clement
9-6 Marcos Baghdatis
8-7 Andreas Seppi
6-6 Philipp Petzschner
5-0 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
4-1 Ricardo Mello
3-3 Thomaz Bellucci
2-2 Grega Zemlja
1-1 Pere Riba
, Carsten Ball
# Three longest tie-breaks in the Australian Open history:
2007, 1R: Andy Roddick d. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-7(18), 7-6, 6-3, 6-3
1992, 3R: Omar Camporese d. Lars-Anders Wahlgren 6-4, 6-2, 7-6(15)
2011, 1R: Juan Martin del Potro d. Dudi Sela 7-6(13), 6-4, 6-4
Del Potro’s tie-break
## Petzschner’s five-set defeats from 2-sets-to-0 up:
UO ’09: Juan Carlos Ferrero 6-1, 6-3, 4-6, 2-6, 4-6
AO ’10: Florian Mayer 6-0, 6-2, 4-6, 2-6, 2-6
RG ’10: Carsten Ball 6-3, 7-6(4), 2-6, 5-7, 7-9
AO ’11: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-4, 6-2, 2-6, 3-6, 4-6
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Australian Open – Day 1 (1R)

Mardy Fish [17] was working really hard last year to improve his physical fitness, and the work pays dividends – among his last eight singles wins, five came after 5-set matches! Today he prevailed against a tricky Victor Hanescu [50] 2-6, 4-6, 6-3, 7-5, 6-3, improving his 5-set record to 8-7 (2-7 before the US Open ’10).
Less luck had Fish’s compatriot, Sam Querrey [18] who was surprisingly ousted in five sets by Lukasz Kubot [72] 7-5, 2-6, 6-3, 1-6, 6-8. The American led 6:5* (30-0) in the 5th set as Kubot played a couple risky shots from the baseline and finished the rally with an overhead. He took the momentum after that, supported by bunch of Polish fans who were yelling “Walcz Łukasz! Walcz!” (Fight Lukas! Fight!). After the win, Kubot performed his own dance… the same thing did Gael Monfils [12] but with lesser expression, after winning a match point against Thiemo de Bakker [47]. The Dutchman after saving a triple set point in the 1st set, had the match in his own hands but couldn’t convert a 5:2* lead in the 3rd set and lost 7-6(5), 6-2, 5-7, 2-6, 1-6, limping at the end… “When I get back at 5-all, I had a strong belief like, ‘Oh, I could make him play like more and even go to the fifth. In the fifth, we never know,’” says Monfils – the 5-set specialist.
Also from on verge of straight sets defeat was Philipp Kohlschreiber [35]. In a prestigious duel with Tobias Kamke [65] (“the newcomer of 2010”, has aspirations to surpass “Kohli” as No. 1 in Germany), Kohlschreiber was two points away from loss in the 3rd set tie-break but won 1-6, 4-6, 7-6(6), 6-4, 6-4 after almost 4-hour battle on Court No. 13. They met in the first round also during last year’s US Open and Kohlschreiber won easier then, in comfortable four sets.
Beside Querrey, among seeded victims is Nikolay Davydenko [25], last year in the Top 5 during the Australian Open with wins over Nadal and Federer under his belt, now after being beaten by Florian Mayer [36] in four sets, will drop outside Top 30 at the beginning of February.

Longest match:
4 hours, 24 minutes: Frederico Gil d. Pablo Cuevas 6-4, 6-7(7), 4-6, 6-3, 9-7
Most aces:
48 – Ivo Karlovic, lost in five sets to Ivan Dodig (just the second case in history that a player served 48 aces, previously did it Marc Rosset, ten years ago in Neuchatel – Davis Cup)
5-set barometer:
9-5 Philipp Kohlschreiber
8-7 Mardy Fish
8-5 Victor Hanescu
8-2 Gael Monfils
6-1 Albert Montanes
6-4 Lukasz Kubot
3-13 Ivo Karlovic
3-1 Frederico Gil
2-3 Pablo Cuevas
2-0 Ivan Dodig
1-1 Tobias Kamke
1-2 Thiemo de Bakker
1-4 Sam Querrey
0-1 Dustin Brown
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2nd WEEK

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Gilles  Simon has improved his great record in ATP singles final to 8-2 after winning a tournament in Sydney. The Frenchman ousted in the final Viktor Troicki of Serbia – the Davis Cup ’10 hero – in tight straight sets. … Continue reading

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1st WEEK

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It was a Swiss week – in Doha, Roger Federer after a shaky start in the first round (was forced to save a triple set point against an unknown Dutchman – Thomas Schoorel, 7-6 6-3), showed great form and won … Continue reading

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Dr. Ivo is back! Nestor’s record

Ivo Karlovic, known as the tallest player, ace-machine and the most frequent tie-break player, comes back after 8-month injury in characteristic style in Doha, winning two matches in which were played 5 tie-breaks (no breaks of serve): 1 Lukas Rosol … Continue reading

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Two tie-breaks

New year, new expectations… I like different Internet tools so I’ve decided to write regularly about men’s tennis in 2011 on my blog, at least once per week, the first six months. I believe this season will be more interesting … Continue reading

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