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Down Under Results Upside Down: Temp heating up for Open

DEL POTRO Upset along with all other seeds; Time for The BAGMAN's Quixotic Journey to Resume?

January 12, 2012 | 07:57 PM

SYDNEY (Apia International): DEL POTRO Upset along with all other seeds; Time for The BAGMAN's Quixotic Journey to Resume?

In the top half, Alex Bogie Bogomolov lost in straight sets in the quarters today to Benneteau after upsetting 5th seed Troicki in 3 sets in the 2nd round. Benneteau had upset 4th seed Lopez in straights in the 2nd round, and now faces Baghdatis who upset 1st seed Del Potro 7-6 (7), 6-4. The Bagman made it exciting, as he often does against the stars, coming back from down double set point, 4-6 in the 1st set tie-breaker, to win the set and run out the match.

Hard to believe it was 6 years ago that Baghdatis made his one and only run to a major final in Australia, beating #3 Roddick, #8 Ljubicic and #4 Nalbandian (in 4 sets, five and five, coming back from down two sets in the semis to Nails). In the final he lost to Federer in 4 sets after winning the first 7-5. That year Marcos had played Auckland as a tune-up and lost in the first round to Nieminen. Jarkko was at that time ranked #30, about twice as high as Marcos, and went on to win Auckland and reach the 3rd round of the Oz Open. By that summer each man would reach his career high ranking: #8 for Bagman; #13 for The Finn, who will be 31 years old this summer, may have a late stage min-aissance and win his 2nd tour title in his 12 year career (he's lost in 10 finals).

The Bagman has 4 career titles in 11 finals, and at only 26, he could be ready for the Renaissance after his fall from grace in 2008, due to injury. His year-end rankings (below) tell the story of his Rise and Fall:

RANK Year Change

159 '04 + 42

55 '05 +104

12 '06 + 43

16 '07 - 4

98 '08 - 82

42 '09 + 56

20 '10 + 22

44 '11 - 24

After spending almost 3 years ranked below #1000, and 12 years on the tour, Bagman has fewer miles on his treads than most of the mid-career top 20 playing today:

AGE Total Pro Matches

Isner 26 286 * (he played 4 years of college tennis)

Troicki 25 421

Monfils 25 434

Tsonga 26 481

Baghdatis 26 486

Murray 24 521

Gasquet 25 530

Simon 27 561

Joker 25 576

Soderling 27 585

Tipsarevic 27 613

Berdych 26 637

Rafa 26 746

Even more so than Fish, Bagman had a very strong early career, breaking into the top 10 as a 21 year old, and remaining in the top 50 for 5 years (with 3 of those years in the top 20). Since '08, he's been working his way back, occasionally upsetting top players (Federer in 3 at Indian Wells in '10, coming back from down double match point on his serve in the 2nd set; Rafa in 3 in Cincy in '10), but reaching only 4 finals and winning but two titles. He tends to play well in big events with a .618 winning percentage in Majors, and excels playing the best players in the spotlight (Agassi at The Open in '06 was a classic 5 setter which Andre began his book Open writing about in detail as one of his best matches ever, if not the best. He took a set from Joker at Wimbledon in 2011 and Australia 2009, has a 3-3 record with Murray, last beating him at Rotterdam in 2011, and beat Ferrer in 5 sets in Australia in 2010.

The faster the surface and the purer the arena (2 of his 4 titles have been indoors), the better his chances have been, though his best results in majors have come in heat. The Cypriot will like the weather at the start of the Open this Monday, when it's expected to hit 98 degrees (it will be much hotter on court).

The player whose game his most resembles is #14 Dogopolov - another danger in anyone's early draw. Looking at their RICOH Match Facts reveals just how similarly they add up on court:

If the odds favored someone who has done well in a tune up, Bagman would be a good choice for a long shot who can do the kind of damage he just did against Del Potro. If, however, tune up winners tend to play to their seeding (as we recently saw from Jeff Sackmann's post on heavytopspin about the fate of tune up winners), then expect the Ukrainian to do better at the Open. And if Bagman were to draw Dogman, it should be a very entertaining, unique, up-and-down duel...

In the bottom half at Sydney:

- #77 Jarrko Nieminin faces #67 Denis Istomin in the semis, after upsetting (respectively) 8th seeded Stepanek and 3rd seeded Gasquet.

- 2nd seed Isner fell in his opening match to American Bobby Reynolds, a 29 year old career journeyman ranked 126 who in 9 years on the tour has yet to make a Bogie-like leap farther up the rankings than #63 (in 2009). He remained in the top 100 for 12 months between '08 and '09 (ending '08 at his highest #70), but has ended the last three years at #333 ('09), #163 ('10), and 130 ('11). Bobby lost to Jarrko in the quarters.

WOMEN in SYDNEY: Upsets Leave Na Li and Azarenka in Final

The story began with unseeded Schiavone upsetting 5th seed Stosur 6-2, 6-4 and Kuznetsova upsetting 6th seed Zvonareva 6-1, 6-2 in the 1st round. Both winners then lost in the 2nd round, to Hantuchova and Safarova, respectively.

In the 3rd round, 7th seed Radwanska continued a romp that began with her sister, took out Petkovic &-5. 6-4 in the 2nd round, and upset #1 seed Wozniacki in the 3rd round, 3-6, 7-5, 6-2. She lost ion the semis to 3rd seed Azarenka, 1-6, 6-3, 6-2.

In the other half 2nd seed Kvitova eliminated Hantuchova in the quarters and then suffered an upset from 4th seed Na Li, 1-6, 7-5, 6-2.

Ni La will play Azarenka for the title tomorrow.

AUCKLAND, NZ (Heineken Open)

The men's seeds fared better:

- #1 seed Ferrer Defeated Falla

- #3 seed Verdasco defeated Garcia-Lopez

- #8 seed Kohlschreiber defeated #2 seed Almagro

- unseeded Rochus defeated Paire


ATP/WTA Sydney, Auckland Results

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