January 18, 2012 | 10:16 PM
2nd ROUND RESULTS:
Exhibit A: Mardy Fish
- What happened to Mardy Fish in the 2nd round could happen to a number of other men and women who have played too little since recovering from late season injuries (I don't mean losing to Alajandro Falla in 3 sets, 6-7, 3-6, 6-7). Mardy simply did not have his A game back. Whether or not his movement was compromised by injury wasn't clear, but his timing was awol: 37 of his 58 unforced errors were forehands, and many were high percentage attempts at topspin crosscourts which went wide into the alley due to poor contact.
Justin Gimelstob was sharing his pet peeve with Mardy during the TC broadcast, recounting that he'd told him repeatedly - as recently as that morning - that he would have to hit the body serve to beat Falla, a good returner (The 28 year old Colombian has never been ranked higher than 58, but has hassled some top seeds before, notably Federer at Wimbledon in 2010, when he took the first two sets in the 1st round before losing in five, 0-6 in the 5th). His serve had little directly do with Mardy's forehand errors, but he may have lacked confidence to follow his serve to net. An indication to me that Mardy was not on his game - and perhaps barely on his feet - was just how seldom he ever went to the net: 28 times times in 218 points (barely 1 in 8 points). Of these approaches, he won 17, contributing less than 17% to his point total. Andy Roddick approached net on 20% of his points today, winning over 20% of his own point total at the net - and friendly as the two men are, Fish would be ashamed to call Roddick's net game his own.
Who is Fish's exit good for?
Del Potro, first, then Federer, both in his quarter. Delpo won in 3 sets today, and Roger got a walkover.
Who else could follow Fish out of the tournament before their time?
- Serena (ankle turn in Brisbane 2 weeks ago; rusty, with only 3 matches since the US Open final)
- Maria, Clijsters (too little match play to survive 2nd week)
- Rafa (mysterious injury or ailment that requires 1 month lay-off post-Oz; hurt his knee sitting in a chair in
his hotel... not a good sign - reminds me of the NHL star who recently hurt his back eating pancakes...)
Serena, Maria and Clijsters have won easily to reach round 3, but now will face a different level of competition:
- Serena plays 17th seed Cibulkova (a Wimbledon quarterfinalist in 2011)
- Maria plays 30th seed Kerber
- Clijsters plays #20 seed Hantuchova
Won 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 v. Haas (age 33, 3 time Australian semi-finalist, ranked as high as second 10 years ago)
Tommy is a good ball striker and still has good movement, and though he's played very few matches in the last 2 years due to injury, he worried Rafa in two of their three sets, coming back from 0-4 in the 1st to have a break point to tie the set at 5-5, and opening the 3rd set with a break of Rafa. Rafa said his knee felt fine, but his play was called scratchy in patches. He hasn't won a hard court tournament since the Tokyo in 2010 (he's won only 7 hard court tournies in the last 5 years, including two majors). Not only is it hard to see him beating Joker in the final, it's hard to see him getting to the final.
Rafa's first real test may not come until the 4th round from either #16 John Isner or #18 Feliciano Lopez. Isner eked out a 5th set 10-8 to beat Nalbandian, coming from down 1-2 in sets and needing a 7-5 tie-break to win the 4th set (43 aces helped his cause). Berdych has rolled through his first two matches in Rafa's quarter. Getting to the semis will be test enough for Rafa this year. Then we won't see him until at least Indian Wells, if he doesn't decide to take more injury time and wait for Monte Carlo and clay. He might be scarier than ever if he he waited out this awkward pre-clay season.
AMERICAN Losers: Querrey, Bogomolov, Young
- Sam went down in 4 sets Bernard Tomic (Sam double-faulted his serve away from deuce in the 3rd set)
- Bogomolov went down in 5 sets to Michael Llodra (Bogie hit but 1 winner...)
- Young went down in 4 sets to Lukas Lacko
COMING UP NEXT FOR AMERICAN MEN:
- Isner v Lopez (3rd round)
- Roddick v Hewitt (2nd round, night match Day 4)
- Sweetig v Ferrer (in progress; Ryan took the 1st set, lost the 2nd)
- #6 seed Sam STOSUR was the big catch of the day, caught by Sorana Cirstea 7-6 (2), 6-3. The jitters of playing in her homeland seemed more responsible than anything else for Sam's nervous errors, which out-numbered her winners by almost 3:1. It was for her a "total disappointment" to end this way after wining her first major 4 months ago, but she has good company: the three other major winner's from last year all lost in the first two rounds of the subsequent major (Clijsters, Kvitova and Ni La).
COMING UP NEXT FOR AMERICAN WOMEN:
SERENA v. #17 Cibulkova (3rd round)
MCHALE v. #13 Jankovic (3rd round)
STEPHENS v. #18 Kuznetsova (2nd round)
KING v. #15 Pavlyuchenkova (2nd round in progress, 1st set)
- Jean Hampton lost to Maria, 6-0, 6-1
AUST. OPEN, 2ND ROUND 1.18.12