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Isner out of Sydney, Aussie Open

Sydney Plays to Form as Major Tune-up

January 09, 2013 | 08:27 PM


What does playing to form mean in a tune-up tournament the week before a major?

FOR THE MEN, except perhaps on grass, where the surface suits players and the players have to cram all of their practice on the surface into the two weeks preceding Wimbledon, it may mean that seeded players are more likely to be upset in tune-ups then they are in other events. This could be explained by the fact that, absent the top 10 players, the rest of the field is less likely to dominate players beneath their rank.

In the 2nd round yesterday, seeds #1 (ISNER), 4 (Verdasco), 5 (Mayer) and 6 (Stepanek) were upset:

- Harrison def. Isner 6-4, 6-4

- Istomin def. Verdasco 6-3, 6-3

- Tomic def. Mayer 7-6 (4), 6-2

- Benneteau def. Stepanek

Isner's weak play may be excused by a bone bruise in his right knee which hindered his training and has resulted in his announcing he will not play in the Australian Open due to the risk of injuring it further by playing. But the fact that only two seeds made it to the quarters isn't a great surprise in this event: #3 Seppi and #8 Granollers. They are joined with the upset winners above, plus Kevin Anderson (defeated Lopez 6-3, 6-4) and Jarkko Nieminen (defending champion).

FOR THE WOMEN, playing to form is more likely to mean players advancing according to expectations, as a look at the Sydney semifinals bears out:

- #1 Radwanska v. #4 Na Li

- #2 Kerber v Cibulkova

This tuning up will soon be over. The draw for the big show will be announced this Friday, when we'll report on what it portends.

Cavorting with Wozniacki and Rory in Sydney, we may see Maria with her latest boy toy, Grigor Dimitrov, or Baby Fed, as he's known because of the resemblance of his game to the old man's.

This, and more news, in the days to come.


ATP, WTA 1.11.13

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