ATP Buenos Aires 2012 reports.
I attended 1st round on Tuesday, Wednesday`s 2nd round and I`m going to go on Friday QF and Saturday SF
This year the tourmanent has a better draw than previous editions. I would say that it is probably the best ones since the days where Argentina has 5 players ranked in the top 12, or the Argentine troupie where in the elite like it happened in mid 2005.
People liking their countrymen doing it well is something that doesn`t escape to any part of the world but this is the first time that I find Argentine tennis fans so entusiasthic about the draw since the days mentioned before.
Weather is quite hazard this year due the climate changes that are happening globally and here is not the exception. There are many days that are hotter than usual with temperatures raising close to 40 degrees, really humid and with many rain storms, a weather that remains me to my long haul trips to Southern Brazil when I was in my early 20ties. Saturday quallies where really hot and humid. I expected Chardy to win his match against Molteni and easily reach the MD. But I reckon the heat affected more Chardy than Molteni who took advantage of that victory to reach his first ATP MD. But players were lucky enough till now as the wind changed coming from the south bringing some relief to the northern heat.
Some people may wonder why certain players are in South America and they didn`t play in US Series or indoors in Europe. And when you see Wawrinka relaxing on court 3 seeing his friend Benoit Paire struggling with Javier Marti, ATP supervisor Lars Graff seeing Mertinak-Sa and other players walking around the club like Ferrero, Fernando Gonzalez or Pippo Volandri you understand this is a relaxing atmosphere and inspite of they come to compete they do it in a different atmosphere than other tournaments I attended around the world (probably only compared with Australia in that way). Other players like to spend their time around the city like Kei Nishikori or Gilles Simon among some stories I picked up as well as some Spaniards that like to hang out for fun at Buenos Aires night (don`t ask me for names please
The draw is more than interesting and people is taking advantage that Monday and Tuesday were not working day as we are “celebrating carnival”. I was unable to get a full schedule ticket that was cheaper than to buy each sessions as my holidays were not confirmed till Friday so I`m attending specific days where I find some interesting matches or players that I want to see.
Tuesday 21th. Day session
Gilles Simon bt Rui Machado 6-3/7-5.
Playing with pace, a good percentage of first serves and some good returns of serve for a couple of breaks on Machado`s serve, waiting for Machado to attack and using his rival power to counterpounch him would had been enough to close his first match easily. But Simon was making more unforced mistakes than usual and his serve not working well helped to make the first set quite more difficult than what the scores showed.
Machado is not a bad player at all. He has good background shots: a nice forehand that he plays with heavy topspin, a nice two handed backhand that when he played it down the forehand line of Simon was really good. His return of serve is descent as well as his serve itself. But Machado has no tactical plan at all, he seems not that smart either and emotionally quite weak too. A real shame because he has good tennis.
On the 2nd set Simon was a break down to lead 4-2 and close the match but lost his serve easily and Machado levelled 4-4. Seemed to be that Machado was going to give a good fight and take things to a 3rd set but again lost his serve amazinly making silly mistakes to lose the match 6-3 7-5
Fernando Verdasco bt Eric Prodon 6-4/6-1
Two players and two different realities. Verdasco was clearly from another level while Prodon doesn`t play bad at all.
The Spaniard is a player that I really enjoy watching because as a lefty produces amazing angles with his powerful forehand, his backhand is descent and his serve is good too for clay. Well, I reckon you know Verdasco pretty well... He is not at his best on these days and you can see that he tends to mentally vanished during a match , then returns back and so on.
Prodon is a descent CH tour player. I would say that inspite of is not a big talent and not very tall his first serve is good and his game generally speaking is clean and descent. He tends to make tactical mistakes but generally speaking is the typical claycourter that can play long rallies and find his place to shot a winner.
Prodon looked pretty nervous at the beggining of the match and Verdasco took an early advantage to lead 3-0 but out of the blue he made a lot of unforced mistakes, Prodon came back to tie the match 3-3. But Verdasco returned to the match and close it 6-4 without doing anything extraordinary. On the 2nd set it was a combination of mistakes made by Prodon and some powerful shots by the Spaniard to close the match 6-4/6-1.
Verdasco has a protection in one of his knees and seemed to have some troubles to walk properly. Will see if that was just my impression or if that may affect his performance against players that can give him a fight.
Benoit Paire bt Javier Marti
I was seeing Simon and Machado`s match from court 2 and from the top of the stand I could see clearly the match between Paire and Marti.
The Frenchman is one of those strange cases on the tour that has a clear talent to play. He makes no effort when he is emotional in order can produce some great tennis. Paire`s serve is good, his two double backhand is probably his best shot and volleys are really good (he has great hands). His forehand is probably his weaker shot with a strange motion where he starts his movement with his elbow back instead of his whole arm and makes like a weird hook to hit it. As strange as it is his forehand is his weaker weapon. He plays descently and hits some winners when he is in control of the point but makes a lot of unforced mistakes from that side when he is being moved around or the ball bounces high or low than the height of his waist. Strange man he is generally speaking.
Marti is a bit different than the rest of the Spaniard trouphe as he tends to play the ball without so many topspin. He tends to play cleaner shots than the traditional game of the Spaniards with a tendecy to play his single backhand quite flat as well as his forehand. His serve is quite poor and clearly needs to develop his body work as he doesn`t look strong enough. He has a clear actitude similar to the rest of the Spaniard to fight and fight and plays tactically quite well.
Marti has the match on his hands has he was leading 6-2 and Paire got mad when lost an advantage of 5-1 in the 2nd set. Marti fought it back to lead 6-5 and serving for the match. Paire was in the 7th hell. But nerves vanished Marti`s chances to close the match, Paire played a couple of good points added to some mistakes of the unexperienced Spaniard to close the 2nd set 7-6. On the 3rd set Paire returned back to life, played some great tennis added to the frustration of Marti to advance to 2nd round.
Igor Andreev bt Blaz Kavcic 6-2/6-2
Definitely it was not the day of Kavcic who made unnumbered mistakes from his forehand, backhand, first serves out and double faults. Andreev just put the ball in the game, left the responsibility of the match to Kavcic and attacked when he had his chances. It was an easy day for Igor.
Wednesday 22nd. Day session.
Stanislas Wawrinka bt Benoit Paire 6-3/5-7/6-2
It was a strange match where the whole match depended of what the Swiss was doing. The Swiss changed his racket to Yonex which I`m not sure that was a good idea. He is not shotting winners as he used to do it in the past where that Head racket helped and suited better on him. Now is a player that tends to control and build up a bit more the points but definitely goes against his natural tendency to playstrong forehands and backhands and play shorter points.
Wawrinka is much more of a player than Paire and was leading 6-3/5-3 to close the match but made silly mistakes serving at 5-4 and lost 4 games in a row. In the 3rd set Paire played some good backhands , served pretty well and produced some sexy volleys but that was not enough and Wawrinka broke twice to close the match 6-2 without doing anything extraordinary.
Kei Nishikori bt Victor Hanescu 3-6/7-5/6-1
I didn`t saw mainly the first set as I was watching a doubles match. I arrived when Hanescu was leading 5-2, Kei kept his served and Hanescu served without troubles to close that first set. On the 2nd set Hanescu took an early break to lead 2-0 but Kei fought back to recover back and tie things at 2-2. Hanescu`s tennis definitely suits better to clay courts while the Japanese was all the time struggling to keep in the match giving a great fight, hitting a few winners and kept focused on it. That was the key to win that match.
Kei`s serve is ok, he is a good fighter and counterpouncher as well as he attacks when he was good chances to do it. Looks like a traditional Spaniard sometimes definitely does it better on hard courts than on clay ones. But he has a great spirit and that`s something I really appreciate on a tennis player. Hanescu was hitting some good winners, playing tactically well, taking advantage of Kei`s problems to suit to clay until 5 all in the 2nd set. But the Rumanian was unable to hold his nerves and when Kei had a chance took it to close the 2nd set.
And this is something I will never understand of Hanescu because instead of having a picture of what was happening and knowing that he has better weapons on clay than Nishikori he simply gave up and the match in consecuence.
Doubles. 1st round
Mertinak-Sa bt Bolelli-Volandri 6-3/6-4
I saw the 2nd set. Mertinak is definitely the head of the team while Sa is clearly a good doubles player inspite of he looks unstable at times. Bolelli could be a great doubles player who has a good idea of how to play it tactically while Volandri played a descent role from the baseline.
While Mertinak and Bolelli had no troubles to keep their serves Sa and Volandri where on the opposite corner. But Sa played really well at the net and was very aggresive during Volandri`s serve to take that advantage to close the match in straight sets. It was definitely more interesting match than the score shows.
I`m definitely attending Friday`s night sessions and I will decide if I go during the day session according to QF lineup.
I had some problems with my camera and took not many pics but if you would like to see some pics feel free to contact me in private and I can add you to my facebook where I will put them