Re: Australian Open reports
Today was an extremely hot day, one of the toughest days I've had at the tennis, and it would have been even tougher on the players. I think it reached about 43 degrees C. The first matches of the day were all played in the full heat, and it was really a contest of who could stand the heat better. After that the roof was closed on Vodafone and RLA and outside courts were stopped. I was so thankful that I had a Vodafone reserved seat, even though I wouldnt normally go in there, it was useful on a day like this. I spent most of the day on Vodafone for lack of anything else to see, though the womens matches on Vodafone were boring as they were one sided blowouts.
The outside courts started up again at 8.15pm, and continued through until about 3.30am, though I left at about 10.30pm. It was very exciting and different to see all the outside court matches going on in the dark under the lights. It was still extremely hot and humid, even at night, and it was literally like being in an oven in the day, as there was a hot wind too. It was just horrible conditions for the players playing the first match.
Rochus def Guccione
This was a good match from both players. Guccione served very well and Olivier couldn't break his serve for most of the match. Olivier had to play excellent on his own serve, and not miss any shot, as he could not afford to get broken himself. He succeeded in doing this, and it helped that Guccione's baseline game is vastly inferior. The match was very close, and Guccione should have won when he had 0-40 on Olivier's serve at 7-6 in the 5th set and 3 match points. At this stage, lots of people ran down the aisles next to the court, to get ready for autographs as they thought it would be over. However Guccione choked on his match points, on one of them there was a very long rally where Chris just kept slicing the ball into the middle of the court and was too scared to go for anything. He did this for about 10 shots, and finally Olivier hit it away into the corner, then volleyed the reply for a winner. Olivier held his serve and then played some excellent returns to break Guccione in the next game, then served it out. It was a great match from Olivier and Chris would be disappointed at not taking his chances, but he has to learn that he cant play passively against great players and expect to win big points.
Blake def Moya
This was a great match to watch, both played well but Blake was just too good. James had about double the amount of winners to UEs, and Moya didnt play badly but was just unlucky to draw Blake in good form.
Nalbandian def Tipsarevic
This was played in the full heat of the day, outdoors on MCA. Nalbandian was playing badly and on the brink of losing down 2-5 in the 3rd set, but Janko choked serving for the match. After Nalby levelled at 5-5 Janko started feeling the heat and looked tired. He lost the TB, and took a timeout to get heat treatment. It didnt do much good though, as he was clearly struggling for the rest of the match. He could hardly move to any ball, couldnt hit as hard, wasnt reaching up for his serve, and tried to finish points quickly when he could. It was terrible to watch him wilt like that, and I got the feeling that he was just going to stand on court playing like that until he lost 12 more games. Nalbandian wasnt really playing that well, but only needed to get the ball in and Janko could not run to it. The result was obvious after Nalby won the 3rd set, but the rest was like a car accident, I could not look away. In the 5th set Janko tried to make a stand, and put all his effort into the match. He held his serve but failed to break Nalby and lost his serve the game after. So he realised even his best effort wouldnt work, and did the sensible thing and retired, as there was no point standing there for longer in the heat as he could hardly even stand anymore.
Gonzalez def Korolev
This was played at night under the lights. There was a great atmosphere with plenty of Chilean fans supporting Gonzo. They had waited for this match all day through the heat delay, and even sat through the whole first match on this court waiting for Gonzo to come on. This was a good match, with both players playing well. Korolev is very talented, he is a power player and has a massive forehand. His forehand was about as hard as Gonzo's, and they both took turns to blast away with their forehands. I saw only the first set, it was very close and not much in it, but Korolev just played a better TB.
Smeets def Lacko
This was played in the heat of the day, and Smeets handled it better than Lacko, who had probably never played in this heat in his life. Smeets played great, he served well, came in and volleyed a lot, and his some great forehands. Smeets had a lot more power than Lacko, who is basically a consistent counterpuncher, who had no weapons to trouble Smeets.