Guccione Unlocks key to consistancy
4 January, AAP - Laconic lefty Chris Guccione believes his 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (7-5) upset of Arnaud Clement in the Adelaide International may have unlocked the elusive consistency he requires to become a force on the world stage.
Always potentially destructive due to his booming serve and wrong-footing variety, Guccione has never before managed to string together top level performances as he has done at a boiling hot Memorial Drive this week.
That he has reached a first ATP quarter-final the day after Mark Philippoussis' umpteenth breakdown also suggests he might just be the man to aid Lleyton Hewitt in the fight for a sport that has been flagging for some time down under.
Ranked 153 in the world, Guccione has previously excelled for Australia in the Davis Cup and has also registered a pair of wins over Juan Carlos Ferrero, but this was the first time he had defeated three top 100 players in succession - Amer Delic, Benjamin Becker and now French veteran Clement.
Understanding the need to develop during a year spent mainly on the challenger circuit, Guccione spent much of 2006 at the AIS, doing just about anything but hitting a tennis ball.
"I made some improvements, I had a pretty tough season physically, I didn't hit a lot of balls, I was doing physical training and working on my leg strength," he said.
"So that helps me get down to my volleys and also movement on the baseline."
Reaching Adelaide in excellent shape, it was now simply a matter of getting the results, something he has done without dropping a set - raising hopes that Guccione can be an influential figure at the Australian Open, where he has just been given a wildcard.
"I wasn't sure I had it (the wildcard), I haven't been told, now that I know I can completely focus on here and then Sydney next week," he said.
"Hopefully I can carry this form into Sydney and the Aussie Open - I think I can do some damage if I play this well."
Clement would wearily agree after falling foul of Guccione's precision serving, 11 aces and 40 of 50 first serve points won in a match that neared two hours in length.
Well done Chris making Quarters of Adelaide thats a personal best. Hopefully he can get over the line against Gasquet and good luck in the doubles too with Wayne.