Monday AO report

01-22-2004, 01:47 PM
I'm just putting this here as I think lots of poeple dont go to the AO forum. Feel free to move it though. A bit late, but I was too tired to post anything the last few days.

Nieminen def Massu

This was a good match between two baseline grinders, and Jarkko was the better one on the day, making less errors than Massu. In the 4th set Massu bent over and looked like he was hurt, i think he rolled his ankle a little, but then he continued and broke serve right after, so it didnt seem to affect him. Jarkko played really well, and looked like he was in good form. When he won he looked so happy, he raised both arms in triumph and hit balls into the crowd, he was acting like he'd won the whole tournament when he only beat Massu :lol:

Paradorn def Acasuso

I only saw the 3rd set which was the bagel, and Paradorn was playing really well, hitting loads of winners from the baseline and coming in sometimes and hitting good volleys. He made some flashy shots to please the crowd too. Jose looked like he tanked towards the end when he realised it was hopeless.

Gaudio def Robredo

This was one of the best matches of the day. Robredo was making all the play in this one, really hitting his shots hard and going for the lines, but Gaston played excellent defensive tennis, getting lots of balls back and sometimes forcing Tommy back with beautiful lobs. Tommy made a lot of unforced errors as a result of pressing too much it wasnt his best tennis but Gaudio was really playing well. Maybe Gaston has improved his mental side, I kept waiting for him to lose it or choke but he didnt, he stayed strong throughout, even when Tommy made some charges and went all out trying to break his serve, he saved many break points with great play. The result was a bit of a surprise as I thought Tommy would win, but an excellent match from Gaudio.

Hrbaty def Saretta

Dominik was playing well today, but not as good as he can. I think he might have been a bit tired from just winning Auckland a couple of days ago and playing two straight weeks of tennis. He still produced some quality tennis and did what he had to do, with a break in each set. He had some concentration lapses where he made some unforced errors and lost games. Saretta didnt play as well as he could either, but he's not done that well in Australia before.

Karlovic def Fish

This match was like what you'd expect in the games, both players kept on holding serve due to Ivo's huge serve and also Ivo's crappy return game. Most of the time Ivo would hit the return out on Fish's serve, even when it wasnt a tough serve, but held his own games with ease. In the TB's Ivo was good enough to win at least one point on Fish's serve and hold his own points all the time with big serves, so he won the TB's. Fish must have been so frustrated because he couldnt touch Ivo's serve so there was even more pressure on his own service points, which caused him to make errors sometimes. Ivo was great in the TB's he was so cool under pressure, one time he was 4-5 down and Fish only needed to win one of the two points to get set point on his serve. Ivo missed the first serve, and the Fish fans got excited bc they thought he had a chance, then Ivo bombed down a huge second serve down the middle which Fish couldnt return. Then Ivo went on to win the 2nd set TB. At that stage Fish had won more total points, but amazingly Ivo was two sets to love up. Also, at the end of the match Ivo had 40 UE's to Fish's 20, but Ivo still won the straight sets.
There was a huge army of Croatian supporters for this match, there was a whole wall of them on one side. They were making so much noise cheering Ivo, and i think the support helped him stay strong and get through. You could hear every time Ivo won from a few courts away. I was watching Hrbaty's match when Ivo actually won his match, but I could tell when he won as there was a huge roar and heaps of smoke went up into the air from that court, i think they had canisters or something. It was really over the top just for a first round lol. I took a walk to that general area about 15 mins later and Ivo was still there signing autographs, he was doing it for everyone! He only left when the next players had come onto court and were ready to start their match. I already had Ivo's autograph when I saw him watching qualifying, we got a photo too and he was just the nicest guy, one of the nicest players I've ever met. He didnt stutter at all when he talked so he might have solved that problem now. He has beautiful handwriting too, his is the best autograph i've seen. He was always out there in qualifying every day, watching his fellow Cros like Roko Karanusic and Zeljko Kraijan and in the main draw I saw him watch Ancic too. I've become a fan of him after this, though the only interesting thing about his matches are the TB's.

Lapentti def Hernandez

Nico was just a class above Oscar, he was the more consistent player and played with lots of spins, slices and drop shots as usual. Hernandez was trying to be aggressive, hit the ball harder and closer to the lines, but Nico just kept slicing the ball back deep and Hernandez made all the errors. In the end I think Hernandez tanked, in the last game he hit every return into the net or out, he looked tired of staying out there in the heat when he was being smashed. The match was over very quickly.

Safin def Vahaly

I only saw the first set of this but Marat was playing well, his serve was very good and he hit a lot of winners and not that many unforced errors and overpowered Vahaly who looks very small.

01-23-2004, 01:17 AM
Thanks for this report, Experimentee! I really appreciate being able to "see" these matches through your eyes. :)