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Young Guns Go For It

Posted by gauloises1 on January 20, 2011

I’m pretty sure I’ve used this title before, but that was in my “first career”, OK? It’s all different now.

So amid the Delpo loss and the general malaise that attends me when everyone bangs on about how well Fedal are playing (and they are), there’s reasons for optimism about keeping it interesting as a crop of young players are into the third round, stacking up good wins, and generally making some noise.

Say hello to adorable, curly-topped Canadian qualifier Milos Raonic, who beat twenty-second seed Michael Llodra 76(3) 63 76(4). I’ve been interested in Raonic since I watched him play the sadly-missed Gonzo a couple of years ago in … somewhere in Canada, a match in which the kid had matchpoints, and although he was sidelined in 2009 by injury, he’s definitely back and in the mix. He played a fantastic match against Llodra and kept a cool head despite some dramatics from Llodra, a failed attempt to serve for the match and an extremely dodgy line call. He’s got a massive serve, flashy groundstrokes and a certain “tonight we dine in HELL!!!” quality on the court, which I find irresistibly appealing. He plays Mikhail Youhzny next.

The newly anglicized “Richard”, nee Ricardas, Berankis is also into the third round after David Nalbandian retired down 16 06 02. So there’s a certain amount of good fortune in getting Nalbandian when he’s self-confessedly “empty” after his marathon efforts against Lleyton Hewitt in the first round, but Berankis had an excellent 2010 on the Challenger tour that saw him break the top 100. He plays a much mature game than his 20 years would suggest, and while I think David Ferrer is a bad match-up for him in the next round, I’m sure we’re going to hear his name a lot in 2011. Because he’s good … you know, for a short Lithuanian.

I know, I know, Bernard Tomic is a brat and stole Mahut’s wildcard and pretended to have swine flu to get out of practicing with Lleyton Hewitt and is generally the devil incarnate. But with all the reasons to dislike him personally, you can’t deny he’s a pretty talented young man. And a sneaky little bit of me loves, not just his game, but his self-assured demeanour on the court. He beat Feliciano Lopez 76(4) 76(3) 63 and while I’m sure 99% of tennis fans will rejoice to see him getting the inevitable beatdown from Nadal in the next round, I’ll be sad. Because after years of watching young British ‘prospects’ fold like a house of cards in their home Slam, I’m both amused and fascinated to watch someone owning the spotlight so far. What can I say? I like a bastard. And it seems like Tomic has enough personal and familial demons to keep his career interesting for all concerned.

Technically I should have blogged about this yesterday, but time unexpectedly became an issue (have you ever tried to assemble an IKEA wardrobe?!). And technically Nishikori isn’t really a new face or new name – he’s won an ATP title and been to the fourth round of the US Open, after all. But after struggling with injury and hooking up with Brad Gilbert, it seems like he’s on his way back to where he should be, beating Florian Mayer 64 63 06 63 (I was watching, and we’ll call the bagel a blip) to make it into the third round and set up a meeting with Fernando Verdasco. Nishikori’s compact game and speed around the court often do well for him against big hitters. Verdasco of course plays well in Australia, but regardless of the outcome, we should be seeing Special Kei and his flying forehand on the main stages a lot more from now on.

I know, I’m really stretching the definition now. I just wanted to point out that big-hitting Robin Haase beat Juan Monaco to set up a meeting with Andy Roddick tonight. I find a lot of joy in Haase’s aggressive game and think he has a good chance against Roddick. We’ll see …

Anyway, if either of this four pull off an upset and make it to the round of sixteen, it could be pretty cool. I’m just saying.

6 Responses to “Young Guns Go For It”

  1. Jacko said

    I prefered Ricardas, not lyin’….

  2. Hart said

    Coincidentally, I was trying to assemble an IKEA wardrobe yesterday as well. What is it about those things that makes you think, “oh, this will totally take 45 minutes” and then you find yourself two and a half hours later surrounded by random pieces of plyboard, plastic screws, the entire contents of your wardrobe and 5 screwdrivers (and possibly a screwdriver drink, as well) and going, fuck it, I’ll do it tomorrow? Is it the fact that the person in the instructions resembles Mr Grumble?

    If me vs IKEA wardrobe were a tennis match (you see what I did there??) it would have been Venus vs. Zahlavova. I won, but it took way longer than it should have, a couple things aren’t working right, I strained my groin and I’m pretty sure it ate part of my shirt.

    • AmyLu said

      That’s precisely why, when I started grad school and bought all this IKEA furniture for my bedroom, I had my dad assemble all of it. 🙂

  3. Kat said

    Kei better watch out! The last guy that ate a bagel in the middle of a 4 set win against Mayer at the Australian Open was out for the rest of the year!! (j/k, j/k…but protect that wrist, please!)

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