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TTT – Aussie Open Update #8

Quickly recapping late action Wed night/Thurs early morning, Baghdatis beat Del Potro pretty handily, 6-3 in the 4th, and Murray had no troubles at all with rising 23 yr old Illya Marchenko, beating him 1, 3, & 3. Some were surprised at the Bags result over DP, but clearly the Argentine is not back to his top form yet after taking off pretty much all of 2010 with his wrist injury. I expect that by the time the March Masters Series events come around, he’ll be playing much better.

Last night was a much-anticipated matchup between Stanislas Wawrinka and Gael Monfils…a matchup I completely overlooked in my 3rd round previews in Update #7 – woops! The first set was very high quality tennis, especially a rally at 5-5, 0-30 where they traded about a dozen backhands each before Wawrinka finally won the rally. Wawrinka won the first set in a tiebreak 7-4.  Monfils was up a mini break at 4-2, lost the next 4 points to go down double set point (including a super-risky, netted drop shot at 5-4), and then served a double fault to lose the set. Sadly, this kind of action from Monfils is not shocking, as he’s know as much for his questionable mental fortitude as he is for his supreme athleticism. He then went away meekly in the next two sets, winning only 5 total games the rest of the match.

The other matches yesterday went pretty much as expected with Berdych, Roddick, Federer, Almagro, Verdasco, Djokovic, and Robredo winning rather easily…no real drama in the men’s draw. The most interesting matches today are Tsonga/Dolgopolov, starting around 5:30 – 6:00 PST, and John Isner/Marin Cilic, the 20th seed vs. the 15th seed, following the Tsonga match. This might be the most height ever in an Aussie matchup, the 6’6″ Cilic going against the 6’9″ Isner. Cilic is more athletic, a far better mover, but Isner should have a slightly easier time holding serve. Should be a good one.

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