Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Mr. Milkshake

When Australia played its first tie this week against the Czech Republic, one of my brothers misheard Peter Luczak's name and thought his name was Peter Milkshake. Overnight, Mr. Milkshake, by virtue of his humorous name, became a star in our household - and not undeservedly.
Luczak is Australia's No. 2 male tennis player (after Lleyton Hewitt), and yet no one's heard of him. I find this a little strange. Is the star of Hewitt so all-encompassing that it blots out all others? (Apart from, of course, Mark Philippoussis, drama queen.) Because Mr. Milkshake's got more than a few things going for him.
I'd heard of Luczak before today, and even seen him play a couple of times (Davis Cup vs. Switzerland in 2006 comes to mind, where he played some great tennis) but I'd never really been particularly impressed by him before today. He's got a beautiful game - and I think it really came to the fore inthe mixed doubles today. (He was also very impressive in the mixed doubles against the Czech Republic a couple of days back.) Australia ended up losing the tie in the end - 13-11 in a nailbiting match tiebreaker - but considering they were down a break in the second set it was a great comeback. Molik was great, yes, but it looked to me as if Mr. Milkshake was the one that really amped it up. You could see it in his body language. He was bouncing around like he was on springs once he realised they were in with a shot, and he hit some beautiful winners - particularly at the net. I haven't watched either of his singles matches very closely, but it'd be interesting to see how often he comes to the net there. I wonder if he plays serve and volley at all...? His instincts at the net are fabulous.
So, even though Australia lost the tie in the end, good work, Mr. Milkshake. I think your star just might be rising.
On another note, I am really not a fan of the match tie break as a way of deciding doubles matches. Not just because Australia lost - I'm not particularly partisan when it comes to tennis - but because it seems to denigrate doubles a bit. If the International Tennis Federation changed the rules of singles to a match tie break format, I don't think many people would be very happy. It's a fair way of deciding matches, I guess, but it seems a bit sudden death for my liking. A set tie break means that the players were pretty much neck and neck in a set. You lose a set, you can still win a match. It's not disastrous. But in doubles, if you lose the breaker, you lose the match. I'm not sure, but I'm under the impression that these rules were introduced so players would be able to devote more energy to their singles... but isn't that a bit unfair to doubles tennis?
Today's Results
Hopman Cup (Perth)
India def. Australia 2-1
Sania Mirza def. Alicia Molik, 6-2 2-6 6-4
Peter Luczak def. Rohan Bopanna, 7-6 6-3
Mirza/Bopanna def. Molik/Luczak, 6-2 4-6 13-11 (match tiebreak)
Mondial Australian Women's Hardcourts (Gold Coast)
Victoria Azarenka def. Yuliana Fedak, 6-4 6-2
Nicole Vaidisova def. Casey Dellacqua, 5-7 7-5 6-0
Li Na def. Sybille Bammer, 6-4 4-6 6-4
Flavia Pennetta def. Timea Bacsinszky, 6-4 6-1
Dominika Cibulkova def. Virginie Razzano, 6-2 6-2
Tatjana Malek def. Aiko Nakamura, 7-5 6-3
Julia Schruff def. Lourdes Domínguez Lino, 6-2 6-1
Monique Adamczak def. Elena Vesnina, 7-6 (7-4) 3-6 7-5
ASB Classic (Auckland)
Vera Zvonareva def. Sacha Jones, 6-0 6-1
Maria Kirilenko def. Kaia Kanepi, 6-2 2-6 6-3
Sara Errani def. Michaella Krajicek, 7-5 6-7 (4-7) 6-2
Eleni Daniilidou def. Elena Baltacha, 6-1 6-2
Pauline Parmentier def. Vesna Manasieva, 6-0 7-5
Aravane Rezai def. Zhang Shuai, 6-3 6-3
Camille Pin def. Martina Müller, 6-3 6-1
Sofia Arvidsson def. Ahsha Rolle, 6-4 7-5
Marina Erakovic def. Ellen Barry, 6-1 6-1
Next Generation Adelaide International (Adelaide)
Lleyton Hewitt def. Dudi Sela, 6-2 6-2
Paul-Henri Mathieu def. Julien Benneteau, 7-6 (7-2) 7-5
Jarkko Nieminen def. Ivo Klec, 6-2 6-4
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga def. Victor Hanescu, 6-3 4-6 7-5
Vince Spadea def. Sebastien Grosjean, 4-6 6-1 6-3
Jose Acasuso def. Alejandro Falla, 6-3 7-6 (7-3)
Evgeny Korolev def. Allun Jones, 6-2 7-6 (9-7)
Frank Dancevic def. Simone Bolelli, 6-2 7-6 (7-3)
Ernests Gulbis def. Andrey Golubev, 6-7 (9-11) 6-4 6-2
Chris Guccione def. Wayne Odesnik, 7-5 7-6 (7-5)
Qatar Exxonmobil Open (Doha)
Ivan Ljubicic def. Stefan Koubek, 6-4 6-4
Philipp Kohlschreiber def. Oscar Hernandez, 6-3 6-1
Thomas Johansson def. Igor Andreev, 6-1 6-0
Filippo Volandri def. Diego Hartfield, 4-6 6-3 7-6 (7-3)
Michael Berrer def. Abdulla Haji, 6-1 6-1
Fabrice Santoro def. Andreas Seppi, 6-4 1-6 6-2
Hyung-taik Lee def. Max Mirnyi, 6-3 6-2
Chennai Open (Chennai)
Xavier Malisse def. Gilles Muller, 6-4 6-3
Mikhail Youzhny def. Jiri Vanek, 6-3 6-2
Alexandre Kudryavtsev def. Igor Kunitsyn, 6-4 6-4
Rajeev Ram def. Harel Levy, 7-6 (7-4) 6-1
Jurgen Melzer def. Paul Capdeville, 6-2 6-4
Edouard Roger-Vasselin def. Vishnu Vardhan, 6-1 6-2
Florent Serra def. Ivan Navarro, def. 6-4 7-6 (8-6)
Alexander Peya def. Stefano Galvani, 4-6 6-3 6-4
Lovro Zovko def. Kristian Pless, 3-6 6-1 6-2

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