The 'December Showdown,' as Tennis Australia have labelled the Open wildcard playoff, has yielded some very interesting results over the first couple of days. It's done in round robin format, which I don't normally like, but for the purposes of this tournament I think it's all right... and the results, for those who know who these Aussie players are, have been very intriguing.
Let's start with the group containing Colin Ebelthite, Joe Sirianni, Bernard Tomic and Dane Propoggia. Propoggia is pretty much out of the running, but any of the others could pull a win here. Sirianni is currently in the lead, but his match against Tomic will be a very interesting one. Tomic is sixteen, Sirianni is thirty-three... veteran versus rookie. Sirianni has beaten both Ebelthite and Propoggia, whereas Tomic beat Propoggia, but went down to Ebelthite in a third set breaker - it looked like an absolute nailbiter. Sirianni won the wildcard into the event last year, so he has good history here... I totally don't even know who I'm going for.
Mr Milkshake - Peter Luczak - has got to be the odds-on favourite, and he's been cruising along quite happily, claiming the not inconsiderable scalps of Brendan McKenzie and Brydan Klein. The names might not mean much outside Australia yet, but these boys have got potential... particularly McKenzie, in my humble opinion. Klein has made the final of the boy's Aussie Open and has served on Davis Cup, so he's no slouch either. Sam Groth and Carsten Ball, who have also served Davis Cup time, also had wins yesterday.
In the women, the big story is Monica Wejnert, eighteen years old, victor over Jelena Dokic. Even if she does nothing else in her career, that is a scalp and a half. Dokic has been in the top five in the world. She may be far fallen, but still - I am liking the look of Miss Monica. Australia needs more women players, especially in the wake left by Molik. We have Stosur and Dellacqua... and the wind whistling through the empty spots behind them. Monica Wejnert and Isabella Holland in particular are looking veeeeeery good...