Friday, January 9, 2009

Dominik and Dominika Take The Cup

So it was not a good day, on the whole, to be one of Jodi's special favourites. Federer went down in Doha and the Safin family (aka Russia) went down in the Hopman Cup, which was very sad.
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Let's start with Roger, as I have less to say about that. What exactly is it about Murray that annoys him so much on court? I get why Nadal irritates him (tennis-wise) - Nadal is a pretty unique player, with that big hooking lefty forehand and all that spin, and he also gets a lotta lotta balls back. Murray does that too, but I can't pick out anything especially unique about his game... sure, he's better at his game than just about everyone else, but I can't see why Roger is having so many issues dealing with it. Go figure. It seems like it's all in his head, and that is bad. I would have for two of the big four to be in Roger's head! However, whenever they've played in a final, Roger's won (to my knowledge) and over the best-of-five format, you'd back Roger every time. This is going to be a rivalry to watch, however...
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Now, to the Hopman Cup. It was so, so sad that Marat and Dinara couldn't bring the trophy back for their family trophy cabinet, but all credit to the Slovak Republic. I doubt that anyone was picking them at the beginning of the week to come out on top, but they have rarely looked like losing... and both matches were absolute crackers. I so thought Dinara was going to come back after being 5-1 down in the third, and then getting it back to 5-4 and having break points to get it to 5-5 - it would have had shades of that match against Sharapova at the French, and then the one against Dementieva in the next round. Alas, it was not to be - and how about Dominika Cibulkova? If she is not top ten within the next six months, I will eat an item of my own clothing. She is a joy to watch - so small and quick around the court. Granted, Dinara pretty much gift-wrapped the second set for her when her forehand went totally AWOL, but she wasn't handed the match - she earned it. It was electrifying to watch!
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And if only Marat could have pulled out that final set tiebreaker... that match was also wonderful to watch. Marat is playing as well as I've seen him for a long time now, and it is such a shame that he couldn't scrape through, because who knows what might have happened in the mixed if they'd played? Marat and Dinara raised it against France - maybe that could have raised it against Dominik and Dominika. But it was not to be. Still, this match was an absolute joy - two veterans of the tour having a slugfest, with some beautiful, beautiful shots. I think my favourite was the crosscourt pass Safin came up with to win the first set - that was a beautiful, beautiful shot. And what a match from Hrbaty! Many men would have quailed against the mighty Safin serve (which was beautiful) but he hung tough and ultimately came up trumps.
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What a great tournament the Hopman Cup has been again - certainly a much better final than the half-arsed affair the USA and Serbia put on last year, where they didn't even play the women's singles because Jankovic was injured. My favourite will probably always be Hopman Cup XIX, where Nadia Petrova and Dmitry Tursunov beat Anabel Medina Garrigues and Tommy Robredo in the singles and then went on to play the most hilarious mixed doubles proset in history, but it was just so lovely to see Marat and Dinara play together this week - and there have been some real revelations on the women's side. Cibulkova, certainly, but everyone knew that. Sabine Lisicki is the one you want to watch out for this year!
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And how about Jo-Wilfried Tsonga going down to old mate Richard Gasquet in Brisbane? He was looking so tough after winning the first! The Brisbane organisers must be sobbing even more - I doubt they anticipated a tournament where the semi finalists were Mathieu, Verdasco, Gasquet and the Worm. I'm picking Mathieu to win the title - he's impressed me a lot this week. And in the women, I think you have to go with Azarenka, though I'm pulling for Bartoli... I'd pull for pretty much anyone playing against Azarenka after the disgraceful display she put on against Jarmila Gajdosova.
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And Marin Cilic is still flying the Stars flag high in Chennai, after coming through a real tough one against Janko Tipsarevic. Marin for the title - though how cute would it be if that Indian wildcard guy came through and won it?!
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Today's Results
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Harry Hopman Cup (Perth)
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Slovak Republic 2, Russia 0
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Dominika Cibulkova def. Dinara Safina, 6-7 (3-7) 6-1 6-4
Dominik Hrbaty def. Marat Safin, 6-7 (5-7) 7-5 7-6 (7-3)
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Brisbane International (Brisbane)
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Men's Draw
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Richard Gasquet def. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, 1-6 6-4 6-2
Radek Stepanek def. Robin Soderling, 2-6 6-4 6-3
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Women's Draw
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Victoria Azarenka def. Sara Errani, 6-3 6-1
Marion Bartoli def. Amélie Mauresmo, 4-0 retired
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Chennai Open (Chennai)
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Marin Cilic def. Janko Tipsarevic, 6-4 0-6 6-4
Somdev Devvarman def. Ivo Karlovic, 7-6 (7-4) 6-4
Rainer Schuettler def. Bjorn Phau, 6-2 7-5
Marcel Granollers def. Lukas Dlouhy, 7-5 2-6 6-4
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Qatar Exxonmobil Open (Doha)
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Andy Murray def. Roger Federer, 6-7 (6-8) 6-2 6-2
Andy Roddick def. Gael Monfils, 7-6 (7-1) 3-6 6-3
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ASB Classic (Auckland)
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Elena Dementieva def. Aravane Rezai, 6-2 6-2
Elena Vesnina def. Anne Keothavong, 6-7 (3-7) 6-1 7-5

1 comment:

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