The annual December showdown has started again at Melbourne Park. Nominally, this is the playoff for wildcards for the Australian Open, but I personally like to think of it as 'the thing that keeps Jodi amused in December'. There's precious little else going on and it's always kind of cool to see the up and coming Australian kids...
...though not so up-and-coming in some cases, especially in the women's draw, where we have Alicia Molik and Casey Dellacqua vying for spots. Molik played to her seed today and made short work of Victoria's Jade Hopper, but Dellacqua - who is, somehow, unseeded... colour me WTFed - pulled an upset and beat the top seed, Olivia Rogowska. Now, I think very highly of Rogowska, but I wasn't exactly shocked. There is something serious whack with the seeding system for this tournament if former top 100 player Dellacqua is unseeded.
It'll be interesting to see who comes away with the wildcard out of the girls... I think it's round robin, so Olivia Rogowska is in there, and I'd seriously be keeping my eye on her. When you consider that Jelena Dokic won this playoff last year and then went on to win through to the quarters, this isn't a crapulent tournament by any means. If Molik and Dellacqua ever play, that is also going to be a hell of a battle. Sally Peers, Marija Mirkovic and Isabella Holland are all players to keep your eye on - same with Jess Moore - but the one I'm really looking out for is Monika Wejnert. That girl has game with a capital G.
The women provide more intrigue this year, I think, but the boys are pretty cool too - if Bernard Tomic doesn't win the wildcard, I'll be a bit surprised, but there's going to be some competition. He won his match easily today, but top seed Brydan Klein had no such luck - he lost to handy-dandy up-and-comer James Duckworth, who is definitely one to keep your eye on. Other players to watch include Greg Jones and Matthew Ebden - Tomic is only the fourth seed, wow. How did that happen? He's preceded by Klein, Nick Lindahl and Jones - but if he doesn't win, colour me shocked.
2 months ago