In all the kerfuffle of Hit for Haiti and the Sampras/Agassi war of words and all the trainwrecks - oh, speaking of trainwrecks, how about Maria Sharapova today? disaster central - I've forgotten to talk about what I think is a really nice story coming out of Indian Wells, from an Australian perspective anyway. In fact, there are two nice stories... which in this age for Aussie tennis is pretty rare.
Act One: Marinko Matosevic. He's been steadily climbing up the rankings for about a year now and making his presence known something severe, and it's finally come good for him at tour level. He played qualies here, qualified and then had the most massive win of his career when he beat Michael Llodra in the first round. Llodra is no schlep - he has some tour titles to his name, for heavens' sake! - so this was absolutely massive for Marinko.
He may have gone down to Jo Tsonga in straights today, but hello, he got the chance to play Jo Tsonga. That alone makes this potentially the biggest tournament of Marinko's career and is going to see him jump a huge number of rankings places. How 'bout that?
What I really like about Matosevic is his determination, and with this kind of impetus behind him, he's only going to get better. I'm excited about seeing where he goes from here.
And then, of course, there's Act Two: Alicia Molik. While Marinko Matosevic may have gone out today, Alicia Molik is still in there, with an absolutely crushing win over Elena Baltacha. I've made my reservations about her comeback quite clear and she is proving me totally wrong. She is playing awesome tennis in the desert and she's starting to show some real form and consistency. It's enough to make you feel all warm and fuzzy.
And... he's not Australian but we love him anyway - R-Fed had a win. Sweeeeeeeeeeeet.
3 weeks ago