Thursday, March 10, 2011

Tapping the Well in Indian Wells

Well, we've kept Nicolas Mahut (yay!) even though he has come down with some flu-y symptoms that led to him pulling out of doubles in Sarajevo. Here is hoping that he feels better, because if he's not going to play Indian Wells, I want him to win this whole damn tournament. He pulled out the win ove Roberto Batista-Agut today, and here's hoping he can do the same against Jan Hernych tomorrow.

This is especially because we've now lost the top two seeds, leaving Nico, at #3, the highest man standing. Dimitrov went out in the first round and then Kavcic followed him in the second, going down to Martin Fischer. Kavcic had a pretty big weekend of Davis Cup duty - he pretty much led Slovenia to victory - but then, Fischer wasn't exactly a slouch playing for Austria, so go figure. That is tennis. Sometimes you get weird results.

I really, really wish that Nico had gone to play Indian Wells qualies. I think he definitely would have had a great shot at qualifying. But it's all about points, points, points, and considering he dropped ten places last week, I guess I understand.

There are some familiar faces among the dudes that did qualify in Indian Wells, and three of them are Australian, which is a little bit awesome. Matt Ebden beat Izak van der Merwe to qualify, which is a good win, and he'll face Mischa Zverev in the first round, which is not the most unwinnable of matches. Ebden is 23, which seems a little late to be making a major breakthrough, but he has been playing better and better and better consistently over the last year or so. I think he can definitely break into the top hundred and results like these are good ways of getting there.

One dude who has been to the top hundred and is looking to get back is Chris Guccione, who also fought his way into the main draw. He beat a dude of whom I have never heard, but I wish I had, on account of he has an awesome name - Spain's Daniel Munoz-De La Nava (how is that not the name of a volcano or something like that? I love it.) Guccione hit 17 aces, which... wow. If he has that big lefty serve cranking, watch out world. He's drawn James Blake in the first round, which could be a very interesting match up indeed.

The last of the Aussie qualifiers, a man who has all the talent to be in the top hundred but sometimes not the consistency (but that's getting better), is Marinko Matosevic. He beat South African Raven Klaasen (another awesome name - this dude seems to be popping more and more in draws, so he must be on the improve), but has got arguably the toughest first round draw of the Aussie boys - he'll face Dr Ivo Karlovic, just a week after that record-breaking serve. If he can get a read on the serve, he has a chance, if not...

This is a great result for Australian tennis, having these three dudes go through. Also spare a thought for Greg Jones, who fell in the last round of qualies to Somdev Devvarman. None of these dudes are megastars, but they're good, quality players. Australian mens' tennis is not quite in the epic black hole everyone seems to think it is. The well is not as shallow as once it was.

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