Monday, January 25, 2010

Great tennis today

photos from Herald Sun sports gallery of Day 8 at the tennis in Melbourne.
from w
Though the match between Federer and Hewitt was predicable, the best tennis of the day was definitely between Tsonga and Almagro, the crowd enthusiastic and waving flags - which I think isn't what it's about anyway. It's about athletes, not countries!
We have just been watching the five set match on the TV, though it looks like it really was earlier as it still was daylight. We were all barracking for Tsonga. 'Unbelievable' shouted the commentator dozens of times as the shots were superb, both tennis players so so good. Both player Tsonga and the commentator needed a good cool-down afterwards!

Australian Open Round 4: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga def Nicolas Almagro
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (10) 6 6 4 6 9
Nicolas Almagro (26) 3 4 6 7 7
And Tsonga wins in the next round (January 28)It was again unbelievable tennis though the Le Conte the French commentator was a bit more restrained this time. Tsonga was really losing half way through the match, then when his opponent has a stomach upset, the tide turned, though both players hit great shots until the end. We watched it into the middle of the night until 1 a.m. again barracking for the Frenchman. Next he has to face Federer - tomorrow - so that will be interesting.
Tsonga still has spring in step after thriller MICHAEL GLEESON (from the Age newspaper)
January 28, 2010 - 12:55AM Jo-Wilfried Tsonga celebrates in fine style after a gruelling five-setter against Novak Djokovic. Photo: AP

Until this week Jo-Wilfried Tsonga had never played a five-set match. Now he has played two in a row and, more importantly, won both, last night upsetting world No.3 Novak Djokovic in five gripping sets to advance to the semi-final.

Tsonga announced himself as a serious player when he danced through to the final in a dream here two years ago, only to lose to Djokovic.

Last night the Frenchman avenged that loss, defeating the Serb in the early hours of this morning 7-6 (10-8), 6-7 (7-5), 1-6, 6-3, 6-1 in nearly four hours ... and celebrated with a dance.

When he made the final here in 2008 Tsonga did so only after defeating Rafael Nadal. If he hopes to replicate that effort this year he will have to do so by beating not only the world No.3 Djokovic, but also the world No.1 Roger Federer — his opponent in tomorrow's semi-final.

Djokovic, who for a time yesterday appeared likely to become the new world No.1 when Roger Federer flirted with the idea of a loss in his quarter-final clash with Nikolay Davydenko, was struck by illness during the fourth set, regularly gripping at his stomach and upon being broken in his first service game he absented himself from the court to be ill.

Tsonga had just bounced about the court crying out and rallying the crowd when Djokovic took his time-out.

A night after Nadal was forced to concede his match with a knee injury — admittedly when he was set to lose — it appeared Djokovic might similarly be forced to pull out of his game.

The illness issue should not cloud Tsonga's performance, as the Frenchman commanded the court for much of the night and eclipsed Djokovic with his thundering serve and powerful forehand.

A player who normally enjoys his court pace and ability to volley at the net, Tsonga was however routinely brought unstuck by his drop shots by Djokovic's phenomenal pace and capacity to slide a winner past him after picking up the unpickable short ball.

Although Djokovic defeated Tsonga here two years ago in the final to win his first grand slam, the record also reveals that Tsonga has beaten him on four of the next five matches the pair has played.

Last night continued that trend, but early in the match nothing separated the pair. You get a sense of the closeness of this match by this: the first set lasted one hour and seven minutes and was decided by a tie-break that went 18 points. The next set went 57 minutes and was also decided by a tie-break (7-5). At that point you figured this match might go five sets and may finish Friday.

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