Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Garbine value for money

Andy Murray, recently knighted for making truckloads of money and looking deliriously unhappy on court while doing so, opened up 2017 as expected by embarrassing Jeremy Chardy in the first set in Doha 6-0, surrendering a mere 7 points to France in the process. Easing up a little in the second, the scowling Scot completed the execution via a tie break, and thus the world number one had begun his quest for more glory for the loss of not too much perspiration.

The previous day, the number two seed Novak Djokovic (still the world's best in my opinion) was still in the locker room for the first six games, and despite Jan-Lenard Struff grabbing a 5-1 edge, Novak cruised past the German, whose heart broke.  Djokovic, ever the neat freak, picked up the broken pieces, brushed up his own game and cleaned up what was left on offer for a 7-6 6-3 win.

The support acts to Andy and Novak have begun in fairly good form, although Jo-Wilfried Tsonga took three sets to convince Andrey Kuznetsov to leave Qatar.
Ivo Karlovic couldn't break the Illya Marchenko serve but 13 aces from the Croatian was enough to ensure he would win the two tie breakers.

Goffin v Karlovic and Berdych v Tsonga are the pick of the probable quarter finals.

In Brisbane, the men's top players are performing to expectations, with Rafa Nadal, Lucas Pouille, Grigor Dimitrov and David Ferrer all through to the second round.
Pouille had the greatest difficulty, another Frenchman Gilles Simon taking him to two tie breaks, and in fact rueing lost opportunities - Pouille converted all of his four break points, while Simon converted four of twelve chances.

Also in Brisbane, Garbine Muguruza is in the quarter finals, although listening to the commentators you may think that the players she has beaten had actually won those matches.  After losing the first set to Muguruza, Samantha Stosur came back strongly to win the second in a tie break and lead 4-2 in the decider.
The Spanish world number seven refused to yield and eventually prevailed 7-5,  but for the home commentators it was all praise to Stosur and how she had performed - no mention of the winner and her effort to pull out the victory from a break down.
Similarly, the excellent second round match last night against young Russian Daria Kasatkina, decided in a gripping third set tie break, was all about the loser if you believed the commentators.  Again little mention of who won the encounter.

Third seed Karolina Pliskova is another quarter finalist, but has booked her spot with ease, dropping just nine games in her two matches.
Elena Svitolina and Aliza Cornet are also in the final eight, Svitolina scraping through after a fine three setter against a fighting Shelby Rogers, Cornet making far easier work of another American Christina McHale.

Rain has plagued Auckland, but both Williams sisters are in the second round, joined by Caro Wozniacki and Barbora Strycova, while American Lauren Davis upset fifth seed Kiki Bertens.
Venus defeated young New Zealander Jade Lewis, ranked 1099, and at 18 half her highly decorated opponents age.

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