Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Andy and Novak are back

The top two men's players in the world are back in action but in different parts of the world.  With them are the Aus Open finalists.  Together they comprise what many once called the Big Four.

Acapulco, Mexico is alive with the presence of Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal.  The two greats have enriched the Abierto Mexicano Telcel draw which also features Marin Cilic, Dominic Thiem, David Goffin, Nick Kyrgios, Juan Martin del Potro and Jack Sock.

Thiem is fresh from winning in Rio de Janeiro, taking just two sets to finish off Pablo Carreno Busta in the final.  Jack Sock also won last week, although his title came without needing to lift a racquet, Milos Raonic withdrawing from the final through injury.
The shock for Sock came after winning the opening set of his first round match in Acapulco.  He won just three more games against 86th ranked Japanese player Yoshihito Nishioka and instead of celebrating his return to the top twenty Jack is out of contention and remains in Mexico just to play doubles.

The other big names all won through to the second round where the match to watch above all the rest will be Djokovic v del Potro.

In Dubai, Andy Murray and Roger Federer are drawn to meet each other in the semi finals, but before that can happen some unfortunate lower ranked players will need to be removed from the reckoning.
Already Murray has taken just a small detour from his social activities to organise a farewell for Malek Jaziri 6-4 6-1, while Federer was happier once Benoit Paire left, 6-1 6-3 the exit orders.

Second seed Stan Wawrinka has been the spectacular departure from the UAE, losing his first round encounter to Damir Dzumhur in straight sets, barely offering any resistance in a forgettable second set display.

The Abierto Mexicano Telcel in Acapulco is a joint ATP/WTA show, and the WTA draw has Aus Open semi finalist Mirjana Lucic-Baroni as top seed.  Mirjana safely found a way into the second round, defeating Belinda Bencic, but Genie Bouchard was less fortunate, falling to Croatian-born Australian Ajla Tomljanovic.
This was the first match in 13 months for Ajla, shoulder surgery having kept her on the sidelines.  Only a protected ranking allowed her entry into the tournament.

I'd suggest that on this occasion Ajla has upstaged her boyfriend Nick Kyrgios.

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