Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Wawrinka Tested, Djokovic makes easy work of Mayer while Dodig losses to the heat

Stanislas Wawrinka was made to fight against a resurgent Alejandro Falla from Colombia. Falla has had a good build up leading into the tournament by winning the New Caledonia Challenger. Things was going according to the Wawrinka plan with the Swiss sports personality of the year taking the first two sets with relative ease, 63 63. Despite trailing at a 2-0 deficit, Falla increased his game with some extremely effective play at the net to force it to a tie break. Falla then seized his opportunity to break early in the tie break which enabled him enough of a margin for him to take the tie break 7-4 and therefore the set. Wawrinka then upped his game in the later part of the forth set, breaking Falla which then lead him to serve it out for the match, which he successfully did. Wawrinka compensated his 46 errors with 61 winners.

In the next round Wawrinka will meet Canadian Vasek Popisil. Like Wawrinka the Canadian number 2 was forced to work hard early on his the match against home favourite Matthew Ebden. Perhaps inspired by his home crowd the world 67 rushed to take the first set 63 to the surprise of Popisil. It was a much more closer encounter in the second set which lead to a tie break in which Popisil edge the Australian out by just two points. The same occurred in the third set as well. The Australian who failed to capitalised on earlier opportunities in the match gradually faded away in the forth set to give the set and match to Popisil, losing it 1-6. During the match it was visible that Popisil was struggling with a back injury at times (so credit must go to him). After the match he said:-
"Midway through the third set I wasn't feeling very good,"
"Suddenly I took a couple more painkillers and 30 minutes later I didn't feel too much."
Clearly this back injury is something Wawrinka can use to his benefit in the next round.

Novak Djokovic
Things was a lot more easier for Novak Djokovic in his 60 64 64 win over Leonardo Mayer. Djokovic began strongly by taking the first eight games to Mayer's discomfort. During the match Djokovic produced 30 winners and 66% first serve (of which he won 82% of the points) in the 63 minute match. Easy work for the quadruple Australian Open champion.

Emulating Djokovic, Thomas Berdych also had a relatively smooth match against Frenchman Kenny De Schepper. The error count was the main let down for Schepper who produced 32 against Berdych's 13. Berdych also performed well on his serve by winning 88% of first serves and 63% of his second. Clearly the heat hasn't troubled the Czech too much.

Jerzy Janowicz edged past Pablo Andujar in a very close four setter. Janowicz had a error stricken match by producing 47 unforced errors (19 more than Andujar) and 5 double faults. Despite this the Wimbledon Semi-finalist came from a set down to take it 36 76 76 61 in a match that lasted over three hours. Next for Janowicz is Florian Mayer who shocked 14th seed Mikhail Youzhny in a five set roller-coaster journey. Mayer who beat Andy Murray in Doha earlier on this year won 64 36 63 36 63.

Another seed who went out was Ivan Dodig who retired in the forth set of the match due to the blistering heat against Damir Dzumhur. After the match Dodig hit out at the conditions and called for a afternoon break when the sun is at its hottest. He was quoted as saying:-
“I was thinking I could maybe even die here,”
It’s not acceptable to play in these conditions,”
Another seed to go was 23rd seed Ernest Gulbis went out to Sam Querrrey in straight sets (62 63 64). 

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