ATP Tennis 360

February 1, 2010 9:55 AM

2010 Australian Open: the best and the worst

e35232258f433e68fc9ecee268ff311d.jpgBest man: Federer
Who else? Past is not a foreign country for the Swiss, who in his golden era (2003-2006) stubbornly defeated his opponents playing like them, just better. Now, with surging Nadal and Del Potro, and blessed by not having experienced injuries yet, has increased his strategical attitudes, recurring to all his background of strokes and solution to a long-time plan. And, apart the first set against Andreev, he simply dominated the tournament until the first set and a half against Davydenko, before the 13 game streak against an opponent in plain nervous breakdown. Then he gave a lesson to Tsonga in the semi, the third more one-sided Slam semifinal he ever played, after the 62 60 62 at 2006 Wimbledon against Bjorkman and next year in Melbourne against Roddick (64 60 62). The final was simply, as he said, "one of the best matches I ever played".

Best woman: Serena Williams
She desperately wanted to erase the disappointment for the recent Us Open, for the footfault, the Chinese linejudge and so on. It was from easy, with Kim Clijsters now run in, though with all the possible pressures on her shoulders (and she cracked trying to fill up them, surrendering to Nadia Petrova in a less-than-an hour long execution). Serena showed her claws against Azarenka in the quarters, when she was drowning 46 04 and arrived to the final against the biggest possible menace, Justine Henin. But Serena clarified she's the best yet.

Breakthrough performance (ATP): Marin Cilic
He's the second biggest appearence in Medjugorie. He had all but an easy draw in front of him, but he never let this discourage himself. Neither the promising Tomic, bringing out from himself the best and something more, and forcing the Croat to recur to all his arsenal of backspin backhands and angled forehands, made him doubt about his potential. Protagonist of two of the best matches of this edition, two soon to become classic fivesetters against Del Potro and Roddick, he arrived to the semifinal having remained oncourt 18h8m, eight hours more than Murray. Too much to hope in a fourth miracle. But he found the missing piece in the puzzle of his talent, and fully deserving it entered for the first time into the top-10. And it won't be for a short time.

Breakthrough performance (WTA): Na Li
What a tournament! She's a rebel, both in his mind and in his body. He's a rose tattoed on his breast, he bunjee-jumped in Oakland, where he showed an eccentric hair-style. She abandoned the world of tennis for a pair of years to finish her master's degree and China Tennis Association had to struggle a lot to convince her coming back. They were right. Na Li became the first Chinese woman to win a tournament, in Guangzhou in 2004. In Australia she played an astonishing tennis against Venus Williams and she gave life to a tight contest against Serena. Ok, she came to the net no more than ten times, she continued in repeating a sort od predetermined schema, but Venus had to recur to two tiebreaks to fold her.

Breakdown performance (Atp): Robin Soderling
Just few words. He lost in the first round, wasting a two-sets-to-none advantage, against Granollers. Do you need else?

Breakdown performance (Wta): Maria Sharapova
Promoted for the "Powerade blue" dress, but the old-style Masha, even at 60-70%, would have never lost to Maria Kirilenko.

Best match (Atp): Youzhny-Gasquet
Having already cheered the two victories conquered by Cilic, Youzhny-Gasquet was aesthetically the best match of this tournament. I must confess the choice, with Tsonga-Almagro and the final, for the technical level and the pathos, was not easy. But some rally on the backhand side between the Russian and the eternal French promise should be broadcast in every tennis school.

Best match (Wta): Henin-Dementieva
"Unlucky" is not enough intense as a concept to define the situation of Elena Dementieva; being the fifth seeded player, and have to play against Justine Henin in the second round deserves an Oscar Prize. The match was simply dazzling.

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