Australian Open 2010 Midpoint Notes

15:02 Mon 25 Jan 2010. Updated: 11:44 30 May 2010
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On the men’s side, for the most part the top seeds have been rolling along. Six of the top eight are in the quarterfinals, the most notable absence being that of Juan Martin Del Potro, who was taken out in a tough five-setter by #14 Marin Cilic, who now faces #7 Andy Roddick. #8 Robin Söderling went out in the first round, and the quarterfinalists are rounded out by #10 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

The quality of the men’s matches has been quite high, with plenty of dramatic five-set struggles. The depth of the men’s field is quite something, and any of the top six seeds (Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, Del Potro, Murray, and Davydenko) were considered legitimate contenders at the start of the tournament. The quarterfinals look like they could be fantastic:

  • Federer–Davydenko: Davydenko is playing the best tennis of his career and has beaten Federer in their last two matches—after having endured a string of twelve consecutive losses.
  • Murray–Nadal: Both have been playing very well, and both should believe they can win it. Could be a classic.
  • Djokovic–Tsonga: Djokovic is playing great tennis, and has his only Slam title in Australia (2008)—which he claimed by defeating Tsonga. However, Tsonga has beaten Djokovic in their last four meetings is also playing extremely well, so this could be another classic.
  • Roddick–Cilic: I think this is likely to be the least interesting of the quarters, but Cilic has been touted as one of the next big things for years, and it’s possible that beating Del Potro represents his turning the corner. Roddick has been putting in solid performances and I suspect he’ll have the edge in this one.

On the women’s side, the major stories are that there are two Chinese women, Na Li and Jie Zheng, in the quarterfinals of a Slam for the first time ever, and that US Open champion Kim Clijsters was obliterated by Nadia Petrova, 6–0, 6–1. Petrova now faces another ex-retired Belgian, Justine Henin.

Of the top eight women’s seeds, only three made it to the quarters: Serena Williams, Venus Williams, and Victoria Azarenka. In fact only four of the top sixteen women are in the quarters; you could make Henin an honorary seed to make that number a little more respectable. Of the women’s quarters, I think that only Petrova–Henin looks particularly interesting.

The obligatory Roger Federer record-watch section: his already-astonishing 22 straight semifinals or better streak is on the line against Davydenko. If he makes the semifinals, he’s also guaranteed not to lose his number one ranking, which he has now held for a (not consecutive) total of 265 weeks; he’s still pursuing Pete Sampras’ record of 289 weeks at number one. He had a scare against Andreev in the first round, but apart from that has looked extremely strong, and seems in good shape to take the title and increase his record Grand Slam total.

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