Luckas Lacko

Alejandro Falla (above) looks to make his 2nd Aussie round of 32 right now.

Journeyman Alejandro Falla, currently world #71, has taken the first two sets from Mardy Fish, “the U.S. #1”, on court 3 in the 2nd round at Melbourne.  Falla, best known for going up two sets to zero on Roger Federer in the first round at Wimbledon in 2010, has played incredibly, converting on all 5 of his break chances, including a clutch break back a second ago as Fish was up 5-3, and trying to close out the 3rd set.  Falla has played big tennis and error free tennis, and he has been very clutch at the net, and has clearly dominated on big points.

This would be a disastrous loss for Fish.  The score is currently 7-6 (7-4), 6-3, 6-6 (4-2).  The boys have been at it for 2 hours and 40 minutes so far.

Later on tonight, John Isner battles David Nalbandian, Donald Young takes on Luckas Lacko, and Sam Querrey goes against Bernard Tomic.  It’s a huge night for Americans, even if Fish loses.  We expect all the younger guys to represent themselves well.

Also, Christina McHale is struggling at the moment, having lost the first set and down an early break in the second to Marina Erakovic.

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Big Sam Querrey (above) who let America down today.

The great man took to his Australian Open title defense today in style.  Lukas Lacko, a perhaps capable Slovak in anotheer setting, was treated to the full reportoire by Roger, who won 9 out of the first 10 games, in only 36 minutes.  The match had the feel of an exhibtion with Federer throwing in several backhand drop shots, that left the opponent and the crowd in a daze.  The oohs and aahs came a plenty, for Federer, decked out in tennis whites with stylish yellow accents, serving big, setting up points with the deadly forehands, slice backhands, and finishing them in style at the net, where he dominated. 

Check out these stellar match stats:

  Rod Laver Arena – Men’s Singles – 1st Rnd.
    Lukas Lacko SVK          1   1   3          
Match Completed
    Roger Federer SUI (2) Winner       6   6   6          
  Match Statistics Serve Statistics  
  Match Summary
     Lacko(SVK)   Federer(SUI)
  1st Serve %
56 of 83 = 67 %
38 of 59 = 64 %
3 8
  Double Faults
1 1
  Unforced Errors
27 18
  Winning % on 1st Serve
33 of 56 = 59 %
33 of 38 = 87 %
  Winning % on 2nd Serve
6 of 27 = 22 %
14 of 21 = 67 %
  Winners (Including Service)
11 37
  Receiving Points Won
12 of 60 = 20 %
44 of 84 = 52 %
  Break Point Conversions
1 of 1 = 100 %
7 of 14 = 50 %
  Net Approaches
6 of 12 = 50 %
16 of 20 = 80 %
  Total Points Won
51 91
  Fastest Serve Speed
202 KMH
206 KMH
  Average 1st Serve Speed
186 KMH
183 KMH
  Average 2nd Serve Speed
149 KMH
151 KMH

Roger needed but 1 hour and 24 minutes.  A different story entirely for our American boys and girls.  Samurai Sam Querrey, frankly, got punked by Poland’s Luckas Kubot, in a spot where, let’s face it, it was a must win for the American.  Querrey does not seem to have the steele of his friend and counterpart, John Isner.  We were not surprised, with Querrey being easily upset by Alexander Dolgopolov, world #49, in his first match of the year in Sydney last week, where he was seeded first.  The Ukrainian bombed serves on his way to an easy 6-4, 6-3 win in 62 minutes.  Sam is the one who is supposed to be bombing the serves and ripping huge forehands, but he played timid tennis last week, and again today, and deserved to lose.  This morning Kubot was the agressor, making an astounding 49/69 points at net.  Kubot played the right way, and dug in after losing the first and third sets, continuing to play all or nothing tennis.  Kubot blitzed Querrey 6-1 in the 4th, and then took the extended fifth set 8-6.  Querrey looked lost while Kubot looked like he wanted to win.  Good win for the Pole, 5-7, 6-2, 3-6, 6-1, 8-6 in 3 hours and 20 minutes, and smacked an impressive 75 winners on his way to victory.

Mardy Fish, looking lean and mean, but lost early versus Victor Hanescu, dropped the first two sets before figuring his opponent out.  In the end, Fish had an impressive 5 set victory in which he struck 70 winners and won 36/48 of his approaches, showing nice touch and smart instincts as far as when to get in to net.  Fish moves on, 2-6, 4-6, 6-3, 7-5, 6-3 in 3 hours and 32 minutes.

At the moment, we are waiting for Venus to pull through against Sara Errani.  She suffered an early break of serve, but righted herself to take the 1st set 6-3.  A few nervous moments for Lady V, who did notoriously little in the way of traditional match preparation leading up to this year’s Australian.

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Jarmila Groth in civilian clothes (above).

World #42 and up and coming Australian female Jarmila Groth served notice of her serious game to the world once again, with an impressive straight set victory over country-woman and world #6, Saamantha Stosur.  Groth served big in defeating Stosur, the 2010 French Open finalist, 6-2, 6-4 with relative ease. The Brisbane International, which features both a mens and female field, was the site of one of the 23 year old from Melbourne, Groth’s, most impressive victories to date.  The tennis world and Australian tennis has certainly taken notice.  The win sets up a 4th round encounter with Andrea Petkovic who opened the tournament with an easy win over Australian Jelena Dokic, 6-0, 6-1.

For Groth, the tournament seems imminently winnable at this point, with a weak field including Marion Bartoli, Pavlyuchenkova, Safarova, and Cibulkova remaining–all players that we think Groth can hang with.

The mens side seems a bit tougher, with Baghdatis, Soderling, Istomin, South African giant Kevin Anderson, and Andy Roddick still floating around.  Roddick kicked off the new year with an easy 6-4, 6-2 win over Ukranian Alexander Dolgopolov, and claims he is at his “healthiest in months.”  Roddick looks to repeat as champion in Brisbane after a 7-6 (2), 7-6 (7) win over Radek Stepanek in last year’s final.

Roddick would seem at this point to be on a collision course with #1 seed Robin Soderling.

In Doha, world #1 Rafael Nadal began the year in impressive fashion with a 6-3, 6-0 victory oover Karol Beck, a player who we feel has done his best to mime Nadal’s whip topspin forehand.  Today, Nadal is locked in more of a death struggle.  At the moment, Nadal has just been bageled by Luckas Lacko, after winning the tight first set in a tie breaker.  7-6 (3), 0-6 at the moment as the 3rd set is about to begin.  With Nadal already lamenting his lack of rest this offseason, we are wondering if he is starting the year fresh–something he obviously needed to do.

Federer kicked off the year with a tight win over 21 year old Dutchman Thomas Schoorel 7-6, 6-3, and made another highlight reel tweener shot in the match, which was frankly too close for comfort.  Federer said that his unfamiliarity with the young Dutchman worked against him.  See the latest Federer tweener at the link below:

Today, Federer defeated friend and countryman Marco Chudinelli in a tight 2 setter.  BTW, Nadal has steadied himself, and is now up an early break in the 3rd set versus Luckas Lacko.  Nadal leads the 3rd set 3-0, 40-40 as we write.

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