3 Days, 3 Shockers (or “How my men’s team died”)

Jan 19, 2011

First day, first shocker.  Davydenko lost to Florian Mayer in 4 sets.  OMG!  Admittedly, Mayer had just beaten Delpo in his first match since his return to tennis, but that was easily dismissed.  Davydenko had never had trouble with Mayer before.  Mayer had rarely if ever shown the sort of tennis necessary to beat a player like Davydenko.  So the first round looked easy.

If form held, Nikolay’s first seeded opponent (3rd round) would have been Verdasco.  Nice.  Davydenko has a career mark of 7-1 against Verdasco, the only loss coming in ’05 on clay, and including a 5-set victory in last year’s Aussie Open.  I like that for an over-16 seed!

What’s more, Nikolay’s record against Berdych, clearly his probable R16 opponent, is 9-1, with Berdych’s only win coming on grass at Wimbledon in ’09, a surface Davydenko famously hates.  So Nikolay looked — after the draw and before the tourney started — like a near lock to be in the quarters against Djokovic.  Or so I thought.  Oops, no Davydenko.

I picked my unseeded male player by starting with the top ranked unseeded player and checking his first round and probable second round opponents.  Very important to have a weak first round opponent because of the big penalty for first round losses.  So who looked like the worst player in the draw?  Bernard Tomic.  The 18 year-old Aussie was 5-11 lifetime in ATP events, including 0-2 this year.  He tried to qualify for this tourney but was beaten in the first round of the quallies.  The folks who make such decisions at the Aussie Open decided to give Tomic the last wild card, which was a controversial move.  He was the last player in the field.  His opponent, the gifted but erratic Frenchman Jeremy Chardy, #41 in the world, was among the top ranked unseeded players.

You also want your unseeded player to have a chance against the seeded player he’s probably up against in the second round.  One of the top players won’t do.  After the lowly Tomic, Chardy was scheduled to face Feliciano Lopez, whose best surface is grass and whose worst surface may be a slow hard court.  Nice.  Oops.  Tomic takes out Chardy in the first round.  Men’s team officially dead.

At least my women’s team got through the first round intact.  Then, like clockwork, on Day Three the infection spread.  My #1 pre-tourney upset pick was Bartoli over Wozniacki in R16.  Well, it’s going to be hard for Bartoli to beat Wozniacki.  She went out 3-6, 6-3, 6-0 (!!!) to Vesna Manasieva.  Obviously Vesna’s name is a household word.  The 21 year-old qualifier from Moscow is, after all,  146th in the world!  I thought Bartoli would match up well with Woz.  I neglected to consider how she would match up with Vesna.

Thankfully, Julia Goerges, my unseeded player, beat Kaia Kanepi.  Nice.  She has Sharapova next with a good shot at victory.  But here comes Day Four.  What’s the next bizarre upset to come along and blow a hole in what’s left of my poor team?  The most unlikely thing possible would be my guess.

Written by: Don

(7) Comments

Arvis says:
Jan 20, 2011


No worries, though, I put David Nalbandian in the Finals against Federer. *sigh*


Adrian says:
Jan 20, 2011

I had the stupidity of putting Nadal & Murray as opponents in the final, Simon as my unseeded player (even though he has a winning record against Fed, I never would’ve picked him if I’d known who his second opponent was going to be!), and Zvonareva & Clijsters in the final………..I’m sure your team will perservere!

edsteam says:
Jan 21, 2011

I had Hewitt on my team and can you believe he lost in the 1st round? I know he’s not the same Hewitt from a few years ago, but you would think he could bring his A game to the Aussie Open. The both Monfils and Ljubicic lost in the 3rd round, so my team is out of contention.

Ankit0Roger says:
Jan 21, 2011

same here buddy…..picked Davydanko for sure shot win up to quaters :( then chose Delpo and NaLbandian….excellent display in R1 but both out in R2….team went to hell :(

DonDenman says:
Jan 25, 2011

Your message…Well, ed, Hewitt did have Nalbandian. Just ask Arvis how good he is. I wouldn’t have picked either of them simply because each was playing the other. As it turned out, Nalbandian won the match but was burned to the ground and could barely answer the bell for round two.

It sure does help to study the draw before picking your team, Adrian!

Adrian says:
Jan 25, 2011

It sure does. I feel incredibly stupid for not doing so beforehand…oh well, learned my lesson!

Arvis says:
Jan 26, 2011

Funny, I studied the draw for the Men’s side, but not the Women’s. I put Schiavone and Wozniacki in the Final, so I hope that makes you feel less stupid, Adrian! :)

Anyone else starting to think that it’s time for Zvonareva to come good?


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