It is time for the Australian Open. Their time change makes the day matches for tomorrow start at 4:00 p.m. here and the evening matches for tomorrow start at midnight. Luckily, I have tivo. Everyone is playing, though a bunch of the women seeds are already out. Safina, tragically had to retire from her match with a back problem and I hadn't seen her play at all. Sharapova was out in the first round (to Kirilenko, the beneficiary of Safina's retirement, but don't look for another Oudin--even Oudin was out in the first round). No on the women's side we are getting down to Henin coming back from retirement facing Petrova (one of my favorites after Jankovic, and the Williams)--one of them will be in the finals and on the other side of the draw it looks like the sisters will be facing off. Serena is playing much better, so she should have an easy time through to the finals. If she plays Henin, that will be huge and I'll be cheering Serena on big time (we don't like Henin). If she plays Petrova, I might have to cheer for Petrova--she is playing really well. We shall see.
On the men's side, the seeds are through. Roddick, Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Murray are all through to the round of 8. Cilic played a great match to knock out Del Potro and Tsonga is playing at the top of his game. Davydenko is through, but I have to admit that I fast forwarded through his match with Verdasco. He is so low key--worse than Federer. I like him, but I don't expect any excitement in his game.
I was on pins and needles though the Roddick/Gonzales match. I really wanted Roddick to play well, but I was equally happy that Gonzo played so well. Gonzo is through to the next round in doubles, but I have to cheer for the Bryans. I was disappointed that Isner was out. He played terrific and I expect great things from him in the future.
There were a few really low points last week--I was so disappointed by Clijsters. She played so poorly that it was difficult to watch. Then Baghdatis came out and played the same way against Hewitt and had to retire. I hope they don't have the flu.
My favorite matches have been Nadal's--he is such a passionate, spectacular player--really fun to watch. I feel like he lets the other player get into the game to keep it close and then turns on his game for the big points. He's dropped a set in each of his last two matches and next is Murray who is definitely up and coming. This will be tough. Whereas, Federer lost only one set in the first round and has had a pretty easy time. I don't see Fed with much competition until the final, but Nadal has Murray and then Djokovic. Both of these guys have beat Nadal in the past and the Australian is not Nadal's surface. It promises to be a great week in tennis.
My dream picks: Nadal or Roddick (Fed would have to get the flu, haha) and Serena or Petrova (Serena wouldn't have to get the flu, but it wouldn't hurt). Play ball.