Sunday, January 13, 2008

Aussie Open update

I've been tuned to ESPN 2 HD since 4:oo gorging on some fantastic tennis presented in the crystalline beauty of high-definition, and we have...
...the first big upset of the tourney. As The Tipsy Historian predicted, unseeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga just knocked off the 9th seed Andy Murray 7-5, 6-4, 0-6, 7-6 (5). Wilfried was on the brink of having it slip away at the end of the fourth set, getting his serve broken when he served for the match, but put together the sort of mental effort that can launch a player into the upper echelon of tennis. Clearly fatigued and tight, he kept the ball in play, kept it deep, and got a high percentage of first serves in. When you play that way against a circus animal like Murray, with his pentance for idiotic drop shots and unbelievable tantrums, you can bet he's going to come undone. Lo and behold, at 4-4 in the tiebreak, Murray throws in the double fault, and Tsonga rolls to the biggest victory of his career. Oh yeah, the UK hothead skied a ball out of the stadium when he dropped match point. Putting a victory like that in your pocket is a deposit that the big names draw on again and again.
Compare his effort to the hacking gasps of Tamira Paszek as she tried to put away #3 seed Jelena Jankovic in what would have been a huge upset, but turned into a mere drawing out of the expected ending. Three match points on her racket, Pascek coughs all of them up and goes on to lose a marathon match 2-6, 6-2, 12-10 (the third set took 90 minutes). Simply put, the big players win the big points in the big moments. That's a theme you'll see in every match you watch
ESPN 2's coverage (channel 30 or 730 for HD on Time Warner Cable)has been fantastic thus far. They've teamed with Tennis Channel (channel 410 on Time Warner) so there are 6 courts with TV coverage, plus remote feeds, which is more than any previous tourney except the US Open. This way, they are able to jump to the best matches going on at the moment. Plus they've got the best broadcasters all with links to each other, so the banter is really interesting and entertaining. Check your guides so you can watch for a few minutes, you really won't regret it.

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