Thursday, 24 January 2013

Australian Open Seed Watch Men's Draw QF

Seeds left at start of quarter finals: 7

(5) Tomas Berdych lost to (1) Novak Djokovic

QF departure for Tomas Berdych
If going the distance (and a little bit more) against Stanislas Wawrinka took any toll out of Novak Djokovic, he refused to show it on court with a less exhausting display against Tomas Berdych on Tuesday night.  Early breaks garnered him the first set with comparative ease, and although Berdych mustered an early break in the second, he had to fight hard to maintain the lead.  Greater consistency and focus characterised Djokovic in sets 3 and 4, as he remained a step ahead of his opponent 61 46 61 64.  Through to his eleventh straight semi-final, Djokovic looks to have peaked at the right time in the tournament to drive his momentum home to a victory.

(7) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga lost to (2) Roger Federer

While tournament officials were criticised from some quarters for scheduling Roger Federer's match on the evening showcourt for the 4th straight round, while shunting Andy Murray's encounter against Jeremy Chardy into a daytime slot, on this occasion they were entirely justified.  While Murray made light work of his unseeded opponent, losing just 7 games in a speedy display, Roger Federer was made to win the hard way by the seventh seed, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Under the watchful eye of new coaching appointment, Roger Rasheed, Tsonga was consistent, both at the net and on his ground strokes, and aggressive when he needed to be.  He was still the showman, pirouetting volleys as he broke Federer's serve five times throughout the match.  Yet it still didn't prove enough, as even though Federer had to rely on points differences in tie breaks to keep his nose in front, it all changed in the final set.  And after four unsuccessful attempts, he finally took the match on his fifth match point 76(4) 46 76(4) 36 63.  Federer will meet Andy Murray in another night-session match as they vie for a place in Sunday's final.

(10) Nicolas Almagro lost to (4) David Ferrer

Nicolas Almagro, who had lost all 12 of his previous meetings against his compatriot David Ferrer, once again let victory slip through his fingers as he succumbed in five sets 46 46 75 76 62.  Asserting after the match that there wasn't a mental problem that wrenched the win from his grasp, "If I have mentality problem, I think I didn't win the first two sets", Almagro seemed unable to comprehend the nature of his choke.  Outplaying the #4 seed for most of the first three sets with some clinical backhands, Almagro had three occasions to serve for the match: once in the third set and twice in the fourth.  On all occasions, his composure deserted him and errors allows Ferrer back into the match.  The higher ranked player needed little invitation to doggedly scrap his way back into contention, and when his opportunity came to take the match, he seized it without hesitation.

Seeds left in the draw: 4

Despite Rafael Nadal's absence from the competition, the ATP men's draw has once again proved a paragon of stability, with all four of the top seeds making it through their quarters to contest the semi-finals.  On Thursday Novak Djokovic will take on David Ferrer, and on Friday Federer will play Andy Murray.

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