Thursday, January 8, 2009

Wednesday Update: Some people cruised, some people struggled...

And some were just a plain disappointment...!!

As action was underway in both Doha and Brisbane, the rain canceled play in Chennai on Wednesday. The top 5 seeds managed to breeze into the quarterfinals of the Qatar Open, while second-seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, had a way tougher time clinching himself a last-eight spot in Brisbane.

World number 1, Rafael Nadal, posted yet another impressive victory in Qatar, when he disposed of Slovakia's Karol Beck 6-1, 6-2, to set up a quarterfinal meeting with the unconventional, Gael Monfils.

Nadal leads the theatrical Monfils 3-0 head-to-head but that doesn't necessarily mean it'll be easy for the Spaniard. Monfils, a finalist in Doha in 2006, is currently number 13 in the world, and is sporting quite a hairdo that could distract the hell out of any opponent, even the reigning Wimbledon, French Open and Olympic champion.

Meanwhile, Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Andy Roddick also secured passage to the quarterfinals with comfortable straight sets victories. Defending champion Murray, is now only a match away from colliding with Federer in the semis. A match that we are all eagerly anticipating of course...

Across the equator, in the land Down Under, Tsonga, dropped the first set to love against Jarkko Nieminen, before he managed to squeeze through to the Brisbane quarterfinals, 0-6, 7-6, 7-6. He next faces Richard Gasquet.

On the women's side, top seed, Ana Ivanovic, also dug deep in her second round encounter with Italy's Roberta Vinci, saving 2 match points en route to her 6-7, 7-5, 6-1 victory.

The Serbian beauty next faces Amelie Mauresmo, who is slowly coming back to her winning ways despite a tough 3+ - hour struggle against her French compatriot Julie Coin.

While the top seeds impressed in Doha, and Tsonga, Ivanovic and Mauresmo, fought their way through in Brisbane, Ernests Gulbis failed to capitalize on his first round win over Brisbane top-seed, Novak Djokovic, as he fell to Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-3, 6-4, in 81 minutes.

Big things are expected from 20-year-old Gulbis, currently ranked 53 in the world following a rise to number 38 last summer, however he hasn't won 2 straight matches since reaching the quarters in Cincinnati last August.

Other disappointing exits from Brisbane include Mario Ancic falling to Ivanovic's beau, Fernando Verdasco (seeded 3rd), and 5th-seeded Tomas Berdych taken down by Kei Nishikori.

Thursday lineup includes:


Nadal [1] vs. Monfils
Roddick [4] vs. Hanescu
Federer [2] vs. Kohlschreiber
Murray [3] vs. Stakhovsky


Mathieu vs. Nishikori
Ivanovic [1] vs. Mauresmo [5]
Verdasco [3] vs. Serra


Moya [6] vs. Devvarman
Karlovic [4] vs. Minar

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