• Haas, Tsonga kick off Australian Open campaigns

    1/14/13 3:13 AM | Ricky Dimon
    Haas, Tsonga kick off Australian Open campaigns Tommy Haas will contest his first-round match in Melbourne on Tuesday against Jarkko Nieminen. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is also in action, set to do battle with fellow Frenchman Michael Lloda.

    (19) Tommy Haas vs. Jarkko Nieminen

    Nieminen and Haas will be squaring off for the fourth time in their careers when they do battle in round one of the Australian Open on Tuesday. Haas has won all three of their previous encounters, including two on hard courts. They faced each other last season in Indian Wells (their only meeting since 2002), where the German prevailed 7-6(9), 6-4.

    Both players are in solid form heading into the first Grand Slam of 2013. Nieminen advanced one round in Brisbane before reaching the quarterfinals. Haas is coming off a stellar 1012 campaign that has him up to No. 21 in the world. The 34-year-old got a rough draw in Auckland, where he fell to Gael Monfils in a second-round three-setter. Haas over the veteran Finn in four sets is the pick.

    (7) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs. Michael Llodra

    Speaking of rough draws, this is a brutal one for Llodra. It could be worse, such as one that involves Novak Djokovic or Roger Federer on the other side of the net, but facing Tsonga can only bring back terrible memories. Llodra is 0-5 lifetime against his fellow Frenchman and three have ended in retirement.

    The 32-year-old has not played a match this season, but his late-2012 results included a runner-up finish at the Mons Challenger and a semifinal run at the Paris Masters. Tsonga, who warmed up for Melbourne by participating in the Kooyong Classic, compiled a 55-25 record last year but lost all three of his matches at the World Tour Finals. Based mostly on head-to-head history, the world No. 8 in straight sets is the obvious choice.

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"The 52 year old has not played a match this season......" Oh lol. These tennis players just go on and on these days....

deuce , 1/14/13 2:43 PM

^^Yes Federer will be inspired by oe of the `little` players again....

Twinge , 1/14/13 3:02 PM

Twingey, isn't Fed going on till he's 88?

deuce , 1/14/13 3:37 PM

^^^Isn't he already?
Its up to Andy to firmly slap the door on this bloated megastars face.
As long as federer thinks he will crumble in a slam he knows he will still have a shot at another major.
Now would be a good time for Andy to demonstrate his newly achieved bad assness
thank you very much!

Twinge , 1/14/13 3:43 PM

I think it might just be a case of been there, done that...It might be Fed who slaps the door on Murray's face once more in a slam ;-)...Irrespective of whatever happens I would like to see a 'royal' battle between the old dethroned 'King' and the newly crowned 'Prince'...But, before that both have to reach that stage which won't be easy...However I agree that Murray is a favourite to reach the final from the bottom half of the draw.

netcord , 1/14/13 4:28 PM

"...It might be Fed who slaps the door on Murray's face once more in a slam.."

Only if Andy underperforms is your idol getting to a final.
And if he did, what a waste!
A straight sets gift to the stronger player in Djokovic.
Oh dear!
Andy will show, with any luck, that he's all grown up (bout time too) & that means no more gifting of matches come slam time to the so called GOAT.

Twinge , 1/14/13 4:59 PM

do agree however with both of them getting there first.
And at the very least it has to be a showstopper, not the usual one sucks the life out of the other routine that often occurs.
We will see.

Twinge , 1/14/13 5:02 PM


RickyDimon , 1/14/13 6:10 PM

Why Murray needs to underperform for Federer to win...or vice-versa? For obvious reasons Murray or Djokovic will be favouriet against Federer in AO...But, it may not come true all the time when they play...Irrespective of whoever wins I will enjoy the Open...I feel, at the end of the day, tennis is much bigger than any of its protagonists...If Andy wins the open he surely deserves so and I will be happy for him... :-)

netcord , 1/14/13 6:42 PM

I'm just biggin my boy up a bit netcord.
What i have noticed is that Roger really (really!) ups his game in a slam when Andy is at the other end, more so i feel than anyone else. Even Rafa whom I feel Roger simply doesn't believe he can beat anymore.
The message is clear from his side.
But will Andy finally have the answer?

Twinge , 1/14/13 7:17 PM

I am with netcord. Fed and Murray both have to get to the semis. Then they can have their battle royale! I would love to see it happen. I don't expect this Andy Murray to gift a match to anyone. He's got a slam under his belt and an Olympic medal, too. He should be coming into this slam with some real confidence and purpose.

Nativenewyorker , 1/14/13 10:49 PM

my picks for the best Day 2 matches -

RickyDimon , 1/15/13 12:33 AM


Nice read. Interesting that you think Paire will have one close set with Fed. Also, it's true that Haase has given Murray fits in the past, but as you said this is an entirely different Murray.

I have been going back and forth about Dolgo and Monfils. Dolgo can either be brilliant or terrible. You never know what to expect from him. Monfils is coming back from his knee injury. I honestly think it could go either way. However, I agree with you that Monfils just may not have enough to win a best three out of five set match at this time. I still think this is going to be a great match to watch. A real treat for a first rounder.

Nativenewyorker , 1/15/13 2:47 AM

Current ATP-rankings

1. Djokovic 12 500 pts
2. Murray 8 750 pts
3. Federer 8 670 pts
4. Ferrer 6 970 pts
5. Nadal 6 385 pts

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