Monday, January 23, 2012

Australian Open Day 8: Zheng

Curtain Call

Player: Jie Zheng
Age: 28
Nation: China
Current Ranking: 38
Notable Conquests: Marion Bartoli (9th seed, France) and Roberta Vinci (23rd, Italy)
Today's Result: loss to Sara Errani (Italy) in straight sets

Photo via thedoublebagel

Zheng looked to be on the path to exciting things when she made the semifinals in Melbourne two years ago, the second Slam semi of her career. Instead her results since have been pedestrian. She's had a great start to 2012: winning a tune-up tournament in Auckland before making the fourth round at the Australian. Alas, she went down very meekly today: 6-2, 6-1. Just not enough left in the tank, I guess.

Catching Up with Old Friends

Bernard Tomic (Curtain Call, Wimbledon Day 9) - Tomic's impressive run in Melbourne ended in the fourth round with a straight-sets loss to Roger Federer (3rd, Switzerland). Federer has done the same to many other players at many other tournaments. He is a professional reality check. Tomic is the future. There's little doubt of that at this point. He had five-set wins over two seeds at the 2012 Australian: Alexandr Dolgopolov (13th, Ukraine) and Fernando Verdasco (22nd, Spain). But he still has some work to do to challenge for the top of the heap.

Tomic teamed with Jelena Jankovic (Serbia) in mixed doubles. The team made it to the second round before losing to the 7th-seeded team Andrea Hlavackova (Czech Republic)/Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi (Pakistan).

Golden Squid Report

Richard Gasquet (Golden Squid since 6/27/2011) - Gasquet had a strong tournament, matching his career-best in Melbourne by reaching the fourth round. He beat Janko Tipsarevic (9th, Serbia) rather easily in the third round, reminding everyone that he really does have Top 10 talent himself. Expectations will be higher at the next Slam, Roland Garros, where Gasquet reached the fourth round last year.

Jurgen Melzer (Golden Squid since 1/24/2011) - Melzer was very busy in Australia, per usual of late. Unfortunately, the results were down from a year ago. He lost in the first round of the singles draw to Ivo Karlovic (Croatia), the 6-10 embodiment of the dangerous floater. His ranking will take a hit as he made it to the fourth round last year. His doubles result with partner Philipp Petzschner (Germany) was also down: third round this year compared to the quarterfinals in 2011. He teamed with Iveta Benesova (Czech Republic) in mixed doubles. They lost in the second round to the 6th-seeded Indian team of Sania Mirza/Mahesh Bhupathi.

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