Sunday, January 23, 2011

Australian Open: A Quarter Pound Of Swiss

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Well folks, it happened.

There will be an all-Swiss quarterfinal at the Australian Open.

For starters--

Andy Roddick, the only American male still standing at the Aussie, is done. Out.

Roddick lost in three sets (6-3, 6-4, 6-4) to Swiss native and No. 19 Stanislas Wawrinka. And so the doldrums continue for American men's tennis.

As for Wawrinka, it sets up a dream match against fellow Swiss and World No. 2 Roger Federer in the Quarterfinals. Federer defeated unseeded Tommy Robredo, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, in their Fourth Round match. The win has put Federer in a jaw-dropping 27th consecutive Quarterfinals at a Grand Slam event, which ties an all-time record held by the legendary Jimmy Connors. To put it in perspective, the last time Federer DID NOT reach, at least, the Quarterfinals in a major was at the 2004 French Open when he lost in the Third Round. Oh and by the way, that year, he won all the other three majors.

The Federer-Wawrinka match will be the first time in the Open Era that two men from Switzerland play each other in the Quarterfinals and beyond of a Grand Slam event. Wawrinka, who has understandably taken a back seat to Federer throughout his career has a chance to be the most famous man in Switzerland if he can defeat the great Federer and move on to the Semifinals.

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Nobody, including Wawrinka, doubts that this will be a tall order. But Wawrinka is no slouch. This will be the second consecutive Grand Slam event in which he has reached the Quarterfinals. At the 2010 U.S. Open he defeated No. 4 Andy Murray in the Third Round and No. 20 Sam Querrey in the Fourth Round to reach the Quarterfinals, where he lost in five hard-fought sets to then-No. 12 Mikhail Youzhny.

The winner of the all-Swiss match will then face the winner of the other Quarterfinals match between No. 3 Novak Djokovic and No. 6 Tomas Berdych in the Semifinals.

In the end, one of these 4 men (Federer, Wawrinka, Djokovic or Berdych) will face the last man standing from the other bracket in the Final, which everyone anticipates will be World No. 1 Rafael Nadal.

Unless, of course, No. 4 Robin Soderling or No. 5 Andy Murray have other ideas.

But for now I'm sure Wawrinka is happy with his shot at the great Federer and not to mention being in the same conversation with all the top players in the world.

You deserve it Stan. Good luck!

Finally--

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The only consolation for the bummed-out Andy Roddick is that by reaching the Fourth Round he will at least remain in the Top 10 when it is all said and done. I guess that's better than nothing.

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