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Europeans Hit Big In Australia

  • January 8th, 2009
  • Posted by Daniel Challis

European tennis stars have featured strongly at this years Australian warm-up tournaments, the Hopman Cup and the Brisbane International.

Not so the case for the Australian players, many of whom have been bowing-out in early rounds, disappointing local crowds…

FRENCH PUT ON A SHOW FOR BRISBANE

Three Frenchmen will advance through to the quarter finals of this year’s Brisbane International; Paul-Henri Mathieu, Florent Serra and the exciting Jo-Wilfred Tsonga.

Mathieu made light work of Latvian Ernests Gublis in his Round Two draw, beating Gublis in straight sets.

Serra also defeated his second-round opponent in straight sets while Tsonga survived an early scare to eventually triumph over his opponent Jarkko Nieminen, 0-6 7-6(1) 7-6(5).

Spaniard Fernando Verdasco joined his fellow Europeans in the winners circle with a convincing straight set victory over Croatia’s Mario Ancic.

Verdasco managed to save five break points against him with some devastating ground strokes and some good tactical hitting.

In the women’s draw the hard-hitting Frenchwoman Amelie Mauresmo was victorious over her French counterpart Julie Coin in an incredible match that lasted just over three hours; the longest ever in Mauresmo’s career.

Italian qualifier Roberta Vinci almost delivered a knock-out blow in her second round match against top-seeded glamour girl Ana Ivanovic.

The Italian had two match points at one stage against the Serb but was unable to follow through the later stages; being mentally outplayed in a grueling two-and-a-half hour match.

TSONGA ON SONG

Impressive displays of athleticism and brilliant shot-making of players like Jo-Wilfred Tsonga have been what the Brisbane crowd came to see.

With the early exit of world number seven Serbian Novak Djokovic, Tsonga has been the one left to stun crowds with his passion and exuberance on the court.

The 23-year-old is no doubt a rising star who sees the Brisbane International as a great launching pad into this year’s Australian Open.

“For me, it’s very important to play a lot of matches because if I am ready for the Australian Open, I have to play well here first,” Tsonga said.

Tsonga did brilliantly in last year’s Australian Open as an unseeded player to make it through to the final; only to be dramatically snuffed-out by Novak Djokovic in a four-set thriller.

AUSSIES GO DOWN IN PERTH AND BRISBANE

Australian tennis stars haven’t managed to shake up the local tournaments this year, with many of the players making early exits.

Sam Stosur (a Brisbane local) sadly crashed out in her opening round match at the Brisbane International, losing to Czech Lucie Safarova 6-4 6-4.

Stosur was disappointed she wasn’t able to turn it on in front of her fans on her home turf.

“I am very disappointed to lose, obviously, but she (Safarova) played really well tonight and got me,” Stosur had to concede.

Other disappointments for Australia include Casey Dellacqau in the Hopman Cup who lost against the Slovak Republic’s Dominika Cibulka in straight sets.

Australia also lost to Germany and the Slovak Republic earlier in the week, after going down 2-1 in both.

The Europeans on the other hand are doing well in the Hopman Cup with France, Germany and Italy all looking like qualifying in their respective pool groups.

Reference:

The Official Hopman Cup website, http://hopmancup.com/?id=1, (08.01.09).

The Official Brisbane International website, http://www.brisbaneinternational.com.au/, (08.01.09).

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