Hey guys! Rowan here, with the haps from the first couple of days at the Heineken Open in Auckland.
David Nalbandian withdrew with an abdominal injury! Sucks!
Juan Carlos Ferrero rolled his ankle and had to retire! Sucks!
Aside from those disappointments, it’s been a fun week of tennis so far. Oh, the Bryan brothers lost in the first round too, but at least they got some decent TV time. And Nalbandian did get to have his MRI at Auckland Hospital, that’s something.
I said it last year and I’ll say it again this year – John Isner is a tall son of a gun. And he’s into the semifinals, after he beat top seed Tommy Robredo in a three set thriller today. In fact all Isner’s matches this week have gone three sets, with a lot of tiebreaks of course. Why do things the easy way?
Isner will face Spanish dude Albert Montanes tomorrow for a spot in the final. Montanes is a regular Auckland visitor who won two titles on clay last year but has never done very well on hard courts. So it’s been a great week for him, and he does seem pretty stoked. Sure, he’s had a piece of cake draw – he beat a qualifier, then a Kiwi wildcard, then another qualifier, not a top 200er among them – but dammit, he still had to make sure he ate that piece of cake without choking on it. And choke he did not, so good on you Albert. But you have to like Big John’s chances to make the final, and maybe even take his first ATP title.
In the other semi tomorrow Philipp Kohlschreiber and his sweet one-handed backhand take on Arnaud Clement and his colourful bandanas. You have to be pretty cool to wear sunglasses at night, and that’s exactly what Clement did when he took out David Ferrer yesterday. I’m picking an Isner-Kohlschreiber final though.
Oh, and Sebastien Grosjean was super cool. He won his first round match in three stylish sets, then lost to Jurgen Melzer in a third set tiebreak the next day, exciting tennis all the way. I hope he can have a good comeback.