The 2012 tennis season is off with a bang with tournaments (real and fake) popping up all over the globe. After the “off-season” both tours are qucikly winding into gear with the Australian Open under two weeks away now.
This is generally a time where exhibition ‘tournaments’ are most prevalent but due to their pointless existence I don’t give much credence to their results. With the exception of the Hopman Cup, which I enjoy watching, I would much prefer all players actually playing in real tournaments where the results actually count.
So quickly on the exhibition ‘tournament’ played in Abu Dhabi which featured a stellar line up of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, David Ferrer, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gael Monfils. Clearly having a six man tournament doesn’t work very well with Nadal and Federer receiving first round byes. Ferrer defeated Tsonga 2-6 7-6(5) 6-2 to set up a clash with compatriot Nadal and Djokovic defeated Monfils 6-2 4-6 6-2.
Nadal, with a sore shoulder, then come out and got whacked by Ferrer 6-3 6-2 whilst Djokovic felled Federer easing through their first meeting since the US Open semi classic with a 6-2 6-1 victory over the world number three.
Djokovic then defeated Ferrer in the final 6-1 6-2 and Nadal defeated Federer in the battle for third place 6-1 7-5.
The biggest story to come out of this is Nadal’s injury with the world number two saying he needs to rest his injured wing after the Australian Open and that fact that Djokovic has started the year off well and is a deserved favourite for the Australian Open.
One more ‘exo’ . The Hopman Cup, the only mixed team tennis event played and it starting means the Aussie tennis summer has started.
The Czech Republic are the top seeds represented by world number two Petra Kvitova and world number seven Tomas Berdych and lead Group A. Joining the Czechs in Group A is defending champions and fourth seeds the USA with Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Mardy Fish, Denmark with world number one Caroline Wozniacki and Frederick Nielson, ranked 236 and Bulgaria represented by Tsvetana Pironkova and Grigor Dmitrov.
France with Marion Bartoli and Richard Gasquet are seeded second leading Group B with third seeds Spain with Anabel Medina Garrigues and Fernando Verdasco. Australia represented by Jarmilla Gajdosova and Lleyton Hewitt and China with Li Na and Wu Di.
So far the Hopman Cup has thrown up few surprises. Li Na who has struggled since claiming the French Open defeated Bartoli 2-6 6-2 6-4 before Gasquet easily defeated world number 421 Wu Di 6-1 6-3 before the French team rain away with the decisive mixed doubles 6-1 6-1.
The Australian team almost upset the fourth seeded Spaniards having match points in the mixed doubles after a win to Gajdosova (6-3 3-6 6-3) and Verdasco (6-3 3-6 7-5) but the home team went down in a match tiebreak.
The Czech Republic started their campaign against Bulgaria and came away 2-1 victory with both Kvitova and Berdych winning before the Bulgarians won the mixed in a match tiebreak before Denmark upset reigning champs the US. Caroline Wozniacki defeated Mattek-Sands then Nielson pushed Fish to three sets in their match up. The smiley Danish pair then won the doubles in straight sets to clinch the tie and Wozniacki even managed to put two aces past Mardy Fish.
Spain asserted their place at the top of Group B after a 2-1 win over the Chinese. Li Na again won her singles match but Verdasco was too strong for Wu Di before the Spaniards dominated the doubles for a 6-0 6-2 win.