Thursday, October 11, 2007

Thoughts On India and Thailand (late September)

It's been a while since these have ended, but I never commented on them, so here we go.

To say Richard Gasquet was dominant in Mumbai, India would be a gross understatement. And while the draw wasn't overly strong, he did have to navigate a fairly tough road. In doing so, Gasquet did not drop one set the entire tournament and no set was closer than 6-4. The only real benefit he got from the draw was Hewitt going out early in the bottom half of the draw. So the Frenchman's opponent in the final was Olivier Rochus, no slouch, but someone who Gasquet should beat nine times out of ten -- especially at the moment, as O. Rochus has not been doing much on the court recently.

Gasquet's other victims, in order, were Vliegen, Fognini, Koubek, and the always-tough Fabrice Santoro. None gave Gasquet trouble in Thailand. The win put Gasquet back in the year-end Masters Cup discussion (he is currently 10th after a strong runner-up performance in Tokyo).

Well, unfortunately the story in Thailand was more about what it wasn't rather than what it was. The top two seeds, Djokovic and Roddick, both withdrew. Hard-luck Joachim Johansson also pulled out, as did Thomas Johansson and Hyung-Taik Lee.

That left a watered-down draw yielding huge opportunities for the remainder of the field. Tomas Berdych, Tommy Haas, and Carlos Moya were the top three seeds remaining before the tournament even started, but none took advantage (well, Berdych made it to the semis before getting upset by Benjamin Becker, but both Haas and Moya lost early - Haas in the second round to Mahut and Moya in the first to Becker).

It was Dmitry Tursunov, the sixth seed, who capitalized on the wide open draw. The up-and-down Russian went to three sets in three of his first four matches, but he saved his best tennis for last in the final against Becker. Tursunov erased the German 6-1, 6-2 for his second title of the year (Indianapolis). It's not enough to get him into the year-end Masters Cup or anything like that, but it's always nice to see Tursunov playing well, because he is supremely talented and it's a shame when he plays like he's trying to be Safin or Fernando Gonzalez and goes for winners on every shot and just falls apart. I have to say Tursunov's blogging is very consistent (in terms of quality, not quantity), and let's hope this is the start of a more consistent tennis game.

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