Australian Open 2012 – Heroes and Zeroes

Good tournament for…
Men

Novak Djokovic – Champion

Unbelievable resolve, and an ominous display throughout the fortnight. Murray and Nadal came oh so close, but with this self belief there really is no stopping the Serb. Amazingly, it is he who looks the favourite for Roland Garros in May if he keeps this up.

Andy Murray – Semi Finals

I am no Murray fan, but he should be heartened by this fourth straight slam semi-final appearance. He still has the best chance of usurping Djokovic. Unlike Nadal, you feel that Murray hasn’t been figured out by Djokovic, and the Scot can still improve with Lendl.

Lleyton Hewitt – Fourth Round

Was it his last Oz Open? Let’s hope not, Lleyton continues to turn back the clock when it matters and will be sorely missed once his retirement signals the snuffing of the flame of a bygone era of the game.

Roger Federer – Semi Finals

Federer’s disappointment at losing once again to Nadal after playing such a faultless tournament will be huge. So too will the realisation that barring a loss in form or niggling injury or six to his fellow ‘big 4’ members, he will perhaps never clinch a 17th slam. But his run at the end of last year proved he still has enough to play with, his loss to Nadal was as tight as you like.

Rafael Nadal – Runner Up

Rafa’s disappointment will eclipse even Federer’s, but during his planned break from the sport Nadal should reflect on his near-victory here. A brilliant result given his fitness woes pre-season.

Women

Viktoria Azarenka – Champion

Cool composed but a little crazy now and again, the Belarussian finally delivered the good after so much promise, you feel – unlike Safina and Wozniacki – that she can continue to beat the best instead of dominate the rest.

Maria Sharapova – Runner Up

Sharapova’s desire is such that she wont be satisfied, but in reality this was a fine triumph. The semi-final over Kvitova will keep her spirits high for a good few months.

Sara Errani – Quarter Finals

Errani’s breakthrough tournament? Well we have seen similar surprise names before, and early exits of seeds are always a factor. But Errani’s game is good enough to repeat such feats and refreshingly different to watch.

Petra Kvitova – Semi Finals

A surprise loss to Sharapova in the semi’s shouldn’t dent Kvitova’s confidence too much, there is a fear that she will ‘do an Ivanovic’ and crumble somewhat. However her form in 2012 is matched only by Azarenka so far.

Ekaterina Makarova – Quarter Finals

Unlike Errani, Makarova had plenty of seeds in her wake, but despatched them with ease, Kanepi, Zvonareva and (an admittedly below par) Serena were swept aside. Great foundation for the year.

Bad Tournament for…

Men

Andy Roddick

Bernard Tomic

Juan Martin Del Potro

Jo Wilfred Tsonga

With the exception of Roddick – who together with Mardy Fish offered up a woeful tournament for the Americans – these players despite reaching the latter rounds were definitely worthy of more. Must Try Harder.

Women

Serena Williams – Fourth Round

An awful match for the American saw errors flow freely from her racquet. Is this the beginning of the end? The romantics hope not, and certainly if she can improve the fitness and matchplay – a big ask- then she can never be discounted such is her experience.

Stosur – First Round

A torrid Australian season for the US Open champion, a meltdown is very possible for 2012 but the more likely outcome will be an immediate resurgence now that she is free from the pressure of her home nation. The Mauresmo syndrome if you like.

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