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-> Wawrinka defeated Dimitrov 7-5 6-3 6-3 in a match with two players who play a highly entertaining game-style – both similar to Federer, especially Dimitrov. Wawrinka’s coach (P. Lundgren) was Dimitrov’s coach for a long time – it wasn’t hard to predict that Wawrinka would feel confident as his coach knew his opponent’s game very well, as he essentially created it.

Look back to the 2005 Australian Open SF where Safin defeated Federer, Safin had Lundgren as his coach during that duration of time, but prior to coaching Safin, Lundgren had been Federer’s coach for a long time, and Safin defeated an (arguably) Federer at his near best; Lundgren is a good coach in the game for knowing different tactics to apply against different players.

-> Annacone has promoted Federer to play a more aggressive game – it seems all tennis fans know this, against Simon however, this helped Federer relatively well for 2 sets, yet for set 3 and 4 we saw how his attacking style has set-backs; in the Australian Open plexicushion it allows counter-punchers such as Simon to retrieve the ball very well, even if the ball has been struck very hard, and it allows for players to use pace generated on the ball.

It is when Federer started slicing more and hitting slower, more controlled strokes late on in the 5th set, that Simon at times, had nothing to work with, and when this happened, the Frenchman went for a big forehand winner; yet this was risky at such a crucial point of the match and Simon made several unforced errors on his forehand late in the fifth set from having to generate his own pace – Murray faced similar problems when facing Federer at ATP World Tour Finals 2010 and it is a tactic Federer should utilise against all counter-punchers —> control the speed of the shots so his harder, more flatter shots are accentuated and more separated from his normal shots, which give his opponent something different to think about.

–> Djokovic’s average first serve speed in the first 2 rounds has been higher than Federer’s, Murray’s or Nadal’s – Soderling’s is higher, but with a height advantage, that’s expected. Has Djokovic improved his first serve in the off-season? One to watch out for.

–> David Nalbandian’s slice passing shot to set-up 3 break points against Lleyton Hewitt in the fifth set of the brilliant first-round match was unbelievable, a small exhibition of the huge talent the Argentine has. His match point wasn’t too bad either – a forehand lob from a decent Hewitt approach shot. You can view the points here.

Interesting, up-coming matches to watch:

Gasquet vs Berdych (Berdych to blow-out Gasquet’s passive style or will the usual Berdych appear?)

Del Potro vs Baghdatis (Baghdatis needs to stay clear of Del Potro’s forehand or he will be blown off the court)

Troicki vs Djokovic (Troicki should have beaten Djokovic @ the US Open, with Djokovic’s seemingly improved serve, what can Troicki do?)

Interesting matches on the women’s side:

Henin vs Kuznetsova (Henin should win in 2 sets but Kuznetsova can defeat anybody when performing well)

Wozniacki vs Cibulkova (Wozniacki should, just like Henin, win this comfortably in 2 sets, but this match will be intriguing for the tactics in it; Cibulkova certainly isn’t the fastest and Wozniacki’s style is essentially reactive – her tactics depend on who she’s playing, will she use a lot of short slices to expose Cibulkova’s poor movement, will she enter long rallies and try to tire her opponent? Wozniacki is a delight to watch when it comes to watching how professionals tactics at the highest level, her masterful tactical performance against Sharapova at the US Open 2010 can be seen here)


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