Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Tsonga Tsunami

There's something really strange about the Australian Open when it comes down to the men's finals appearance's. The last few years we were very often witnessing big surprises.
It all started in 2001 as Arnaud Clement came back from two sets to love down to beat his compatriot Sebatien Grosjean in the semis. The Frenchman was later beaten very convincingly in the final by Andre Agassi.
The next year saw Thomas Johansson reaching the final over Jiri Novak. The Swede came into the final without anything to lose. This attitude was the right one as he beat the Marat Safin in four sets to grab his maiden Grand Slam. Although Johansson is regarded as a one Slam wonder, you can't take away this achievement from him.
In the 2oo3 edition Rainer Schuettler made a name for himself as he beat a tired looking Andy Roddick in the semis. The German couldn't back that up in the final, as he also lost to Andre Agassi.
In 2006 we had another big surprise. The unseeded Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis beat Ljubicic, Roddick and Nalbandian on the way to just his second career final. And what a final it was... The crowd favourite looked to finish the tournament with a flurish, but having won the first set, the Cypriot let a break advantage in the second set runaway and with it - the chance for a huge upset.
The surprising tendency was also maintained last year as Fernando Gonzalez made the final. The Chilean played an unbelievable tournament routing Blake, Nadal and Haas on the way to his first Grand Slam final, but couldn't repeat his performance in the final, as he lost in straight sets to Roger Federer.
After what we have witnessed over the last few years, a surprising finalist is no longer a surprise at The Aussie Open! That's why after todays night session, no one was shocked after Jo-Wilfried Tsonga made Rafael Nadal look like a junior player. The Frenchman played in a league of his own and deserved the 6/2 6/3 6/2 win.
"It's unbelievable, just amazing," Tsonga said, calling it his best performance ever. "Nothing can stop me today. It's like a dream. I can't believe it's true. I was moving on the court like never I move. Everything was perfect."
You can''t blame the Spaniard for not trying, 'cause the will was there. "I can't believe some volleys he made" Nadal said. "I tried to play little bit slower; I tried to play a little bit faster; I tried to play more inside the court; behind the court. No chance. Not today."

Tsonga has a difficult task ahead of him. His next opponent will be the winner of the match between Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. The unexpected finalist has never played those players before on Tour, but he is surely well aware of the fact, that these two guys are currently the best hardcourt players out there. It will be interesting to watch if Tsonga will imply the same tactics of going for broke on every point in the final. This strategy has already allowed him to beat 4 Top 10 players in this tournament, so why shouldn't he do it all over again in the final?

~jachal

3 comments:

maiz said...

Rafa's out.
It's high time you changed the question in the ranking.

maiz said...

yeah yeah yeah.
by ranking I meant your home-page questionnaire, of course.
but actually, isn't Rafa already doomed after what he did in the AO?

nelopo said...

Yeah the Tsonga Tsunami in a french rap !! See:
http://fr.youtube.com/watch?v=vfsblnDFe20