So. Hello. I’m pretty sure it’s not me you’re looking for either. And I know I’m supposed to be driving to Florida right now, but the Northeast is getting slammed with snow – bamboozled by blizzard, we are! – so I’m (Tom) delayed for one more day. Which means, despite my procuring of the finest guest-hosting talents (and they are doing a spectacular job), you are stuck with me for one more day. I don’t know what to do with myself, other than sully my site with more of my words. Therefore, I proudly present to you my Australian Open men’s qualifying day one wrap-up – cabin fever edition:
I was able to wake up in the middle of the night and watch the livestream of the John Millman v Sebastian Rieschick match as well as the Greg Jones v Olivier Patience contest. Then I fell asleep again (sorry Gooch!) Turns out that Greg and the Mailman were the only Aussies to come good out of the twelve who played yesterday.
That’s right, two wins out of twelve. Maverick Banes, Matt Reid, Chris Guccione, Sean Berman, Sam Groth, James Duckworth, Ben Mitchell, Luke Saville, James Lemke, and Brydan Klein all lost. Ouch. All Ozzed up, and no place to go. In fairness, Mitchell’s effort (some of which I saw) was superb, taking top seeded Blaz Kavcic to 4-6 in the third set. And Saville lost to a red hot Nicola Mahut.
Benny Mitchell – Will He Escape From Full Screen Mode?
So I’m especially glad to have seen the rare instances of Aussome success in all their glory. And they were glorious indeed. If ever a match could be called “classic John Millman”, this match vs. Rieschick was the one. The Mailman seemed dogged by the conditions early, and easily distracted by “fans” with highly questionable etiquette. His shots were landing short in the court, and his opponent was taking those short balls and teeing off, making more than he missed.
Thus, the amiable Queenslander found himself down a set and a break, with the burly German serving for the match, when he was granted a rain-delay reprieve. After an hour or so break, Milkman came out raring to go, a noticeable spring in his step that was absent pre-precip. Maybe he enjoyed some caffeine during his break. I offer this as evidence for my hypothesis:
Meanwhile, Rieschick was nowhere to be found, and ambled out onto the court a good five minutes or so after John did. When play resumed, Mailman overcame match point, shoddy line calls, and dodgy inter-game spectator migrations to break twice and take the second set 7-5. Rieschick also could no longer find the court – that helped, too.
The third set opened with three straight breaks, Sebastian settled a bit more into his game after an extended walkabout during the previous frame’s conclusion.
It looked like there’d be a fourth break, too, but the Mailman, down break points, just scrapped the crap out of some rallies, frustrating the German into a ball abuse warning after one. John is the kind of player that drove me out of tournament tennis, and I mean that as the highest compliment. Just runs down every damn thing, and takes the wind out of a flashier shotmaker’s sails. He held to 3-1* with an ace, and Rieschick was deflated and demoralized thereafter (and a little bit gassed, it looked like).
The rest of the match wasn’t exactly easy, as Millman had to save more BP’s and – to his credit – Sebastian didn’t go away completely. Perhaps the support from countrymen like Brands and Bachinger spurred him on.
But for most intents and purposes, that 4th game was the crucial one, and John held his one break edge to close out the match 3-6 7-5 6-4.
Afterward, John said he was a bit fortunate with the weather, that Sebastian had been playing really well before the rain came, and that changed the momentum of the match. But, even match point down, he never lost hope. He hung out with his mates from the ‘bane during the rain, and tried to make the delay as pleasant as possible. Said it’s easy to win when you’re playing well, but here, he didn’t play his best but was still able to find a way through.
Good stuff. Classic Millman.
The Jonesy match was another thrilling affair. At least it was when it finally came on; there was stream death for the first nine games. The livestream returned just as Patience served out the first set.
Throughout the second, Greg saved BP’s with brave net ventures and big serves, sometimes combining them in a little something I like to call serve and volley (I hope that catches on). The Frenchman was getting flustered, arguing calls and angrily muttering/gesturing, while Jones was poised throughout.
A friend of Greg’s from school in Sydney, Phil Pryor, was in the commentator box for almost the entire match, and he was really quite good. I don’t know how he got on air, as he’s there as a media information officer, but I hope he comes back to do more matches – he provided some great insight not only about Jonesy, but tennis in general.
Anyway, I need to go try and dig my car out of this blizzard now, so I’ll spare you my brutal play-by-play. Suffice it say, Jones held his nerve and serve well enough to take the match 4-6 6-4 9-7 (surviving a hiccup after he failed to serve out the match).
Great effort from the big Sydneysider. I’m especially pleased that Jones and Millman were the ones to advance today, as I think both were more deserving of Tennis Australia wildcards than Bernard Tomic and Carsten Ball were.
Other noteworthy results:
 Vincent Millot FRA d Andrey Kuznetsov RUS 6-4 6-4
 Evgeny Korolev KAZ d Tiago Fernandes BRA 6-2 6-0
Thomas Schoorel NED d David Guez FRA 1-6 7-6(2) 6-4
Dusan Lojda CZE d Rajeev Ram USA 6-2 6-4
Frederik Nielsen DEN d Alexander Peya AUT 3-6 6-1 6-2
Donald Young USA d Dieter Kindlmann GER 6-3 6-0
Peter Polansky CAN d Juan Sebastian Cabal COL 6-2 6-0
Rik De Voest RSA d Michael McClune 6-3 6-2
Jan Hernych CZE d  Edouard Roger-Vasselin 6-2 2-6 10-8
 Andreas Haider-Maurer AUT d Yannick Mertens BEL 7-6(4) 2-6 6-4
Alex Kuznetsov USA d  Lukas Rosol CZE 7-5 7-6(5)
Kevin Kim USA d  Conor Niland IRL 7-6(5) 7-6(6)
 Grigor Dimitrov BUL d Matteo Viola ITA 6-1 6-1
Nikola Mektic CRO d Ryler DeHeart USA 6-0 6-2
Fritz Wolmarans RSA d Augustin Gensse 7-6(4) 7-6(5)
Danai Udomchoke THA d  Igor Sijsling NED 6-4 6-1
 Gilles Muller LUX d Nick Lindahl SWE 7-6(6) 2-6 6-4
Oh for cripes sake, there are a lot of results. Just go here if you want to see the rest of them. I gotta go shovel.