Tag Archive: Sean Berman


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.

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Lock up your gardens, Melburnians!  Today’s the first day the seeds are on the prowl in Melbourne Park (on the men’s side, anyway). Let’s have a close look at your Wednesday wildcard playoff matchups, shall we?  (hint: we shall.)

Jared Easton vs. James Lemke [9] – After a 7-5 6-4 victory over Mark Verryth yesterday, 20 year-old Jared Easton is back at it bright and early today, this time against the newly-christened 9th-seed (due to Bernard Tomic’s withdrawal) James Lemke. The Gold Coaster, who once made the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open boys doubles with Devin Britton and achieved a junior combined world ranking of #15, will have his work cut out for him against the born-and-raised Melburnian Lemke, who is ranked 412 spots higher at #318 in the ATP rankings and sports a staggering – from a sheer matches played perspective – 59/37 win/loss record on the year. Easton, who sports a comparatively paltry 9/20 record in 2010, can take some measure of hope from the fact that Lemke has only won 6 of his matches on a hard court. But I’d still expect the 9th seed to come through in this one.

Peter Luczak [1] vs. Luke Saville – This should be a fun one – the top seed against the rising hope. On paper, it would appear that the #2-ranked Aussie won’t have to reach deep into his ‘zac of Luc (work with me here, people) to pull out a victory over his plucky 16 y/o opponent, who is 15 years his junior. But the matches aren’t played on paper, of course; they’re played on Plexicushion, which really sucks to write on. And though the South Australian from Adelaide can boast a higher current ranking at #115 than the #137 held by his self-professed “idol”, sadly for Luke that’s just his junior ranking, which won’t carry too much clout on the big boys tour. Still, he’s improving in leaps and bounds, and his 6-1 7-6(3) win over Joel Lindner in the first round shows that he’s come ready to play. An enormous ask for Saville, though, and the fun in this match will be in seeing how many games he’s able to get against his top-seeded, more-seasoned opponent.

Matthew Ebden [4] vs. Benjamin Mitchell – I love this matchup. Kinda sad it’s not on a streamed court, but hey, you can’t have everything (where would you put it?). Anyway, even though the the 4th seed from Perth is five years senior and 413 ATP ranking places higher than his 18 year-old opponent, Ben Mitchell – much like Luke Saville – is quickly on the rise. The #2 Aussie junior finished the year 9-3 on the pro tour, including his 6-4 6-3 first round victory over Maverick Banes. Most notably, the Gold Coaster reached the finals of the Australia F13 event in Bendigo, losing a tight match to Sam Groth, and his ranking has shot up almost 200 places in the last month alone. Will all this improvement spell a victory against Ebden? Possibly. Though Ebden won their only previous meeting 6-1 6-3 last year, the 4th seed did suffer an injury scare while training over the weekend; and though MRI readings indicated no fractures in his right hand, there is some bruising that might impede Ebden’s play. The man from Perth also hasn’t played a competitive match in over a month, while young Mitchell comes in firing on all cylinders. I’d give Ebden the edge in this one, but wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if Mitchell gets the upset either.

Dane Propoggia vs. Sam Groth [8] – Mr. Samuel Groth comes into this year’s WC Playoff as the hottest player in the event, having finished his year at a torrid 30/5 W/L clip, with three Futures titles under his belt, including the most recent pro event in Bendigo. Propoggia’s had a less-stellar 2010 campaign, going 19/22 for the year and only 9/15 since June. The 20 year old, ranked #616 in the world, can take heart from the fact that, while he lost both his previous meetings with Grothy, they both went the distance, so he’s played the big man close before on two occasions. Still, with the way Sam’s been hitting the ball of late, it’s very hard to imagine Proppogia managing a win here.

Greg Jones [7] vs. Sean Berman – Remember that thing I said about the paper and the plexicushion? Me neither, but the important thing to note here is that while Greg Jones is the seed and Berman the junior, I actually feel it’s 17 year old Melburnnesburgerican* who has the advantage here. Or, at the very least, it’s deuce. I mean, even. Let’s take a look at the evidence:  Berman, the 38th ranked junior who’s still listed as “USA” in the ITF records (I admit, his nationality is a bit hard to keep up with), won the Optus 18’s last week defeating James Duckworth in the final, and entered the event with a head of stream. He did not slow down in the first round, barreling through poor Joey Swaysland 6-4 6-2. Jones, meanwhile, hasn’t played in 3 weeks, and went 12-22 to finish his season. Perhaps the gregarious, big-serving Sydney man has had enough rest to recover from an injury-riddled season and will come in refreshed and renewed. I hope he will. But I’m not confident about it.

Michael Look vs. Marinko Matosevic [2] – Look out, Mike! The boisterous-but-mellowing ((no) thanks to Teddy Woodbridge)) Matosevic has had a good season to date; the 25 year-old actually spent a portion of this year as the #2-ranked Australian, thanks to a 37/24 year that saw him win two Challenger titles, including the recent Calabasas tournament in late-October. But this is another one of them paper/plexicushion deals: the main reason Look finds himself 435 world ranking spots below his opponent is due to his being out from May until December of this year. Since coming back, the 23 year-old Queenslander from Redcliffe has gone 17/8, including his 1-6 6-4 6-3 win over the higher-ranked Matt Reid in the first round here. And Marinko hasn’t played in over a month. So I’d say Mike’s in it with a chance, despite the disparity on that pesky ol’ paper. Look out, Marinko?

Are you lookin’ at me? Mike Look after his 1st round victory. 

John Millman [5] vs. James Duckworth – Here’s another I wish were on a streamed court; hopefully we’ll get plenty of more-than-30-second look-ins on this one today.  The scrappy and affable 21 year-old “Mailman” has delivered a super 40/22 season that’s seen him break into the Top 200 for the first time.  The Queenslander had a torrid month-long span from mid-September to mid-October, during which we went 14-1 in winning the Australia F6 Futures as well as the Sacramento Challenger before petering out in his last two matches in the States in October.  The Mailman hasn’t played in a couple of months, but has been training hard with the NA-Brisbane team and should hit the court raring to go, despite the lack of recent match play.  Duckworth, meanwhile, came into the tournament with a hot hand, having had match points before going down to Sean Berman in the Optus 18′s final. In addition to being the top-ranked Aussie junior, Duckworth’s also gone 22-15 in first semi-full year on the pro tour, achieving an ATP ranking of 755. He struggled a bit in his 2-6 6-2 6-3 win over Matthew Barton in the first round, and he can’t afford such hiccups against Millman.  I’ll say the fifth seed gets the win here, but it’ll be a dogfight. Luckily for John, he’s at least one mailman who doesn’t mind fighting dogs.

Adam Feeney vs. Carsten Ball [3] – Once again, before you get caught up in that “seeded, much-higher ranked player has the advantage” trap, it pays to look at the devilish details: the 25 year-old Feeney has actually won both of his matches against the “American Australian” Carsten Ball. Like Greg Jones, Ball too has limped to the finish line this season, ending the year 6/11. The big-serving lefty, like Matosevic, also hasn’t played in a month. The 23 year-old Feeney, meanwhile, has had an OK 22/19 year but he has done his share of finish line limping as well, ending his season at an 8/10 clip. With the laid-back third seed, you never know what he’s going to bring to the court from day to day. One match he looks like a world beater, the next like a beaten man. I suspect that when all is said and done, Carsten will win here. But I wouldn’t trust my suspicions.

*Born: Johannesburg, Nationality: USA (per his ITF profile page), Residence: Melbourne

Edited to bring you this late-breaking news: Or just maybe, no play will happen at all, as we’ve been stuck for over an hour in a rain delay.

I feel how this kid looks.

BLAME IT ON THE RAAAAAAIIIIN!!!

This will be an open thread where anyone and everyone can come and comment on the day’s action as it progresses.  Here’s today’s Order Of Play:

Melbourne Park – Crt 5
   1. Starting at 10:00 AM AO Wildcard Playoff 2011 – Main Draw
Dane Propoggia
Andrew Whittington
       
   2. Followed by AO Wildcard Playoff 2011 – Magenta Group (C)
Ashleigh Barty
Tammi Patterson [6]
       
   3. Followed by AO Wildcard Playoff 2011 – Main Draw
Adam Feeney
Colin Ebelthite
       
   4. Followed by AO Wildcard Playoff 2011 – Yellow Group (D)
Belinda Woolcock
Olivia Rogowska [5]
       
Melbourne Park – Crt 7
   1. Starting at 10:00 AM AO Wildcard Playoff 2011 – Main Draw
Maverick Banes
Benjamin Mitchell
       
   2. Followed by AO Wildcard Playoff 2011 – Main Draw
Joel Lindner
Luke Saville
       
   3. Followed by AO Wildcard Playoff 2011 – Main Draw
James Duckworth
Matthew Barton
       
   4. Followed by AO Wildcard Playoff 2011 – Yellow Group (D)
Jessica Moore [4]
Azra Hadzic
       
Melbourne Park – Crt 8
   1. Starting at 10:00 AM AO Wildcard Playoff 2011 – Blue Group (A)
Alicia Molik [1]
Jade Hopper
       
   2. Followed by AO Wildcard Playoff 2011 – Magenta Group (C)
Jelena Dokic [3]
Viktorija Rajicic
       
   3. Followed by AO Wildcard Playoff 2011 – Green Group (B)
Sophie Ferguson [2]
Monika Wejnert
       
   4. Followed by AO Wildcard Playoff 2011 – Main Draw
Sean Berman
Jason Kubler
       
Melbourne Park – Crt 10
   1. Starting at 10:00 AM AO Wildcard Playoff 2011 – Blue Group (A)
Alison Bai
Sophie Letcher [7]
       
   2. Followed by AO Wildcard Playoff 2011 – Main Draw
Mark Verryth
Jared Easton
       
   3. Followed by AO Wildcard Playoff 2011 – Green Group (B)
Ashling Sumner
Isabella Holland [8]
       
   4. Followed by AO Wildcard Playoff 2011 – Main Draw
Matt Reid
Michael Look

Let’s take a closer look at the men’s matchups here:

Dane Propoggia vs. Andrew Whittington: this is the first meeting between the 20-year-old Propoggia, ranked #616 in the world, and the 17 year-old Whittington, who has yet to earn an ATP point and is thus unranked. Whittington is the #35 Junior in the world rankings, and 4th in Australia behind James Duckworth, Ben Mitchell and Ben Wagland.  Propoggia is 19-22 on the pro tour this year, while Whittington is 0-4.

Maverick Banes vs. Ben Mitchell: This should be a good matchup between two scrappy 18 year olds.  Banes won their only previous meeting 63 36 62 in August on clay at the Spain F28 Futures.  Mitchell, though, is coming in on a heavy roll, having reached the final of Australia F13 two weeks ago, losing a close match to Sam Groth.  Mitchell is 25-20 on the pro tour this year, while Banes is 5-9. I’d expect Mitchell to avenge his earlier loss this year, but it might be a tight one.

Joel Lindner vs. Luke Saville: Lindner, the 648th-ranked 21 year old, won the only previous meeting between these two 63 64 just a few weeks ago at Australia F12.  But the 16 year old Saville is a real talent, and is improving at what seems an exponential rate.  I expect the lefty Lindner to go through, but I wouldn’t be shocked if Luke got the upset either.

Mark Verryth vs. Jared Easton: The 19 y/o Verryth, ranked #610 in the world, and the 20 y/0 730th ranked Easton have never met on the pro level.  The hard-serving Verryth has just returned from a successful trip to Mexico, which he capped off by winning the F11 Futures event there.  He’s 23-16 on the season.  Easton, meanwhile, has had a rough ride of it, going 9-20 for 2010.  Look for Verryth to come through here.

Adam Feeney vs. Colin Ebelthite: Shockingly, this will be the 10th meeting between the 25 year old Feeney and the 26 year old Ebelthite. Colin, ranked #386 in the world, leads Adam 6-3 so far. The 601st-ranked Feeney once held the edge 3-2 in their rivalry, but Ebelthite’s won the last four.

James Duckworth vs. Matthew Barton: The two 18 year olds have never met at pro level (heck, they’ve hardly played at pro level) or a junior level. Duckworth comes in the hot hand, having had match points before going down to Sean Berman in the Optus 18’s final. In addition to being the top-ranked Aussie junior, Duckworth’s also gone 22-15 in first semi-full year on the pro tour, achieving an ATP ranking of 755. Barton hasn’t had quite that level of success, going 12-12 and attaining a ranking of 898.  Odds are Ducky gets through this one.

Sean Berman vs. Jason Kubler: Speaking of Sean…  wow, what a matchup!  The only men’s match that is streamed today.  This is a tough draw for both guys, who are the 38th and 75th ranked juniors, respectively.  Kubler, of course, was once the top ranked junior in the world but is now transitioning to the pros.  Berman won their only previous meeting 64 62 in the third round of this years Oz Open Juniors.  Kubes went 24-17 on the pro tour and achieved a ranking of 535 in the world, while Berman went 12-10 and is at #863.  As far as I’m concerned (and I’m concerned pretty far), this is a toss-up between the two seventeen year-olds.

Matt Reid vs. Michael Look:  The #436th-ranked Reid, 20, leads the head to head 2-0 over the 23 year-old Look, though it took three sets in their most recent meeting in October. Eh, we’ll see how it goes.

So that’s way more than you probably needed to know about today’s action. Ah well.  Feel free to talk about the ongoing matches (or anything else) in the comment section below.

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