|ESPN.com: Australian Open 2012||[Print without images]|
MELBOURNE, Australia -- What would the Australian Open have been without the incandescent Bernard Tomic? Not only has the 19-year-old reached the fourth round, but he's done so with inspiring comeback wins. Australia can lay claim to a new sporting hero and men's successor to Lleyton Hewitt.Apart from Tomic, the first week of the first Grand Slam of the year has given us plenty to ponder. Here's a look back at the best, worst, and off the wall. Best match: Bernard Tomic versus Alexandr Dolgopolov Soccer fans will tell you they never get bored of watching Barcelona versus Real Madrid. Similarly, the more Tomic-Dolgopolov clashes we see over the years, the better off we'll be. Perhaps their future encounters will unfold in Grand Slam semifinals or even finals instead of in the third round. They sliced and diced over five sets, two artists fit for the Louvre. Dolgopolov will be ruing a forehand miss at 5-5 in the third-set tiebreaker as well as his conversion rate on break points. He was 6-for-18. But it seemed like it was meant to be for Tomic. Best hissy-fit moment: Marcos Baghdatis A little emotion from Baghdatis, eh? Nice to see. Not even famed racket abusers Marat Safin and Fernando Gonzalez could have bettered Baghdatis' mangling of four shiny blue sticks in succession during a changeover in a second-round loss to Stanislas Wawrinka. Baghdatis even crumpled one that was still in its plastic sleeve. Now that's a new one. "I hope he gets a share of the YouTube clips," said U.S. Davis Cup captain Jim Courier during the broadcast. He has. As of Sunday afternoon in Australia, video of his demolition job on the site had garnered almost 300,000 hits. Worst call: Kader Nouni When you think of poor umpires, the deep-voiced Nouni isn't at the top of the list. He's not afraid to jump in and overrule, even with Hawk-Eye in use. But Nouni erred in John Isner's second-round victory over David Nalbandian, and it might have cost the Argentine a win. At 8-8 in the fifth set, Nouni didn't allow Nalbandian to challenge an Isner serve on break point, feeling that he was taking too long. Nalbandian, rightfully, argued that with all the crowd noise, he was confused as to whether the ball was originally called wide. (It was, but Nouni overruled.) Nalbandian delayed looking at the mark. Isner held and then broke for 10-8 to advance. "Eight-all, break point. Can you be that stupid to do that in that moment?" Nalbandian asked. This was one of those times where Nouni's overrule was incorrect, too. The ball was wide. Best bromance: Andy Murray & Michael Llodra Murray was never in any danger of losing his third-round match versus Llodra. He usually excels facing serve-and-volleyers and net rushers. As such, he was in relaxed mood. Murray and the always entertaining Llodra shared a nice moment in the second set. Murray struck Llodra, who was at the net, with a backhand. Murray approached and put his arm around Llodra, who then faked a head butt. There were smiles all around. Worst performer: Samantha Stosur Time is running out for Stosur to do some damage at her home Slam. She crumbled against Sorana Cirstea and was ousted in the first round.
|Samantha Stosur just can't get past her Aussie woes, once again failing to reach the second week in Melbourne.|
London-based Ravi Ubha covers soccer and tennis for ESPN.com. You can follow him on Twitter.