Young Australian Nick Lindahl vows to make the most of his wildcard place
January 04, 2010
Youngster Nick Lindahl has vowed to make the most of a strong lead-up to the Australian Open after being handed a wildcard entry to next week's Sydney International The 21-year-old gained a spot in the year's first grand slam event when he beat young gun Bernard Tomic in December's Australian Open wildcard playoff final.
And Sydney International organisers did the right thing by the NSW prospect by giving him a wildcard to their event on Monday, along with hard-working journeyman Peter Luczak.
Davis Cup coach and national selector Todd Woodbridge said Lindahl may have turned a corner in his young career.
"By winning the wildcard playoff, we've seen Nick show a new maturity in his game and a real turn around in attitude," said Woodbridge.
Lindahl, a former Australian Open junior runner-up, was relishing the opportunity to play in front of a home crowd.
"I feel like I have definitely earned my spot in the draw after the Australian Open wildcard playoff," Lindahl said.
"It means the world to me that the selectors believe in me and have given me this opportunity. I will certainly be making the most of it."
Luczak is currently Australia's No.2 player, ranked No.77 in the world after winning three ATP Challenger titles last year in Furth, Poznan and Cordenons.
"It's great to see Peter getting back into top 100 and coming back after his hip injury," said Woodbridge.
"He is a real workhorse for Australian tennis and shows so many of the younger players what is achievable with hard work and dedication."
Luczak and Lindahl join Lleyton Hewitt, Gael Monfils, Tomas Berdych and Marcos Baghdatis in the men's field for Sydney tournament with one wildcard still to be awarded.
Marcos Baghdatis, who admitted to having never heard of his first-round opponent, Australian wild card Nick Lindahl, posted a 6-2, 7-5 win, but was far from happy with his performance.
"I didn't play that good; I mean, I didn't serve very well," Baghdatis said. "had a low percentage on first serve; wasn't feeling too good on the serve, but felt good at the baseline. Played some good points, moving well."
Marcos Baghdatis edged closer to a potential third round showdown with Lleyton Hewitt after brushing aside Australian Nick Lindahl 6-2 7-5 at the Medibank International Sydney on Monday.
Baghdatis and Hewitt have not met since their epic Australian Open clash in 2008 where Hewitt prevailed in five sets in a match that lasted until 4.30 in the morning – the latest finish in Open history.
Baghdatis admitted his serve will need some work if he is to progress any further in this competition, with Lindahl giving the world No.42 a scare when he broke him to level the second set, before the Cypriot won the last three games.
“I didn’t play that good, I didn’t serve very well and had a very low percentage on first serve,” Baghdatis said.
“But I got a match of one hour, 15 minutes in the heat, that’s good. There are a lot of positive things out of this match and some negative, I’ll work on the negatives and keep the positives.”
Lindahl, who beat Bernard Tomic last month to secure a wildcard for the main draw of the Australian Open, admitted he had been overawed by playing on Ken Rosewall Arena.
“It was pretty gusty out there and there were a lot of people, I haven’t really played in that atmosphere much and it took a while to get used to,” he said.
“I didn’t play my proper game today, I just tried to go for a bit too much, I was a bit nervous.”
Marcos Baghdatis, Australian Open runner-up in 2006, reached the quarter-finals with a 7-5, 6-3 win over No. 6-seeded Serb Viktor Troicki. Baghdatis was particularly effective on his first serve, winning 91 per cent of those points. "I served better than last time and was more solid, so it was a great victory today and I'm really happy," Baghdatis said. "[I'm] more focused on the court, more positive, and [I'm] starting to feel a little bit the tactical game, my game and movement on the court, my routine. It's a bit of everything that's getting into place."
The Associated Press Published: 11:17 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2010
SYDNEY — Lleyton Hewitt opened his bid for a fifth Sydney International title with a 6-0, 6-2 win over Andreas Seppi.
The 28-year-old Australian advanced to the quarterfinals with the 55-minute victory on Wednesday. He won six straight games, then overcame an early service break in the second and won six more in a row to finish when Seppi double-faulted at match point.
Fourth-seeded Hewitt, a former U.S. Open and Wimbledon champion, squared his career record against Seppi at two wins apiece.
"I've had match points against him and ended up losing — that scoreline today looks a lot better," Hewitt said.
Hewitt will meet 2006 Australian Open finalist Marcos Baghdatis, who ousted sixth-seeded Viktor Troicki 7-5, 6-3.
Lleyton Hewitt will play Marcos Baghdatis on Thursday for a place in the Sydney International semi-finals after the Australian powered past Andreas Seppi.
And if their last match is any indication, it may pay to set your alarm clock.
The former world No.1 looked in ominous touch during his 6-0 6-2 trouncing of the Italian on Wednesday, the brevity of the match potentially helpful given the last epic played out between the Cypriot and the South Australian.
The five set classic at the 2008 Australian Open – won by Hewitt – isn’t just remembered for the quality of play and the length of the clash.
It was also completed at 4:34 am to ensure its place as the latest finishing match in grand slam history.
Hewitt chuckled at the unlikely prospect of another match ever going that late, but said the fixture was firmly stuck in his head.
“It was different. Hopefully it never happens again to anyone,” he said of the finishing time.
“I would have wanted to wipe it out of my memory box if I’d lost the match in five sets but obviously winning an epic match in your home grand slam, stuff like that always stays in the back of your mind.”
Baghdatis had a slightly tougher time in his match against Serb Viktor Troicki, but ultimately showed in the 7-5 6-3 result he is getting back to the kind of form that saw him reach the Australian Open final in 2006.
The world No.42, who struggled with injuries early in 2009 and dropped out of the top 100 before a strong second half of the year, saw similarities between he and Hewitt’s push to get back into the top echelons of the sport.
“He’s on fire, so I think he can play great tennis,” said Baghdatis, who admitted sneaking a look at Hewitt’s impressive first set on Wednesday.
“It’s just he has to keep healthy. It’s not very easy, because a lot of guys now are more fit.
“It’s a tougher, more physical game than before, so it’s not that easy.”