Best of Five: Tsonga's strong start to 2012, Aussie Open dark horses
"I said, 'OK, I'm one break down, but I will continue to play my game. I will make him run a lot,' " Tsonga told reporters after the match. "So I hit a lot of shots to make him run. After that, he was maybe a bit tired. That's why I maybe won today."
In these top-heavy days of men's tennis, it's hard to consider seriously that a player outside the "Big Three" will win a major. But Tsonga -- whose big career breakthrough came at the Australian Open in 2008 when he knocked off Rafael Nadal in the semifinals -- has to be taken seriously. What's more, he earned "good guy points" last week.
When Federer pulled out, the promoters tried to appease the fans by summoning Stefan Edberg for a hit-and-giggle. Tonga would have been well within his right to decline because he had a final the following day. Graciously, he accepted, played a set against the Swedish legend, and everyone went away happy.
Still, the burden of proof rests with Murray. After years of "Murray's major victory is a question of when not if" talk, it's now on him to disprove the doubters. His prospects suddenly look much stronger than just a few weeks ago.
She's thousands of miles from home; she's north of 30 years old and still frustrated by her play in 2011; her sister is out of action; then she injures her ankle in her first tournament of the year. Not hard to see why her passion and fervor for tennis might not be surging at the moment. (For the record: Serena was back on the practice court at Melbourne Park on Monday.)
What's more, Keven Davis, a longtime advisor to the family -- an eminence grise type, who played a critical role in the Williams narrative -- died a few days before Serena embarked for Australia. Easy to see how that could be weighing on her, too.
It wasn't a bad week for Tipsarevic either. Apart from coming within a few points of winning the title, he teamed with Leander Paes to take the doubles.
Meanwhile, in Brisbane, Kaia Kanepi of Estonia beat Daniela Hantuchova 6-2, 6-1 for her first Premier-level WTA title and second title overall. After getting pushed to three sets in her opener against a qualifier, Kanepi reeled off four consecutive straight-set victories against top-25 players in Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Andrea Petkovic, Francesca Schiavone and Hantuchova.