The Medibank Internatioanl in Sydney was held this week from the 10 January to the 16 January and had a fantastic turn out of the top players in the world.
From the womens side of the competition, Dinara Safina, Elena Dementieva, Serina Williams, Jelena Jankovic and Australians Sam Stosur and wildcard Casey Dellacqua. The mens players with lights shining on their names were Marcos Baghdatis, Richard Gasquet, Tomas Berdych and Australians Lleyton Hewitt and Peter Luczak.
The womens Medibank International final was between world number one Serena Williams (USA) and Elena Dementieva (RUS). It was expected to be a close match, with Dementieva beating Williams in a previous encounter however Serena Williams was rightfully the favourite for the match. As the match unfolded, there was fantastic baseline hitting from both of the women and it appeared that Williams was being unsettled by the great movement of Dementieva and ability to continually run the balls down and put them back into play. This resulted in Williams pressing harder and harder, which ultimately lead to errors which when coupled with her below par movement due to a leg injury she was carrying meant the Medibank International winner was Elena Dementieva in 6-3 6-2.
Medibank International mens final was between Marcos Baghdatis and Richard Gasquet. Both players have had a great run into the final, being pushed along the way – making sure the were hitting the ball cleanly for the final. Baghdatis came out with all guns blazing in the first set and his angles, depth of shots and pace were enough to push Gasquet well behind the baseline, at times 3-4 metres even during rallies. The first set was over before it began and it looked as though Baghdatis was going to steamroll Gasquet when at the beginning of the second set, there was a rain interruption for a little over an hour. When play resumed, Gasquet was a change man – hitting the ball more aggressively, standing up to the baseline more regularly and hitting some of the most spectacular topspin backhands the game has seen. Baghdatis was a slow starter in the second set, letting Gasquet get away for a 4-1 lead and it looked as though we were in for a three set thriller for the Medibank International final. Baghdatis persisted and finally got his rhythm back and managed to take claw his way back into the match. After forcing his way into a tie break in the second set, Marcos Baghdatis was annouced the Medibank International Winner 6-4 7-6.
Both finals were good to watch, however I think the free hitting in the first set by Baghdatis and subsequently Gasquet in the second made it a more enjoyable final to watch – especially when combined with the serve volley and all court action the two were creating every at least once a game.
I can’t wait for the Australian Open for 2010 to start on Monday night.