First time a Canadian man has reached the third round of a slam since Daniel Nestor at Wimbledon in 2001? (Yes, 2001.)
OH HELL YEAH.
Milos, Gilles and I will gladly share our birthday with you.
In fact, Milos is all but exactly a year younger than I (I’m ancient, what can I say) and is starting off 2011 with a serious bang. He qualified for his first ever slam at USO last fall, losing in the first round. He then qualified for Malaysia and Tokyo, and has since, dare I say, set the world of young tennis players on fire after handing it to Llodra in straight sets to make the third round of the Aussie Open.
When I say handing it, I mean it. Milos didn’t face a break point over the first two sets and won the first set tiebreak without dropping a point on serve. Despite Llodra getting his break back in the third and playing childish mind games, (taking way too much time on Milos’ serve, fist pumping in his face, moaning to the ump) Milos kept cool and closed it out in the tiebreak, once again not dropping a point on serve. He served around (give a % point or two) 71% and won 91% of points off his first serve.
I will admit, seeing Milos play last year, I was worried about his consistency and ability to break. The serve was obviously fantastic, both with power and cutting spin to either wings, with an above average second serve to boot. However, the backhand appeared to have problems, the movement was still getting there, and there was some strange shot selections.
He’s still young, so these problems will likely come and go, but there were no traces of them against Llodra. Moving amazingly well for a 6’5 kid, hitting solid backhands, and making fantastic shot selections. I don’t recall a single time during the match where I thought “huh, not sure what he was doing there”.
In other words? Watch out. If Milos can get into a groove, he should easily be able to rock out on grass and hard courts over the summer and make a serious run in the rankings. Exciting times.
Also exciting? It’s a bit late, but because I didn’t get a chance to post about her… how about Rebecca Marino? Pushed Franny to the limits, 9-7. Oddly enough, she shares a lot of traits with Milos: 20 years old, tall (6’1), fantastic movement, and a huge forehand (instead of serve). She won three $50,000 tournies last fall and is clearly coming into her own.
I know there are some fellow Canucks out there who read this, so this is for you. Get excited. If the past 6 months continue to ring true, these results are far from a flash in a pan, and these kids are something to get seriously excited about… eh?