AO Day 4: The Disappointing

Janowicz and Monfils

(Reuters)

I don’t know what it was, but I wasn’t all that compelled for Day 4’s action. I’m going to blame Amy Poehler because I spent most of last night reading her book Yes Please in one fell swoop while tennis was going on in the background. So I guess I was distracted.

Disappointing wasn’t the day’s action — it’s best used to describe both the 17th-seeded Frenchman Gael Monfils and the Polish 2013 Wimbledon semifinalist Jerzy Janowicz. Both players should be top-ten players. To his credit Monfils was a top-ten player during most of 2011, but Janowicz got no higher than 14 after his 2013 Wimbledon breakthrough. Both players are tall, have great serves and are athletic as all hell. But it is what happens between the ears that does them in. So their second-round match last night was going to be equal parts exciting, frustrating and unpredictable.

After Janowicz won the first set 6-4, he fell apart. Forehands spraying wide, ill-advised drop shots, awful execution all gave Monfils the second set 6-1. It continued into the third set when Janowicz was broken twice. It honestly looked as if he was done. But he managed to break Monfils twice to force a tiebreak which he lost meekly 7-3.

As Janowicz started playing better, Monfils started to crumble a bit in the big moments. It wasn’t so much that he was making a bunch of errors, but Janowicz was coming up big in the crucial moments. Janowicz broke Monfils twice in the fourth set and needed only one break to move on to the third round to face Feliciano Lopez.

Sure there were other matches. There was Victoria Azarenka climbing back to form after a lost 2014 beating the eight-seed Caroline Wozniacki. There was the American Coco Vandeweghe beating the Aussie veteran Sam Stosur. We saw Lleyton Hewitt lose steam to Benjamin Becker. But this Monfils-Janowicz match just stuck with me.

I’ll just blame Amy Poehler.