The ATP tour kicked off with three tournaments this week in Doha, Brisbane and Chennai. In Doha, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga came away with the title without playing his best tennis as he beat Gael Monfils in the final, 7-5 6-3. Tsonga benefited from Roger Federer‘s withdrawal in the semi-finals, which was only the second time in his career that he has pulled out of a tournament. Monfils had a good week in Doha, which was highlighted by a stunning straight-sets win over Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals. Nadal himself had produced a good performance to take out Mikhail Youzhny in the quarter-finals, 6-4 6-4. However I remain unconvinced he will be a title contender at the Australian Open.
Andy Murray recovered from a slow start to finish the Brisbane tournament in style with a 6-1 6-3 victory over an injury affected, Alexandr Dolgopolov. Murray lost the opening set of his first two rounds to Mikhail Kukushkin and Gilles Muller, but turned on the style from the quarter-finals losing just 13 games in his last 3 matches. Dolgopolov had a great week back in Australia where he had his biggest success in 2011 reaching his first Grand Slam quarter-final at the Australian Open. Unfortunately the exciting Ukranian, who beat Gilles Simon in the semi-finals, was hampered by a leg injury in the final.
In Chennai, Milos Raonic won an epic final against Janko Tipsarevic, 6-7 7-6 7-6 in a match that lasted 3 hours and 13 minutes. The match saw no breaks of serve with 13 break points saved between the two players, who were miles ahead of the rest of the field in terms of quality. Raonic was mightily impressive through the week and after a lengthy spell on the sidelines during 2011, he is certainly a name to watch out for in 2012. Tipsarevic had a solid week too and should do well at the Australian Open with a favourable draw.
After this week’s tournaments, Andy Murray and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga look to be in good shape for the Australian Open. Federer, who suffered from a back injury should be fit for the Australian Open although he will not have had the most ideal preparation. This week, most of the big names are not in action with one week until the first Grand Slam of the year. Juan Martin Del Potro tops the bill in Sydney, meanwhile David Ferrer is the number one seed in Auckland.