World number 8 Mardy Fish suffered one of the biggest upsets of this year’s Australian Open as he was defeated in three sets by the unseeded Columbian Alejandro Falla.
Fish outstripped Andy Roddick last year as America’s top ranked player, and this season is all about making sure he can consolidate his position, and silence the critics who insist his run of good form last year was just a series of lucky wins. However, he couldn’t have made a much worse start, as he failed at the same point in Melbourne as he did last year.
Credit must be given to Falla who finally took a big scalp, as he has threatened to do several times in the last couple of years. He somehow let a two set lead slip against Federer at Wimbledon in 2010, and then failed to capitalise on the lead he achieved over Chela in last year’s French Open fourth round. He closed out this match in just three hard fought sets, which finished 7-6 (7-4), 6-3, 7-6 (8-6). “This year I’m ready to have a good year,” Falla said. “Mentally, improving a lot. I want to keep it up for the whole season, and I’m sure my ranking is going to get better.”
However, Fish looks uncomfortable at the moment, regularly getting frustrated with opponents on the court if he is behind, and this game was no different. World number 71 Falla called the trainer onto court several times, and this riled Fish who was trailing by two sets at that point. “I’m a human being. I see that guy’s called the trainer three, four times, however many times he was out there. It’s hot. And I’m down two sets to love,” explained Fish. The American also blamed his huge unforced error count – 56 – for the loss, at the press conference later. “Made a lot of errors,” Fish said. “Conditions are about as ideal for me as I would have liked as far as the second and third set, heat and stuff. Just didn’t work out.”