February 2, 2011

Separated at Birth: Australian Open Edition

Well it's happened again -- after two weeks of watching some fresh young faces emerge on the tennis scene, I've been left scratching my head and wondering, "Where have I seen them before?"

While the guys and gals who fared best at the Australian Open have been fixtures on Tour for years, we might have felt a somewhat inexplicable familiarity with the newest additions to the later rounds. But make no mistake -- we've actually seen them somewhere else.

Germany's Julia Goerges has been a staple on the Challenger circuit, winning a handful of trophies there, but her real breakout came last summer with a title run in Bad Gastein. She put in her best-yet Major performance in Melbourne, and though she was stopped by Maria Sharapova in just the third round, something tells me more than her TV-star looks will keep her around for much longer.

Big Milos Raonic also made quite a name for himself in his week-long stay at the Open. With a serve that belied his #152 ranking, he out-aced everyone in just four matches -- surpassing record-holding John Isner and both finalists, who each fired off about thirty fewer bombs over three more rounds. Maybe it was his crafty play that made it difficult to nail down one doppelgänger, so I had to go with two -- the romantic poet of Gossip Girl and the wily thief from Slumdog Millionaire.

I've been watching Petra Kvitova since her stellar run last year at Wimbledon, and for so long I couldn't place her likeness. Then it suddenly came to me, like an omen for whether it's already raining -- perhaps because the Czech's consistent presence at tournaments from Brisbane to Melbourne reminded me of an actress who's been just as prevalent in Hollywood these days.

The last newcomer at this year's Australian Open seemed oddly at home on center stage in Melbourne. Alexandr Dolgopolov rebounded from a two-set-to-one deficit against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and withstood a late rally from fourth-seeded Robin Soderling to earn his biggest win in five sets. Maybe he was so comfortable because he was able to channel a former Grand Slam champion who made her own mark on these grounds years ago.

So there you have it -- my latest selection of tennis two (and three) -somes. Hopefully my picks will entertain you as much as the players themselves did over the last fortnight!

If you want to share your favorite look-alikes, send me a note, and be sure to check out my other "Separated at Birth" pairs here!

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