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Post by Guest82 Thu 07 Jan 2016, 4:59 pm

Anyone keeping an eye on these?

Rafa just struggled past Kuznetsov, yet looked brilliant yesterday against Haase.

Djokovic a couple of routine wins (not seen any of it, but scorelines suggest picking up where he left off)

Kyle Edmund into quarter finals and plays Berdych later.

Bedene with a good chance of making semi in Chennai (plays quarter final against a wildcard I've never heard of (Ramanathan))

Federer routined Kamke.

Dimitrov picking up a few good wins - plays Fed next.

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Post by TRuffin Thu 07 Jan 2016, 7:21 pm

Lots of rumors coming out of Brisbane that Fed was injured and might pull out, but he looked good and had excellent timing yesterday.

I saw bits of Djokovic and he looks as solid as ever.

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Post by temporary21 Thu 07 Jan 2016, 7:24 pm

Damn I didn't realise they had started

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Post by Henman Bill Thu 07 Jan 2016, 7:36 pm

Good run by Marchenko looking quite likely a Nadal-Djokovic final already though.

I wonder, who do you think are the two players most likely to face off in semis and finals this year?

Djokovic-Nadal?
Djokovic-Murray?
Djokovic-Federer?

Hard to say at this point...

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Post by banbrotam Thu 07 Jan 2016, 8:25 pm

Edmunds is interesting. Could be the main mover this year. Remember aged 20 is almost the new 16!!

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Post by Mad for Chelsea Thu 07 Jan 2016, 8:41 pm

Well there's not a lot wrong with Edmund's game, that's for sure. Didn't look out of place at all vs a very good Berdych, and the match felt a bit closer than the score indicated.

I do think Edmund needs to work on his first serve though, specifically placing it better to get more free points. Particularly when he serves to the BH (so down the T on the deuce side, out wide on the ad side) he hits it very flat and quite hard, but without great placement. Maybe also work on getting more slice on his serves to the FH.

Volleying needs a lot of work too.

Other than that, solid movement, very good groundstrokes off both wings, return of serve pretty decent (though he could be more aggressive with his second serve return), there's plenty of potential there.

Today more specifically, I don't think there's a huge amount he could do. His game is quite similar to Berdych's, but not as good, which makes it a tough match-up for him. I do think he could have tried to pin Berdych more in the BH to BH exchanges, as he had some success there. At times he was too quick to go to his BHDL, which is a good shot, but given how good Berdych is at hooking his FH crosscourt to move his opponent out of court, I feel Edmund should have stayed away from that shot a bit more.

Still, a very promising tournament for him, and hopefully he can make a real move up the rankings this year...

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Post by temporary21 Thu 07 Jan 2016, 8:46 pm

It's a long time since we've seen a big move in a 250 plus event by s Brit. Hopefully he can kick on

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Post by Born Slippy Thu 07 Jan 2016, 9:24 pm

At this stage, matches against the likes of Berdych are free rolls. The key is to start consistently beating the 50-100 guys. If he does that, then he will have a great year.

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Post by sirfredperry Fri 08 Jan 2016, 11:50 am

Don't know about the Fed injury scare (see above) but he managed two hours against Dimi today before coming through in three sets.
You feel that this is just the sort of match Dimi should be winning if he is to make a real impression. As it is he's now 0-4 against Rog who now takes on, not Cilic, but Thiem (another of whom good things are expected).

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Post by Guest82 Fri 08 Jan 2016, 1:03 pm

Henman Bill wrote:Good run by Marchenko looking quite likely a Nadal-Djokovic final already though.

I wonder, who do you think are the two players most likely to face off in semis and finals this year?

Djokovic-Nadal?
Djokovic-Murray?
Djokovic-Federer?

Hard to say at this point...

I see Murray as number two this season. Not massively convinced by Rafa yet, results are improving but still not great performances at times. I expect he will be there or thereabouts on clay though. Federer may be Djokovic's main challenger at Wimbledon-Indoors. I expect Murray to be in the mix everywhere though.

Tomic beat Nishikori earlier. He's my outside bet for top ten this season.

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Post by sirfredperry Fri 08 Jan 2016, 4:48 pm

Bedene has made the semis in Chennai after the draw opened up nicely for him. Had a long struggle against a local WC, though, which went to three sets. Good start to the year for British (ish) players.

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Post by socal1976 Fri 08 Jan 2016, 7:12 pm

Nice Novak v super Rafito in the final. I like how Nadal has looked at the end of last year and at the start of this season. Djokovic was softened up a bit in a tough match against Berdych although he finished it in two tight sets. I think Novak wins Nadal I think is still a bit away from being to beat Novak on a hard court. For those counting ,That is 16 finals in a row if he reaches the finals of his next two events the all time record is his for most consecutive finals.

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Post by summerblues Sat 09 Jan 2016, 1:09 am

socal1976 wrote:That is 16 finals in a row if he reaches the finals of his next two events the all time record is his for most consecutive finals.
Two to tie, three to take it outright.

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Post by socal1976 Sat 09 Jan 2016, 2:55 am

summerblues wrote:
socal1976 wrote:That is 16 finals in a row if he reaches the finals of his next two events the all time record is his for most consecutive finals.
Two to tie, three to take it outright.

It's amazing to think that he is challenging some records of Fed's already that many people thought were untouchable. I thought 18 straight finals and consecutive slam quarters as well would never even be threatened. Novak could put a lot of records of fed's and others in jeopardy.

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Post by summerblues Sat 09 Jan 2016, 3:00 am

socal1976 wrote:
summerblues wrote:
socal1976 wrote:That is 16 finals in a row if he reaches the finals of his next two events the all time record is his for most consecutive finals.
Two to tie, three to take it outright.

It's amazing to think that he is challenging some records of Fed's already that many people thought were untouchable.
LOL, but it is not even Fed's record.  Fed's best is 17.  Lendl holds the record at 18.

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Post by Born Slippy Sat 09 Jan 2016, 12:03 pm

Australia Green win the Hopman Cup - led by Nick Krygios. Good confidence boost for him - the win over Murray being the real key one.

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Post by summerblues Sat 09 Jan 2016, 2:47 pm

Today's Rafa vs Nole match should give good indication if Rafa is back to level where he can threaten Novak. I have not seen either of them yet this week, so this is all I will have to judge their AO chances on.

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Post by Born Slippy Sat 09 Jan 2016, 3:46 pm

Rafa's serve looking really good. Not helping him much though as Novak looks in a different league. 5-1.

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Post by temporary21 Sat 09 Jan 2016, 3:48 pm

Rafas been quit good, but this is imperious hitting. Close to no reasonable counter at the mo

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Post by Born Slippy Sat 09 Jan 2016, 3:49 pm

Novak looks to have improved his forehand over the off-season. Scary given how dominant he already was.

10 straight sets now against Rafa.

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Post by temporary21 Sat 09 Jan 2016, 3:52 pm

Hes hitting it like my characters on tennis elbow do. Its pretty impressive to see.

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Post by temporary21 Sat 09 Jan 2016, 4:31 pm

Brilliant. Somehow Novak looks a better player than last year. As does Rafa to be fair, he can take a bit of heart from the week, but he might have to wait for clay

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Post by summerblues Sat 09 Jan 2016, 4:33 pm

Amazing stuff from Novak.  Rafa did not play all that bad - especially early on - yet he got absolutely annihilated.

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Post by Born Slippy Sat 09 Jan 2016, 4:37 pm

Only hope for the rest of the tour is that was Novak peaking too early for Oz! At that level, he's unbeatable. Going to be devastating for Rafa - obliterated whilst playing well.

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Post by summerblues Sat 09 Jan 2016, 4:39 pm

Novak is clearly more than ready for the AO.

I am still not quite sure what to think of Rafa - is he closer to his 2015 level or is he getting closer to where he used to be?  He did put in a few better looking performances late in 2015, and did not look disastrous today, but even so, he did not look very dangerous either.

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Post by temporary21 Sat 09 Jan 2016, 4:54 pm

He looked pretty good. No miraculous improvement but noticeably better. Worthy of top 5. He's got a weakness on his serve nowadays which is unacceptable against Nole

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Post by TRuffin Sat 09 Jan 2016, 4:55 pm

socal1976 wrote:
summerblues wrote:
socal1976 wrote:That is 16 finals in a row if he reaches the finals of his next two events the all time record is his for most consecutive finals.
Two to tie, three to take it outright.

It's amazing to think that he is challenging some records of Fed's already that many people thought were untouchable. I thought 18 straight finals and consecutive slam quarters as well would never even be threatened. Novak could put a lot of records of fed's and others in jeopardy.

Djoko has definitely laid his claim firmly as the best all around player of his generation, and really done with a mid to late career push. Amazing.

I'd like to see Djoko and Fed at Dubai again this year- Brisbane is playing fast and Fed still looks to me to be the best fast court player on tour and doing it against guys who were 3,4 years old when Fed entered the pro tour. Amazing as well.

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Post by temporary21 Sat 09 Jan 2016, 4:56 pm

It's raonic isn't it in the final there? Could we see a push from the big armed one?

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Post by socal1976 Sat 09 Jan 2016, 4:57 pm

Novak looks like he picked up right where he left off. I have to say nice to have a Rafa v Novak final to get the excitement for the new season going. Rafa is going to put up a challenge this year I look for him to be a particular threat on clay

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Post by sirfredperry Sat 09 Jan 2016, 6:09 pm

Thought Rafa would get more games than that! Astonishing stat from Chennai in that Coric, at 19, is the first teenager to reach a final FOR EIGHT YEARS!

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Post by TRuffin Sat 09 Jan 2016, 6:35 pm

temporary21 wrote:It's raonic isn't it in the final there?  Could we see a push from the big armed one?

It's playing fast so should help Raonics server, but other than the affects of the flu he is getting over, Federer is timing the ball exceptionally right now. I think he'll have enough to get past Raonic.

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Post by temporary21 Sat 09 Jan 2016, 7:01 pm

Well for Raonic itll be all about keeping the ball off his racquet anyway. It would be nice for the future gens if they could break through even a little

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Post by slashermcguirk Sat 09 Jan 2016, 7:52 pm

Phenomenal exhibition of tennis from djokovic today, his level of tennis right now is off the charts. Interesting words from nadal following the match!

http://sports.yahoo.com/news/djokovic-level-never-seen-says-nadal-192255485--ten.html

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Post by summerblues Sat 09 Jan 2016, 9:40 pm

Unless I am mistaken, the last time Nadal was beaten worse than today was in Chennai in 2008, when Youzhny beat him 6:1 6:0. Nadal went on to win Wimbledon that year and take over as No 1, so a beatdown in the first tournament of the year can well be forgotten a few months later.

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Post by summerblues Sat 09 Jan 2016, 9:43 pm

temporary21 wrote:He looked pretty good. .... Worthy of top 5.
Well, it depends on what you mean by "pretty good".  To me, for Rafa to look pretty good in 2016, he needs to at least be No 2, and at least give a decent challenge for No 1.  I do not expect him to fall out of top 10 even if he has another rotten year.  He was "pretty bad" last year, yet still he was worthy of top 5.

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Post by bogbrush Sat 09 Jan 2016, 10:13 pm

I thought Djokovic was really great, but Nadal asked him no questions whatsoever. It was just a hitting session for Novak.

All Nadal did was try to rally until there was an error. At no point did he suggest he had anything in his game that could drag Djokovic somewhere he didn't want to be. On that display will never beat Djokovic again.
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Post by summerblues Sat 09 Jan 2016, 10:30 pm

bogbrush wrote:I thought Djokovic was really great, but Nadal asked him no questions whatsoever. It was just a hitting session for Novak.
I do not see it as strongly as that, but I agree that while Novak looked superb, and even though Rafa looked not too bad either, the way that Rafa played was such that it played right into Novak's hand and thus perhaps made him look even better than he was.

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Post by socal1976 Sat 09 Jan 2016, 10:45 pm

summerblues wrote:
bogbrush wrote:I thought Djokovic was really great, but Nadal asked him no questions whatsoever. It was just a hitting session for Novak.
I do not see it as strongly as that, but I agree that while Novak looked superb, and even though Rafa looked not too bad either, the way that Rafa played was such that it played right into Novak's hand and thus perhaps made him look even better than he was.

But for a long time now we have known that nadal's standard tactics and style feed into Novak's strengths. Since Novak can control the lefty cc fh and in fact win that matchup it neuters Nadal's principal play. Plus Novak simply has no problem breaking Nadal while he has improved his own serve. That being said I think come clay court season with more time and better suited conditions he could still knock Novak out. So can't say I am quite as negative on Nadal as BB.

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Post by socal1976 Sat 09 Jan 2016, 10:48 pm

TRuffin wrote:
socal1976 wrote:
summerblues wrote:
socal1976 wrote:That is 16 finals in a row if he reaches the finals of his next two events the all time record is his for most consecutive finals.
Two to tie, three to take it outright.

It's amazing to think that he is challenging some records of Fed's already that many people thought were untouchable. I thought 18 straight finals and consecutive slam quarters as well would never even be threatened. Novak could put a lot of records of fed's and others in jeopardy.

Djoko has definitely laid his claim firmly as the best all around player of his generation, and really done with a mid to late career push. Amazing.

I'd like to see Djoko and Fed at Dubai again this year-  Brisbane is playing fast and Fed still looks to me to be the best fast court player on tour and doing it against guys who were 3,4 years old when Fed entered the pro tour.  Amazing as well.

His career trajectory has been kind of unique in that he was always one of the best in the game but he kicked on to be the best and didn't just stagnate there. The big push coming in the middle of his career as opposed to Nadal who burst on the scene so quickly but has seemed to hit the wall much quicker.

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Post by HM Murdock Sat 09 Jan 2016, 10:57 pm

An excellent performance by Novak today. All parts of his game worked well.

I think Rafa is playing better than 12 months ago but he is really struggling with this match up.

That's eleven sets in a row he has lost to Djokovic and I can't see any sign of him getting closer. Novak just looks totally comfortable against the patterns of play that Rafa is offering.

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Post by HM Murdock Sat 09 Jan 2016, 11:06 pm

socal1976 wrote:But for a long time now we have known that nadal's standard tactics and style feed into Novak's strengths. Since Novak can control the lefty cc fh and in fact win that matchup it neuters Nadal's principal play.
My memory of the details of 2011 is fading a bit now, but my recollection is that Novak dominated the match up back then with his BHDTL.

These days it's the BH CC that is doing the damage.

That's worrying for Nadal, because if Novak's success his coming by targeting Rafa's main weapon, it's tough to see what Rafa brings into play to turn things around. A 2013-esque FHDTL is perhaps what's needed but I strongly suspect that bird has flown.

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Post by summerblues Sat 09 Jan 2016, 11:42 pm

socal1976 wrote:But for a long time now we have known that nadal's standard tactics and style feed into Novak's strengths.
Yes.  I do not think we are disagreeing.  I was trying to say that the match up is such that a well playing Novak (and he was clearly playing well today) may come out of this match looking even better than he really is.

In other words, I think that a different type of player (say, Wawrinka) might be able to pose challenges and make him look more human even if Novak looks "unbeatable" against Rafa.

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Post by socal1976 Sun 10 Jan 2016, 12:34 am

summerblues wrote:
socal1976 wrote:But for a long time now we have known that nadal's standard tactics and style feed into Novak's strengths.
Yes.  I do not think we are disagreeing.  I was trying to say that the match up is such that a well playing Novak (and he was clearly playing well today) may come out of this match looking even better than he really is.

In other words, I think that a different type of player (say, Wawrinka) might be able to pose challenges and make him look more human even if Novak looks "unbeatable" against Rafa.

Fair enough I do agree that a player like Fed or Wawrinka who can blast him or use variety more effectively stands a better chance. I made the point nearly two years ago that Novak Djokovic is the greatest baseliner of all time and of course the 606 boo birds had their terrace chants ready for me then, one deranged individual claimed Michael Chang was a better baseliner than Djokovic. Well people are finally saying what I have been saying that beating him from the back of the court neutral point after neutral point is an impossibility even for someone like Nadal who is so good at groundstrokes and moving side to side. It again speaks to the amazing trajectory in the last 12 to 18 months for Djokovic. Lining up against Novak and trying to out baseline him would be like lining up against the mid 80s Chicago Bears and deciding you were going to run the ball 40 or 50 times. Dent, Singletary, Wilson, Wilbur Marshall, Duerson, the fridge would be frothing at the mouth. And unfortunately for Nadal that is his style of play, the H2H could get much more slanted if he doesn't change something up.

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Post by socal1976 Sun 10 Jan 2016, 12:39 am

HM Murdock wrote:
socal1976 wrote:But for a long time now we have known that nadal's standard tactics and style feed into Novak's strengths. Since Novak can control the lefty cc fh and in fact win that matchup it neuters Nadal's principal play.
My memory of the details of 2011 is fading a bit now, but my recollection is that Novak dominated the match up back then with his BHDTL.

These days it's the BH CC that is doing the damage.

That's worrying for Nadal, because if Novak's success his coming by targeting Rafa's main weapon, it's tough to see what Rafa brings into play to turn things around. A 2013-esque FHDTL is perhaps what's needed but I strongly suspect that bird has flown.

The CC BH was also doing damage as well in 2011 it can't ever be the case of one or the other. Novak when playing well 60-40 or close to 50-50 between his selection. Certain balls call for you to go CC and certain balls call for you to go up the line. The key is to hit both shots well enough to move him to one corner with one and then finish up the line or vice versa. But even in 2011 he would hit a very similar percentage of balls CC with the BH as he does today. But I do agree it seems he was more consistently hurting people up the line, while he still does it now it seemed more regular then.

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Post by bogbrush Sun 10 Jan 2016, 1:23 am

Sure, it's a catastrophic match up for Nadal. It got to the point that I thought he'd better run around the forehand to get the backhand into it, the forehand is a disaster in this match.

Djokovic has to be attacked with variety, you just can't play from the back against him unless there's massive power.
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Post by HM Murdock Sun 10 Jan 2016, 8:09 am

I can't help thinking that many who once advocated h2h as a key measure of a player's greatness are probably not so keen on it anymore...

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Post by paulcz Sun 10 Jan 2016, 8:32 am

HM Murdock wrote:I can't help thinking that many who once advocated h2h as a key measure of a player's greatness are probably not so keen on it anymore...

Spot on, HMM. They will surely come out with other variables sometime.


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Post by paulcz Sun 10 Jan 2016, 8:36 am

bogbrush wrote:Sure, it's a catastrophic match up for Nadal. It got to the point that I thought he'd better run around the forehand to get the backhand into it, the forehand is a disaster in this match.

Djokovic has to be attacked with variety, you just can't play from the back against him unless there's massive power.

Novak plays BH earlier than from FH, which is quite usual. But his BH side quality is unbelievable, i.e. exceptional timing. In addition he improved his FH hitting (he surely practiced that side most in his off season), and all in all there is no weakness in Novak's game anymore.


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Post by Guest Sun 10 Jan 2016, 9:04 am

New year, same outcome. Hard to see anything troubling or dislodging the established order.

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Post by bogbrush Sun 10 Jan 2016, 9:08 am

legendkillarV2 wrote:New year, same outcome. Hard to see anything troubling or dislodging the established order.
Sadly true. I see nothing more than usual from the long standing 2nd order, though I was impressed by Thiems game, he's just very raw.

Everyone knows I think Federer is wonderful but he really shouldn't be able to do what he's doing at 34.
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