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Australian Open 2019

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Post by MrInvisible Thu 10 Jan 2019, 1:36 pm

First topic message reminder :

Thought it was time to set up a dedicated thread for the Australian Open.  Federer is in same half as Nadal and Cilic whilst Djokovic has Zverev in his half and could face Tsonga in 2nd round, Shapovalov in 3rd round and Medvedev in 4th round, so will get some decent early tests.  

Some real tough draws for the Brits, with Murray up against Bautista Agut and Edmund's reward for his progress up the rankings is a 1st round encounter with Berdych.  Konta will play an opponent who beat her in Brisbane last week, though Norrie will play Fritz who he beat this week in Sydney.  

Raonic v Kyrgios looks like one of the picks of the 1st round, with Thiem also in same quarter, and fingers crossed for Dan Evans, still going strong in the qualifiers currently.

Out of the young guns I'm expecting Coric to go the furthest - he's got quite a nice draw.


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Post by kemet Sun 20 Jan 2019, 11:32 am

One significant statistic from this match so far is Tsitsipas's win percentage on second serve points. This to me is playing a huge factor in this match.

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Post by lags72 Sun 20 Jan 2019, 11:37 am

@ CC - it’s a fair point.

But my hunch (FWIW !) is that this will be a statement victory for the young Tsitsipas. And that he will then fall in the next round.

Either way, this youngster is undoubtedly the real deal, with some very good things to come. Even at Federer’s sub-par level tonight, not too many would have stayed with the Swiss maestro.

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Post by No name Bertie Sun 20 Jan 2019, 11:39 am

People watching this match are saying Tsitsipas has a lot of nuance, variety and on court intelligence - he is currently beating Federer fair and square.  Tsitsipas may be the first of the next generation to win a slam.

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Post by No name Bertie Sun 20 Jan 2019, 11:42 am

lags72 wrote:@ CC - it’s a fair point.

But my hunch (FWIW !) is that this will be a statement victory for the young Tsitsipas. And that he will then fall in the next round ...
Tsitsipas seems the real deal - the next multi-slammer.

What was admirable about the Tiafoe win over Dimitrov - was the mental strength of Tiafoe to save break point after break point - and to win the fourth set (and hence the match) when he was looking exhausted.

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Post by No name Bertie Sun 20 Jan 2019, 11:45 am

Federer now serving to save the match 4-5 in the fourth set.

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Post by Duty281 Sun 20 Jan 2019, 11:45 am

No name Bertie wrote:Tsitsipas may be the first of the next generation to win a slam.

Great chance for him to make the final in this tournament IF he beats Federer. A knackered Spaniard in the next round, followed by a past-his-best Nadal in the semis.

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Post by lags72 Sun 20 Jan 2019, 11:48 am

Duty281 wrote:
No name Bertie wrote:Tsitsipas may be the first of the next generation to win a slam.

Great chance for him to make the final in this tournament IF he beats Federer. A knackered Spaniard in the next round, followed by a past-his-best Nadal in the semis.

Really ? Have you been following Nadal’s AO matches so far ...... chin

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Post by No name Bertie Sun 20 Jan 2019, 11:49 am

The fourth set is heading towards a tie break - Tsitsipas just held his serve to love and Federer once again has to serve to stay in the match 5-6 in the fourth set.

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Post by lags72 Sun 20 Jan 2019, 11:49 am

Classy performance by Tsitsipas.

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Post by No name Bertie Sun 20 Jan 2019, 11:54 am

Federer holds his serve to 30 and we are into a fouth set tie-breaker. We know from the previous two tie-breakers that Tsitsipas won't lose it easily and has a good chance of winning it.

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Post by No name Bertie Sun 20 Jan 2019, 12:01 pm

Tsitsipas has the mini-break and a serve for the match.

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Post by CaledonianCraig Sun 20 Jan 2019, 12:02 pm

Tsitsipas wins 6-7 7-6 7-5 7-6 to knock Roger Federer out of the Australian Open.
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Post by kemet Sun 20 Jan 2019, 12:03 pm

Deserved win for Tsitsipas. He has the mental tools to become the Greek version of Rafael Nadal. Let's see what the future holds.

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Post by No name Bertie Sun 20 Jan 2019, 12:03 pm

Tsitsipas wins the fourth set tie breaker 7-5.   This person has the game and the temperament to win slams.  I think this could prove highly symbolic - at least for the passing of Federer.  Tsitsipas beats last years Australian Open Champion fair and square.


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Post by theslosty Sun 20 Jan 2019, 12:03 pm

Federer didn't play a poor match by any stretch, really impressive from Tsitsipas. Hope he can make the semi-finals at least.
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Post by lags72 Sun 20 Jan 2019, 12:06 pm

Fully deserved victory. Superb performance clap clap

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Post by lags72 Sun 20 Jan 2019, 12:09 pm

And I’m especially glad that I put a cheeky little wager on him two days ago, to go all the way.

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Post by No name Bertie Sun 20 Jan 2019, 12:13 pm

Tsitsipas has the pedigree.  Greak father who is a tennis coach and Russian mother who was a professional tennis player on the WTA tour.   Aged 20, former no1 junior - showing a rise up the ranking suggesting he could be in the top five this year.

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Post by MrInvisible Sun 20 Jan 2019, 12:15 pm

Well I finally managed to get on a streaming website and saw last half of this high quality match.  Whilst Federer wasn't quite firing on all cylinders he was still playing well enough to beat just about everyone else (bar Djokovic on this surface) today, and this was a well-deserved win by Tsitsipas.  

Whilst I thought Tsitsipas had the tools to beat Federer I wasn't sure if he was going to do it today, as he had a couple of poor results in the autumn after his breakthrough on the summer hardcourts.

The way he saved all those breakpoints demonstrated he has the mental toughness to back up his talent.

Next up Bautista Agut, who has probably clocked up more miles at this year's tournament than anyone else, so, barring a real sub-par performance, the semi-finals and a probable match-up with Nadal (he's up against another young gun, Tiafoe) are within grasp for Tsitsipas.

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Post by No name Bertie Sun 20 Jan 2019, 12:19 pm

It will be interesting to see how long Federer remains on the ATP professional tour - once he starts to get regularly beaten by next generation players.  I think Tsitsipas now has the measure of Federer - Tsitsipas is only going to get better (assuming he doesn't end up partying away his life), while Federer continues to slowly wane physically.

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Post by MrInvisible Sun 20 Jan 2019, 12:20 pm

lags72 wrote:And I’m especially glad that I put a cheeky little wager on him two days ago, to go all the way.

To win the whole thing he's likely to have to beat Federer, Nadal *and* Djokovic in same tournament, which is no mean feat. Still, if I was a betting man I would have put a cheeky fiver on him reaching the final at start of the tournament.

Another thing which will help him this tournament is that there is a sizeable Greek community in Australia. I always remember when (Greek Cypriot) Baghdatis reached the final back in 2004 and with the huge crowd support he had it was almost like a home slam.

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Post by sirfredperry Sun 20 Jan 2019, 12:20 pm

By all accounts a stunning performance by Tsitsipas. Key, I reckon, was that second set. Would the Greek have been able to come back from two sets down? Probably not.
This is one of the few times Fed has failed to make at least the S-F at Melbourne. Tsitispas now takes on RBA whose victory over Cilic in five means all last year's semi-finalists are out before the quarters.
No doubt some might be tempted to say that this match today is almost a Sampras-Federer Wimbledon 2001 moment. But, as with that match (which I was lucky enough to be on Centre Court to see) the significance may not come until some time later.

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Post by Duty281 Sun 20 Jan 2019, 12:21 pm

lags72 wrote:
Duty281 wrote:
No name Bertie wrote:Tsitsipas may be the first of the next generation to win a slam.

Great chance for him to make the final in this tournament IF he beats Federer. A knackered Spaniard in the next round, followed by a past-his-best Nadal in the semis.

Really ? Have you been following Nadal’s AO matches so far ...... chin

Yes, hence my comment.

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Post by MrInvisible Sun 20 Jan 2019, 12:23 pm

No name Bertie wrote:It will be interesting to see how long Federer remains on the ATP professional tour - once he starts to get regularly beaten by next generation players.  I think Tsitsipas now has the measure of Federer - Tsitsipas is only going to get better (assuming he doesn't end up partying away his life), while Federer continues to slowly wane physically.

I actually think Federer will bow out in 2020. Why? Because competing in the Olympics means a big deal for him - probably has a real emotional attachment to him - he got to know Mirka after all through both competing for Swiss Olympic team, and he probably still has a (fading) dream of winning Olympic singles gold. I therefore think he will finally hang up his racket towards end of 2020 season - at his home Basel tournament would probably be a logical point to call it a day.

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Post by CaledonianCraig Sun 20 Jan 2019, 12:23 pm

The acid test for any young gun after such a big win is can they follow it up two days later in their next match and go on further in the tournament and beat another great player. Time will tell. I think Bautista Agut is running on an empty tank but will Tsitsipas be able to beat Nadal?
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Post by No name Bertie Sun 20 Jan 2019, 12:25 pm

MrInvisible wrote:... Whilst I thought Tsitsipas had the tools to beat Federer I wasn't sure if he was going to do it today ... [but] ... The way he saved all those breakpoints demonstrated he has the mental toughness to back up his talent ...
Tiafoe too saved breakpoint after breakpoint to beat Dimitrov. Both Tsitsipas and Tiafoe have shown they have the mental strength to do well. With regard Tiafoe he has now beaten Kevin Anderson (fifth seed) in the second round and Dimitrov (twentieth seed) in the fourth round. That said currently Tiafoe seems to be a bit behind Tsitsipas in terms of his development (physical endurance and court craft).

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Post by lags72 Sun 20 Jan 2019, 12:36 pm

Federer’s legendary movement was not great in the match, and I guess that’s really one of the key qualities which becomes more & more of an issue at his sort of age. All the previous big multi-slammers of the generations before him had of course retired long before 37.

For the most part he was staying with Tsitsipas in the longer rallies and hitting clean groundstrokes, but he found it very difficult indeed to finish points quickly, in the way he so often has over the years.

Looking forward to great things from Tsitsipas. Today was step one.


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Post by No name Bertie Sun 20 Jan 2019, 12:36 pm

This years Australian Open has a different vibe to last years Australian Open.  All four of last years Semi-finalists are out of the tournament - the pretenders Kyle Edmund and Chung Hyeon and the old guard Cilic and Federer.  This year it seems we are beginning (finally) to see quality players coming through that will end the old guard era.


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Post by Nathaniel Jacobs Sun 20 Jan 2019, 12:38 pm

The only reason Federer is lingering around is because Nadal 17 and Djokovic 14 are hunting him down. If those two retired tomorrow, Federer wouldn't be far behind

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Post by sirfredperry Sun 20 Jan 2019, 12:46 pm

NNB - We'll probably have to wait until the end of the tournament to see if the old guard have been pushed aside. I'm still taking one of Djoko or Rafa to win it.
But I would add that the younger players have already pulled off some terrific results. Normally a player who has a long and victorious match against one of the Big Four is so physically and emotionally drained that they crash out in the next round. But the Greek now faces RBA who seems to have been on court for the entire tournament!
Wonder if Fed has already been asked if this is his last AO? Let's hope not.

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Post by No name Bertie Sun 20 Jan 2019, 12:49 pm

There are still some challenges remaining for Federer - as SFP mentioned there is next years summer Olympics - but there is also Connors tournament wins record. Federer is currently on 99 tournament wins whilst Connors is on 109. If Federer starts entering ATP 250 and ATP 500 tournaments then we will know he has set himself that target to beat. I assume Federer will continue to skip clay making the decision that he is too old to play slower grueling tennis that seems to characterise that surface.

It will be interesting to see if there are any next generation clay court specialists that might begin to challenge Nadal seriously. Thiem at 25 seems to be one possibility and Zverev showed some good form last year (getting to the QF of Roland Garros). Not sure Thiem could be called a next generation player - he is now at an age where he should be close to his peak (physically wise).

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Post by lags72 Sun 20 Jan 2019, 12:49 pm

No name Bertie wrote:This years Australian Open has a different vibe to last years Australian Open....... This year it seems we are beginning (finally) to see players coming through that will end the old guard era.

True.

Although ...... we are still more than likely to see either Djoko or Rafa take this title, and it could be a little while yet before the new generation ‘takes over’.

As for the defeated defending Champion : I think it’s a measure of just how long Federer has remained a powerful force that today’s win by Tsitsipas is considered such a fine achievement. There was a time when beating a 37 year-old would have not have been greeted with such plaudits. (but of course this was Federer, after all .......!!)

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Post by No name Bertie Sun 20 Jan 2019, 12:55 pm

sirfredperry wrote:NNB - We'll probably have to wait until the end of the tournament to see if the old guard have been pushed aside. I'm still taking one of Djoko or Rafa to win it ...
You can never discount Rafa - but he tends to pick up a lot of minor physical injuries nowadays. Djokovic is the one that could stay ahead of the next generation on the hard and grass courts - but he too is showing signs of wear and tear. In my view Nadal still has a few years left winning the French Open - if he remains relatively injury free.

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Post by No name Bertie Sun 20 Jan 2019, 1:05 pm

With regard Andy Murray - his hip injury seems to be very serious. He needs another operation just so that he can go about normal life pain free. The type of operation he needs is the type of operation Bob Bryan had. Bob Bryan managed to return competitively to the ATP doubles tour - but as Bob Bryan mentioned - doubles is a world of difference from the more intense singles tour. Apparently there is only one surgeon in the world that has performed this operation that allows some players to get back to a moderate level of competitive sports - and the prognosis for Murray is very very marginal indeed in terms of returning to the ATP singles tour competitively.

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Post by No name Bertie Sun 20 Jan 2019, 1:19 pm

I have to say all four fourth round matches played today have been interesting / great matches:
Nadal (32) v Berdych (33): 6-0 6-1 7-6
Tsitsipas (20) v Federer (37):  6(11)- 7(13), 7(7)-6(3), 7-5, 7(7)-6(5)
Bautista (30) v Cilic (30): 6-7 6-3 6-2 4-6 6-4
Tiafoe (20) v Dimitrov (27): 7-5 7-6 6-7 7-5

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Post by sirfredperry Sun 20 Jan 2019, 2:37 pm

Federer has announced that he will play the European clay-court season this year. Said he'd made the decision before the AO, although his defeat in the fourth round means his return to clay makes even more sense now.
He's just lost 1,820 points but of course can get some of them back in Europe in April-June.


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Post by lags72 Sun 20 Jan 2019, 2:58 pm

That’s interesting to hear sfp.

It will be his clay court swan song, no doubt.

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Post by No name Bertie Sun 20 Jan 2019, 3:08 pm

sirfredperry wrote:Federer has announced that he will play the European clay-court season this year. Said he'd made the decision before the AO ...
He may have "made the decision before the AO" - but he has only announced it following this loss - suggesting that he was still keeping that decision under review.  

It seems to me that Federer had to realise he was unlikely to win another grand slam (return of Djokovic, rise of the next generation, continuing to get older) and so he might take a more leisurely attitude to tournaments around the year and enjoy the playing, rather than just putting everything into three grand slams (AO, Wimbledon USO).   He could use this playing time to get to learn about the games of the next generation - he says he hasn't figured out Tsitsipas - he has yet to break him in the two matches he has played against him, despite getting numerous breakpoint opportunities.

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Post by sirfredperry Sun 20 Jan 2019, 3:14 pm

I'm sure various clay-court tourney organisers are very pleased with Rog's decision.
Sloane Stephens has just been beaten by Pav after being a set and a break up. Means five GS champions have bitten the dust today (is that some sort of daily record?)
Also means that the winner of the Kvitova-Barty match will face an unseeded player in the semis. Are the Aussies dreaming of a home-grown champion?

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Post by CaledonianCraig Sun 20 Jan 2019, 3:32 pm

No name Bertie wrote:With regard Andy Murray - his hip injury seems to be very serious.   He needs another operation just so that he can go about normal life pain free.  The type of operation he needs is the type of operation Bob Bryan had.  Bob Bryan managed to return competitively to the ATP doubles tour - but as Bob Bryan mentioned - doubles is a world of difference from the more intense singles tour.  Apparently there is only one surgeon in the world that has performed this operation that allows some players to get back to a moderate level of competitive sports - and the prognosis for Murray is very very marginal indeed in terms of returning to the ATP singles tour competitively.

We'll know very soon what he has opted for.

No operation in the coming week or two and I'd say he will forego the operation Bob Bryan had and hope to bow out at Wimbledon.

If he has that operation he'll miss Wimbledon and perhaps return at the end of this year and hope to have prolonged his career by maybe two or three years. Taking this option though will make him a certainty for osteoarthritis and hindered movement later in life with no corrective operation possible thereafter. The thing is he's aching for his kids to be old enough to see him in competitive action so he may find the operation too tempting to turn down.
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Post by Tennisfan Sun 20 Jan 2019, 4:38 pm

I think the matchplay with Djokovic made Andy realise that his aspirations for his singles career were unrealistic.
But I wonder if the experience of Bob Bryan has now triggered a hope that maybe there is the chance to have the operation and then be able to play some doubles tennis (despite him saying otherwise in his presser) for his daughters to see. Just my view/hope.
No easy decisions. I wish him well.

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Post by CaledonianCraig Sun 20 Jan 2019, 5:31 pm

Tennisfan wrote:I think the matchplay with Djokovic made Andy realise that his aspirations for his singles career were unrealistic.
But I wonder if the experience of Bob Bryan has now triggered a hope that maybe there is the chance to have the operation and then be able to play some doubles tennis (despite him saying otherwise in his presser) for his daughters to see. Just my view/hope.
No easy decisions. I wish him well.

If he has the op it will be to prolong his singles career. He won't take on an op that will hinder him later in life just to play doubles.
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Post by Born Slippy Sun 20 Jan 2019, 6:05 pm

Agree with Craig. Even in his current state, he’d be able to play doubles - let’s not forget he matched someone whose made the QF of the singles for 4 sets. It’s selfish but I personally have no interest in seeing him play Wimbledon with no chance of winning. I hope he either retires now or has the op and gets back to pain free tennis for at least a year or so.

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Post by Born Slippy Sun 20 Jan 2019, 6:11 pm

Born Slippy wrote:Nah, Berdych has no chance. Tsitsipas also isn’t a good enough returner to cause Fed any issues.

The big matches this round are Raonic v Zverev and Medvedev v Novak. Both of those look near 50-50.

I somehow managed to get my Fed prediction both right and wrong! Tsitsipas’ returning of Fed’s serve was very poor but I couldn’t predict that Fed would squander all 12 break points he created. Great win for Tsitsipas- interesting to see how he gets on against the rock solid RBA. I can see that being a banana skin he could slip over.

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Post by sirfredperry Sun 20 Jan 2019, 6:29 pm

BS. All the emotion, the media attention and the sheer euphoria when you beat a big player are going to take their toll on Tsitsipas. But I think he has a good chance against a bound-to-be-weary RBA who surely can't keep coming up with the goods.
I must say that Fed's decision to play the clay-court season (plus Spurs' last-gasp win at Fulham) has rather lifted my mood following Rog's loss today.

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Post by MrInvisible Sun 20 Jan 2019, 9:24 pm

Watching Tsitsipas today reminded me of Kuerten - slightly different game ('Guga' also had single-handed backhand but was a claycourt specialist, Tsitsipas will be at this best on faster surfaces) but similar sort of cool, laid-back demeanour. Also, as has already been pointed out, obvious parallels can be drawn of Federer's humbling of Sampras at 2001 Wimbledon - something quite devastating about a younger player outplaying their experienced opponent with a slightly better version of their own game.

I do think the run will come to an end at semi-final against Nadal, but this breakthrough today will have done wonders for confidence of the young Greek player, and he has the tools to string together a slam winning run in next couple of years.

Onto tomorrow's matches, Djokovic faces another young rising star in Medvedev, and I think he should be OK - possibly pushed to 4 sets. Raonic looks a big threat to Zverev and I reckon could upset the younger player. Coric has been progressing quietly through draw, and against the fragile Pouille I think he'll be too solid.

Halep v Serena is the real marquee womens' match on paper - I will go for Halep, just, in this one, as I think she is mentally tough winning the close matches she has. Elsewhere, I think Muguruza, whose form has been patchy in between winning the slams she has so far, will come good, and beat Pliskova. Good to see Osaka having a decent tournament - after what happened at US Open I was bit concerned the furore would get to her.


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Post by No name Bertie Mon 21 Jan 2019, 4:33 am

It seems that Raonic is in blistering form: currently it is Raonic vs Zverev 6-1 6-1

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Post by lags72 Mon 21 Jan 2019, 5:42 am

Zverev was not at the races for the first two sets, and it’s been another disappointing Slam campaign from him. Very, very, odd given just how talented he is, and just how well he ended 2018 with that impressive win over Djokovic to take the WTF title in London.

But all credit to Milos Raonic for a supremely competent performance - not least given recent injury issues.

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Post by sirfredperry Mon 21 Jan 2019, 8:09 am

Lags72 - yes another disappointing GS for Zverev who had a racquet-smashing meltdown at one stage during the second set.
You would have thought with Lendl now on board that he would start getting much further at GS. But 10 DFs and a poor display (until right at the end) suggests he has far to go.

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Post by No name Bertie Mon 21 Jan 2019, 8:56 am

Currently:
Coric vs Pouille: 7-6 4-6 5-7 1-3 - a close match but Pouille consistently having the edge.  Don't think either would trouble the top seeds.

Carreno Busta vs Nishikori: 7-6 3-1 - a close match with Busta having the edge.  Again I don't think either will trouble the top seeds.

I think Raonic is playing impressively and Zverev was maybe unfortunately meeting him in the fourth round.  That said he should have done a better job at holding serve in the first two sets.  He lost 6-1 6-1 7-6.   Raonic has a big serve and can get through his serve rapidly putting pressure on the opponents serve - which I think is what happened with Zverev in the first two sets.  Zverev showed more concentration in the third set - holding his serve - but lost the tie-break.

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