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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 No name Bertie Fri 25 Jan 2019, 10:21 am

JuliusHMarx wrote:And yet the even older and more decrepit Federer won it the last two years.
That's true - except Federer has never had corrective surgery to fix his decaying joints. Anyway Djokovic wins 6-0 6-2 6-2. I just hope Nadal vs Djokovic doesn't end up killing them both. These guys just never give up but surely body parts will eventually start flying off. They are no spring chickens.

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Post by Just John Fri 25 Jan 2019, 10:43 am

No name Bertie wrote:[I find it frightening and perplexing - are the aging and somewhat decrepit Nadal and Djokovic really so much better than all the rest?.

Yes. Hence, why they’re the golden generation, along with the greatest of all-time, Federer. Tennis will be in a state, once these three have departed. They simply don’t make them like this anymore.

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Post by MrInvisible Fri 25 Jan 2019, 10:45 am

Credit to Pouille for beating some decent opponents on way to the semi-final, but I can't help thinking that Raonic or Coric would have given Djokovic more of a match - pushing him perhaps like Medvedev was able to for a bit. Raonic would surely have taken him to at least 1 tie-break whilst Coric would have relished the long drawn out rallies.

The Tsitsipas match did have a high quality 2nd set from both players which was fairly competitive at least, but unfortunately today Pouille was never in it.

So the big 5 has now become a big 3, with Federer's usual place in the semi taken by a youngster making their breakthrough and Pouille being the customary Australian Open surprise package of this year. I'm looking forward to the final between Nadal and Djokovic, and in terms of historical standing in the game its a v significant match - if Nadal wins he has an excellent chance of matching Federer's slam total but conversely if Djokovic wins he's in a v good position to catch up with Nadal.



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Post by JuliusHMarx Fri 25 Jan 2019, 10:59 am

No name Bertie wrote:
JuliusHMarx wrote:And yet the even older and more decrepit Federer won it the last two years.
That's true - except Federer has never had corrective surgery to fix his decaying joints.   Anyway Djokovic wins 6-0 6-2 6-2.   I just hope Nadal vs Djokovic doesn't end up killing them both.  These guys just never give up but surely body parts will eventually start flying off.  They are no spring chickens.

You mean apart from the knee surgery?

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Post by JuliusHMarx Fri 25 Jan 2019, 11:15 am

My point is that Djokovic and Nadal (and Federer) are hardly decrepit. Yes, they have all had surgery - and it was successful and they have returned to their best, or near as dammit. Unlike Murray, Del Potro, Raonic and numerous others over the years who have not been so fortunate.

The big 3 are big enough without people trying to artificially boost them even further.

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Post by sirfredperry Fri 25 Jan 2019, 12:45 pm

So, as some expected all along, it's Rafa v Djoko. Not sure who the bookies will make favourite. Praps Rafa.

It's possible to make a good case for either of them. Rafa has looked supreme and seems as good as ever. But he's yet to be tested. Djoko has been more patchy (although not in the semi!) but he's never lost an Aussie final and he's just about the only player to really get inside Rafa's head.

Fans might want this to go the distance. I think it will be difficult for either player to win in straight sets, so I'm going for a four-setter or a five-setter.

I thought before the tournament that Djoko would win it. Since then we've seen a rampant Rafa, but I'm still sticking to the Serb. As for the women's final, Kvitova is a world beater if she's on top form. If she's slightly off, then Osaka could take it.

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Post by Duty281 Fri 25 Jan 2019, 1:28 pm

Djokovic the favourite with the bookmakers. Understandable.

The last 8 meetings between the two on surfaces other than clay have all been won by the Serbian - you have to go back to 2013 for the last time Nadal beat Djokovic on a hard surface - and the overall H2H on hard courts is 18-7 in favour of Djokovic.

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Post by Henman Bill Fri 25 Jan 2019, 5:00 pm

The bookies do have Djokovic the favourite but only by a small amount. I think it is closer to a 50/50 match than the stats you have suggest, because of the form in this tournament - Nadal has cruised through a bit easier.

In fact I had Nadal as favourite 24 hours ago, but after seeing the Djokovic report and match result in the semi, I'd say it's 50/50 now.

Maybe very slightly to Djokovic actually. The semi suggests he can bring his best to the final. If he can, Nadal, historically has not done well against that on hard.Some of Rafa's hard wins have been when Djokovic has not yet peaked or was at peak but was on a bit of a lull in form or mentality.

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Post by sirfredperry Sat 26 Jan 2019, 8:20 am

Women's final starting soon. Doubt there's ever been a GS final where BOTH players could get to number one.

More fence-sitting and hedge-betting from me on this one, I'm afraid. It could go either way. At a pinch I'd go for Kvitova.

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Post by MrInvisible Sat 26 Jan 2019, 11:18 am

Osaka wins 7-6 5-7 6-4. Unfortunately I only got to see the final stages (found streaming site called CricFree) but by all accounts there was some great power-hitting in the match, and Kvitová did well to take it to 3 sets after being 5-3 down in 2nd set.

Commiserations to Kvitová, who has done amazingly well to get back to this level after what happened to her couple of years ago but congratulations to Osaka. Great to see she has backed up her win at US Open and can forget the Serena histrionics which overshadowed it. Osaka also deservedly gets world number 1, and provided she remains injury-free looks capable of going on to dominate the womens' game.

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Post by lags72 Sat 26 Jan 2019, 12:44 pm

Great win by Osaka clap

Just as Kvitova deserves full credit for taking it to a decider, Osaka did extremely well to steady herself amidst the frustration generated by her nervy second set wobble.

And so to tomorrow’s showdown. A very interesting piece here on the changes to Rafa’s playing technique and also match strategy, as influenced by coach Carlos Moya, once Uncle Toni had stepped aside.

Also with reference to Moya .... and a little piece of trivia for any tennis history fans : I had always thought Moya was the guy who could lay claim to the shortest-ever reign as a World Number One. But in fact I find there is someone who spent even less time at the game’s summit. Any guesses ....?  without help from Dr Google,  of course !

https://www.theage.com.au/sport/tennis/moya-had-to-convince-nadal-of-need-for-speed-20190126-p50tsu.html

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Post by sirfredperry Sat 26 Jan 2019, 12:47 pm

By all accounts a cracking final. I shall have to content myself with highlights on BBC. Wonder if Osaka would have been able to come back from losing championship points if she'd been in her first GS final.
I have a feeling that the men's final will also be dramatic. Let's hope so.

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Post by JuliusHMarx Sat 26 Jan 2019, 1:33 pm

lags72 wrote:Great win by Osaka clap

Just as Kvitova deserves full credit for taking it to a decider, Osaka did extremely well to steady herself amidst the frustration generated by her nervy second set wobble.

And so to tomorrow’s showdown. A very interesting piece here on the changes to Rafa’s playing technique and also match strategy, as influenced by coach Carlos Moya, once Uncle Toni had stepped aside.

Also with reference to Moya .... and a little piece of trivia for any tennis history fans : I had always thought Moya was the guy who could lay claim to the shortest-ever reign as a World Number One. But in fact I find there is someone who spent even less time at the game’s summit. Any guesses ....?  without help from Dr Google,  of course !

https://www.theage.com.au/sport/tennis/moya-had-to-convince-nadal-of-need-for-speed-20190126-p50tsu.html

Pat Rafter - 1 week - IIRC.

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Post by lags72 Sat 26 Jan 2019, 4:51 pm

Well remembered JHM ! The prize is yours OK

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Post by sirfredperry Sat 26 Jan 2019, 8:59 pm

Wow. That was a serious meltdown by Osaka at the end of the second set. She did really well to steady herself and win in the end.

Anyone else notice how Kvitova, from the left court, kept serving straight into Osaka's splendid backhand return area ? Should have banged a few down the middle.

Apart from the second-set wobble, Osaka was mighty impressive. Terrific groundstrokes and strong returns. She looked a number one. Now, can she stay there?



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Post by Henman Bill Sun 27 Jan 2019, 1:44 am

Recorded the match but recording went wrong and only got most of the first set. It seems a bit of an early call to say that Osaka can dominate. It could happen, but let's see.

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Post by No name Bertie Sun 27 Jan 2019, 2:29 am

With Djokovic vs Nadal it is more going to be a question of how long the match is going to last (surely longer than 4 hours?) and whether they both get through the match injury free. If they both remain healthy they could be clearing up on the grand slams for the next two years?

If they both remain reasonably healthy I think Nadal could pull it off but obviously Djokovic has a lot of memories as to how to win finals here. I think Djokovic will approach the match as he approached his match against Medvedev (long rallies waiting for the right moments) while Nadal will play aggressively as he always does.

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Post by No name Bertie Sun 27 Jan 2019, 2:35 am

I saw a few highlights of the Osaka vs Kvitova match and was shocked and surprised that it was almost played in silence.  I had long stopped watching women's tennis because of the Sharapova - Williams sisters - Azarenka - shrieks, industrial scale roaring, and weirdness.

Kvitova made some noises but they were more in line with expected exertion rather than the sounds of planes taking off and glass breaking screeching.

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Post by sirfredperry Sun 27 Jan 2019, 8:25 am

NNB - Yes, nice to see non-shrieky players. Can you imagine a final between Azarenka and Sharapova?

Now for the men. Still think Djoko will win this but wouldn't like to put money or life on it. Four sets at least, I guess.

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Post by laverfan Sun 27 Jan 2019, 9:24 am

Djokovic wins first set 6-3.

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Post by No name Bertie Sun 27 Jan 2019, 9:57 am

For Djokovic to win for a minimum of effort he has to break Nadal once per set and then focus on not being broken. Given Djokovic has the better serve on fast courts that looks to be how he is trying to manage the match. Nadal put pressure on Djokovics serve just past but Djokovic holds on to it and so remains a break up in the second set.

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Post by Duty281 Sun 27 Jan 2019, 9:58 am

As safely predicted, Djokovic having few problems in this match. It's been a decent tournament, but Djokovic's procession to the trophy isn't the healthiest thing in the world.

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Post by No name Bertie Sun 27 Jan 2019, 10:00 am

So Nadal put so much effort into trying to break back in the previous game - Djokovic counters in the next game and goes a double break up. 6-3 5-2 with Djokovic to serve for the second set following the change of ends rest.

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Post by lags72 Sun 27 Jan 2019, 10:03 am

So far, Rafa getting similar treatment from Djoko as did Lucas Pouille.

Here’s hoping - perhaps in vain - for something different in set 3 .....

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Post by laverfan Sun 27 Jan 2019, 10:03 am

Second set Djokovic 6-2.

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Post by No name Bertie Sun 27 Jan 2019, 10:04 am

Djokovic serves out to love to go 6-3 6-2 up.  The difference between Djokovic and the other opponents Nadal has faced is that Djokovic knows how to return Nadals serves with a bit of interest.

ps: the match is only 1 hour 15 minutes old.

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Post by No name Bertie Sun 27 Jan 2019, 10:16 am

1-1 in the third set. Can Nadal now hold - he didn't expend much energy trying to break Djokovic because Djokovic served out to love.

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Post by No name Bertie Sun 27 Jan 2019, 10:21 am

Djokovic breaks. That should be it because Djokovic gets the change of end rest before serving and if he loses serve he gets a chance to immediately break back a tired Nadal (because Nadal will have to expend energy to break Djokovic).
Djokovic leads 6-3 6-2 2-1 with Djokovic to serve next.

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Post by No name Bertie Sun 27 Jan 2019, 10:35 am

Nadal gets a first break point of the match for him but fails to take it. Djokovic leads 4-2 in the third set. Can Djokovic break again given the energy Nadal expended in the previous game.

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Post by No name Bertie Sun 27 Jan 2019, 10:38 am

Nadal holds to 15. So 4-3 to Djokovic third set with Djokovic to serve next.

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Post by No name Bertie Sun 27 Jan 2019, 10:46 am

Nadal took Djokovic's serve to deuce but Djokovic holds. 5-3 to Djokovic third set.

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Post by lags72 Sun 27 Jan 2019, 10:47 am

Only one more chance for Rafa to make some impact.

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Post by No name Bertie Sun 27 Jan 2019, 10:48 am

Two match points.

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Post by lags72 Sun 27 Jan 2019, 10:50 am

It’s been a demolition job really.

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Post by Born Slippy Sun 27 Jan 2019, 10:51 am

That’s an amazing display from Novak. Unreal.

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Post by No name Bertie Sun 27 Jan 2019, 10:51 am

Djokovic takes the second match point and wins 6-3 6-2 6-3 in 2 hours and 4 minutes - a perfectly executed and energy efficient match.

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Post by No name Bertie Sun 27 Jan 2019, 10:53 am

So Djokovic surpasses Sampras and goes 15 slams up. He is also on for a grand slam at the French. However I have to make Nadal favorite for Roland Garros - it is a different game there.

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Post by Duty281 Sun 27 Jan 2019, 10:54 am

No surprise that a past-it Nadal got hammered. He had a very gentle run to the final as well, which didn't help matters, and the only opponent up to now that might have stretched him (Tsitipas) turned in an error-strewn effort.

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Post by lags72 Sun 27 Jan 2019, 10:54 am

Is it Nadal’s worst defeat in a Slam Final ?

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Post by kemet Sun 27 Jan 2019, 10:55 am

Novak was simply too good today. Congrats to the Serb on his 15th major title and unprecedented 7th title in Australia

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Post by sirfredperry Sun 27 Jan 2019, 10:57 am

Incredible. Haven't seen any of it but I had not thought that either could possibly win in straight sets.

No doubt that while Nadal is pretty much everybody's worst match-up, Djoko is the guy Rafa least likes facing, particularly away from the clay.

While Djoko remains supreme in Melbourne, a second AO title continues to elude Rafa. Djoko will stay top for weeks and weeks now.


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Post by No name Bertie Sun 27 Jan 2019, 10:58 am

I am glad that they both appear healthy.  Nadal can lick his wounds and think about getting an 11th 12th title at Roland Garros.

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Post by No name Bertie Sun 27 Jan 2019, 11:02 am

lags72 wrote:Is it Nadal’s worst defeat in a Slam Final ?
By far - Nadal has never lost a slam final in straight sets.

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Post by lags72 Sun 27 Jan 2019, 11:05 am

In all fairness, Rafa did extremely well to actually make the Final after another lengthy layoff.

But once he did get there, this match must have brought back unpleasant memories of another bruising AO loss, with virtually the same scoreline ....inflicted by a rampant Tsonga in the semis of 2008.

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Post by JuliusHMarx Sun 27 Jan 2019, 11:08 am

Wilander was saying that it's now 8 matches in a row on hard court for Djoko vs Rafa, without losing a set. If he's right, that's a pretty one-sided match up.

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Post by No name Bertie Sun 27 Jan 2019, 11:11 am

So it looks like Federer has declined to the point where at least one of the next generation is able to beat him although maybe grass will be different assuming Federer remains in good health.

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Post by sirfredperry Sun 27 Jan 2019, 11:16 am

Rafa can content himself with looking forward to his favourite time of the year - the clay-court season. Could there be a Djoko-Rafa RG final?

No doubt everyone was waiting to Rafa to fight back tonight. But it was not to be. Did his far-to-easy earlier wins in Melbourne prove a hindrance, I wonder?

Djoko, in contrast, was a bit patchy until the semi and the final, when he really turned it on. Could he, rather than Rafa, be the one to end up overtaking Fed as the winner of the most slams?


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Post by lags72 Sun 27 Jan 2019, 11:19 am

No name Bertie wrote:So it looks like Federer has declined to the point where at least one of the next generation is able to beat him although maybe grass will be different assuming Federer remains in good health.

Well, do remember that the very same new generation star also defeated Djokovic - and in the middle of the World Number One’s mercurial spell in the latter half of 2018.

I’m not too sure just how much we should read into each of those victories / losses. They are, after all, just two matches on two isolated occasions. But I’m in no doubt that a) Federer is a tennis OAP and b) there are big things to come from Stefanos Tsitsipas.

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Post by No name Bertie Sun 27 Jan 2019, 11:37 am

All good points lags72 except it is in the slams that everyone especially the all time greats step up (I remember Federer's warning to Murray upon reaching I think an AO final against him). But it seems it is Tsitsipas that has shown himself to be potentially vying for grand slams in the not too distant future.

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Post by shivfan Sun 27 Jan 2019, 12:01 pm

sirfredperry wrote:By all accounts a cracking final. I shall have to content myself with highlights on BBC. Wonder if Osaka would have been able to come back from losing championship points if she'd been in her first GS final.
 I have a feeling that the men's final will also be dramatic. Let's hope so.

Well, that was a one-sided match.

The women's final was closer, more exciting, and had more games.
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