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2021 Australian Open

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Post by MrInvisible Sat 06 Feb 2021, 7:45 pm

So, the draw has been made, with Thiem in Djokovic's side of the draw.  Can Thiem capitalise on his US Open success and go a step further than last year?  Is Nadal physically fit enough to last the distance?  Can some of the players who broke through last year like Sinner make a big impression?

On the womens' I'll probably go for Osaka, but we've had so many players breaking through in last few years it wouldn't be a surprise to get a new champion.

Notable 1st round matches include:

Dimitrov v Cilic
Shapovalov v Sinner
Anderson v Berretini
Evans v Norrie

Anyone up for a go at the Tennis Dream Team - http://tffdreamteam.com/ausopen/ - I have created a Mini-League - name is 606 and password is a59144bff611ab28b92b1b07a3a57835

I've decided to splash out on the princely sum of 99p for Eurosport streaming coverage, so for a change will be watching legitimately rather than those virus-ridden dodgy streaming sites I normally use!

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Post by Oioi Sun 07 Feb 2021, 10:45 pm

Thanks for the tff shout. I've just quickly put my squad together, looks a bit rubbish compared to yours, you made some solid picks there I reckon. Good shout on eurosport player aswell, can't argue with the price! Looking forward to seeing tennis with crowds again.

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Post by CaledonianCraig Mon 08 Feb 2021, 9:01 am

Wawrinka and Thiem through in straights. Monfils exits in the First Round. Dimitrov beats Cilic in straight sets too. Promising start to the year for him.
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Post by CaledonianCraig Mon 08 Feb 2021, 11:18 am

Djokovic through in straight sets against Chardy with the minimum of fuss only dropping six games.
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Post by sirfredperry Mon 08 Feb 2021, 3:32 pm

Difficult to look beyond Djoko for the title while, as been suggested above, the women's champion could be almost anyone. I make it that there are SIXTEEN Grand Slam champs in the women's draw.

Very tough draw for Sinner and Shapovalov having to face each other and, by all accounts, a terrific five-setter ensued with the Canadian coming out on top.

Andreescu, who didn't play at all last year, was tearful after winning her opening match. Only real surprises of a fairly straightforward opening day were Monfils losing in five to Finn Ruusuvuori (henceforward to be known as Emil), and Kerber going out in straight sets.

Second day sees Dan Evans, fresh from a maiden tournament win, taking on Cameron Norrie.

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Post by sirfredperry Tue 09 Feb 2021, 9:03 am

Goffin and RBA of the men's seeds are out. Norrie is two sets to one up on Evans.

Heather Watson one in two tight sets. Barty has just double bageled Kovinic who won just 10 points in the 12 games.

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Post by sirfredperry Tue 09 Feb 2021, 4:55 pm

Possibly Evans exertions last week caught up with him as he went down to Norrie in four.

Dan had a set point to take it to a fifth. Afterwards he said he was disappointed to go out of a Slam as, in three weeks' time, no one would remember his tournament win last week.

I disagree. Evans would probably have gone out in round three to Rafa in Melbourne. But his maiden tournament win will be on his CV for all time.

A word about Feliciano Lopez, now 39, who is thru to the second round in what is his 75th consecutive Slam appearance. This could well be a record that will not be broken.

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Post by Jeff Navarro Wed 10 Feb 2021, 8:18 pm

Thiem looking pretty decent in these early stages. Djokovic was pushed pretty hard by Tiafoe, the Serb dropped a set but eventually made it through.

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Post by Jeff Navarro Fri 12 Feb 2021, 1:22 pm

Djokovic acting like he was injured again only to make miracle recovery...somethings will never change.

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Post by dummy_half Fri 12 Feb 2021, 1:44 pm

Jeff Navarro wrote:Djokovic acting like he was injured again only to make miracle recovery...somethings will never change.

Waa just going to make the same point. Anod of course all will be fine by the next match, at least until he's in trouble.

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Post by Soul Requiem Fri 12 Feb 2021, 2:12 pm

Usual cheating antics from Djokovic, pathetic really.

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Post by Duty281 Fri 12 Feb 2021, 2:52 pm

Bookmakers seem to think this is a genuine injury as they've moved Djokovic from around evens to roughly 7/2 to win the tournament. Medvedev and Thiem the new front-runners.

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Post by sirfredperry Fri 12 Feb 2021, 4:27 pm

By all accounts the Kyrgios-Thiem match was a terrific affair. Nick said afterwards he felt he'd done all he could. He was pleased at how well he played and how well his body stood up to it.

I think two or three years ago, Thiem - at two sets down - would have lost that match. But he's more experienced now, has come from behind before and his a GS champion now.

Have to agree that Djoko will probably be fine by the time of his next match. he sometimes gets in trouble early on in Slams and then finds his best form at the business end of the tournament. Raonic, though, won't be easy.

Couple of tasty match-ups in round 4 of the women - Halep v Swiatek and Muguruza v Osaka.


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Post by sirfredperry Fri 12 Feb 2021, 5:46 pm

I see some people on social media not entirely convinced about the extent of the Djoko injury.

If Djoko was that badly hurt would he really have been able to win that last set 6-2? Come Sunday he'll probably be as fit as a fiddle. So you have to ask: Was this a genuine injury or was it poor sportsmanship?

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Post by sirfredperry Sat 13 Feb 2021, 12:40 pm

A fairly routine day at the AO on Saturday, with the only surprise being Pliskova's defeat. Given her underwhelming GS record, may be it was not unexpected.

Norrie at least pushed Rafa to more than two hours. The Spaniard now takes on Fognini, who can be brilliant one day and very ordinary the next.

Medvedev got so ratty with his team that his coach left him to it towards the end of the fourth set. Seems to have done the trick as the coach's departure from the arena led to the Russian winning the 5th 6-0.

Some top women's matches on Sunday as well as Djoko-Raonic. I fully expect Djoko to (miraculously?) show no signs of injury.

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Post by Jeff Navarro Sat 13 Feb 2021, 3:14 pm

If Djokovic makes a Lazarus like recovery from a ‘torn stomach muscle’ then I’m seriously gonna consider whether I’ll bother with tennis anymore...

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Post by Jeff Navarro Sun 14 Feb 2021, 7:08 am

Dimitrov beats Thiem 6-4 6-4 6-0 quite the upset.

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Post by sirfredperry Sun 14 Feb 2021, 9:12 am

Thiem won only five points in that third set after leading in sets one and two.

Seems the Kyrgios epic took a lot out of him. It's probably worth considering that the players are not as fully fit as they would normally be. Still, it's an excellent win for Dimi.

Very surprised that F A-A lost, especially as he was two sets up. I think a more experienced player would have won that match.

Osaka came back from two MPs down at 3-5, 15-40 in the last set to beat Mug.

As I write, Halep has dropped the first set v US champ Swiatek but is a break up in the second.

And surprise, surprise......Djoko is fit enough to start his match.

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Post by Soul Requiem Sun 14 Feb 2021, 10:33 am

Was it ever in any doubt?

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Post by theslosty Sun 14 Feb 2021, 11:32 am

Looks like Novak will win this match but still doesn't look fully right. Not really sure why it would be in his interests to make up an injury but clearly he isn't very popular on here. I would suggest to all the armchair fans that you have no idea what playing at this intensity year after year is like and the attached wear and tear.
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Post by MrInvisible Sun 14 Feb 2021, 11:54 am

Enjoying this year's Aus Open - splashed out on my 99p Eurosport monthly offer which has been great.

The tournament came alive with the Kyrgios matches and the Tsitsipas v Kokkinakis 5 setter - real absorbing contests where the crowd got involved. Other than that biggest story on the mens' side has probably been the amazing run of qualifier Karatsev - the powerful Russian is 27 but has been plagued by injury during his career - now beaten Schwartzman and Auger-Aliassime in back-to-back matches. Next up is Dimitrov, who's in good form and playing with lot of focus - I think this match could go the distance.

For Djokovic, with his injury concerns, the match with Raonic is just what the doctor ordered - he can easily absorb his power, attack Raonic's backhand and avoid being drawn into long protracted baseline rallies.

Was impressed with Norrie against Nadal - really hope he can use that performance as a springboard for rest of the season - he produced some good attacking tennis and sound tactics to push Nadal hard in 2 sets. Nadal finished that match strongly but does have a tough draw from this point on - Fognini 4th round, Tsitsipas/Berrettini quarters, Medvedev/Rublev semis. Djokovic's half of draw is easier - Zverev (who has some well publicised personal issues) in quarters, followed by Dimitrov/Karatsev semis.

On the womens', some hard fought performances for Osaka against Muguruza, Halep v Swiatek and Serena v Sabalenka, all in 3 sets. Personally I feel Osaka will be too strong for the others on this surface from this point on.




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Post by sirfredperry Sun 14 Feb 2021, 11:54 am

It's not so much the injury that people are talking about so much as the EXTENT of the injury.

It was said that it was a muscle tear. Now if it was, there was no way he would have been fit enough to play today. So has the severity of the injury been exaggerated?

Djoko really doesn't do himself any favours. In the last few months we've seen the ill-advised tournament-during-the-pandemic in Serbia, the antics of the players at that tournament and Djoko's tactless comments during the lockdown.

Djoko was always going to lack the charisma of a Federer or a Nadal. If he'd just let his tennis do the talking (a la Sampras) he may not have been loved but he would have been respected.




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Post by theslosty Sun 14 Feb 2021, 12:00 pm

It may be a small tear and he's trying to play through it, I just don't get why people make out as if he gains this massive unfair advantage by doing this. If Raonic has been affected mentally then that's on him imo. I agree in the last 12 months his PR has not been good but for years he was pretty quiet but would get booed off the court just for not being Federer or Nadal.
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Post by sirfredperry Sun 14 Feb 2021, 12:54 pm

Well, injury or no, Djoko is now two sets to one up after taking the third set 6-1.

Away from Melbourne, Andy Murray has reached the final of his Challenger tournament in Italy and takes on Marchenko this afternoon for the title.

Murray is due to play at the same venue again next week. For the time being he will have been able to get in five matches this week which will certainly help his match fitness.

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Post by Soul Requiem Sun 14 Feb 2021, 2:26 pm

theslosty wrote:Looks like Novak will win this match but still doesn't look fully right. Not really sure why it would be in his interests to make up an injury but clearly he isn't very popular on here. I would suggest to all the armchair fans that you have no idea what playing at this intensity year after year is like and the attached wear and tear.

Wait so he's carrying a genuinely serious injury but still managing to win? Hmmmm yeah right.

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Post by sirfredperry Sun 14 Feb 2021, 4:16 pm

Just watched extended highlights of the Osaka-Mug match. It's not often you see a big hitter like Mug overpowered, but Osaka produced some huge shots.

It may be difficult to see beyond Osaka for the title from now on, but as long as Halep's around I always feel she can win as she has been the most consistent woman player over the last few years.

Can Serena win it? I think not. First, she may not even make the final. Secondly, she has been completely outplayed in her most recent GS finals. I'm probably being foolish to write her off, though.

Can't see anyone beating Djoko, who appears to be Lazarus-like. It's really a question of who finishes runner-up to him.

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Post by sirfredperry Mon 15 Feb 2021, 12:11 pm

Rafa comfortably thru in straights while Tsitsipas thru on a walkover.

Svitolina shocked by Pegula of the USA and it's now looking very good for Barty who won in two.

In contrast, Halep has to get past Serena and then, probably, Osaka to reach the final.

Russians Medvedev and Rublev will meet in the quarters where six of the top seven have made it. This is a real 50-50 match between two in-form players. Medvedev really can't afford to lose his cool if he wants to win this one.




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Post by sirfredperry Tue 16 Feb 2021, 9:00 am

Russian qualifier Karatsev's dream run continues as he beats an injury-hit Dimi in four.

Dimi was hindered in his movement and couldn't serve big.

Osaka easily bt Hisieh and now awaits the winner of Serena-Halep where Serena has taken the first set 6-3.


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Post by sirfredperry Tue 16 Feb 2021, 9:43 am

Serena has beaten Halep 3 and 3. Some revenge for her Wimbledon final defeat.

Having beaten seed number two, Wms will now take on seed number three and could well have to beat seed number one to win the whole thing.

If she does, it could be considered her finest GS performance.

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Post by MrInvisible Tue 16 Feb 2021, 11:14 am

Zverev edges a good quality 1st set 8-6 in the tie-break. He dominated most of the set only for Djokovic to break back and take it to a tie-break. The tie-break was nip and tuck - could have gone either way, but Zverev showed some clutch serving to take the set.

I feel Djokovic has another gear here and his movement looks fine, so still a long way to go.

Great achievement for Karatsev in reaching semis as a qualifier, beating some good players en-route.

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Post by sirfredperry Tue 16 Feb 2021, 12:29 pm

Djoko on course for the semis after coming back from 1-4 down to take the third set and lead by two sets to one.

I've already got Zverev's post-match quote ready: "If Nole can play like that when he's less than 100%, I would hate to play him when he's fully fit..."

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Post by Soul Requiem Tue 16 Feb 2021, 12:54 pm

This rubbish is what Djokovic will be remembered for.

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Post by sirfredperry Tue 16 Feb 2021, 3:11 pm

Djoko thru in four but Zverev had his chances, being a break up in both the third and fourth sets.

I don't suppose anyone is surprised that Djoko has made it thus far. Any discomfort he's been having really cannot be too bad otherwise he would have lost/withdrawn by now.


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Post by sirfredperry Wed 17 Feb 2021, 8:22 am

Medvedev did well to see off in-form Rublev in three while Brady bt Pegula and Muchova shocked Barty.

Muchova was 1-6, 0-2 down when she had a 10-minute MTO and that seemed to change the match.

Barty was extremely good about it afterwards, saying what her opponent did was within the rules and that she should have made a better job of coping when play resumed.

But IMHO this MTO rule is all wrong. Muchova was being affected by the heat and effectively the time-out helped her recover. In the old days she'd have had merely a three-minute stoppage time.

This sort of thing sends a message to players who are losing - namely, if you're struggling take an MTO.

The Barty exit means that the Osaka-Serena match almost becomes the final, as I can't see the winner not taking the title.

Next up is Rafa-Tsitsipas. Rafa is well over his back problems and looks as good as ever. The Greek will have to be at his best to have a chance and even that may not be enough.

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Post by alfie Wed 17 Feb 2021, 8:54 am

Not sure about that MTO thing , Sir Fred. Gets pretty hot here in Melbourne and if a player is at any risk in the conditions it makes sense that he/she should be medically assessed , rather than be forced to play on almost immediately or forfeit.
Both players get the rest anyway so it doesn't confer an advantage - just ameliorates a disadvantage , no ? Of course it can change the dynamic of the contest , and you could argue it is all "part of the game" : but I am sure the crowds (missing in this case , as it happens !) prefer to see a match played out after a short delay rather than going home early...

Watched the later stages. Regardless of earlier events , Muchova played very well to take that deciding set. Probably will be the Osaka/Williams game that will decide the overall winner though. Barty will be back I'm sure.

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Post by Soul Requiem Wed 17 Feb 2021, 9:25 am

alfie wrote:Not sure about that MTO thing , Sir Fred.  Gets pretty hot here in Melbourne and if a player is at any risk in the conditions it makes sense that he/she should be medically assessed , rather than be forced to play on almost immediately or forfeit.
Both players get the rest anyway so it doesn't confer an advantage - just ameliorates a disadvantage , no ?  Of course it can change the dynamic of the contest , and you could argue it is all "part of the game" : but I am sure the crowds (missing in this case , as it happens !) prefer to see a match played out after a short delay rather than going home early...


I'd argue that Barty was disadvantaged by the MTO because she wasn't struggling. Tennis is a sport and if you're physically unable to compete then you lose, it's that simple for me.

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Post by Jeff Navarro Wed 17 Feb 2021, 9:35 am

Medvedev could be considered the favourite with respect to the quicker court conditions. His monstrous serve and massive forehead he could beat Nadal and Djokovic back to back imo.

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Post by naxroy Wed 17 Feb 2021, 9:38 am

If we consider actual form and performance thus far, Medvedev may be a strong favourite. But when you think he should beat Nadal (or maybe not) and Djokovic back to back... I dont know, it seems difficult. But he has done it recently

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Post by alfie Wed 17 Feb 2021, 10:13 am

Soul Requiem wrote:
alfie wrote:Not sure about that MTO thing , Sir Fred.  Gets pretty hot here in Melbourne and if a player is at any risk in the conditions it makes sense that he/she should be medically assessed , rather than be forced to play on almost immediately or forfeit.
Both players get the rest anyway so it doesn't confer an advantage - just ameliorates a disadvantage , no ?  Of course it can change the dynamic of the contest , and you could argue it is all "part of the game" : but I am sure the crowds (missing in this case , as it happens !) prefer to see a match played out after a short delay rather than going home early...


I'd argue that Barty was disadvantaged by the MTO because she wasn't struggling. Tennis is a sport and if you're physically unable to compete then you lose, it's that simple for me.

Deprived her of an edge , maybe. Not quite "disadvantaged". I can see both sides of this. But I think my point re the desirability of a contest stands. If Barty had been at her best she wins anyway , I think.

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Post by Soul Requiem Wed 17 Feb 2021, 10:16 am

I'd say disadvantaged by the fact she was in the zone and the MTO disrupted her rhythm, without it she wins.

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Post by sirfredperry Wed 17 Feb 2021, 10:17 am

Rafa two sets up to error-prone Tsitsi at the moment. Not sure I can agree with you, Alfie, about "both players getting the rest". One needed a break but the other was winning, anyway.

I do take the point, though, about the crowd getting their money's worth in that the MTOs might prevent retirements.

Yes, I think Djoko and Rafa will be more wary of Medvedev than any other player. The Russian is so unorthodox and will draw on his amazing performance of forcing a 5th set v Rafa in the 2019 US final after looking down and out in the third.

But I can't see him beating both Rafa and Djoko, especially as the scheduling will be against him. It's still Djoko for me for the title, although Rafa will be keen to avenge his absolute mauling in the 2019 AO title match.

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Post by Duty281 Wed 17 Feb 2021, 11:55 am

From nowhere really, Tsitsipas levels it at two sets all, despite barely laying a glove on Nadal's serve for the first three sets.

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Post by Duty281 Wed 17 Feb 2021, 12:52 pm

Tsitsipas wins. Phenomenal comeback built on that delightful forehand and explosive first serve. Got to the semi-finals here in 2019 (losing to Nadal), now he's got a great chance of going all the way.

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Post by Soul Requiem Wed 17 Feb 2021, 12:53 pm

WOW.

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Post by theslosty Wed 17 Feb 2021, 12:54 pm

That's remarkable. Nadal was so dominant in the first 2 sets
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Post by Soul Requiem Wed 17 Feb 2021, 12:56 pm

theslosty wrote:That's remarkable. Nadal was so dominant in the first 2 sets

Tsitsipas was poor for the majority of the first three sets but stayed in the 3rd (three points won on the Rafa serve) before really upping it in the 4th as Nadal looked to tire.

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Post by theslosty Wed 17 Feb 2021, 12:59 pm

And those 3 points were all in the tiebreak right? The commentator said Rafa won 27 straight points on serve, so he must have held to love 6 times in the 3rd and still lost the set!

Correction: he lost one point at 40-0 at 5-6...
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Post by sirfredperry Wed 17 Feb 2021, 1:14 pm

Well, that was amazing.

I suppose the key was Tsitsi just hanging on in the third and concentrating on holding his serve and winning the tiebreak.

Haven't checked the stats but I guess, also, that the Greek cut down the UEs. In all, a phenomenal effort. I couldn't recall Rafa ever losing a five-setter from two sets up. Apparently it has only happened once before.

Don't know if Tsitsi will have much left for Medvedev. Rafa seems destined never to repeat his 2009 AO triumph and the stat of no one winning each of the Slams twice in the Open Era remains.

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Post by sirfredperry Wed 17 Feb 2021, 1:58 pm

Apparently Rafa played a very poor tiebreak in the third set. He should have been 4-0 up but made two bad UEs.

After that Tsitsipas was rock solid on serve and his winner count went up and he hit only a few UEs.

We take the Big Three's longevity, fitness, consistency and concentration almost for granted, given they have been at the top for so long.

But Rafa was giving Tsitsipas 12 years today. The Spaniard will be 35 come June.

But Rafa fans need not worry too much. I'm sure he'll win the 2021 French.

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2021 Australian Open Empty Re: 2021 Australian Open

Post by MrInvisible Wed 17 Feb 2021, 4:47 pm

Some good results for my Tennis Dream Team selection - after disastrous start due to underperforming lower ranked players I'm climbing up table thanks to all three of Djokovic, Medvedev and Tsitsipas in my team.

When he's in right frame of mind, Tsitsipas is a very tough competitor and he hung in there well in 3rd set, producing excellent serving when it mattered. I think the turning point may have been Nadal's dodgy smash at 2-0 up in tie-break. He started making a few errors on the odd big point from then on.

Nadal has been such a mental and physical colossus over the years, we take for granted his standard on the big points. Let's not forget he's also chasing a record breaking slam and the pressure of that does come into play, even for him.

As for Tsitsipas he had bit of luck in the Berrettini withdrawal in previous match - kept him physically fresher when it mattered in 5th set. Big big win for the Greek, but it won't be easy for him to get past Medvedev.

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2021 Australian Open Empty Re: 2021 Australian Open

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