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Autumn 2021 Tournaments

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Post by sirfredperry Sun 19 Sep 2021, 9:30 am

First topic message reminder :

After what could be described as a sensational USO, we move into the autumn tournaments that will round off the 2021 season.

The big tournament coming up is Indian Wells which has been moved from its usual March spot to early October.

But there are tourneys before then, including Metz in France where this week Andy Murray takes on Humbert. Andy really needs some wins but at least he's playing and seems injury free.

The lady of the hour, Emma R, may play IW although her schedule is still uncertain. The Romanians are trying to get her over for a tournament in Bucharest, too.

We have two new GS champs, which is something that has happened for a while. It's possible we could have a new men's number one, as well, in the months to come.

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Post by sirfredperry Tue 19 Oct 2021, 5:39 pm

Andy M about to start v Tiafoe after Heather Watson for the umpteenth time lost a match from a winning position.

She was 5-2 up in the final set tiebreak against rising star Clara Tauson before what for her was an inevitable collapse.

Watson is clearly good enough to get herself close to the line but you have to question her mental strength. If it's a tight finish or if she's ahead, she invariably loses. At Eastbourne earlier this year she managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory after being a double break up.

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Post by JuliusHMarx Tue 19 Oct 2021, 6:06 pm

I was 6-3 up in a doubles tie-break recently when my partner then served two double-faults. I certainly questioned his mental strength! We eventually won it 12-10 on my serve.

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Post by CaledonianCraig Tue 19 Oct 2021, 7:37 pm

Murray snatched the first set on a tiebreaker. The second set could be going the same way. It is on serve with Tiafoe leading 4-3. Murray has had chances to break but couldn't take them.
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Post by CaledonianCraig Tue 19 Oct 2021, 8:18 pm

Tiafoe takes the second set it on his sixth set point. Level at one set-all in two sets that went to tiebreakers and we go into a decider with over two and a half hours played.
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Post by sirfredperry Tue 19 Oct 2021, 10:14 pm

Murray finally through after 3hrs 45 mins and three tiebreaks.

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Post by sirfredperry Wed 20 Oct 2021, 7:42 am

It was the longest men's three-setter of the year.

Tiafoe was a double break up in the first set and had a set point before losing it in the tiebreak.

He then won the second set tiebreak 9-7 and was a break up in the third set only for Murray to save two MPs in the final tiebreak before a drop shot saw Andy home 10-8.

At least Murray has a day off before facing Schwartzman on Thursday.


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Post by sirfredperry Thu 21 Oct 2021, 12:43 pm

Murray faces Schwartzman today knowing that if he wins he will play a qualifier in the q-fs and that third seed Garin, who was a possible s-f opponent, is already out.

Great chance for Andy to get back some (all?) of those points he has just lost.


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Post by No name Bertie Thu 21 Oct 2021, 1:33 pm

Would I be correct to say that on his day Murray plays like a player with a ranking of #8 to #20 but is unable to sustain that over a season and is unable to sustain that over a long tournament?

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Post by sirfredperry Thu 21 Oct 2021, 5:25 pm

No name Bertie wrote:Would I be correct to say that on his day Murray plays like a player with a ranking of #8 to #20 but is unable to sustain that over a season and is unable to sustain that over a long tournament?

Quite possibly that is correct. What can be said is that in the last few weeks Andy has played more, and won more, than at any time since his hip operation.

A little more luck with the draws might well have seen him go deeper into some of the tournaments. Tonight's match is an important one. Win it, and Andy should go on to the final.

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Post by CaledonianCraig Thu 21 Oct 2021, 7:27 pm

Shwartzman leads 6-4 4-4. It is a classic Murray case from the last few weeks as in so near but yet so far. Pushing top players very close, getting chances but missing out. It says he is doing well to get into these positions but just needs to find the finishing touches then things will fall into place.
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Post by CaledonianCraig Thu 21 Oct 2021, 8:00 pm

Schwartzman comes through a tight tiebreaker to win 6-4 7-6. As I said earlier for Andy another case of so near yet so far against the World No 14. From what I saw Murray showed his anxiety and eagerness to win too much. He snatched at the big chances and they slipped away. If he can cut that out these tight losses will become wins.
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Post by sirfredperry Thu 21 Oct 2021, 9:07 pm

Really thought Andy had a chance to go deep in this tournament. He just has to keep plugging away.

I'm sure he will, at least, be pleased that he's been able to play continuously for a few weeks now and has had some good wins in that period.

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Post by No name Bertie Thu 21 Oct 2021, 10:41 pm

I think that if Andy Murray was not afflicted by the chronic hip issue which resulted in its replacement he would have very likely dominated Men's tennis from June 2016 onwards and would have won maybe another 8 to 12 grand slams.

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Post by theslosty Fri 22 Oct 2021, 2:40 am

No name Bertie wrote:I think that if Andy Murray was not afflicted by the chronic hip issue which resulted in its replacement he would have very likely dominated Men's tennis from June 2016 onwards and would have won maybe another 8 to 12 grand slams.

How do you work that out? Retrospectively, in 2017 his best chance would have been at the USO, but even then would he have been favourite vs Rafa?
2018... the slams were won by Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Djokovic. Think Murray could have challenged Fed in Melbourne but the other slam winners were strong.
2019 - again Murray is not 'dominating' this year, his best chance would have been against Nadal at the USO again.
2020 - a funny year for obvious reasons and apart from Nadal at the French the level at the slams was a bit lower. Murray might have been capable of taking the AO off Novak and the USO off Thiem but that's assuming Andy would still be at his 2016 level, which even without the hip injury is quite an assumption at this stage.
2021 - yet again, the USO looks most likely, but no guarantees a 34 year-old Murray beats the in-form Medvedev anyway.

I'd say another 6 slams would be the most he could have hoped for, which is of course huge but he isn't winning any more than that in an era where the Big 3 were generally still competitive. If I had to guess I'd say 2-3 is most likely. Murray's best year was 2016, when he deservedly finished world number one but considering he still only won one slam that year there isn't much evidence to suggest he would have suddenly started picking up several every year.
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Post by No name Bertie Fri 22 Oct 2021, 9:37 am

Andy Murray had been suffering from a chronic hip issue for a number of years including 2016 but he had been managing it.  He said he pushed it over the edge at the French Open in 2017 when there was no recovery after his match with Wawrinka.   So through 2016 when he was runner up at the Australian Open and French Open against the all conquering Djokovic, then won Wimbledon and the Olympic Gold he was managing his condition.  But it got steadily worse.  So I reckon Andy Murray without a hip issue would have been at a prime Djokovic level at the time.  So When Djokovic had his issues post French Open 2016, it was effectively a clear field for Andy Murray to reign as the number one for a long period of time.   I don't think Federer and Nadal would have had such a resurgence if a prime Andy Murray (without hip issue) was still around to block them. I think without the hip issue he would have been favorite for the US Open 2016, AO 2017, a strong challenger for FO 2017, favorite for Wim 2017 etc.

Jan 2019 wrote:Murray said he had played with hip pain for much of his career but that the real problems began in the 2017 French Open semifinal, when he was beaten in five sets by Stan Wawrinka.

"I have a severely damaged right hip. Having the operation last year was to give it the best possible chance of being better," Murray said. "I have been playing with hip pain for a number of years. It wasn't as if it had just started at the French Open after my match against Stan.

"It got to a level where I didn't recover from that match, pushed it over the edge, having the operation would hopefully make it as good as possible. It didn't help with the pain at all. That is the thing I have been struggling with.

"The walking, there are certain things on the court I cannot really do properly now, but the pain is the driving factor. I can play with limitations, that's not an issue, it's having the limitations and also the pain is not allowing me to enjoy competing, training or any of the stuff I love about tennis."

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Post by sirfredperry Sat 23 Oct 2021, 7:54 am

Difficult to know how many more Slams Andy might have won if his hip had not flared up so badly. Certainly, another Wimbledon triumph and may be a second US title were possible.

He certainly would have put in a longer shift at number one. He still managed 40 weeks even though he didn't do that well during his spell at the top.

While it's obviously disappointing to him and his many fans that he's not winning more matches as we reach the end of 2021, it is at least good to see him fit enough to compete with the very best players.

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Post by CaledonianCraig Sat 23 Oct 2021, 9:42 am

sirfredperry wrote:

While it's obviously disappointing to him and his many fans that he's not winning more matches as we reach the end of 2021, it is at least good to see him fit enough to compete with the very best players.

Indeed.

He looked all ends up finished with tennis a few years ago. Many said he wouldn't be back on a court but talk like that is like a red rag to a bull for Andy. He loves to prove people wrong as he has done throughout his career. As you say its great seeing him back on the court competing with the best players in the world as he has done in recent weeks. Ultimately he has lost but the matches have swayed on a few key points. He has always set himself goals and I think the next little landmark he has is to become the 18th player in man's tennis in the open era to win 700 ATP matches. He currently stands on 688.
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Post by No name Bertie Sat 23 Oct 2021, 10:39 am

I have noted people relabelling the "top four era" to the "top three era".  So Andy Murray is already being written out of today's narrative of the recent past.

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Post by sirfredperry Sat 23 Oct 2021, 12:18 pm

Quite wrong to label the period, say, from around 08 or 09 to 2017 anything BUT the era of the Big Four.

If you're talking about 2017-2021 then, yes, you can call it the Big Three era. Of late, due to absences or injuries, it's really been the Big Two. At the time of this year's USO it was, arguably, the Big One.

With Djoko absent of late, is it the Big Zero?

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Post by No name Bertie Sat 23 Oct 2021, 12:54 pm

For some reason I am beginning to find interest in the women's game again.  I think it was because of all the fuss about Raducanu.  I started watching some highlights and on the whole I have found it to be of a much higher quality than some others have suggested.  Also I have found the loud shriekers seem to have gone or are at least intermittent.

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Post by sirfredperry Sat 23 Oct 2021, 3:41 pm

NNB. Glad you're enjoying the women's game. It's certainly very competitive at the moment. I tend to watch highlights with the sound down if the likes of Azashrieker are on.

Barty has announced that's it from her for this season. She's not playing the year-end championship in Mexico as she doesn't want to have to quarantine when she gets back to Oz and wants to give herself the best possible preparation time for the AO in January.

As I write Jannik Sinner has reached the Antwerp final. The Italians are having a terrific year.

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Post by sirfredperry Sun 24 Oct 2021, 8:09 am

Andy M may have been fortunate to have received continuous WCs, but he's had little or no luck with the draws.

This time, in Vienna, he's been drawn against 5th seed Hurkacz which is an extremely tough ask.

But spare a thought for those whose standing and former ranking is not enough to get a WC. Tiafoe, for instance, who had that ultra-long match with Andy last week, is now having to qualify for Vienna.

Meanwhile in Transylvania our Emma takes on Hercog in the first round this week.

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Post by sirfredperry Mon 25 Oct 2021, 10:50 am

Sinner took the Antwerp title - his 5th overall. Having turned 20 in August, the Italian is the youngest players to chalk up five titles since Djoko, then aged 19, in 2007.

He's also put himself in a better position to qualify for the WTF in Turin.

Murray in action today against Hurkacz. Going to be very difficult. Should he come thru', Andy will face the winner of Dan Evans-Alcaraz match.


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Post by sirfredperry Mon 25 Oct 2021, 8:42 pm

Dan Evans lost to Alcaraz in straight sets but Murray has just pulled off arguably his best win of the season by seeing off 10th-ranked Hurkacz 6-4, 6-7(6), 6-3.

Andy had a MP in the second set and then fell an early break down in the final set. But he broke back straight away and then broke again to record his first top-10 win of the season.

I had a feeling he might win today, based on his gradually-improving performances of late. Also, it could be that he is a lot fresher than some of the guys like Hurkacz who have played more than 50 Tour matches this year.

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Post by sirfredperry Tue 26 Oct 2021, 8:01 am

Andy has done Cameron Norrie something of a favour by beating Hurkacz who can now be overtaken in the Race to Turin (WTF) if Norrie makes the semis.

There's two places still up for grabs and much will depend on how the contenders do in Paris which is a 1,000-pointer.

Emma R plays today. Let's hope she can show her teeth in Dracula country.

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Post by CaledonianCraig Tue 26 Oct 2021, 9:13 am

That win for Andy was going to come sooner or later against a top tenner. He has been knocking on the door several times against the top players without winning. Hopefully, he can now build on that victory.
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Post by sirfredperry Tue 26 Oct 2021, 12:54 pm

Saw some extended highlights of the Murray match and it was, indeed, a welcome win.

Hurkacz looked very solid and was prepared at times to come into the net. I thought Andy had the edge on the BH although the Pole did play a lovely BH to save MP in the second-set tiebreak.

CC is quite right to say that Andy was building for a win like this. I was disappointed he couldn't have beaten Schwartzman last week as I thought he would have a great chance to reach the final.

But there are more points on offer this week and he might be able to go deep.


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Post by alfie Tue 26 Oct 2021, 3:05 pm

Murray's problem seems to be backing up after a tough match - hardly surprising. Hopefully he is continuing to get gradually better with more match play and will be able to string a few wins together soon : this would be a good time ...

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Post by CaledonianCraig Tue 26 Oct 2021, 3:15 pm

alfie wrote:Murray's problem seems to be backing up after a tough match - hardly surprising. Hopefully he is continuing to get gradually better with more match play and will be able to string a few wins together soon : this would be a good time ...

No I'd say his principle problem has been winning tight sets and matches against the upper echelon players - that is what has stopped him stringing a run of wins together. Throughout Andy's career (even when he had both hips fully functional) he has had mental hurdles to overcome to dispel self-doubts which he eventually would overcome. This, I feel, was another mental challenge to overcome. Also with Andy in his career he has always tended to struggle against new opponents he'd never played before and after so long out a lot of the players he is facing now he never encountered as serious challengers when fully fit. It means starting afresh having to formulate game plans against a new generation of players new to him.
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Post by sirfredperry Tue 26 Oct 2021, 3:42 pm

Cameron Norrie has just won 7-6(4), 6-1 against Fucsovics who is never a pushover.

Cameron is very much the man in form and no one will fancy facing him at the moment.

Emma R due on fairly soon. Important that she gets a couple of wins under her belt and gets in the rhythm of the main tour.

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Post by CaledonianCraig Tue 26 Oct 2021, 4:10 pm

sirfredperry wrote:Cameron Norrie has just won 7-6(4), 6-1 against Fucsovics who is never a pushover.

Cameron is very much the man in form and no one will fancy facing him at the moment.

Emma R due on fairly soon. Important that she gets a couple of wins under her belt and gets in the rhythm of the main tour.

A strong run in Vienna will only help Norrie in his bid to reach Turin.
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Post by sirfredperry Tue 26 Oct 2021, 5:27 pm

In Vienna Tsitsipas has beaten Dimi in a tight affair in which there was just the single break.

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Post by sirfredperry Tue 26 Oct 2021, 6:30 pm

Emma R finding out just how tough it is on the main tour as she squanders a 4-1 lead to lose the first set 6-4 v Hercog.

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Post by sirfredperry Tue 26 Oct 2021, 8:13 pm

Emma R goes thru 4-6, 7-5, 6-1. She'll probably learn far more from this than if she had a routine 3 and 3, say, victory.

She was a break up in the first set and lost it, a break up in the second set before being pegged back and then breaking again to take the set.

This first win after the New York heroics was very important and she should be a lot more relaxed now. She's a target, everybody wants to beat her and as she's so new on the tour it's difficult for her to bring any experience or nous to the matches.

Every match, win or lose, is helping with her learning curve.


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Post by No name Bertie Tue 26 Oct 2021, 9:56 pm

The most important thing for Raducanu is to remain physically healthy and understand her body so that she doesn't develop any chronic physical issues.  The second most important thing is her mental health - and that she continues to enjoy tennis.  The third most important thing is developing routines that allows her to manage her training, her skill set and physical development and tournament preparation and performances.  She has already demonstrated that when the conditions are aligned she is capable of winning a grand slam tournament and winning over a three week period ten consecutive matches.

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Post by sirfredperry Wed 27 Oct 2021, 8:26 am

Murray in action again today against Alcaraz who he beat a couple of weeks ago.

If he can get thru Andy could meet Berrettini and is likely to give him a far better match than he did when they played at Queen's in the summer.

Tomorrow Norrie will face F A-A. On current form you'd have to make Cameron favourite.

Still conflicting reports emanating from Australia over whether players will or will not have to be jabbed before being allowed to play in the AO.


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Post by CaledonianCraig Wed 27 Oct 2021, 9:45 am

sirfredperry wrote:Emma R goes thru 4-6, 7-5, 6-1. She'll probably learn far more from this than if she had a routine 3 and 3, say, victory.

She was a break up in the first set and lost it, a break up in the second set before being pegged back and then breaking again to take the set.

This first win after the New York heroics was very important and she should be a lot more relaxed now. She's a target, everybody wants to beat her and as she's so new on the tour it's difficult for her to bring any experience or nous to the matches.

Every match, win or lose, is helping with her learning curve.

For me she just needs to keep her head down and carry on as if before the US Open. The hoo-hah seems to have affected her and to be honest she should have stuck with her coach at least in the short-term. Hopefully, she can take this win as a return to normality and realise it is still a hard slog and get grafting on the practice courts instead of catwalks and get herself a coach she feels settled with. Do all of that and she will be fine.
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Post by sirfredperry Wed 27 Oct 2021, 3:10 pm

Watched some highlights of the Emma R match. Hercog proved a good test.

A number of people have remarked on how well Emma moves and she certainly gets round the court well. I like her shot selection. As she did in the USO final, she was using the wrong-footing shot to good effect.

The drive volley, a shot fraught with danger if you get it wrong, was generally played down the line by Emma. So many of the players, male and female, play it cross-court and then get beaten at the net.

Not content with impressing with the win, Emma then showed off her Romanian in the post-match interview. No doubt next year she'll highlight her Mandarin in China.

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Post by dummy_half Wed 27 Oct 2021, 3:43 pm

CaledonianCraig wrote:

For me she just needs to keep her head down and carry on as if before the US Open. The hoo-hah seems to have affected her and to be honest she should have stuck with her coach at least in the short-term. Hopefully, she can take this win as a return to normality and realise it is still a hard slog and get grafting on the practice courts instead of catwalks and get herself a coach she feels settled with. Do all of that and she will be fine.

It's not surprising she's taken a little time to adjust to the USO success. Went from someone with a bit of potential scrambling for tournament entries to one of the superstars of the game in the course of 3 weeks. She definitely is going to need some time to adjust to being in the main draws of any tournament she want, after not having actually won a WTA tour match before this week.

As for the coaching thing, my understanding is he wasn't a full time coach but just taken on for a couple of months for Raducanu's US adventures. Personally, I'd be inclined to go back to him as something obviously worked, but the options have changed and I can see the logic of employing someone with more experience on the tour. Perhaps shared duties, with her USO coach doing the technical stuff and a bigger name there as a guiding hand from a more psychological perspective?

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Post by sirfredperry Wed 27 Oct 2021, 6:29 pm

Andy a set down but 4-2 up in the second against Alcaraz. Lots of BPs for both players in what appears, from the stats, to be a tough match.

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Post by sirfredperry Wed 27 Oct 2021, 6:56 pm

Murray lost the last four games of the second set to go out 3 and 4. Disappointing but at least he got a top-10 win this week.

Alcaraz, still nearer 18 than 19, obviously has a bright future.

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Post by CaledonianCraig Wed 27 Oct 2021, 7:15 pm

sirfredperry wrote:Murray lost the last four games of the second set to go out 3 and 4. Disappointing but at least he got a top-10 win this week.

Alcaraz, still nearer 18 than 19, obviously has a bright future.

Mighty frustrating. Chances squandered but a good quality match.
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Post by sirfredperry Thu 28 Oct 2021, 3:20 pm

Cameron Norrie's run is over, beaten in three sets by F A-A after the Briton squandered three MPs at the end of the second set.

I really thought he would win this match and he certainly should have.

Emma R has just won her second match in Romania, beating Ana Bogdan 3 and 4.

Emma was a set and 2-0 up before Bogdan got it back on serve, but a further break by Raducanu was enough to see her through.

Emma now plays 19-yr-old Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk who is ranked 55th. This is another winnable match, although a possible semi-final opponent is Halep.

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Post by No name Bertie Thu 28 Oct 2021, 5:50 pm

Maybe it was going to be a stretch for Cameron Norrie to make it into the end of year ATP final. He has had one brilliant tournament run winning a Masters tournament but apart from that has performed at a somewhat lower level.  Getting into the top thirty / twenty has been a milestone.  Staying there is the next challenge.   Can he achieve better?  It is possible. He is still only 26 and only turned professional 4 years ago.

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Post by sirfredperry Fri 29 Oct 2021, 9:21 am

Emma last on in Romania tonight. If she can get thru she may not have to face Halep who seems to be struggling with back problems and could either lose or pull out today.

At least Emma has got a couple of wins and at least three more matches under her belt. It's a very strange situation when a GS winner needs experience on the circuit.

Doubt whether we'll ever see anything quite like this again and it's really down to Covid. In the normal way someone as good as Emma would have played more in 2020 and in the first part of 2021 and been much higher ranked going into the USO.

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Post by lags72 Fri 29 Oct 2021, 10:50 am

Disappointed to see Cam Norrie go down in 3 after working so very hard to get himself to the brink of what would have been an impressive win. I doubt he had a good night’s sleep after that loss  ……mentally replaying his match points many times over !

That said, it would be harsh to criticise Norrie, especially given just how well FAA gradually raised his game. FAA was defending strongly, hitting the ball cleanly, not to mention several aces coming at key stages. He can pose a serious challenge for anyone when on top form. As for Norrie : what a fabulous season it has been, regardless of how things pan out in these closing weeks.

The other day, Andy M came up against the precocious young Alcaraz whose rapid improvement is clear for all to see. I actually put a few quid on Alcaraz to go all the way at this year’s USO ….. a bit wild, I know …… although a similar wager on Emma R came to my rescue. I feel pretty sure that he WILL win a Slam within the next 2/3 years, if his current progress continues. What strikes me - apart from the pure natural talent - is that his game & general demeanour exude the calm confidence of someone with far more experience. We won’t be seeing any Tomic or Kyrgios meltdowns from this guy !

I do hope Andy can feel pride in all that he has done since returning to the Tour. We know he wants much more, and has always set himself tough targets throughout his career. But his sheer guts, determination, and hard work in recent years deserve huge credit IMO, and I have come to admire & respect him more than I ever did even in his Slam-winning period.

Onwards & upwards for Emma R . These two wins are good for her tour experience, her ranking rise, and of course as a confidence builder in the run-up to the Aussie Open at the start of what will be - amazingly - her first full season.

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Post by sirfredperry Fri 29 Oct 2021, 1:04 pm

Lags. Yes, neither Norrie nor Murray should beat themselves up about recent losses.

Cameron is having the season of his life and even if he fails to match it in the future he can look back on 2021 with pride.

Your increasing admiration for Murray is also, I think, echoed by the other players on the tour. Andy was always one of the more popular guys on the circuit, but now there is increasing respect for the way he has come back and continues to compete with the best.


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Post by sirfredperry Fri 29 Oct 2021, 4:01 pm

Another win today for Alcaraz. He went off like a house on fire with Berrettini hardly winning any points at all in the first set.
The Italian then steadied things and took the second-set tiebreak but then went 4-1 down in the decider before getting it back on serve.
But Alcaraz took the final set tiebreak to win.
Not sure how Berrettini does it. He won Queen's simply because Norrie played two horrible service games. The Italian was quite awful in the final at Wimbledon but still took a set off Djoko.
Today, the stats showed he only created one break point (which he took) in a 2hr 39min match. Yet he was close to winning.
My dislike of Berrettini is irrational. He appears a tough competitor and seems a nice guy. But I still can't quite credit how someone with such poor returning and a poor BH ever got to a GS final.

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Post by sirfredperry Fri 29 Oct 2021, 8:39 pm

Emma well beaten in Romania tonight but at least she has had some matches.

F A-A, after upsetting Norrie, took Zverev to a final set before going down.

In Russia another good win for Cilic - rather a forgotten figure these days - who followed his run to the final last week by beating R BA.

Murray has been given a WC into Paris where Djoko is due to play. Novak has been practising with Medvedev in Nice.

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Post by sirfredperry Sun 31 Oct 2021, 7:52 am

Terrific comeback by qualifier Tiafoe who was a set and 2-5 down in the semi in Vienna before beating Sinner.

The American will play the final against Zverev who beat Alcaraz in straight sets.

So much for Emma R's conqueror Kostyuk who got but a single game against Halep in Cluz.

Spare a thought for veteran Gilles Simon. In a qualifying match for Paris he had six MPs before losing in nearly three hours.

Andy will play a qualifier in the first round in Paris, with F A-A awaiting.

There are some lovely shots on the ATP official website of Rafa knocking up with a....97-year-old. From the clip you can see that this guy is still fit and middling the ball. We should all be so lucky!

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