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Australian Open 2022

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Post by sirfredperry Wed 05 Jan 2022, 12:43 pm

After the Novaxgate saga, we get down to action for the AO 2022 with no Djoko and a chance for someone else to win the men's title.

In Novax's absence, I would think that one of Medvedev, Zverev or Tsitsipas will be crowned champion.

The presence of Halep, Barty and Osaka will strengthen the women's tournament at the AO. I'm not expecting too much from Emma R who, in her first full year on the tour, could find it difficult.


Last edited by sirfredperry on Sun 16 Jan 2022, 6:07 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : update)

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Post by sirfredperry Sun 09 Jan 2022, 12:30 pm

Believe it or not, some tennis has been going on during the endless Novaxgate saga.

Rafa has won his tournament - an excellent return for him and sets him up nicely for the AO.

Equally good back-on-the-circuit efforts from Barty and Halep who ended up with trophies this weekend as well.

Emma R has a tough opener in her warm-up tournament this next week. She faces Rybakina who lost to Halep in her final today. Andy M is playing Sydney this week and is up against a qualifier in the first round and number two seed Basilashvili if he wins that.

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Post by lags72 Sun 09 Jan 2022, 2:22 pm

Rafa winning his Final is evidence that he’s starting the season in good physical shape after the break. We will have to wait until he comes up against high-ranked players to assess just what his AO title prospects are - but we do know that it generally needs a very good performance to take him out at a Slam.

My knowledge of the women’s game these days is so limited that I have virtually no idea as to a likely winner.

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Post by sirfredperry Mon 10 Jan 2022, 7:53 am

Lags - You're in good company. Even people with extensive knowledge of the women's game have no idea who will win at Melbourne.

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Post by sirfredperry Tue 11 Jan 2022, 11:21 am

Andy Murray came through comfortably today against a lowly qualifier, winning 3 and 1.

But Emma R only got one game against Rybakina. It's going to be a tough year for the US Open champion.

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Post by slashermcguirk Tue 11 Jan 2022, 2:15 pm

That is some drubbing that Raducanu got today, 6-0 6-1 in 55 minutes. It will be very interesting to see how 2022 pans out for her. It is a very different situation she is in now with such a close lens on her. She definitely needs the right people around her.

It really shows how remarkable what the likes of Boris Becker and Martina Hingis achieved, winning multiple slams as teenagers. Could you imagine someone doing what Becker did now, winning the Men's singles aged 17 and then going and winning it again aged 18

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Post by sirfredperry Wed 12 Jan 2022, 1:26 pm

Excellent win by Andy Murray today, beating 23rd-ranked Basilashvili in a three-set marathon that lasted 3hrs 13mins.

He'll have to play again tomorrow (v Goffin) and does not even get the night match. But at least even if he goes out he's had a good work-out before the AO.

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Post by lags72 Wed 12 Jan 2022, 2:40 pm

Yes that IS an impressive win by Andy. Basilashvilli is a seriously tough opponent (and IIRC a past Federer conqueror)

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Post by sirfredperry Wed 12 Jan 2022, 5:22 pm

Someone is going to have to make a decision soon on Novaxgate as they'll have to announce the seeds and get the draw done.

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Post by lags72 Wed 12 Jan 2022, 10:58 pm

I don’t think ‘messing up the draw’ would stop the Minister making a decision at any point right up until the start of his first match, IF necessary. This entire shambles is very largely the fault of Tennis Australia, after all.

They may be looking to gather as much (incriminating ?) evidence as humanly possible before making the decision to deport, thus ensuring that any further legal appeal will be doomed to fail.

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Post by sirfredperry Thu 13 Jan 2022, 8:17 am

Draw now out and Djoko is in it - at least for the time being.

He's in the same half as Rafa and is scheduled to open against fellow Serb Kecmanovic.

Andy M, who got thru in Sydney today after Goffin retired after losing the first set 6-2, faces Basilashvili in the first round of the AO having had a three-hour match against him this week.

Evans has been drawn against Goffin as long as the Belgian is OK. Norrie has a tough opener against Seb Korda.

Emma R also has a very tricky first rounder against GS champ Sloane Stephens.

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Post by lags72 Thu 13 Jan 2022, 9:23 am

Could hardly be a tougher start for Raducanu. This is not one of those gentle ‘easing your way in’ openers, and she will need a dramatic improvement in level to make it through to R2. That said, history over the years tells us that warm-up events are rarely a reliable form guide to performance when the Slam action actually starts.

Fingers firmly crossed for Andy M. Has any male player worked harder in trying to get back to the top table after such a major setback ……?

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Post by slashermcguirk Thu 13 Jan 2022, 10:00 am

I think Sloane Stephens is quite over rated, she is currently 65 in the world and has gone out in the 1st round of the Austrlian open in 3 of the last 4 years. Certainly not a kind draw but not exactly the toughest. Goffin has really gone downhill in recent times too. I think Seb Korda will be a tricky customer.

I cannot believe Australia have still not made a decision on Djokovic.

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Post by lags72 Thu 13 Jan 2022, 10:21 am

slashermcguirk wrote:

I cannot believe Australia have still not made a decision on Djokovic.

Maybe the immigration Minister feels the country hasn’t embarrassed itself quite enough so far, and is thinking that a couple more days delay will help ………. Tumbleweed

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Post by CaledonianCraig Thu 13 Jan 2022, 11:50 am

lags72 wrote:

Fingers firmly crossed for Andy M. Has any male player worked harder in trying to get back to the top table after such a major setback ……?

Indeed. thumbsup

Another who has toiled hard after several setbacks is closing in on another comeback and I wish him all the best:-

https://www.tennisworldusa.org/tennis/videos/ATP_Tennis/107005/juan-martin-del-potro-closes-to-the-come-back/
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Post by sirfredperry Thu 13 Jan 2022, 1:16 pm

Evans also thru to the semis in Sydney and we could, just could, have an all-Brit final.

Aussie Govt leaving it mighty late over Novaxgate.

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Post by lags72 Thu 13 Jan 2022, 1:31 pm

sirfredperry wrote: ………………..


Aussie Govt leaving it mighty late over Novaxgate.

An excellent piece here sfp : one of the very best* summaries - including full timeline breakdown - produced so far on the whole sorry saga.

* not forgetting the excellent recent contributions by 606 member Pal Joey of course Wink

It offers a real insight and a highly credible analysis of why the decision of the Immigration Minister is still dragging on (or the “excruciating inaction as the writer so aptly puts it ! )

Well worth a read  thumbsup

https://www.politico.eu/article/australia-paralyzed-deporting-novak-djokovic-tennis/

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Post by sirfredperry Thu 13 Jan 2022, 2:14 pm

Lags.

Yes, Lags, a very good piece and thanks for posting it.

While I, and probably a few others as well, have little time for posturing politicians I can't help thinking that the AO organisers should have ruled right from the start that it was "no vax, no play".

This exemption thingy was bound to be messy. But then sport generally is incredibly badly administered with little thought given to players or spectators.

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Post by slashermcguirk Thu 13 Jan 2022, 4:42 pm

Forgetting about Djokovic for a while, I hope Andy Murray makes a good run at the Australian Open. Hugely admire how he has kept at it in recent months after being out for so long. While he isnt the force he once was due to wear and tear and injuries, he is still the sort of player you would want to avoid. I think it might suit Murray to still face big servers and risk takers. I think his biggest challenge will be coming up against very solid players like Bautista Agut, Carreno Busta and these wall type players who tend to bring you into really long rallies and matches. They might not hit a lot of winners but they make very few unforced errors, Murray will want to avoid being drawn into any long slog matches early on.

I would be curious to know what the likes of CC would consider a good result for Murray at the Austrlian Open, Round 4......QF?


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Post by Oioi Thu 13 Jan 2022, 7:04 pm

Slasher, just had a look at the draw to determine my answer. Murray plays Basilashvilli again in the first round, which is winnable but nowhere near a gimme. Second round Cuevas could be tough but if he plays well he should be able to see him off on a hard court. Third round is Sinner who he would need to play at his best current level to beat. So I'd say a 4th round showing would be an excellent performance, but for me it's more about the level he brings to the court than the actual results at this stage. He'll need better results soon to get his ranking up and get easier early rounds, though he's actually got an OK draw at the AO for someone of his ranking.

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Post by sirfredperry Fri 14 Jan 2022, 8:17 am

Amid Novaxgate, we have good news of Andy Murray who has beaten Opelka in three sets to make the final in Sydney.

Murray only faced one BP in a 2hr 25min match, while forcing 10 BPs on the Opelka serve.

Andy could face Dan Evans in the final if Evans can get thru his semi tonight.

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Post by lags72 Fri 14 Jan 2022, 8:23 am

Excellent progress by Andy M …… clapclap

AND …… he actually lobbed Opelka along the way Very Happy Very Happy

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Post by CaledonianCraig Fri 14 Jan 2022, 8:47 am

slashermcguirk wrote:

I would be curious to know what the likes of CC would consider a good result for Murray at the Austrlian Open, Round 4......QF?


Reaching the second week would constitute a good tournament at the moment, for him. A 4th round appearance would be his new best slam performance since he rose from the ashes. Also will be extra good if he comes through his matches with no fitness issues/worries.

For me it is all about rebuilding confidence and enhancing self-belief in himself and a strong showing in Melbourne would do that.
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Post by lags72 Fri 14 Jan 2022, 11:58 am

Dan Evans has just battled his way through a marathon second set TB by 15-13, thus levelling his SF match at one set apiece.

An all-Brit Sydney Final now hangs on a 3rd set decider !

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Post by slashermcguirk Fri 14 Jan 2022, 12:59 pm

I think Karatsev is a very under rated player. He is so consistent over the past year and has taken plenty of scalps. He will be a tough opponent for Murray in the final

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Post by lags72 Fri 14 Jan 2022, 1:00 pm

Evans goes down 3-6 in the third, so it will be a Karatsev v Murray final.

But a good run + useful ranking points for Dan, who edges up to 24 in the rankings …. just below his career-high of 22.

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Post by sirfredperry Fri 14 Jan 2022, 3:50 pm

Just seen a few clips of the Murray semi-final. Andy looks as if he is hitting the ball as well as at any time since his comeback.

Yes, it will be a tough final. But Karatsev had a three-hour match encounter with Evans and I think this is a winnable match for Andy.

I reckon last season he would have lost the Basilashvili and Opelka matches, so he seems to be heading in the right direction.


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Post by slashermcguirk Fri 14 Jan 2022, 4:10 pm

So random that Karatsev came out of nowhere this time last year. Where was he all those years before?? Its not like he is new on the scene or in his early 20s, seems so strange that he only emerged on the scene at 27 / 28 years of age. He has become a very good player but it seems a random age to suddenly just become a very good player. Maybe a change of coach he had? I had literally never heard of him before the Australian open last year but he has become such a consistent player. I can see Murray beating him in the final but I think it will be a tough match

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Post by sirfredperry Fri 14 Jan 2022, 4:28 pm

Karatsev was a new name to me, too, before the 2021 AO.

Could be that he has suffered from injuries or other problems in the past. It's not as if guys ranked around the 100-200 mark are no good.

Sometimes they just need a bit of luck, a run of form and a surge of confidence to get them going.

But the stats for Karatsev are, indeed, strange. He won just THREE matches on the main tour from 2013-20. But he triumphed 34 times in 2021 - an incredible transformation.

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Post by Oioi Fri 14 Jan 2022, 5:39 pm

I really enjoy Karatsev's game. He takes the ball extremely early, sometimes even opting to take it out of the air with a drive volley, which is quite rare on the men's side. For those wondering about his sudden surge up the rankings, I can recommend this YouTube video I remember watching last year:

https://youtu.be/R9ashBTiHt0

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Post by No name Bertie Fri 14 Jan 2022, 6:15 pm

Just been reading Andy Murrays Wikipedia page from his "Birmingham hip" replacement in January 2019.  It seems he is able to play tennis now without pain that had previously plagued him and he is able to play at a very good level. He won an ATP250 title in 2019 and now he has reached his second ATP250 final since his operation.

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Post by CaledonianCraig Sat 15 Jan 2022, 2:00 am

No name Bertie wrote:Just been reading Andy Murrays Wikipedia page from his "Birmingham hip" replacement in January 2019.  It seems he is able to play tennis now without pain that had previously plagued him and he is able to play at a very good level. He won an ATP250 title in 2019 and now he has reached his second ATP250 final since his operation.

I do believe he remsins the only singles player to win an ATP title with a metal hip.
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Post by lags72 Sat 15 Jan 2022, 9:57 am

Karatsev comfortably takes first set 6-3, and has been out-performing Murray in every department thus far. A big turnaround needed (esp. in Murray’s serving stats) if this is not to be a relatively quick-fire Final

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Post by Oioi Sat 15 Jan 2022, 10:26 am

Karatsev started out playing faultless tennis, breathtaking stuff. So much pace and precision. Just slightly dipped in the last game and Andy upped his level but couldn't quite get the break. Looks like Andy has finally started to play the way he needs to against a player like Aslan - needs to fight fire with fire and take away the time for his exceptional ball striking.


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Post by CaledonianCraig Sat 15 Jan 2022, 10:47 am

Aslan Karatsev just proved too strong across the board for Murray today and wins 6-3 6-3. Top performance by the Russian and Murray, well, just seemed off the pace at times. No disgrace given the Russian's ranking but Andy will kick himself with his approach early on. Too passive but when he got more aggressive he looked like he may get himself into the match,. Still a helpful week for Andy.
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Post by Oioi Sat 15 Jan 2022, 10:47 am

Just felt Andy was starting to get a handle on things at the end there, but was too little too late being a set and a break down. Not sure it would have been good in the grand scheme of he got into another dog fight so soon before the AO though so perhaps it's for the best that he didn't force it to go longer.

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Post by Jeff Navarro Sat 15 Jan 2022, 10:52 am

Great to see Andy Murray back in a final, the game needs its iconic players.
Congratulations to Aslan Karatsev, this powerhouse Russian looks a real contender in these conditions.

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Post by slashermcguirk Sat 15 Jan 2022, 10:56 am

I dont think anyone will look forward to facing Karatsev at the Australian open. I think he is a very good player, so consistent

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Post by Oioi Sat 15 Jan 2022, 11:03 am

Karatsev is so good to watch when he's on, taking it early with clean hitting very close to the lines. His serve isn't the biggest but he can hit some great angles with it. Seems to me you have to go after him and take his time away to stop him smothering you.

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Post by lags72 Sat 15 Jan 2022, 11:20 am

Andy came in on a late WC but more than repaid the gesture with a very impressive run to the Final (and capped off his week with a classy thank-you speech thumbsup) All credit to him, he is putting in a huge, against-the-odds, effort whenever he steps onto court.

Karatsev had one of those days when virtually every brave shot comes off. Fully deserved his trophy : an accomplished, power-packed performance and will be interesting to see if he can go on to equal - or even improve on ?? - his ‘out-of-nowhere’ AO run last year.

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Post by sirfredperry Sun 16 Jan 2022, 10:39 am

Now Djoko is on his way home, we can assess the chances of the other contenders.

On paper, and also on form, the three clear favourites are Medvedev, Zverev and Tsitsipas. What about the others? I don't rate Berrettini but he now has a very favourable draw with Novax out of the way.

Rublev seemed to go off a bit towards the end of last season but may come again. Then there are the young guns Sinner and Alacaraz as well as guys like Hurkacz and Murray's final conqueror Karatsev.

We could have a new Slam winner, with so few former champs in the draw. Zverev, in particular, will eye Melbourne as a great chance to get his first GS title.

It would take a brave person to predict the women's winner. But the pre-Melbourne form of Barty and Halep as well as the return of Osaka could mean that there will be no further surprise winners.

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Post by Jeff Navarro Sun 16 Jan 2022, 10:55 am

Medvedev overwhelming favourite in Djokovic’s absence.
Zverev, Tsitsipas and Nadal the group behind.
Karatsev my dark horse.
Would like to see Murray reach the second week.

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Post by lags72 Sun 16 Jan 2022, 11:30 am

I’ve been banging the drum for rookie Alcaraz for a little while (even had a couple of wagers on him last year !)

Obviously still very much a work-in-progress but his QF run at the USO was pretty impressive for a teen - not least battling his way past Tsitsipas in a tough five-setter. Would love to see him go deep in Melbourne.

Barring injuries, Medvedev still the guy to beat I guess.

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Post by sirfredperry Sun 16 Jan 2022, 12:01 pm

Completely forgot to mention Rafa! He's obviously in good shape if his title earlier this month is anything to go by.

This is his least-successful slam in terms of titles (although I was surprised to find he's won fewer matches at Wimbledon and the USO than at the AO).

But if he can make the second week he will be dangerous.

I feel if Rafa is to win a Slam this year it's likely to come at the French where I would NEVER rule him out.

Djoko's expulsion at Melbourne and the advance of the younger brigade could mean the Big Three are stuck for eternity on 20 Slams each. It would be somewhat fitting, IMHO.

Although it would also mean that the GOAT debate would or could go on for ever - and never really be settled.

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Post by lags72 Sun 16 Jan 2022, 12:42 pm

sirfredperry wrote:

……………………………

I feel if Rafa is to win a Slam this year it's likely to come at the French where I would NEVER rule him out.

Djoko's expulsion at Melbourne and the advance of the younger brigade could mean the Big Three are stuck for eternity on 20 Slams each. It would be somewhat fitting, IMHO.

Although it would also mean that the GOAT debate would or could go on for ever - and never really be settled.

Very true, but then again the debate will go on forever anyway - regardless of whether or not Rafa or Novax (or both ??) makes it to 21 or more (safe to say Fed is pretty much out of the picture, aged 40 and not remotely match-fit)

To a large degree, even the term GOAT only began to gain widespread traction on the back of Federer surpassing Sampras in the Slam count. But the reality is that all sorts of metrics / achievements tend to be used & evaluated by different people. I know that many many fans / pundits would (to give one of many examples) always consider Borg as a better player than Pistol Pete.

Back to the present and yes, Rafa could well go all the way here in Melbourne. Can’t rule him out even away from clay. Sure, it would take all his stars to align, but equally it will need a very solid player to take him out.

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Post by slashermcguirk Mon 17 Jan 2022, 9:26 am

Cam Norrie took some pounding from Seb Korda in round one.

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Post by sirfredperry Mon 17 Jan 2022, 10:56 am

Not surprised that Norrie lost. He's not won a match in 2022. But he only got seven games, which was a surprise.

Rafa had very little trouble in his straight-sets victory. 30th seed Harris of SA was knocked out by Aussie WC Vukic. Berrettini lost his first set but came thru in four.

In the women's Barty only dropped one game, while Osaka won in straights. Coco Gauff was beaten in straight sets by Q Wang of China.

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Post by No name Bertie Mon 17 Jan 2022, 10:58 am

I reckon all slam tournaments are going to institute a no vax no play policy.  Looks like it is going to happen in France as President Macron is keen to get everyone vaxed without having to mandate it but to put the squeeze on (denying access to public buildings).   I reckon if Djokovic doesn't get vaxxed that is him over regarding tennis.  In the absence of Djokovic I think Nadal has a few more slams in him to win to finish on top in terms of slam titles.

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Post by slashermcguirk Mon 17 Jan 2022, 11:51 am

Yes, this could spell the end for Djokovic. He strikes me as being a stubborn type so if he is not getting vaccinated he may not play in the slams this year. His vaccination status could end up costing him finishing with the most slams. I think this year is absolutely crucial because it will get much harder from next year with more young guns emerging and coming into their peak.

Whether you like him or not, having no Djokovic at grand slams would hugely take from it. He is the top player in the world and as Murray pointed out this week, you want the best players there competing.

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Post by sirfredperry Mon 17 Jan 2022, 11:58 am

Mixed fortunes for those who reached finals last Saturday. Andy M gets a Tuesday start, but Kokkinakis had to play today and lost while Murray's conqueror Karatsev is also in Monday action and is two sets to one down (although leading in the 4th set).

A word on Feliciano Lopez. He's 40 and has played numerous Slams. He lost today in four, but as ever put up a good fight.

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