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Australian Open 2023

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theslosty
Oioi
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Post by sirfredperry Sun 8 Jan - 11:12

First topic message reminder :

The AO starts on Jan 16 with some notable absentees including number one Alcaraz, Naomi Osaka and Simona Halep.

As I write Djoko has just won a three-hour battle with Korda to take the Adelaide title. I would make Novak favourite to win again in Melbourne. Rafa was a somewhat surprise winner last year and the new daddy has been in relatively poor form of late. So another AO triumph may be beyond him.

Swiatek will obviously be the favourite on the women's side, although she suffered a shock defeat to Pegula in the Cup thingy that's been won today by the USA. Gauff, who has just won in Auckland, could be a good bet.

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Post by alfie Fri 20 Jan - 2:59

CaledonianCraig wrote:Kokkinakis uses his big hitting to great effect to take the tiebreaker and leads 6-4 7-6. The Aussie playing a great match and mentally staying strong. Over two hours played and I see no way back for Murray.

Well I confess I felt the same - and ashamed to say I bailed after he went a break down in the third set (In my defence it was already very late here and I'd had a rather tiring day !) Believe it or not I then dreamed that it was back at a two set all score-line just before waking...but was both astonished and delighted to find out what had actually happened !

Still can hardly believe that Murray was able to summon the energy for that comeback after his first round marathon. Resolved I will never again doubt his capacity to do the impossible.

Beating Bautista Agut next after two draining five setters ? That seems merely "somewhat improbable" now so ought to be a cakewalk Smile

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Post by CaledonianCraig Fri 20 Jan - 5:22

Andy now stands alone at the top for most comeback wins from two sets down - he now has eleven ahead of Roger on ten. Nice accolade to have and very fitting.

The only way Murray wins against RBA is in straights sets you feel but even if he exits he must feel very good about the year ahead now. Apparently, he has really worked hard on his fitness which he believed let him down last year.

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Post by CaledonianCraig Fri 20 Jan - 8:32

Camron Norrie looks like he is heading out of the Australian Open. He trails the mighty impressive Czech Lehecka 7-6 3-6 6-3 1-6 1-4. A double break down in the final set. He has had a medical timeout for treatment to his knee but his movement has been good.
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Post by CaledonianCraig Fri 20 Jan - 8:34

Norrie pulled back one of the breaks after a tight service game from Lehecka. But the Czech is a game away from the win of his life at 5-3 in the final set.
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Post by CaledonianCraig Fri 20 Jan - 8:48

Jiri Lehecka holds his nerve and serve to win 6-7 6-3 3-6 6-1 6-4 to knock Cameron Norrie out in the Third Round. He looks like he has quite a future ahead of him.
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Post by sirfredperry Fri 20 Jan - 8:50

Cam Norrie has just lost to lowly-ranked Lehecka who had taken out Coric in the first round.

Very disappointing for Norrie who seems not to make much of an impression at Slams, save at Wimbledon last year where no points were awarded.

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Post by slashermcguirk Fri 20 Jan - 11:12

I think if anything, Norrie is over achieving. I just don't think he has the weapons to really beat the best players. He is the sort of player that will grind out some good results but I think he has maxed out on his talent. He reminds me of a less good version of David Ferrer, gets the very most out of his game, works very hard and will always put up a good fight but lacks the big shots to beat the very best players.

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Post by slashermcguirk Fri 20 Jan - 11:17

As for the Murray match, I have gained so much respect for Murray over the years. He has grown on me even though I have never been a big fan of his style of the game but i hugely respect him. I think the win vs Berritini was a huge one because he was the absolute underdog in that match based on form and rankings. However in my opinion he had no business being dragged into a 5 setter by Kokkinakis. I think Kokkinakis is totally over rated and I cant recall a single time that he has gone deep in a slam or really threatened to do so, in singles anyway. I dont even recall him winning many ATP tournaments let alone going deep in slams, he is a top 200 type player so in truth I think Murray should be beating him regardless. I recall Djokovic playing Kokkinakis when i was at wimbledon last year and Djokovic looked like he was playing a practise match. I am not saying Murray didnt do an incredible job to come back in that match and win but I just dont rate his opponent and in my view Murray should be beating him in straight sets or 4 sets at worst.

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Post by sirfredperry Fri 20 Jan - 13:07

Slasher - Totally agree about Cam Norrie. Been over-ranked for a couple of years, IMHO. As you quite rightly say, he just ain't got the ammunition to down the big boys.

I think with Kokkinakis, we have to take into account that he has been severely hit by injury. In contrast to Norrie, K has been under ranked.

As I write, Medvedev is hanging on by his fingertips against Korda who was two sets up and 4-2 up before the Russian broke back. Wonder if we'll see a Murray-like fightback which will stretch into the early hours.

I see the Aus authorities have defended the indefensible about the scheduling. If they had come out and said we just want to make as much money as possible we don't give a Smeg about the players, then at least it would have been honest.

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Post by MrInvisible Fri 20 Jan - 13:17

From the highlights I saw I was v impressed with some of Murray's hitting at times - some proper crunching forehands, nice angles on the backhand and good defensive retrieving when required. He looks in good form. Shame he has to play Bautista Agut who will make him run and suffer after those back to back 5 setters. To stand any chance in that match Murray has to serve big and play v aggressive from the onset.

Potential shock in the making now with Korda 2 sets up on Medvedev, now into 3rd set tiebreak.

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Post by sirfredperry Fri 20 Jan - 13:28

Medvedev crashes out (they always CRASH out, don't they). Real surprise.

I thought Djoko would win the whole thing even before the draw came out. Apart from Tsitsipas, possibly, there doesn't seem to be anything to stop him.

I see Andy has another night match tomorrow, albeit the first one (starting around 8am UK time). But who knows when it will actually start?

The asinine AO authorities have THREE day matches to get through before Andy's match. At least they've only put a doubles match on AFTER the Murray-RBA match, while there is only one night match on the John Cain Arena.

But pity the women last on on Rod Laver court. Gawd only knows what time they'll finish.

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Post by slashermcguirk Fri 20 Jan - 14:23

I am somewhat surprised by the Medvedev exit but I think Korda is a very dangerous player on his day. He has shown great potential in recent months and beaten the likes of Alcaraz and Sinner and he took Djokovic very close in Adelaide in that final. There are not many that will want to face him on current form.

I think there are a few threats to Djokovic, particularly likes of Sinner, Rune and Felix who are much younger and dont have the same scar tissue. I suppose at the same time you could say they are not battle hardened for 5 sets against the top 3.

Will be interesting to see what Dimitrov brings against Djokovic tomorrow, always a huge talent but very streaky. He can blow so hot and cold but you feel he will go into that match with nothing to lose. The other variable is the hamstring issue that Novak has.

Tsitsipas quietly but very efficiently moving through the draw but bigger challenges await.

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Post by Oakdene Fri 20 Jan - 14:34

So if Murray can overcome Bautista Agut in the next round then the bottom quarter of the draw will be made up entirely of unseeded players.

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Post by dummy_half Fri 20 Jan - 15:18

A quick look at the draw:
Top quarter - Seeded to be Nadal v Medvedev in the Quarters. 4th round actually Nishioka v Khachanov and Hurkacz v Korda. HUrcaz and Khachanov have GS SF experience, but none have previously made a slam final.

Quarter 2 - Seeded to be Tsistipas v FAA. Both still in, with matches v Sinner (as per seeding) and Lehecka respectively. Tsistipas the only player in the top half with GS final experience

Quarter 3: Seeded to be Djokovic v Rublev, and that's still a strong possibility. Rune, Dimitrov and De Minaur still in the hunt. Looks the strongest quarter remaining.

Quarter 4: Seeded to be Ruud v Fritz. Only have RBA as a seed left, up against Andy tonight, with a rare old assortment of others. Almost certain to provide a big surprise int he semi-final

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Post by sirfredperry Fri 20 Jan - 16:56

RBA - very consistent, very fit and very solid - is far from an ideal opponent for a battle-weary Murray.

At least Andy can have a good sleep knowing he's not on court before 7pm local time.

Think I'm right in saying that Murray and Djoko are now the only Slam winners left. In the women, though, the top half of the 4th-round draw is studded with five GS winners.

I still make Swiatek favourite. Intriguing clash coming up between Gauff and Ostapenko who can blow anyone off the court on her day but is maddeningly inconsistent.

Much the same can be said of Dimi who can be quite brilliant at times and then lose to players who should really have given him no trouble.

Dan Evans has his work cut out against Rublev who I forecast to win in three or four.

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Post by CaledonianCraig Sat 21 Jan - 7:13

Dan Evans beaten soundly in straight sets by Andrei Rublev leaving Murray as last Brit standing. Rublev, I believe on course to face Djokovic in the quarter-finals. Tommy Paul beats Jenson Brooksby comfortably in straight sets which seems the order of the day today with JJ Wolf also winning in straights against lucky loser Mmoh and Rune doing the same against Humbert. Paul will play either Bautista Agut or Murray in the 4th Round.
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Post by sirfredperry Sat 21 Jan - 7:51

Lots of quick matches today which at least means Andy M's clash will begin on time.

Asking a lot of Andy to get thru another long match. It's foolish to ever write Murray off, but I'm plumping for an RBA win.

If Dimi plays to his potential then Djoko faces a tough match. But knowing how mercurial the Bulgarian can be it will probably be all over quite quickly.


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Post by CaledonianCraig Sat 21 Jan - 8:05

sirfredperry wrote:Lots of quick matches today which at least means Andy M's clash will begin on time.

Asking a lot of Andy to get thru another long match. It's foolish to ever write Murray off, but I'm plumping for an RBA win.


Granted.

For me it is great to see Andy back looking like he is moving great and fit. Bodes very well for the season ahead so anything today is a bonus.
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Post by Duty281 Sat 21 Jan - 10:02

Looked at one point that Murray was going to get a 6-1, 6-2, 6-0 type thrashing, but he's somehow taken the second set against all logic and reason, after having to break back and save two set points on the way.

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Post by CaledonianCraig Sat 21 Jan - 10:28

You feel Batista Agut is playing a cunning game of a rope-a-dope working Murray over. Murray having more problems on his service games than returning. He cannot push up for serve. Agut leads 6-1 6-7 3-2.
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Post by CaledonianCraig Sat 21 Jan - 10:47

Bautista Agut gets the break and serves for the third set.
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Post by CaledonianCraig Sat 21 Jan - 10:48

Batista Agut holds to love and leads 6-1 6-7 6-3.
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Post by CaledonianCraig Sat 21 Jan - 10:54

Djokovic cruising through against Dimitrov as he is two sets and a break up.
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Post by CaledonianCraig Sat 21 Jan - 11:02

Murray won't go down quietly. He breaks at the start of the fourth set.
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Post by CaledonianCraig Sat 21 Jan - 11:09

Bautista Agut breaks back straight away. Great match this.
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Post by CaledonianCraig Sat 21 Jan - 11:23

Djokovic wins in three sets in just over three hours with two medical timeouts for him in there.
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Post by CaledonianCraig Sat 21 Jan - 11:41

And Bautista Agut beats Murray 6-1 6-7 6-3 6-4 in a cracking match lasting almost three and a half hours. Murray could give no more.
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Post by Oioi Sat 21 Jan - 12:26

What an inspirational tournament from Andy. He is something else. I think he has a lot to look forward to this season, if he can stay healthy. The first priority is getting that ranking up. That said, he was unlucky to draw such a dangerous unseeded player in Kokkinakis in the second round. Most others around his ranking wouldn't have posed much of a threat, and then he wouldn't have been in a situation where he was running on fumes in the 3rd round. Definitely think he'd have had this match if it wasn't for all the time on court he had coming into it.

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Post by CaledonianCraig Sat 21 Jan - 14:33

Oioi wrote:What an inspirational tournament from Andy. He is something else. I think he has a lot to look forward to this season, if he can stay healthy. The first priority is getting that ranking up. That said, he was unlucky to draw such a dangerous unseeded player in Kokkinakis in the second round. Most others around his ranking wouldn't have posed much of a threat, and then he wouldn't have been in a situation where he was running on fumes in the 3rd round. Definitely think he'd have had this match if it wasn't for all the time on court he had coming into it.

This tournament has seen Murray turn back the clock somewhat with his improved fitness and movement coupled with grit and determination. He should be looking ahead with much more hope and expectation now. It will be key how he schedules the season and I think he will avoid the gruelling French Open again. Obviously, he now needs to improve his ranking too and look to keep each match as short as he can.
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Post by Oioi Sat 21 Jan - 16:07

I was wondering about the French myself. It's a hard call as he won't want to sacrifice his match-fitness. I reckon he should at least enter Madrid in the clay season as that one plays a bit faster and will keep the competitive juices flowing. Then enter one or 2 grass warm ups before Wimbledon, where he has a chance to go far with the field being so poor on grass at the moment. I have to say I'm loving this phase of Murray's career, even if he doesn't win anything big. It's just so much fun to see someone want it that much!

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Post by CaledonianCraig Sat 21 Jan - 17:10

Oioi wrote:I was wondering about the French myself. It's a hard call as he won't want to sacrifice his match-fitness. I reckon he should at least enter Madrid in the clay season as that one plays a bit faster and will keep the competitive juices flowing. Then enter one or 2 grass warm ups before Wimbledon, where he has a chance to go far with the field being so poor on grass at the moment. I have to say I'm loving this phase of Murray's career, even if he doesn't win anything big. It's just so much fun to see someone want it that much!

Andy is the ultimate competitor. I know people said why has he made this comeback but it is for the pleasure and satisfaction of being able to compete, the love of the battle and to prove people wrong. He really was thriving on whipping the crowds into a frenzy in these matches in Melbourne.

As for missing the clay court season he did that last year and suspect he may do the same this year. However, if he is feeling really good physically then who knows but I do not think he will want to take any risks before the grass court season.
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Post by sirfredperry Sat 21 Jan - 18:24

Tremendous effort by Murray in this AO. Glad that Dimi gave Djoko something of a match.

It really is time for Djoko to end his cry-baby approach and just admit he's never REALLY injured during tournaments. It's getting quite tiresome when he claims he's got this problem, or that problem - then goes on to clinch the title quite easily.

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Post by Duty281 Sat 21 Jan - 19:09

This may drag the thread sideways, I'm not sure, but does anyone on here think Andy Murray is Britain's greatest ever sportsperson? Because I'm increasingly seeing this point of view advanced from some Murray fans on the Internet.

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Post by CaledonianCraig Sat 21 Jan - 19:27

Duty281 wrote:This may drag the thread sideways, I'm not sure, but does anyone on here think Andy Murray is Britain's greatest ever sportsperson? Because I'm increasingly seeing this point of view advanced from some Murray fans on the Internet.

I would definitely say he was the greatest competitor we have produced. I am a great fan of his as people on this forum well know but it is hard to say he is our greatest ever sportsperson with only three slam wins. Greatest competitorwithout a doubt. Look at the adversities he has had to endure throughout his career yet he is still showing great fight and determination to win matches from impossible positions when others would cry enough.
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Post by Soul Requiem Sat 21 Jan - 20:25

sirfredperry wrote:Tremendous effort by Murray in this AO. Glad that Dimi gave Djoko something of a match.

It really is time for Djoko to end his cry-baby approach and just admit he's never REALLY injured during tournaments. It's getting quite tiresome when he claims he's got this problem, or that problem - then goes on to clinch the title quite easily.

That gamesmanship is why he'll never be revered like other players, it's pathetic really.

Duty281 wrote:This may drag the thread sideways, I'm not sure, but does anyone on here think Andy Murray is Britain's greatest ever sportsperson? Because I'm increasingly seeing this point of view advanced from some Murray fans on the Internet.

I don't think he's in the conversation really, the following i'd have above him (modernish era only);

Cycling- Hoy, Wiggins, Froome and Kenny
Boxing- Lewis, Calzaghe
Athletics- Ennis, Farah, Thompson
Motorsport- Hamilton
Rowing- Redgrave and Pinsent

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Post by sirfredperry Sat 21 Jan - 20:25

Britain's greatest sportsman? Hmmm. An interesting one.

You would have to put Bobby Charlton into the mix. Won everything you can win in football and played with dash and style for almost two decades.

In cricket you could put forward Jack Hobbs. He scored nearly 200 hundreds and broke every batting record. A case, among cricketers, could also be made for Ian Botham - a great, charismatic match-winner.

Going right back in time you have W.G. Grace who effectively created the modern game of cricket.

Britain has also had great athletes, rowers, cyclists and motor racing champions. And what about Murray? Two Wimbledons, Davis Cup winner, two Olympic Golds and reaching world number one. He's certainly up there with the greats.

The greatest of all? I'd go for Bobby Charlton.

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Post by sirfredperry Sun 22 Jan - 7:59

FAA has just been knocked out by giant-killing 21-yr-old Czech Jiri Lehecka.

Hurkacz has also exited, being beaten in five by Seb Korda.

In the women's, number one Swiatek suffered a straight-sets loss to Wimbledon champion Rybakina, while 2017 French champ Ostapenko dispatched Gauff in straight sets.

Khachanov bt Nishioka and Jessica Pegula was too strong for 2021 RG winner Krejcikova.

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Post by CaledonianCraig Sun 22 Jan - 11:28

sirfredperry wrote:FAA has just been knocked out by giant-killing 21-yr-old Czech Jiri Lehecka.

Hurkacz has also exited, being beaten in five by Seb Korda.

In the women's, number one Swiatek suffered a straight-sets loss to Wimbledon champion Rybakina, while 2017 French champ Ostapenko dispatched Gauff in straight sets.

Khachanov bt Nishioka and Jessica Pegula was too strong for 2021 RG winner Krejcikova.

I am not overly surprised Lehecka won. He looked mightily impressive in the match against Norrie whereas Felix has struggled through his matches up to this point.
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Post by sirfredperry Sun 22 Jan - 13:03

Tsitsipas survived a fightback from Sinner to take a 4-hr match in five sets.

You feel the Greek is the only one who might even come close to stopping Djoko chalking up another AO triumph.

He now takes on surprise qf Lehecka. Been watching some clips of L's win over FAA. He looked very solid but Tsitsipas may be a match too far for him.

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Post by MrInvisible Sun 22 Jan - 13:28

Good hard fought win for Tsitsipas over Sinner there. With Medvedev out and Djokovic seemingly not 100% physically, there is an opportunity here for the Greek at a slam where he has a lot of crowd support. Feels like the stars may be aligning for him, although he may require Djokovic not to be firing on all cylinders.

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Post by sirfredperry Sun 22 Jan - 13:36

MrI - past experiences should tell us not to take any news of Djoko's so-called "injuries" too seriously.

However crocked he appears to be he always manages to be in good shape come the business ends of GS tournaments.

The increasingly-criticised scheduling means the last match is still on court at nearly 12.40am local time with at least one more set to go.


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Post by sirfredperry Mon 23 Jan - 7:58

Rublev has just edged a five-setter against Rune who had two MPs and was also ahead in the final tiebreak before going down.

The women winners today were Vekic, Sabalenka, Linette (who shocked Garcia) and Pliskova.

The all-American clash went to Shelton who beat Wolf in five. RBA has lost the first set 6-2 v Tommy Paul. Up next is Djoko v de Minaur. It would be a (de) major shock should the Aussie win.

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Post by sirfredperry Mon 23 Jan - 9:59

Djoko having very little trouble with de Minaur. He's two sets up.

RBA is close to defeat against Tommy Paul. He's two sets to one down and struggling to hold serve at 4-4 in the fourth.

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Post by sirfredperry Mon 23 Jan - 10:18

RBA bites the dust. For me, that's a bit of a surprise. Did the Murray match take a lot out of him?

The Americans are doing well. Korda, Shelton and Paul all thru to the quarters with at least one of them bound to make the semis. Jessica Pegula is still in it, too.

From the scoreline, it appears that Djoko is make mincemeat of the unfortunate de Minaur. That one will be all over very soon.

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Post by CaledonianCraig Mon 23 Jan - 10:42

Djokovic demolished De Minaur in straight sets dropping only a bare minimum of games.
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Post by sirfredperry Mon 23 Jan - 11:43

Rublev next up for Djoko. The Russian saved two MPs at 5-6 in the final set and was then 7-3 down in the ensuing tiebreak before coming through.

As far as the de Minaur match went, you'd have thought a guy seeded 22 might get more than five games.

Azarenka finished at 2.17am yesterday when, according to reports, there were hardly any spectators left. I see tomorrow's (Tues) order of play is scheduling two night matches on Rod Laver Court preceded by a mixed doubles and two singles.

Only needs just one of those matches to be a longy and we're guaranteed another ludicrously late finish.


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Post by theslosty Mon 23 Jan - 22:52

Not sure what's holding Felix Auger-Aliassime from a deeper Slam run. Just from my own eye test he appears to hold most of the tools.
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Post by MrInvisible Tue 24 Jan - 13:24

So in the top half we have Tsitsipas vs Khachanov semi final. Just read that Tsitsipas has a 5-0 record against the Russian and given the Greek's form and crowd support you'd back him to make the final.

Djokovic will play Rublev in his quarter and the other quarter will be the all American clash between Shelton and Paul. I feel Rublev's ultra aggressive baseline game is too one dimensional to beat Djokovic so I foresee a relatively straightforward win for him followed by an even more straightforward semi final.

I do though think Tsitsipas has a chance in final against Djokovic. Djokovic can sometimes be vulnerable to single handers with a varied game and I think this match could go the distance with the Aussie Greek fans getting involved.

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Post by sirfredperry Tue 24 Jan - 13:27

As expected, Tsitsipas was too strong for giant-killer Lehecka, although the Czech at least made a reasonable match out of it.

Bad luck on Korda having a painful injury and having, eventually, to retire.

The first women's semi will be between two Slam winners - Rybakina and Azarenka. Bit surprised that Aza won her quarter so easily.

Djoko takes on Rublev tomorrow with the Russian probably still wondering how he came through yesterday after being perilously close to defeat.

Even with a number of top players having bitten the dust, Novak will still have to get past the No 5 seed, and probably the No 3 seed as well, to win the whole thing.

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Post by sirfredperry Tue 24 Jan - 20:39

I see that there is still talk about Djoko's so-called injuries. This is what Taylor Fritz had to say:
"I don't think people fake injuries, I do think sometimes players stretch the severity of the injury because it depressurises them and helps them play better."
I reckon he's pretty much hit the nail on the head with that remark.
For Djoko to say he has a hamstring problem and then to demolish de Minaur in the way he did surely bears out what Fritz was saying.
But the question here is "Why does Novak keep doing this?" He's old enough, experienced enough, fit enough and good enough to know better.

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