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2024 Predictions/Run up to AO '24

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Post by sirfredperry Thu Dec 28, 2023 12:36 pm

The whole merry-go-round is about to start again. The main story surrounds Rafa, who makes his long-awaited comeback in Brisbane shortly.

Djoko has said he expects great things from Nadal and reports that hitting partners have said the Spaniard looks in good shape. It's asking a lot for Rafa to be a real force right away. But once he has match practice, who knows?

Looking back at predictions made for 2023 I see that I got it right about Djoko ending number one as well as Swiatek. Alcaraz will have been pleased to be as high as two and to have won Wimbledon. Medvedev's consistency and Sinner's late-season flourish suggested that a new Big Four might be emerging.

I'd make Djoko firm favourite for Melbourne next month and that may not necessarily be his only Slam of 2024. If Sinner can continue his excellent autumn form into the new year then he could well be the next new played to take a Slam title.


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Post by sirfredperry Sat Dec 30, 2023 10:57 am

Rafa will start in Brisbane against a qualifier. Wisely, he's not getting too far ahead of himself by saying he has little expectation of winning tournaments at this stage. He's glad to be back, is in better shape than he thought he would be in by now and hopes to gradually work his way back in.

Andy Murray has a difficult draw in Brisbane, facing number two seed Dimitrov in the first round.

Two mothers are making comebacks - Osaka and Kerber. They join fellow mums Wozniaki and Svitolina on the tour. Also returning is Raducanu after months out. She starts with a qualifier in Auckland.

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Post by sirfredperry Sun Dec 31, 2023 1:05 pm

Rafa will play Dom Thiem in the first round in Brisbane. Thiem came thru two long, tough matches in qualifying, with the first interrupted for a time by the appearance on court of a venomous snake.

Rafa warmed up with a doubles match (he lost 4 and 4) today. He's said that should things go well 2024 might not be his final season. Meanwhile Andy Murray has indicated that 2024 could be HIS last year if he found he wasn't enjoying it.

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Post by sirfredperry Tue Jan 02, 2024 10:44 am

Rafa has made a successful comeback, beating Thiem 7-5, 6-1 in Brisbane. Really good start for the Spaniard.

Raducanu has also made a winning return, beating Ruse in three sets in Auckland. Emma was a double break up in the final set but needed four MPs to finally get over the line 7-5.

Another comeback guy, Cilic, didn't fare so well. In Hong Kong he had NINE match points and still lost to Struff after a final-set tiebreak.

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Post by dummy_half Tue Jan 02, 2024 12:55 pm

Happy that Nadal has managed to get back out on the court - I had my doubts last year, but (even though I'm not his biggest fan) it would not have been right for his career to fade out, and he can as a minimum have a bit of a farewell tour this year.

I'm unsurprised at Murray's comments - he's been a bit stuck between high 30s and 50 in the rankings for a while and has lost a lot of matches where you'd have expected even a 90% Andy to win. I think losing to De Minaur a couple of times will have hurt, as they have somewhat similar games in relying on skill and craft more than bludgeoning power. The odd thing I noted though was his comment that he wasn't getting much out of his serve, which at Wimbledon looked as good as it has been since the op (certainly a lot more pop on it than the previous year).

Still waiting for time to catch up with Djokovic - I keep expecting each new year to see him deposed, and yet we are in the same position the following January, with him strong favourite for the Aussie Open and likely candidate for the end of year #1.

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Post by sirfredperry Tue Jan 02, 2024 7:02 pm

Yes, Djoko's longevity is remarkable and there seems little sign of him losing his powers.

Rafa has a very winnable match next up in Brisbane. I wonder if we're going to see something of a repeat of what Federer did in 2017 - namely come back from a long time out to win the AO.

Doubt if Rafa is thinking along those lines. He'll simply be glad to be back on court and having a win under his belt.






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Post by sirfredperry Thu Jan 04, 2024 10:36 am

Another win for Rafa today, beating Jason Kubler 1 and 2. Next up for Nadal will be Jordan Thompson.

Raducanu was close to victory over Svitolina but lost in the end, going down 6-7, 7-6, 6-1.


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Post by dummy_half Thu Jan 04, 2024 10:49 am

From the match report, sounds like an encouraging performance for Raducanu after so long missing with injury, just ran out of energy in the third set, after both the first two took over an hour, and she had half a chance of winning when a mini break up early in the second tie break.
I'm still confused by Raducanu - obviously the USO win was a dream start to her career, but has a draw ever opened up so clearly for someone unexpected to pull through? Has a slam title but has never beaten a top 10 player and really doesn't look to have the game of a true top player. Also, will she decide to really focus on the tennis, or are the outside distractions going to continue to be an issue?

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Post by sirfredperry Fri Jan 05, 2024 2:20 pm

Rafa lost in 3hrs 25 mins against Thompson today. Rafa had three MPs in the second set, including two at 6-4 in the tiebreak but the Australian took the set and won the third 6-3.

It's always disappointing to lose after having MPs. But it was a good work out for Nadal and he won't have to play tomorrow. He's got three matches under his belt, including a really long one today.

Emma R was, apparently, holding her back at the end of her long match v Svitolina. Is she ever going to get herself fit?

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Post by slashermcguirk Fri Jan 05, 2024 8:19 pm

I always take these warm up tournaments with a pinch of salt. They are important for the likes of Rafa returning from injury and needing to get some proper match practise. I expect the usual suspects to be contending at the US Open. I think it will be too soon for Rafa but I think a run to the 4th round or QF would be a very good return for Nadal in his first slam back.

The big question mark for me is how will Sinner perform. He had a brilliant end of season and was probably playing the best tennis of his career. You feel the Australian open is important for him to show that he can really start getting it done in the slams. I think if he can reach the QF he will become really dangerous but I always have that seed of doubt that he will come undone when you least expect it against a player ranked maybe 20-50 with nothing to lose and coming out swinging. The likes of Djokovic, Medvedev and Nadal find a way to get results in slams in the earlier rounds even when they are not playing well and it will be interesting to see how Sinner responds if he goes a set or two sets down in the earlier rounds.

Alcaraz will almost certainly feature and a couple of others to watch for me are Zverev and Rune. Zverev isnt getting any younger and really needs to step up now and get a slam if he ever wants to win one. Rune has a lot of talent, dont like him at all but I think he has the game to hurt even the top players on this day. Rublev for me is still too one dimensional and has no Plan B if ball bashing isnt working. Tsistipas will continue to be an also ran at the latter stages of slams until he can improve his backhand, which is an easy target for the likes of Djokovic and Alcaraz.

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Post by sirfredperry Sat Jan 06, 2024 8:16 am

Rafa has some discomfort in the area which was causing all the trouble last year. He's not sure how serious it is, but it's obviously a bit of a worry.

Djoko has also had some injury concerns. But with him you know he'll be OK and he does like to play the Drama Queen.

Slasher - Yes, it will be interesting to see how Sinner gets on. He was on fire at the end of 2023. Will he be able to carry that form into Melbourne?

Both current number ones will be favourites for the singles titles at the AO.

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Post by sirfredperry Sun Jan 07, 2024 9:47 am

Dimi has beaten Rune 7-6, 6-4 to take the Brisbane title. Dimi finished last year strongly and is clearly in good form. He could be a threat in Melbourne.

Rybakina demolished Sabalenka in the women's final while Gauff beat Svitolina in the Auckland title match.

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Post by sirfredperry Sun Jan 07, 2024 10:39 am

Rafa is OUT of the AO. He has a muscle tear. Although it's enough to rule him out at Melbourne, he does not consider it too serious.

Meanwhile, Rublev has won the final in Hong Kong and in the United Cup thingy Zverev has kept Germany alive in the final with Poland by levelling his singles with Hurkacz.

LATER: Zverev went on to win that match so it's all on the doubles now.

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Post by dummy_half Mon Jan 08, 2024 3:54 pm

sirfredperry wrote:Dimi has beaten Rune 7-6, 6-4 to take the Brisbane title. Dimi finished last year strongly and is clearly in good form. He could be a threat in Melbourne.

Rybakina demolished Sabalenka in the women's final while Gauff beat Svitolina in the Auckland title match.

And if ever there was a player that will then suffer an R1 defeat* to a qualifier or wild card under such circumstances, it's Dimitrov. Obviously has some talent, but the only thing consistent about him is his inconsistency.

*With my predictive ability, this should be cause for all of you to invest every penny you have at the bookies on Dimitrov winning the AO title...

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Post by sirfredperry Tue Jan 09, 2024 9:14 am

D-Half. I now what you mean about Dimi. Lost count of the number of times he's been beaten early on by someone he ought to have wiped the floor with.

Germany went on to win the United Cup, having come back from the brink on a number of occasions.

After a blank, rain-hit first day, qualifying is underway in the AO. Jack Draper had a good first-round win in Adelaide, beating Baez of Argentina in straight sets.

If Draper can stay fit I think he can quickly climb the rankings.

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Post by No name Bertie Tue Jan 09, 2024 6:07 pm

It seems the next generation of tennis players are now the dominant force in Men's tennis with a few oldies providing resistance.   Medvedev (27), Zverev (26) and Tsitsipas (25) are not oldies.   Only five days to go.  AO: 14 to 28 Jan.

Preliminary weather forecast:   Initial three days could be interrupted by light to heavy showers.  No threats of rain from Wednesday, January 17 onwards.   Temperature expected to be comfortable between 15°C ( 59°F) to 31°C (87.8°F)

ps: For Rafael Nadal it is surely all about him getting tournament fit for the clay season. Muscle tear (if reports are true) is probably something to be expected following a lengthy spell on the sidelines especially with Nadal who tends not to hold back.
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Post by sirfredperry Wed Jan 10, 2024 8:38 am

Draper won an ultra-long battle with Kecmanovic today, winning 5-7, 7-6, 7-6 and having saved two MPs.

The main tours have announced plans to try to end the late-night finishes that have plagued the sport. But, IMHO, the measures don't go far enough.

At the AO this year, for example, they still plan to play two night matches on the show courts. OK, the new regs mean at least these matches will start on time. But, say, first on a women's match lasts two-and-a-half hours. The men will not get on til gone 10pm and if they have a five-setter you are still going to have a very late finish.

It's all about TV and greed. TV guys like to know when matches will start and tourney organisers like to sell two types of tickets for the same day.

As usual with tennis, and sadly most sports these days, the considerations of players and spectators come last.

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Post by Oakdene Fri Jan 12, 2024 8:17 am

Jack Draper playing for a place in the Adelaide International final.

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Post by Oakdene Fri Jan 12, 2024 12:36 pm

And he beat Bublik 7-6 6-4.

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Post by sirfredperry Fri Jan 12, 2024 9:24 pm

Very good effort by Draper. I thought he would bow out after that very long match with Kecmanovic but he's managed two straight-sets wins since then.


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Post by sirfredperry Sat Jan 13, 2024 8:29 am

Draper lost out to Lehecka in the Adelaide final, going down 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.

Nevertheless, it's a good start to the season for the Briton. I reckon there's a chance he could end 2024 as the British number one.

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