Friday, January 20, 2017

AO Day 5: All Hail the Second Coming of our Lord and Saviour

Hey Y'all. Galileo here

Welcome to Day Five. The last of the third rounds have been finished. In addition, after tonight’s action, all the chaff will have been sifted through.

"What about Zverev?," I hear you say. Well, what is a slam without surprises? It’s dull.

The first three rounds of a slam are the vetting process. The out of form players crash. It’s a good thing, too, because it just makes the fourth rounds and beyond even better, and makes the rest of the matches that much more important.

Bernard Tomic had the quarterfinals at his feet but, like last year with Lucas Pouille, he blew it. He looked lethargic and disinterested. It is a good thing Australia has new talent coming through. Moreover, that Thanasi Kokkinakis is no longer injured. Once more on the ATP, we realize there is such thing as too talented.

Daniel Evans won 7-5, 7-6[2], 7-6 [3]. Tomic played ok - he hit 50 winners. But he just seemed bored. And he didn’t want it enough. It has to improve and soon from the mercurial Australian. At least his fitness is finally improved.

And Roger Federer showed that age really is just a number with what was possibly the performance of the year. With Novak Djokovic out, could he win this slam? Bizarrely, his most difficult match wouldn’t even be in the final. It might not even be against Andy Murray, given his recent history against the Scot. The Swiss will surely lose to Kei Nishikori. He couldn’t do it, could he?

This BACKSPINNER told you to watch the Kuznetsova/Jankovic match. You just knew it would be a crazy one. And if you want to know more, drop into WTA BACKSPIN for a full blow-by-blow account of it. This BACKSPINNER was quite happy with the result. Her head to head with compatriot A-Pavs, which sits at 5-2, though she lost the last one, is a big reason why she is my suicide pick. After such a big win, expect a drubbing.

*Suicide Picks*
MS 1st Rd: Gasquet d. Mott {W}
MS 2nd Rd: Tomic d. Estrella Burgos {W}
MS 3rd Rd: Nishikori d. Lacko {W}
WS 1st Rd: Wozniacki d. Rodionova {W}
WS 2nd Rd: Konta d. Osaka {W}
WS 3rd Rd: Venus d. Duan {W}
WS 4th Rd: Kuznetsova d. Pavlyuchenkova

...In his first two matches, Troicki blew a two sets to none lead and a two sets to one lead. Yet here he is. He pushed Wawrinka all the way but could not snatch the fourth, going down 3-6, 6-2, 6-2, 7-6[7]. How the Serb managed to even push the fourth seed that far is anybody’s guess. But to live with the Swiss for most of a two and a half hour contest is something Djokovic struggles to do at times. For Stan, his 16 aces and 43 total winners were matched by 42 errors. Twelve breaks throughout the match really told the story. This was a grind, this was work, and Wawrinka had to earn his victory. But now he is into the fourth round. Typically, nobody is talking about Wawrinka. You know, the three-time grand slam champion. Seppi is next and then Evans or Tsonga. If Federer and Murray have a long match, could Wawrinka make the final? A semi-final has to be a given at this stage.
...Berdman lasted 90 minutes, as he was blasted off court 6-2, 6-4, 6-4. By the end, he was laughing. He barely clung on at 3-5 in the third. It was over 300 seconds later. And this was, from nowhere, at the level of 2007 Federer. Berdman had not a prayer. Try 40 winners to 17 errors. What about four breaks of the Berdych serve without having to face a break point. This was not Berdman playing badly, this was the Swiss flattening him. All hail the second coming of our lord and saviour.

Nishikori will be the next to face the sword of the Swiss. How many sets can he get? Could he possibly win? Can the Swiss reproduce the magic?
...The magic never really dies with some players. Tsonga prevailed 7-6[4], 7-5, 6-7[8], 6-4. In three hours and 33 minutes he had secured yet another fourth round at slam level. The Frenchie has always been a tricky customer and once more he has a shot at a slam semi-final. He is 6-8 in slam quarterfinals. And he has reached his 25th fourth round, too. You can never rule him out, especially here, at his best slam. Last year he managed to make two quarterfinals. He is still relevant and he could still win a slam, if he could only get a bit of luck in the draw. He has made the fourth round at least every year he has played since 2012. Federer and Nishikori have seen off him each time. But he was in good nick last night. 23 aces and 53 winners overall helped him to see off the error-strewn Sock. This was a really good four set match between two of the biggest hitters out there. The Frenchman will dispatch Evans in three, perhaps four, sets. And he will then lose to Wawrinka in five. He cannot beat the Swiss at slam level.
...This was never in doubt. Players like Lacko cannot upset a baseliner of the Japanese man’s calibre. Kei did need over two hours, but was never troubled in the 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 decision. Four breaks to one, 46 winners and a simple win. The viewers on court were probably a little bored by the end, but it does not have to be pretty. Kei did have to watch 12 aces go by him, but this was not even a test. Nishikori just gets on with it. Of course, he may have had half his mind on the next opponent. And could you blame him? Federer will be a totally different prospect, a huge obstacle. What can Kei do to halt him, to perhaps best him? We shall soon see.
...In 2008, Jankovic was the second seed at Wimbledon. On the second Monday, the busy one, she was put on Court 18, much to her dismay. Here is an excerpt from an article about her defeat:

Informed that she would face "a Thai girl" for a place in the last eight, Jelena Jankovic replied: "Tiger? Tiger who? Tiger Woods?"

Anyway the case is the same here. Murray is not a draw. Stick him on Hisense. This never would have happened when Nadal or Federer was top ranked. And it is a sign of a growing worry on the ATP - do we have enough to entice people in when the big guys leave? Apparently not. Well, not this time, anyway. It doesn’t matter who the ‘best’ guy is because Fedex is still here. Murray still won comfortably enough, 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 in a minute under an hour. Querrey only hit five aces, the same amount of times he was broken. Querrey was only ever playing a bit part in this drama. Murray is through to face another easy opponent. He gets Mischa Zverev.

Thanks all and visit WTA BACKSPIN please.

Read more!


Post a Comment

<< Home