Wednesday, January 25, 2017

AO Day 9: If Fed Wants #18, it Has to Come Here

Hey Y'all. Galileo here.

Well, we have two of our semi-finalists. One of them is this guy, and the other guy is this dude:

Yes, we are at that beautiful stage of a slam where all the waiting is over. We are getting to the crunch now. And, like in the NFL, we have the dynasties of New England [Federer], Pittsburgh [Wawrinka], Green Bay [Raonic or Nadal] and Atlanta [Dimitrov].

Look for Dimitrov to put Goffin to the sword in the lowest ranking of the quarterfinals. Dimi will win in four sets. He is too hot right now to be stopped by anyone not in that top ten bracket. Goffin can’t live with him over five sets, if he can even get that far. Dimitrov will have too much imagination and firepower for the steady Belgian. Goffin needs to engage the Bulgarian in long rallies and make him hit shots he isn’t comfortable with. What those shots are, well, it is tricky to say.

In the other semi-final, the match is on the racket of Raonic. If he serves big and hits his shots there is nothing Rafa can do. Nadal has to be running out of steam unless his fitness is at levels we have not seen for years. Essentially, this comes down to how much Rafa has. You can never count him out, but he has played two long matches in a row. Nadal has to find a way to nullify or get a handle on the Canadian’s serve. Rafa has to bully the backhand, expose the movement and be aggressive when he has an opening. Rafa does struggle with players who can serve-volley and take the racket out of his hands.Raonic can do what Soderling and Kyrgios have done. He has that easy power at his fingertips.

One great thing about slams is you can try new things. This BACKSPINNER watched top seeded Garcia/Mladenovic beat Barty/Dellacqua 1-6, 6-2, 6-1. It was a terrific match, though the Aussies faded badly. Can you imagine if the Pastries could play like that in singles?

Another note: the Australian Open has really got its scheduling down pat. It’s made plenty of great decisions on that front.

Right, onwards...

*Suicide Picks*
MS 1st Rd: Gasquet d. Mott {W}
MS 2nd Rd: Tomic d. Estrella Burgos {W}
MS 3rd Rd: Nishikori d. Lacko {W}
MS 4th Rd: Dimitrov d. Istomin {W}
MS QF: Raonic d. Nadal
WS 1st Rd: Wozniacki d. Rodionova {W}
WS 2nd Rd: Konta d. Osaka {W}
WS 3rd Rd: Venus d. Duan {W}
WS 4th Rd: Lucic-Baroni d. Brady {W}
WS QF: Pliskova d. Lucic-Baroni

...The Swiss was barely tested as he romped home in an entertaining 90 minutes. He broke serve six times in a 6-1, 7-5, 6-2 victory which was reflected in the scoreline. 65 winners to 13 errors off the Swiss racket. This was Fed at his silky best. The volleys, slices and touch from both were exceptional throughout. Zverev’s magic game plan wasn’t going to work against Fed, who can play it better. At one point, Roger did a SABR on a serve and volley attempt? It was just that kind of match. The German has had a super run through to the quarterfinals and, for now at least, has bragging rights in the family. But Federer moves on to play a guy he owns. If he just plays how he has been he will be through to the final, no problems. Wawrinka does not own a great passing shot, so the net will be a fertile hunting ground for Switzerland’s number two. Federer has the pressure of knowing chances like this won’t come along very often. If he wants number 18, it surely has to come here.

...Wawrinka eased through to the next round 7-6[2], 6-4, 6-3. When Tsonga gets going he can be dangerous. But here he never got out of third gear. The pair had a bit of handbags, a small spat. Tsonga had a go during the changeover after Vavsy hit a ball at him. Nothing on the Kyrgios level, of course, but it is not how gentleman should behave. After losing the first set, Tsonga got up 4-2. But after the Swiss won four games in a row the match was all done, bar the shouting. Tsonga lost the plot and just swung out. Of course, he failed and it made Stan’s job very easy. You can look at Tsonga’s 39 errors or Wawrinka’s 41 winners and think that’s where the difference is. But this was won and lost in the attitude of the Frenchie. When he tried, when he put effort in it was something else. But he gave up far too easily. He never dug in properly. And so Wawrinka eases through to face Roger in the semi-finals.

Here’s a nice little nugget from the BBC:

"I remember giving Stan a lot of advice on how he should play certain guys," said Federer. "Then the day came where he didn't call me so much any more. He called me less and less... I also felt like I didn't tell him any more, because he created his knowledge, his base, had his team. Only from time to time would I give him advice if he asked me."

Wawrinka has to develop a good passing game tactic, hit hard from the baseline and find a serve Federer will not be able to deal with. He has only won three times. And he has been thrashed here by Roger before. Can he forget the 3-18 record and win here? It’ll take a lot of guts.
...Yes, this BACKSPINNER is totally unsure how to pick the Bryans. Are they good? Or will they crash out in the first round? This is their 38th semi-final now at slam level so there should be no more doubt. But they have been so out of form recently that you just ever know. And they have lost in Melbourne in the third round three years in a row. Up to this point they have dropped just 17 games and no sets in three matches. They have looked really good. But they were tested in the quarterfinals. The ninth seeds, with all their doubles pedigree, tested them in the two and a half hour contest, but fell 7-6[5], 5-7, 6-4. 73 winners to 34, and not in favour of the Americans. And just four breaks throughout the match. This was a powerful, big-serving, big-hitting contest. Despite being in the twilight of their careers the Bryans survived the upset attempt. The best chance for them to win major number 17 is in New York. In the other semi-final, Carreno Busta/Garcia-Lopez saw off Australian’s Bolt/Mousley in three edgy sets. Surely, the Bryans will make slam final number 30. They are 16-13 in slam finals in men’s doubles. Surely they have to be in with a shot to equal Federer’s total. What has helped their decline recently is the shortage of real doubles talent that is consistently there.

Thanks all and visit WTA BACKSPIN please.

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