Monday, January 18, 2016

AO Day 1: Feeling Your Way

Hey Y'all. Galileo here.

Well, the first day has been and gone. Stosur blew up and lost to someone 90 places below her, Federer and Djokovic cruised and several seeds have been sent packing on both sides. It could only be the Australian Open.

You know how it goes. The players feel their way back into competitiveness, the slam environment and the long game. No byes or easy matches here. There are no gimmicks, the stakes are enormous and mistakes are costly. The Olympics is the biggest prize on offer this year but winning a slam is something special, something prestigious. And the pressure is just enormous.

The tennis fanatics also have to feel their way back into proceedings, have to find their mojo once again. The tour officials, websites and writers, too, are slowly warming up. It even takes Todd a little while to find his swing. Shall we see how ready for the slog I am?

I think so. Let’s do it...

*Suicide Picks*
MS 1st Rd: Dimitrov d. Lorenzo {W}
WS 1st Rd: Gavrilova d. Hradecka {W}

...Chung clung on for just short of two hours but eventually lost 6-3, 6-2, 6-4. Djokovic with his 40 winners, 10 of which were aces, was never really troubled. It was a baptism in an inferno, quite literally, for the South Korean rising star. The youngest player in the top hundred even broke Djokovic, but also lost serve five times. Djokovic hit, on average, nine errors a set. The only area he can improve on is there where he should try to cut that number down by one or two a set. Djokovic's 2nd Round opponent, Quentin Halys, went 2-2 in finals last year, though not at ATP level. The Frenchman was also a successful junior in 2014. He has just made his best run at slam level, too. The 19 year old has nothing to lose and that makes him very dangerous. Expect another lesson from the Djoker, sure, but these are the kind of players you hate to get because they’re so talented and have nothing to lose. The inexperience will be the death of him here one feels.
...In 72 minutes, Federer blew by his opponent 6-2, 6-1, 6-2. He hit 31 winners to 20 errors while his opponent could muster just 9 winners. He broke eight times. He won 75 per cent of points on serve and 56 per cent on return. He also won double the points his opponent did in what was a close to perfect match. He need to not get broken and to win more than 45 per cent of second serves, too. But really this was a formality. Dolgopolov is up next and I don’t need to tell you why that is exciting.
...I think I may have miscalled Kei again, folks. He is quickly becoming ATP BACKSPIN’S bane. In two hours he dismissed Kohlschreiber 6-4, 6-3, 6-3. He was barely troubled throughout the match, breaking four times while never himself having to face a break-point. He was aggressive and he did something that shows he has matured - he avoided the upset. This match, against a very talented opponent, was a big banana peel. Yet Kei was measured and played a solid match to dispel any chance of another early exit at this level. Austin Krajicek is up next and that will be interesting. He is the opposite kind of player to Kohlschreiber and he has nothing to lose. Austin blew past Wu even more impressively than the 7th seed. Will Kei remain steady?
...Just thought I’d throw in this battle of the two former finalists at this event. Not a high quality affair with the Cypriot being on the way out and Tsonga rising, but still notable. Over 70 errors in the 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2. Four breaks to one, nice and easy from the Frenchman. He only won six more points than his opponent and now Jasika awaits. He has form and the crowd behind him, which will make him very dangerous. I still like the sheer weight of shot and experience from Tsonga to be enough here.
...The question in matches like these is how long can he maintain this level? When the big guys play at a decent level they can maintain it. The journeymen cannot. Yuki pushed Berdych in the first, even breaking the Czech’s serve. But he faded badly after that, falling 7-5, 6-1, 6-2 pretty quickly in the end. 13 aces and 35 overall winners from the Czech proved enough. With only 18 unforced errors and just the one service game dropped, there are few flaws from Berdych so far. With Herzegovinian Basic next, I like the over on 13 aces from Tomas.
...The proof is in the pudding. Thiem’s cake has come out very well as he proved in a gritty 6-2, 7-6[6], 4-6, 7-6[0] win over Argentine Mayer. Ranked 36, he just missed out on the seedings and was a landmine nobody wanted. On clay this would have been even harder. Thiem had fantastic patches all through the match, one of which was the bagel in the breaker. He broke four times to three in the three hour long match in which there were 102 errors. Thiem has shown he can win ugly and that’s important. But now, another test - Almagro. He should win against another one-hander and prove his seeding correct.

And the Pastry safely deactivated the bomb, beating Cibulkova 6-3, 6-4. The match promised a lot but the 28th seed broke four times to see off the on-the-way-back Slovak. Her serve was firing as she hit 9 aces. She needs to raise her first serve percentage from 50 into the mid 60’s then stay there as she moves through the tournament and plays tougher opponents.

She plays Gibbs next, who is also 22. It is their first meeting. Kiki should have too much experience and too much game for the young American, but it is tough. Of course, if she wins that she gets Kvitova. But beats Kvitova and things start to look up a little bit for her.

Thanks and visit WTA BACKSPIN.

Read more!


Post a Comment

<< Home