Djokovic Escapes, Ivanovic Out, Hot Dokic at Australian Open
by Staff | January 23rd, 2009, 10:12 am
  • 59 Comments

Djokovic Squeaks by Delic, Baghdatis Bags Fish at Australian Open

Only a few points separated No. 127-ranked Amer Delic from forcing a fifth set against world No. 3 Novak Djokovic, but it was not to be Friday at the Australian Open.


Prior to the fourth-set tiebreak, Delic had two set points to stretch the match to a fifth, but Djokovic erased one with an ace, and the next in a tense rally. In the breaker the score remained tight at the beginning before a bold Djokovic stopped play mid-point to challenge a call using the Hawkeye video instant replay, which showed he was correct on the out ball by mere millimeters.

Delic then collapsed in a series of tight errors to finish the breaker and the match, allowing the Serb Djokovic to advance 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(4).

While the Djokovic-Delic encounter was a respectful and even friendly one between the two players, ethnic violence nonetheless broke out after the match between Serb and Bosnian fans. Flying chairs knocking a woman unconscious, and insults and water bottles were also launched, resulting in approximately 30 Serb and Bosnian fans ejected from Melbourne Park.

“There’s absolutely no place for that here. This is a tennis match,” said the Americanized-Bosnian Jacksonville, Fla.-based Delic, who before the match plead with Bosnian fans for a violence-free encounter. “As I’m sure you all saw at the end, Novak and I are friends. We’re both competitors. In the end it was a fair match, and there was no reason for such things.”

The Djokovic-Delic match turned out to be the steak on Friday in Melbourne, and the battle of former No. 1s in No. 2-seeded Roger Federer against No. 26-seeded Marat Safin merely the sizzle. The much-anticipated meeting was not allowed to become a party as the Swiss quickly shut the lid on the barbie 6-3, 6-2, 7-6(5).

In other seeded play, No. 7 Andy Roddick had no time for tricks, muscling Fabrice “The Magician” Santoro off the stage in straight sets; No. 8 Juan Martin del Potro weathered the big serving of Luxembourg’s Gilles Muller in four sets; rangy No. 19 seed Marin Cilic of Croatia upset burnt-out No. 11 seed David Ferrer in three; No. 20 Tomas Berdych ousted No. 15 Stan Wawrinka in four sets; and No. 21 Tommy Robredo made quick work of Fat Dave-conqueror Yen-Hsun Lu 6-1, 6-3, 6-2.

In a match ending after 9 a.m. Friday morning ET in the U.S., 2006 Australian Open finalist Marcos Baghdatis displayed his old form in dispatching of No. 23-seeded Mardy Fish in straight sets.

Highlights on Saturday at Melbourne Park include (1) Rafael Nadal vs. former No. 2 Tommy Haas, (4) Andy Murray vs. (31) Jurgen “Tuna” Melzer, the back-addled (5) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs. Dudi “Where’s My Car?” Sela, (6) Gilles Simon vs. Mario “Baby Goran” Ancic, (9) James Blake (9) vs. (18) Igor Andreev, (12) Gael “Force” Monfils vs. Spanish grinder (17) Nicolas Almagro, (13) Fernando “Gonzo” Gonzalez vs. (24) Richard “Baby Fed” Gasquet, and (14) Fernando “Hot Sauce” Verdasco vs. “The Worm,” (22) Radek Stepanek

Ivanovic Exits, Dokic Thrills Fans at Aussie Open

Former No. 1 Ana Ivanovic’s poor play at this year’s Australian Open indicated it wasn’t a matter of if the Serb was going to lose prior to the late rounds, but when. That loss came Friday when unseeded 19-year-old Alisa Kleybanova put the struggling Serb out of her misery 7-5, 6-7(5), 6-2 in the third round.

The No. 5-ranked Ivanovic lost her serve nine times and finished with a horrible -27 ratio of unforced errors to winners — 50 unforced errors to just 23 winners. Ivanovic left the court apparently near tears after the emotional, screaming, fist-pumping display from both players.

Unseeded Jelena Dokic remained the focus for Aussie fans in Melbourne, with the former Top 5er pulling off another seeded upset Friday, taking out No. 11 Caroline Wozniacki 3-6, 6-1, 6-2.

Down a set, Dokic fought back to steamroll the 18-year-old Danish star-in-the-making. Ever-gracious during her comeback this year and re-unification with Tennis Australia, Dokic afterwards expressed her gratitude to the Aussie crowd, and even apologized for her years as a temperamental Top 10 player, driven by her dominating father to abandon Australian tennis and her Australian citizenship.

“Sorry for being a pain,” she said to a Melbourne crowd. “I really made things difficult at times.”

Dokic is in the fourth round of a Slam for the first time since Wimbledon of 2002, and has a chance to one-up her effort once again in the next round against Ivanovic’s conqueror, Kleybanova.

Other winners Friday were (1) Jelena Jankovic who dispatched of veteran (26) Ai Sugiyama 6-4, 6-4; (3) Dinara Safina who dropped only four games against (25) Kaia Kanepi; (7) Vera Zvonareva who straight-setted Sara Errani; (10) Nadia Petrova who advanced when opponent Galina Voskoboeva retired with injury; (15) Alize Cornet who outlasted (19) Daniela Hantuchova from a set down; and (16) Marion Bartoli who likewise defeated unseeded Czech Lucie Safarova from a set down.

Australian players of old, especially the men, were renowned for palling around on tour and supporting each other as a group, a “team” mindset lost on today’s generation of players who are insulated from each other via multiple coaches, trainers, agents, masseuses and other members of their large posses.

The modern-day minded Russian Safina, not unlike countrywoman Maria Sharapova, intoned, ‘F*** that, I’m here for me’ when asked about the success of her fellow Russians at this year’s Aussie Open.

“I’m proud of them, but I’m really just focusing on myself and not following how many of them there are [remaining in the draw],” said Safina on her Russian countrywomen. “I’m really happy, it’s my first time in the fourth round here.”

Highlights on tap for Saturday in Melbourne include (2) Serena Williams vs. China’s Shuai Peng, (4) Elena Dementieva vs. Aussie Samantha Stosur, and (13) Victoria Azarenka vs. former No. 1 (20) Amelie Mauresmo.

TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS

Novak Djokovic is on a 10-match win streak in Melbourne…

Roger Federer has won nine straight sets this week…

Andy Roddick has two wins over qualifiers and another over the oldest player in the field…

Among the 16 men in action Saturday, there will be four Frenchmen and three Spaniards. Sounds like the French Open doesn’t it?…

James Blake has never lost to Igor Andreev in five matches, winning 12 of 13 sets…

Rafael Nadal is bidding for his 150th career hardcourt win…

Streakers, chair fights, what’s next to come in Melbourne?…

Since winning the French Open, Ana Ivanovic reached the 3rd RD at Wimbledon, 2nd RD at the US Open and the 3rd RD at the Australian Open. Not impressive…

Rafael Nadal is the only player in his half with a Slam title…

27-year-old Roger Federer is the oldest guy left in the bottom half. Weird, eh?…

Tommy Haas has never won a set off Rafael Nadal in three tries…

Juan Martin del Potro, Marin Cilic and Andy Murray are all undefeated this year…

Dudi Sela is the last qualifier standing. He’s trying to become the first Israeli to reach a Slam 4th RD since Amos Mansdorf at the ’92 Australian Open…

Mario Ancic earned his 200th career match victory when he defeated countryman Ivo Karlovic on Thursday…

So why did Tennis Channel wait until a set and a half in to switch to American Amer Delic vs. world No. 3 Novak Djokovic? From two other lower-ranking matches they were covering with no American players? Dumbasses…

CRACK COMMENTARY: Gilles Muller double faults in the tiebreak against Juan Martin del Potro, and the Tennis Channel commentator says, “That’s just what you don’t want to do in the tiebreak!” Good stuff, insightful…LAUGHER: Tennis Channel promo of the Roger Federer-Marat Safin match ending with the words FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION on the screen…

Aren’t those Oreo licking commercials with the Williams sisters just — obscenely strange? Like that is something that you really just don’t want to see, or shouldn’t be privy to?…

American Mardy Fish gets hammered by ESPN commentators for ‘not wanting it enough’ against Marcos Baghdatis…

A man naked from the waist down danced across the court during the Williams’ sisters doubles match — presumably coming straight from the Beer Garden. Good effort at the “Happy Slam”…

Bud Collins speaking to the Herald Sun on the Williams sisters insisting they will never again play at the WTA event in Indian Wells after what they described years back as a racial incident at the event after they were booed: “It’s very unprofessional. Athletes get booed, but they said they don’t care what kind of tournament it is and they’re making the WTA bend. If it was anyone else who did that they would be fined and suspended.”…

Cameron Noakes writing for The Age: “Do you ever have those days when you wake with a bad song stuck in your head and no matter what you do, what you think, the song just replays itself endlessly? And I don’t know how it got there, and there’s no rhyme or reason for it, but yesterday I woke to Van Morrison singing: “Have I told you Lleyton that I love you?” It was a frightening experience. I couldn’t even read the newspaper in peace, without Van singing: “Fill my heart with madness, take way my gladness, wear your cap backwards, that’s what you do.” Just for the record, I’m not sticking it to Lleyton. I like him. Well, like is probably a bit strong…actually, the more I think about it, “like” is wrong. In fact, is there anything to like about Lleyton? When Jimmy Connors first took the tennis world by storm he was the bad boy of the game and the conservative masses shook their heads and tutted. Ilie “Nasty” Nastase was also a hot head and superbrat John McEnroe threw “a tanty” like no other. By the time McEnroe came along, Connors was adored by the same people who frowned upon him. Essentially, all of these flawed men were lovable because they had personality. They were capable of humour and self awareness and, like Andre Agassi, they were smart enough to grow and change. We knew this by their actions on and off the court. Discussing Hewitt’s game style the other day, Jim Courier said: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.”…

Sounds like Serena Williams is behind Mary Joe Fernandez as the new Fed Cup captain, replacing Zina Garrison, though not quite behind playing Fed Cup for the U.S. in 2009: “…it was good for [Fernandez] to be able to get that opportunity. She’s obviously done a lot. Growing up I watched her so many times coming back from behind and winning, you know, doing so well in her career. I had an opportunity to play with her once actually in Fed Cup, I believe back in ’99. So that was a great opportunity, as well. I think she would offer a lot of good advice for me and things that I can probably do to help my game. And, you know, I would love to play in the future. This year with the new schedule, the new commitments, I don’t think it’s the best time for me. But I can’t wait to have that opportunity.”…

Aussie Chris Guccione will be coached by former Mark Philippoussis coach Peter McNamara on a trial basis…

From a 2005 tennis story in ESPN the Magazine: “Singles tennis is an individual sport. There are no courtside coaches, no substitutions, no emotional breathers. Instead, there is face-to-face competition that breeds a sort of instant loathing. As in boxing, you alone are responsible for glory or shame. So it is no surprise that egos run amok in tennis, because without an unnatural belief in your ability, you may as well not even show up.” — Guess that’s out the door, eh, at least on the WTA Tour, where the women need their (mostly male) coaches to come on court between sets to give them strategic advice they should know for themselves and to tell them, ‘You’re great! You’re better than her! You’re deserve to win! Have some f***ing self-esteem! Hey, can I grab one of these Gatorades to take back to my seat?’…


Also Check Out:
Ana Ivanovic On Boyfriend Adam Scott: “He Aced Me A Few Times”
Unseeded Serena Williams, Clijsters to Meet Early at Rogers Cup
Ana Ivanovic Has A New Coach, His Name Is Dejan Petrovic
Kvitova, Top Seeds Cruise; Stosur Exits Early at Australian Open
Tennis-X Funk/Trunk: Murray Funky, Federer Not

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59 Comments for Djokovic Escapes, Ivanovic Out, Hot Dokic at Australian Open

Beatrice Says:

Hm.. You didn´t say a lot about roger x marat’s match. I think they deserve more space here. You should read their interviews. They´re great.

Novak is not impressing me at all.. I don´t think he´s gonna reach the semifinals.(who was that guy? Delic is really good!) Andy Roddick is playing very well, but haven´t faced a challenge yet.

Nadal is playing very well too. I dont believe Haas will bring him a lot of problem, but I also think that Nadal isn´t playing his best. I wouldn´t bet on him.

Murray’s match yesterday really annoyed me! He seemed to be lazy and just hoping the other guy would make an error. Just too boring to watch.

I´m really excited for the Gonzalez x Gasquet meeting. I hope Gasquet can win .He´s one of my favourites, but I´m not very confident. Fena should take this one..


I like tennis bullies Says:

:: The “Happy Slam” getting a lot of buzz, even in the tennis-unfriendly U.S. media. ::

The happy slam is riddled with fights breaking out amongst ethnic camps, racial conflict and strife.

:: Andy Roddick has two wins over qualifiers and another over the oldest player in the field… ::

roger federer has two wins over journeymen and another over one of the most mentally and emotionally fragile players in the field…


jane Says:

The scoreline between Djokovic and Delic:

6-2, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(4)

The scoreline between Federer and Safin:

6-3, 6-2, 7-6(5).

The only difference is that Delic took a set, but otherwise, Djokovic and Federer lost/won the same amount of games in the sets they did in the sets which they won.

I didn’t stay up to watch Fed/Safin, but it looks like the usual. I remember at Wimbledon, in 07 I think, it was similar, with Safin only competing in 1 set. I thought maybe, since he’s retiring (supposedly anyhow) that Marat might be swinging more freely. But the better form player came through. This is a good sign for Federer.


jane Says:

What’s with Ivanovic? She has just crashed and burned since early last year, when she made the finals of the AO and won the French. I don’t love watching her anyhow but it’s an odd 180 turn of events. I prefer JJ by far of the two Serbs. And I still want Dementieva or Safina in contention on the women’s side, but I have not yet caught one of Dokic’s matches; she seems to be on a roll.


jane Says:

See: even Safin, a guy on the court with them, can’t pick a winner! It’s great. I will miss Marat a lot. It was sad to read his post-match interview:

———————————
Q. I know it’s hard for you, but who is your tip to go on and win the tournament?

MARAT SAFIN: Well, it’s too early to say. Roger, he’s definitely playing well. He played really well today. In the important moments he was at his best. He served well.

Also surprised me a lot Murray, the way he’s moving and the playing around the court and the way he observes the other player on the beginning of the match. He’s very clever and great hands. He’s one more person to counsel. Djokovic is there. He’s dangerous.

I’m pretty sure that ‑‑ anybody else coming to my head right now. Definitely going to come up somebody. Gilles Simon, for example.

There will be somebody. Third round. A little bit too early to speculate about it. We’ll see. Roddick is there.

Q. What about Nadal?

MARAT SAFIN: Oh, yeah. Exactly. See. That’s what I’m missing. He’s the one who managed to beat Federer in almost all the surfaces. I mean, grass, he took him on grass, which is barely impossible and he managed.

So I think he has all the chances here if he gets to the final.


andrea Says:

too bad delic couldn’t hold it together to force a fifth set….would have been a great upset.


Oleg Says:

I think it’s a bit sad what happened with the fans but then again this was to be expected.

I saw coverage of Delic’s first two matches and the fans were just acting like jerks. (against T.Dent and P.H.Mathieu).
There’s a limit being between enthusiastic and being obnoxious that they crossed a long time ago.


MMT Says:

Speaking of Roddick – did anyone see on the ESPN coverage they briefly showed the clip of Roddick brushing Santoro back with a 140mph serve, but the angle they chose didn’t show Santoro ghosting 2 steps to his left…anyway. No drillings today unfortunately, but Gilbert did get it right and call it as unsportsmanlike for Santoro to quit on the next point.


JE Says:

Jane-AI is following Sharapovas’ career track. GS
breakthrough, bigtime endorsement deals and a lot of distractions. MS’ performance also dropped for a year after Wimbledon. AI hasn’t had a coach for quite a while and a romance on top of everything is too much. She dropped Verdasco and is moving in the right direction IMO. A coach will help her with tactics; it’s not enough to hit the ball hard anymore. Maybe not the most likeable star on tour but she will be a force again.


MMT Says:

He’s the irony, as soon as Ivanovic started coming to net and cutting off the points she started clawing her way back, but as soon as she got comfortable, she’d go back behind the baseline again, and that’s just not happening when a player like Kleybanova is laying into her shots like she was today, left right and center. Full credit to her for going for it, but if she like James Blake and Korolev think they can go deep in the draw going for broke on every point, I’ve got some ocean front property in Nebraska I’d like to sell them.


jane Says:

JE,

Ivanovic’s match was just replayed and to me it looks like she’s playing way too defensively. She’s not taking it to her opponent. I know that sounds like a cliche, but in her case it’s true. And she doesn’t have the defense that JJ has either, so that’s why she needs to stick to her earlier tactics of going for big forehands. The commentators kept saying she’s got the “yips” on her serve but I don’t know precisely what they mean. I can see she’s just getting the ball in the box and not really placing her serves. Maybe that’s the “yips”?

———————————–

MMT,

I read your comments re: the Delic and Djokovic match on the other thread. They are mostly very positive, yet most of the press are spinning as though Djokovic looks very shaky and so on. Do you disagree?


Mary Says:

“Safin: …He’s the one who managed to beat Federer in almost all the surfaces. ”
of course, like, all of the surfaces are the same speed now.

Who exactly is going to pay money to see the Williams sisters play Jelena and Ivanovic play for $1.2 million in cash and prizes?
You can at MSG in March.There will be the obligatory BJK-gets-an-award presentation.

AO: is the “what is THAT person doing in the finals” going to come out of the women’s side this year?


MMT Says:

I totally disagree – the press are only interested in who appears to be playing well, but equally important is who is COMPETING and Djokovic dropping 125mph bombs on break point is just as important as blowing someone off the court, because it’s unlikely that he’ll do that in the semi-final and final.

Also, he’s not playing that badly – he’s had some stiff competition who have raised their games, Delic in particular, and they should be impressed that despite this guy hitting 100mph forehands, 6 inch slicers and flat hard backhands up the line, the Djoker is finding ways to win – which is exactly what will happen when he plays Federer, Nadal or Murray, Tsonga, etc.

That’s why, to me, Fed’s results, as good as they’ve been don’t convince me that he’s going to take the title. Is he going to blow the Djoker, Nadal, Murray or Tsonga off the court like he has the others. Fair enough, Safin is now wall-flower, but he’s not at the level of these other 4, and I would be surprised if he had it easy.

Last year, and twice to Murray this year, many his losses came after winning the first set, and even sometimes holding a break in the second. He’s lost his nerve, so if I see him fight well, like he did against Andreev last year at the US Open, then I’ll be convinced. To me, right now Djokovic is has passed all his many tests.


andrea Says:

holy sweet jesus – watching the ivanovic/kleybanova match.

amazing stuff.


JE Says:

Jane- The ‘yips’ are due to not fully extending through the ball–which reduces velocity; being tentative. It can come from an overall loss of confidence and the bad habits that creep in. A coach will help her with that and improve her focus. She seems to ‘get it’ in the sense that overconfidence only helps your opponent-something that crept in last year.

Kleybanova deserves more ink/pixels. She started 2008 ranked 156. She was fairly consistent making
4th round at Wimbledon; most of her losses to top 30 players. Oddly, she only played ITF events after US Open, I assume to fulfill commitments. Whatever the reason, it probably cost her points not playing the high value tournaments. So to come into AO seeded was a real achievement.


MMT Says:

Jane, just to add to JE comments, I watched Dementieva’s 1st round match on the tennis channel, and Navratilova explained that the problems on their serves come from the placement of the toss – too far to the right or left causing the server to “fall off the cliff”, which means landing after the serve somewhere other than the direction of the serve.

This also happens to Venus Williams when her serve goes off the rails. While it’s difficult sometimes to discern the placement of the toss, you can always tell by where the player lands after the serve. If it isn’t straight in the direction of the serve, the toss was no good, and should have been caught, rather than chased with the stroke.

The other problem with bad toss placement presents is tipping your opponent off to the direction of the serve, which lets them take that one step towards the ball before its served and really belt the return, which Kleybanova did all day today.

McEnroe described an exercise he did with one of his earlier coaches, a guy named Tony Palafox who, if I’m not mistaken, was a Mexican Davis Cup player in the 60′s, who coached at the Hopman Academy in New York. Palafox would have McEnroe practice his serve, and as the ball left his hand on the toss, would tell him which direction to hit it, forcing him to keep the toss in the same place, and conceal the direction of the stroke.

It worked pretty well for McEnroe who, to this day, has one of the best serves in tennis.


Von Says:

MMT:

Of all the ESPN commentators I like to listen to Brad Gilbert, who even though he and Roddick have split up, appears to have a huge amount of admiration for his former pupil and would like to see him move up in the rankings.

He spoke last evening on the complexity of the Roddick serve, and mentioned that Roddick is able to disguise where he hits the serve despite the toss. I’ve watched Roddick’s toss, and it’s amazing the amount of revolutions/rotations the ball makes, with a good deal of spin too, before it makes contact with his racquet, and when it does, he just whacks it in several different directions, leaving his opponent utterly lost as to where it will land.

I’ve heard Corina Morariu state of Ivanovic’s ball toss as being way off, and veering to the left which causes her to be unbalanced. Watching Ivanovic’s ball toss, it’s also apparent that her toss is much too high and because of it’s awkward descent, veering to the left and at times all over the place, she’s being pulled away from her position, culminating in a very poor serve delivery.

Dementieva has been working with a coach to better her serve and it has been paying dividends — less double faults and better placement.


aye aye Says:

Ewwww Kleybanova wringing out her ponytail on court. Martina was not amused.


Von Says:

In some ways Djokovic does look shaky. Delic was able to pressure his serve in quite a few of Djoko’s service games. The difference between Delic and dDokovic is in their return games, where djokovic is able to take his backhand down the line, and Delic at times, I feel, is a bit like James Blake, just whacking the ball as hard as he can. On the occasions he does that, he overhits out of the court.


MMT Says:

Von – good points about the serve – and one more to add. The toss is too high, which is often the case with women because the faster descending ball on a higher toss can contribute to better speed coming off the strings. However, the higher the toss, faster the ball drops, and the less time it spends in the strike zone, making hitting the sweep spot on the serve very difficult.

The hardest serves in history typically have very short tosses – Tanner, Ivanisevic, Curren, they all had very short tosses, as did most players in the wood era. There have been a few exceptions, Becker and Sampras’s tosses are pretty standard, not too high and not to low. The only two I’ve ever seen with a very high toss and a great serve were Graf and Lendl.

Those two could have made it rain with their tosses.


Kroll Says:

I understand the Ivanovic match being top focus, but did anyone catch the Dokic match? As good as Wozniak is, Dokic was very inspired at times. She has a decent serve, superb return of serve and a really good defense. And I am also surprised by the levels of fitness she has been displaying, considering she has barely played tennis at this level the past few months. She should have beaten Chakvetadze in straight sets, till she choked but she was very consistent in last night’s match.

And I havent seen Ivanovic play for a while, but did anyone notice that she does this slightly exaggerated shuffle towards the T just when the opponent is serving? I wonder if she distracts herself more than the opponent doing that.


Von Says:

“Andy Roddick has two wins over qualifiers and another over the oldest player in the field…”

Seems as though someone in “staff’ is out to make Roddick look like a misfit or some throwback by belaboring the point, over the past 3-4 days, that Roddick has played only qualifiers and the oldest player on tour. Malisse, a very tough competitor, fell in the rankings due to illness.

The same can be said for the marvellous “Top 4″. How many of their competitors thus far, are high ranked, and Andy Murray got a retirement from Pavel, who’s somewhere in his early thirties, and who have the others played? Stoppini, Delic and Chardy are challengers. Nadal mentioned that his meeting with Haas will be the first difficult competitor he’s faced. And, it’s not like Safin is in his hey day, either. Roddick played Gulbis, Santoro, and Seppi in the USO, while the Top ranked were playing qualifiers. How is it that juicy detail was overlooked at that time.

So Staff, in view of the above, what’s your point? Is it mainly just to discredit the Americans? And, can the Americans do anything right? There was such a brouhaha about so many of them going out in the first round, Sunday, is it their fault that the scheduler just innocently scheduled all of them to play on the same day, thus eliminating virtually the whole squad? They could have been spread out over the first 3 days, but that wouldn’t make a great headline would it? How many Spaniards are left from their contingent, even though they weren’t all scheduled to play on the same day, how so? I suppose that fact wouldn’t have made as good a headline, would it? Give it a break will ya.


Colin Says:

It may look as though Murray is just returning the ball and waiting for the other guy to make a mistake, but actually he is FORCING that mistake with the variety of his returns. The better commentators know this, and say so.
Serena Williams has taken a lot of stick concerning her weight, but did you see Kanepi, who lost to Safina?


Von Says:

MMT:

Have you ever watched Hrbaty’s toss. It’s said to be the highest. I suppose he doesn’t live by the motto: “The higher they go, the harder they fall”.
____________
Kroll:

“And I havent seen Ivanovic play for a while, but did anyone notice that she does this slightly exaggerated shuffle towards the T just when the opponent is serving? I wonder if she distracts herself more than the opponent doing that.”

Do you mean those squeaky sneakers that pierces through the opponent’s last healthy nerve? Hantuchova complained about that distraction. Somehow Ivanovic’s legs seem clumsy in a funny sort of way, which I can’t explain. It’s sort of a pigen-toed and knock-kneed look, which makes her movement appear funny.

I think Ivanovic uses up too much energy with that ridiculous fist pump of hers. Lose the fist pumps. Oy Vey!!


MMT Says:

I’m probably over commenting here, but last year, in the semi-final with Hantuchova, Ivanovic was shuffling her feet during the service delivery and making a VERY loud squeaking noise with her sneakers. At some point Hantuchova caught her toss and complained to the umpire to no avail. Later the press asked her about it and she said it was “a bit ridiculous” but Ivanovic professed her innocence. Sharapova seemed to have no problem with it at all.

I also noticed that she was shuffling and moving around a lot on Kleybanova’s second serve. Two years ago, Jim Courier and Tracy Austin had a VERY heated discussion at the US Open about the gamesmanship of moving around on the second serve in a match between Sharapova and Radwanksa – Austin said all fair in love, war and tennis, and Courier said it was completely bush of Radwanska to distract the server by moving around.

Personally I’m with Tracy Austin on this. I mean if a player can adjust the hair, stare at the opponent, bounce it 20 times, tie the shoelaces, pick a wedgie, towel off, cough, spit and dance a jig before they serve, I hardly think it’s gamesmanship to shuffle around a bit when receiving.


MMT Says:

Von, you beat me to the squeaky shoes controversy! But yes, I noticed Hrbaty’s toss at the Hopman cup, and it’s absurd. The same with Kiefer – it’s so high he appears to be chasing it as it comes crashing down.


JE Says:

Von- Right. All Mom was doing was protecting her daughter (Elena D.) from greatness. Coaching matters.

It will be interesting to see Kuzy’s progress after shaking things up and leaving Barcelona.


Von Says:

Kroll:

Kanepi, Wozniak, and Kleybonova are all on the pleasingly plump side, joining Serena. If their game is good and effective, the weight shouldn’t be an issue, however, if their game suffers because of their plumpness, then they need to do something about it and fast.

Then we have Dulko, who looks anorexic and is so painfully frail. If she had a few more pounds on her body, she’d be able to whack the ball like her boyfriend Gonzo. I beleive it’s one of the reasons Dulko has not moved up in the rankings.

On the other side of the coin, there are some of the men who are painfully thin, and look as if a strong puff of wind will move them towards the flagpoles, holding on for dear life. Cilic and DelPotro could certainly add on some more bulk. If Cilic wants to move up higher, he’ll need the extra weight or else he’ll be worn out/fatigued after a few 5 setters.

That little guy Wu, who beat Nalby, is an example of why it’s good to have some extra pounds. His match with Nalby took all he had, and then some, and as a result, Robredo made light work of their match.


Oleg Says:

Some predictions…

Rafael Nadal vs. Tommy Haas
Rafa in 3

Andy Murray vs. Jurgen Melzer
Murray in 3

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs. Dudi Sela
Tsonga in 3

Gilles Simon vs. Mario “Baby Goran” Ancic
Simon in 5

James Blake (9) vs. (18) Igor Andreev
Blake in 4

Gael Monfils vs Nicolas Almagro
Monfils in 3

Fernando Gonzalez vs. Richard Gasquet
Gasquet in 4

Fernando Verdasco vs Radek Stepanek
Verdasco in 5


Polo Says:

Nobody talks about her but I get some good vibes about Zvonareva for this AO.


Von Says:

Polo:

I think Zvonareva is a good player, but she’s very emotional and when she’s upset she loses her perspective. She reminds me of Chakvetadze, who would blow a perfectly good match by becoming weepy and angry. Hantuchova used to be the biggest cry-baby, but I notice she’s toughened up somewhat.

_____________
Oleg;

I pick Sela over Tsonga in 4; Stepanek over Verdasco in 4, and Ancic over Simon in 5.


jane Says:

Thanks to both JE and MMT for the expert feedback on service yips, as those are related to confidence, toss, etc. You’re both very informative – more so than some of the announcers!


jane Says:

MMT – “Two years ago, Jim Courier and Tracy Austin had a VERY heated discussion at the US Open about the gamesmanship of moving around on the second serve in a match between Sharapova and Radwanksa – Austin said all fair in love, war and tennis, and Courier said it was completely bush of Radwanska to distract the server by moving around.”

I remember that conversation! It was, as you put it, “heated”, and the incident/match was interesting too. Radwanska wasn’t just moving around, if I remember correctly, she was standing in the middle of the court, practically, and bouncing on everyone of Sharapova’s second serves. But Maria never complained in her post-match interview. She said it’s up to her to stay focused. So people are really of two-minds on the issue.

——————————–
Von,

I agree with your assessment of Djokovic /Delic, but I’d add that while Djoko’s serve was indeed pressured, at least he was able to save all but 1 breakpoint, and at the same time he was able to convert more breakpoint opportunities so that’s part of it too. But Delic played a stellar match.

I also agree that Xavier is a tough out, and should not really be seen as a mere “qualifier”; I mentioned this on the last thread in which the Staff commented on Andy’s accomplishments.


Kroll Says:

MMT

“but Ivanovic professed her innocence. Sharapova seemed to have no problem with it at all.”

Now that would be something wouldn’t it – Sharapova compaining about someone else being annoying!

Though I must say, its the ridiculous sound that she makes when she drags her feet sideways and pierces the calm, more than the visual aspect which I think is ok.


Von Says:

JE: & MMT:

I posted to both of you a while back, but my post got snarled, my apologies..

JE: On Dementieva, I feel she a complete player, similar to Davydenko, but her serve has been her Achilles heel for several years now, since she developed that sholulder injury. Finally, last year in March, she began working with someone in South Florida and did the same during the off season,’08, and the results are most promising. what a pity she didn’t make that decision a few years ago. She’d probably have won a slam by now.
______________
MMT:

I believe our posts on the squeaky shoes crossed at 5:07 and 5:08, respectively. What can I say, great minds think alike, and fools seldom differ. I’m not a great mind, but you are.

I had written a bit more on the server’s ball toss, but I’m too lazy to reconstruct it again. What I notice in the players with the high toss which veers away from them in different directions, and is even worse when it’s windy, is that it gives them very little time once the ball connects with their racquets to set up their serve, and that causes them to dump their serve into the net, which leaves them vulnerable and dependent on their second serve to bail them out. And, per the experts, a player is only as good as his senond serve.

______________
jane:
Yes, Djoko did convert on his break point opportunities. I was actually amazed at Delic’s performance. This is a guy who used to go out in the first round of the smaller tournaments, due to various injuries, and he has now played 3 five-set matches. Just goes to show how badly injuries can affect a player’s performance.

I feel that Djoko’s biggest problem presently, is his forehand. He seems to have little control over it and is spraying his forehand shots. Fed’s forehand is now cured and Djoko has now contracted the forehand malady.


jane Says:

Von,

Yeah I’ve noticed that “forehand malady,” as you diagnose it; I was opining on the other thread that I thought it might be due to the new racquet, but whatever it is, it’s not been as accurate.


Von Says:

Monfils is making easy work of almagro. He’s playing effff-orlesss-ly!! I wonder if nadal is watching because they could meet in the QFs unless gonzo takes out Monfils first. roger Rasheed has worked wonders with Monfils!

I’m one who hasn’t jumed on the JMDP bandwagon for the sole purpose that he reminds me a lot of Almagro and Juan Monaco — both of those guys were very hot and they’ve faded practically into oblivion. I’m still debating about JMDP, and he could prove me very wrong. we’ll see.

Serena ‘s match is on as I write. I think someone should present her with a whole-length mirror. Her skirt is so much shorter than her knickers and even when standing her knickers are jutting out about 3 inches. She’s probably aware of it and feels very self-conscious because she keeps pulling it down all of the time. The same is happening with her so very tight top. How can she concentrate on her game and her outfit at the same time — it has to be distracting for her. Oh wow.


Von Says:

jane;

This is a joke, but Djoko needs to me make an appointment and take his forehand to see a doctor, probably one who specializes in ‘forehand malady’. Ha, ha.


Ezorra Says:

Von says;

“…because they could meet in the QFs unless gonzo takes out Monfils first…”

Do you mean Giles Simon?


jane Says:

Yes, Monfils seems to be humming along, although Almagro is doing a bit better in this set so far, pushing a little bit. I am guess this Ancic vs. Simon match is going to be a grinder. They’ve already exchanged breaks.

Von, maybe Federer can recommend a doctor, or cure? Then again, he may not want to. ha!


Ezorra Says:

As Nadal fan, I hope that Gasquet will be his opponent (in the 4th round) instead of Gonzalez and for the quarter final, I would rather see Nadal vs Simon as opposed to Nadal vs Monfils due to the fact that Monfil’s performance in Qatar last 2 weeks was very creepy for all Nadal fans to watch!


Von Says:

Ezorra:

I suppose I’m expecting people to be mind readers. I should have stated that if Monfils takes out the winner of the Simon v. Ancic match, and if Nadal is the winner in his section, then Monfils could be waiting for him in the QFs.


jane Says:

These Frenchies – Wow. And they’re all on this side of the draw: Monfils is through; Simon is up a set and a break; Gasquet and Tsonga will be playing soon, and both have at least a fighting chance.


Andrew Miller Says:

I agree with Jane about her comment on Djokovic and the ball bouncing shorter, and an apparent difficulty in adjusting to the racquet (is it lighter than the one he was using?)

I was mistaken in believing that Amer Delic could “read” the serve placement of Djokovic – from one game to the next, Djokovic would adjust where he placed the ball: one game it would be serve down the T on deuce and serve out wide on the ads, and the next game it would be serve out wide on the deuce and serve down the T on the ads! So, clearly Delic would have been thinking “last game Djokovic served out wide on the deuce side – I will make sure to be there” and then, of course, Djokovic stuns him down the T on the deuce side. This is to say – Djokovic knows how to mix up his serve placement and does not follow a recognizable pattern. Anyone on tour would have had trouble following it because it can’t be followed…the returner could only hope for some second serves.

However, I think the big deal is that, even playing not very well the first three rounds, Djokovic has overcome those challenges. None of his matches have gone five sets and he has done his best to close them out, no? That is a good sign – to make it through matches based on sheer will and conditioning. If he’s yet to play his best tennis, that’s actually a good thing for Djokovic – he needs it when it counts!

I liked how Amer Delic plays – does anyone else feel that the serve and volley style is actually WORKING on these slow-ish courts? I think MMT gave a big nod to Delic for bringing a big power game to Melbourne, and I couldn’t help but thinking that it looked a little like Boris Becker out there or Michael Stich, with equally good ground strokes when they were struck well, but less consistency and some missed opportunities. A lot of them, but a helluva match!

As for others…I have not seen a lot of the other players but I am glad Baghdatis is back. I am glad Roddick is playing well. I do have a nagging feeling that Djokovic is vulnerable out there – surely that is driving him but Delic’s game was causing some problems for Djokovic, and Roddick’s game is bigger than Delic’s, and Roddick’s movement, better.

My last comments: what do you think about Alize Cornet and Dokic? I was really surprised by Cornet – I am always pulling for Hantuchova because of her unbelievable groundstrokes in my opinion…they are so good! But Cornet seems to have a lot of guts and I admire that – she beats players and she outfights them, and that reminds me of Henin though their styles are different – the mentality amazes me. And Dokic…is she not the story of the tournament?


jane Says:

Holy Hotsauce! He is smoking Stepanek off the court, possibly cooking 2 bagels in a row. No worm tonight.


jane Says:

Andrew,

The other good thing about Djoko’s serve besides the mixing up: his toss is tough to read, and his second serve can be very effective. However, he also can be inconsistent in first serve percentage, which is when he sometimes gets in trouble.

Good question about the racquet: I don’t know enough about the technicalities, but something is different and I do think it’s affecting his forehand (as Von mentioned) as well as depth/accuracy.

I agree that Roddick, if Djokovic gets past Baggy, who seems to be moving into some excellent form, will be a super tough test.

This tournament is still up in the air for me; I can’t call it, which is wonderful. The round of 16 matches are shaping up into an eclectic mix of youngins, middlers, and statesmen – champions, pretenders, and comers.

Couldn’t ask for much more – except maybe better commentators, and less crowd weirdness; what with the brawls and nudity, it’s a bit much!


Abby818911 Says:

Hi everyone! I love reading the comments on here – its great to see others’ perspectives about everything. Also, wanted to thank you all because I have learned a ton from reading the posts. What website is the “other thread” on that you talk about? Thanks again!


Von Says:

Here’s another live stream folr the AO. i haven’t tried it yet but the more the merrier.

http://channelhopper.co.uk/this-weekends-sports-streams/live-tennis/


Hypnos Says:

Perhaps I’m just a huge nerd (actually, a professional one), but it really grates on me when I read “The No. 5-ranked Ivanovic lost her serve nine times and finished with a horrible -27 ratio of unforced errors to winners — 50 unforced errors to just 23 winners.”

It should read “The No. 5-ranked Ivanovic lost her serve nine times and finished with a horrible -27 DIFFERENTIAL between winner and unforced errors — just 23 winners to 50 unforced errors.”

I now return to adjusting my pocket protector.


blah Says:

Ughhhhh why did Gasquet have to lose =(. He was playing better in the fifth set despite the toe injury not allowing him to move laterally at all. The whole match I was saying to myself I’d be glad if he reached second week. If only he had a forehand.

I hope Nadal crushes Gonzo now.


Polo Says:

“Roddick has two wins over qualifiers and another over the oldest player in the field…”

What does Roddick have to do with that? He did not ask for who he should play against. That quote was made just to be derided. And so, I am deriding you now. That was just a sour grape, insensitively senseless comment.

I felt bad for Gasguet, too. But although he lost, I was not too disappointed unlike with his previous losses where he looked disinterested and choking towards the end. I hope he remains healthy and determined.

Nadal is well, Nadal. I don’t see any tough matches in front of him until maybe, the semifinal. Even that could change.

Federer has been playing very well although I still worry whenever he plays a young upcoming player with a lot of talent. Berdych is one of them.

I feel happy for those who appear to be declining last year who seem to be have regained some footing at this Australian Open. Among them Gasquet, Baghdatis and Dokic. Maybe Berdych, too? We will know soon.


blah Says:

Gasquet will actually lose points because he got further in AO last year. Unless he gets a consistent forehand I am starting to think he’s never going to win a slam, or maybe be anything more than a one slam wonder if he catches fire in one slam.

This is a great field overall though, and I still think Simon can push Nadal to the brink if they end up playing each other.


jane Says:

Blah,

Have you heard Jim Courier’s comments on the Gasquet forehand? Courier believes it’s inconsistently is all to do with timing, that the shot is too dependent on being perfectly timed, if it is slightly off, it’s not effective. He did an analysis of it, I think last year during one of the events, where he put up slow motion images of the forehand and everything; it was very interesting – & possibly true?


aye aye Says:

Roddick had 2 qualifiers and an old man. Let’s see how he fares with a real opponent.


Von Says:

Polo:

“What does Roddick have to do with that? He did not ask for who he should play against. That quote was made just to be derided. And so, I am deriding you now. That was just a sour grape, insensitively senseless comment.”

Good for you Polo! Staff has been writing/spinning that same line in their last three (3) articles. What’s their point? It’s not like the Top 4 have played top 10ers. They’ve played journeymen, players ranked 400-1100, and qualifiers, hence why is Roddick being singled out? I get it, Andy always makes for a good headline.

Nadal played against Haas, a 30 year-old who hasn’t played for over 3 months and is always nursing some injury, so now Nadal looks like superman. I wish they’d bring back the 16 seeded draws, and not play wet nurse to the top 4. Let’s see their true mettle.

I remember a poster stating Roddick can play a great match, but not a great tournament. How many play a great tournament? NADA.


Von Says:

“Roddick had 2 qualifiers and an old man. Let’s see how he fares with a real opponent.”

Let’s see how the others do also, facing “real” opponents, whatever that is. Are the opponents helium filled? Haas at 30, is considered an old man, so is Pavel, and both of these guys have been on the injury list before the AO.Senseless bashing.


jane Says:

Speaking of American players, I know James Blake owns Andreev, but I thought he played a great match last night. A few bad misses at the net, but when he’s in the zone, he’s an exciting player to watch. He takes the ball so early, kind of like Agassi. His forehand and backhand were on song last night, and he came into the net a ton, both behind his own serves, and Andreev’s service games, in the fourth set breaking him at love in one game.

If he plays like that against Tsonga, I wonder if he can win? They played once, in Paris last year, when Tsonga was hot and had the home crowd. Gilbert thinks if it’s a day match, Blake has more experience and may win it.

———————————-

Von,

You have a point: Nadal hasn’t really played someone who could knock him out. I thought the match would be tighter with Haas, as he can be tough on hardcourts, and has knocked out players like Roddick and Murray as recent as last year at events like IW, but I didn’t think Haas could win. When I mentioned Nadal is playing like a #1, what I meant is he’s showing a lot of confidence here, and zooming through his matches. We’ll see if that holds up in the next round, when he’s surely to be tested more – although Gonzo will be tired. So it may not be until Simon or Monfils that we’ll really see where Nadal stands.


TD (Tam) Says:

Von Says:
“Andy Roddick has two wins over qualifiers and another over the oldest player in the field…”

Seems as though someone in “staff’ is out to make Roddick look like a misfit or some throwback by belaboring the point, over the past 3-4 days, that Roddick has played only qualifiers and the oldest player on tour. Malisse, a very tough competitor, fell in the rankings due to illness.

The same can be said for the marvellous “Top 4″. How many of their competitors thus far, are high ranked, and Andy Murray got a retirement from Pavel, who’s somewhere in his early thirties, and who have the others played? Stoppini, Delic and Chardy are challengers. Nadal mentioned that his meeting with Haas will be the first difficult competitor he’s faced. And, it’s not like Safin is in his hey day, either. Roddick played Gulbis, Santoro, and Seppi in the USO, while the Top ranked were playing qualifiers. How is it that juicy detail was overlooked at that time.

So Staff, in view of the above, what’s your point? Is it mainly just to discredit the Americans? And, can the Americans do anything right? There was such a brouhaha about so many of them going out in the first round, Sunday, is it their fault that the scheduler just innocently scheduled all of them to play on the same day, thus eliminating virtually the whole squad? They could have been spread out over the first 3 days, but that wouldn’t make a great headline would it? How many Spaniards are left from their contingent, even though they weren’t all scheduled to play on the same day, how so? I suppose that fact wouldn’t have made as good a headline, would it? Give it a break will ya.”

x100000. Von did I eever tell you that you’re my hero? This is an excellent rebuttal to the “Staff” here who has it in for Roddick no matter what! All of the top players have had soft draws so far, Federer, Murray, Nadal but the x-staff doesn’t mention that, not at all, what a surprise!

Thank you to everyone here for their excellent match analysis I have been unable to see many matches but the comments here are very diverse and interesting and it helps me to catch up on the days play. :)


Blah Says:

Jane, I think it’s more to do with his overall style; he plays too far back from the baseline and loves to use spin on his forehand, but it often lands short and gets crushed. I actually would like to see him come into the net, as he showed yesterday, I believe his volleying skills is extremely underrated and his second best skill next to his backhand. He needs to learn how to hit flat more often on his forehand instead of trying to pass people from 10 inch back.

Top story: Djokovic, Murray Advance At US Open, Azarenka Survives; Federer, Monfils v Dimitrov Tuesday
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