Australian Open Draw: Federer Looks Good, But Will He Come Through?
by Sean Randall | January 13th, 2011, 8:40 pm
  • 251 Comments

Will there be a “Rafa Slam” in two weeks time with Rafael Nadal winning his fourth straight Major title? Will Roger Federer defend his 2010 title? Or will it be someone else holding up the first Slam of the year?

The draw for the 2011 Australian Open was released about an hour ago and here are the highlights.

In Nadal’s top quarter, Rafa could meet friend Feliciano Lopez in the third round with a date against either Marin Cilic or John Isner in round four – given Cilic’s frighting play of late I think Isner will be the guy. In the quarterfinals I think I will lean right now to the winner of the Lleyton Hewitt-David Nalbandian first round showdown which is the best match on the board. David Ferrer is also lurking and will be a test in the third round.

Nadal also landed Robin Soderling and Andy Murray in his half. The No. 4 and 5 seeds are on the bookends of the second quarter and they both have favorable draws. Murray’s draw is extremely soft with a banged up Marcos Baghdatis, an unproven Juan Martin Del Potro and a so-so Jurgen Melzer as possible obstacles. Soderling’s got the tougher end with the streaky tandem of Ernests Gulbis and/or JW Tsonga. Right now it looks like a Murray-Soderling quarterfinals but Tsonga could catch fire and surprise.

While the top half is loaded with three of the Top 5 plus former finalists Baghdatis and Tsonga, the bottom 64 is equally as tough with Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Roddick.

Djokovic may have the best quarter and easiest road to the SF of any of the top four. The Serb could get a US Open rematch against his countryman Viktor Troicki in the third round, then I’ll say Nicolas Almagro in the 16s with Nikolay Davydenko in the quarterfinals. Davydenko, to me, is the top pick right now of a pretty open quarter that features Tomas Berdych, Fernando Verdasco and Richard Gasquet. For someone, there’s a great opportunity to play Djokovic in the quarters, who’ll step up?

Federer’s section looks good early (though Simon and Montanes have wins against the Swiss) but then he could get American Mardy Fish in the fourth with either Andy Roddick or Gael Monfils in the quarterfinals. Fish and Monfils, who I think will emerge, both have wins over Federer on a hard court. Still Federer has to be encouraged by his draw with really no single super troublesome player to worry about.

So the semifinals by seeds look like: 1. Nadal v. 4. Soderling, 3. Djokovic v. 2. Federer.

The quarterfinal pairings: 1. Nadal v. 7. Ferrer, 4. Soderling v. 5. Murray, 6. Berdych v. 3. Djokovic, 8. Roddick v. 2. Federer.

Among the better first round matches (and there’s a bunch!): Hewitt v. Nalbandian, Monfils v. de Bakker, Troicki v. Tursunov, Fognini v. Nishikori, Chardy v. Tomic, del Potro v. Sela.

Overall, I think the draw is fairly balanced. Nadal’s looks easy however Isner or Cilic could give him problems and then there’s that Nalbandian X-factor. The second quarter could see Soderling, Murray or even Tsonga emerge. Djokovic looks great in that third quadrant while Federer could get tested late in his quarter.

So all the top guys should have an obstacle or two in their way to the semifinals.

As for my pick, right how it’s Federer beating Djokovic in the semifinals and then winning the title over any one of Tsonga, Nadal, Murray or Soderling. I’m not sure of who just yet!


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251 Comments for Australian Open Draw: Federer Looks Good, But Will He Come Through?

Duro Says:

Novak-Murray for the title. It’s about time…


sheila Says:

all i have 2say is: i hope federer wins the title.


fredquimby Says:

Lukas Lacko, who’s no slouch, to take out Federer in R1…. remember you read it here first!


skeezerweezer Says:

@Sean

I am with you on the picks unless Rafa makes it to the final. Call me “gun shy”, I know, and Fed is looking better than ever, but the “Sean Jinx” rule applies. However, me thinks Rafa has his work cut out for him with his draw, and Sod and Murray if he gets through deeper if they are there…..


Eric Says:

I’m sorry, but I have to completely disagree about Federer’s draw.

He will be tested right from the first round. Lacko is actually a very good player who could easily come out and strong and give Federer a fight for at least a set or two, and after that RF will face Simon in the second round, which is very early for a player of Simon’s caliber. His third and even fourth round matches should be comparatively smooth sailing, as I just don’t really see Fish or especially Querrey beating Federer, although they (and a few others in that eighth) are pretty dangerous. In my opinion, Federer has just the right draw to get him to the SF having had to come through out of some tight situations and giving him good match prep. It is pretty ideal. But there are some small dangers of an upset from players he might not expect to be need to be concerned about.

Nadal, meanwhile, doesn’t have a single opponent who I would consider a threat until his semifinal. The nastiest threats before that are F-Lo and Youzhny, and neither of them has more than 10% chance to beat Rafa. No one else in his quarter really has the energy and drive to keep up with him. Maybe Nalbandian if he can even get that far.


Kimmi Says:

Cilic, dont forget cilic guys. he has a 1-0 h2h with rafa. even as i type this, i see one winner only.

Go murray to the semi pls.


Kimmi Says:

sean jinx! why do have to pick federer this early ?*&^%$%$@# aaaaaaaaaaghhh!


skeezerweezer Says:

@Eric

We are not far off. Agree, Lacko could pull of the major upset, and Fed himself says getting through the first match is always tough for him mentally. And if Fed does get through these matches are good for his game and confidence if he gets through. I like his draw that way also….

Re: Rafa, please someone prove me wrong, doesn’t have a serious threat of any kind until late in the tourney….what do the Aussies say…”walkabout?”

Kimmi,

Yeah but…lol

but…Cilic has accomplished “what?” lately?


Gregoire Gentil Says:

Sean: and the women draw???

Dinara Safina vs. Kim Clisters on first round!!!

Theoretical quarter finals for women:
Caroline Wozniacki (1) vs. Francesca Schiavone (6)
Venus Williams (4) vs. Victoria Azarenka (8)
Jelena Jankovic (7) vs. Kim Clijsters (3)
Samantha Stosur (2) vs. Vera Zvonareva (2)

Justine Henin in first quarter, Maria Sharapova in second quarter.


skeezerweezer Says:

@Kimberly and gang,

Re: Bracket Challenge

I am stuck at Wawa/Monfils…….help?


dari Says:

i just printed off and filled out a bracket. i had to stop and rip it up when i saw i had nalbandian in the semi! just wishful thinking, somebody’s gotta stop rafa though, right?!


dari Says:

skeezer, i tried to let wawa through, but got scared when i thought of roger facing a swiss, i know that is tough for him and wawa looks good. tried to let gael through, but got a little worried thinking about paris
swiss quarter sounds nice, and wawa is on a mission, i say put him through!


dari Says:

i was waiting for you, GG!


Eric Says:

Cilic is capable of keeping up with the best players when he is on, but that has not been more than a few times since the last AO, so there are no grounds for picking him as much of a favorite against a higher ranked guy.


Eric Says:

(Although i would be surprised and disappointed if he didn’t make it to the fourth round. But I would shocked if he got more than set off of Rafa.)


Gregoire Gentil Says:

@dari: Thanks!


Sean Randall Says:

Gregoire, thanks for the reminder.

I like Kim to beat Justine in the final!

SFs: Henin d. Venus; Clijsters d. Stosur


Sean Randall Says:

Eric, true, Fed has some guys who have beaten him or have earned big wins, but there’s no single “worrisome” player that he should face. That is someone like a Berdych, Davydenko, Nalbandian, etc. Monfils is the more dangerous guy but in best-of-5 it’s hard to see him beating Fed.


dunbar Says:

typically, made my arguments on wrong thread. Disagree with Sean about Murray, because really we are talking about the endgame with these top players, and Murray has Sod in quarters and vica versa of course – by far the toughest quarter-final, although Djoko/Davy could come close.

To say Nadal has “landed Robin Soderling and Andy Murray in his half” is meaningless – he can only meet one of them. Isner is absolutely not a problem for Nadal, Cilic is a shadow.

Never seen Lacko, and after Federer’s performance against Falla at Wimbie 1st round, maybe he is a danger. Fed does tend to be lacklustre in first couple of rounds.

But Fed and Nadal are fortunate. Especially Nadal. Murray in particular and Djokovic possibly (Davy) face very threatening quarter finals.


Thangs Says:

Fed has an easy path to Qtr…And there is Roddick..Horrible h2h… My pick is that nadal beats nole again.

On women side, I pick Henin over anyone..


Gannu Says:

dont give a damn what the draw is… just want feddy bear to win this … Sean so far has had a good track record at the start of the year;-) Hope you are right Sean.. Feddy bear all the way…


Sean Randall Says:

dunbar, Murray and Soderling could have landed on the other (Federer) side, so what you call “meaningless” could have a lot of meaning on that final Friday in Melbourne.


dari Says:

i’ll take kimmi on the women’s side.


Kimmi Says:

dari say @ 9:27 pm. nalbandian to the semi..lol


dunbar Says:

Who could Nadal have to worry about in the quarters? Only 1 possibility that I can see – Nalbandian, who seems to have found some form. But a)what are the chances of Nalby making the quarters, he does not have a nice draw and b)can you see him troubling Nadal over 5?
Who does Federer have? Wawrinka/Monfils/Roddick – very hard to say, because all 3 could be either soft or very difficult. Roddick in particular is unpredictable. So at least some uncertainty there.


Gannu Says:

Agreed Sean but u need to look in this way Nadal’s draw is a cakewalk till Semis.. so he will be well rested till Semis…Cilic, Isner all are jokes…Nadal will just gobble them up… If Davydenko was in Nadal’s qtr or round of 16 i would have agreed.. that isnt the case… Murray has got the worst draw but he is to be blamed…he atleast should have smartly played some 250 tourney so that he could preserve his ranking.. the fool now has to possibly defeat soda, nadal and then fed to win…!


Kimmi Says:

I am glad wawa is not on muzza side at least. Muzza can still fight out the baggy and melzer of this world. then soda. yay yayay! just go to semi muzza.


dunbar Says:

Sean – it would be no more difficult for Fed if Sod/Murray were in his half than for Djokovic to be in it, if you assume that Murray, Sod and Djokovic are all equally difficult. Because he could only play one of them. Murray and Sod, on other hand, have to play each other as well as Nadal. So their quarterfinals are (in theory) the hardest, though Djokovic/Davydenko could be a thriller.


dari Says:

i can’t take it anymore, who’s got the order of play? ;)


Eric Says:

Also, on the subject of the draw, how crappy is Hewitt’s luck, for real? Even if he can somehow scrape by Nalby, not too likely IMO, his third round matchup would be Ferrer. Not a friendly draw there! I guess it could have been worse…


Gannu Says:

This is like US Open draw… Seems the organisers have just copied the draw sheet!!! Murray will go out early (just cant expect anything from Gslams) and Nadal will sleepwalk moonwalk into the finals..Federer and Djko will battle out and Nadal is biting that trophy ..what a ghastly site that would be..

God cant bear to see that… Feddy bear all the way…. No more nadal..


dari Says:

Gannu- “no more nadal”
good luck with that!


dunbar Says:

that scenario is very friendly for Nadal, though. Because Nalbandian will probably have a battle to beat Hewitt, and then an even bigger one to beat Ferrer. What will he have left for Nadal?


Gannu Says:

Yes dunbar and Nalbandian has pathetic stamina…. The fat potly guy has nothing in him to gruel out a Gslam…Anyways lets see what happens.. interesting two weeks for tennis fans ;-)


Kimmi Says:

I agree with you dunbar, somehow ferrer is a bad match-up for nalbandian. he always struggles with ferrer. i remember they have played few 5 setters.

tomorrow they play each other in auckland final. test each other out!


Eric Says:

Yeah, I am afraid that, as in the USO, Nadal will simply walk to the final without needing to beat anyone good until the final, where his opponent will be tired from their grueling SF against Federer (or whoever). But I can dream that someone will man up and give him a fight, even if it’s not very likely.


Kimberly Says:

Obviously the quarter final match all the top guys don’t want is Murray. Plain and simple.

Cannot compare Murray to berdych, roddick, or ferrer. Plain and simple.

The lowest of the top four, arguably the one who didn’t deserve to be there got him. So all is well.


dunbar Says:

the difference from the US Open for Nadal is that even if Murray is beaten, there is still Soderling – if all guns are firing, Sod is surely a threat. At the US Open, Nadal simply wasn’t tested till the final, and even that’s dubious – to me, Djokovic looked happy to have got there, happy to have beaten Fed. Happy to be a gallant loser. Not the mentality needed to beat Nadal. Soderling will give it his all. I think this time round, Djokovic will too – he’s going to be more confident than at the US is my hunch.


Eric Says:

dunbar, hopefully!

Kimberly, spot on, Murray was very foolish to let his ranking slip to no. 5- but I bet Soderling is a bit peeved about it too. :)


steve-o Says:

I don’t see Soderling doing well here. He has lost early at AO the last couple years. I don’t think his game is suited to the extreme weather conditions, Brisbane title or no.

Cilic could possibly cause some big upsets, perhaps even make it to the final, but mentally he’s not in it right now, so the chances are slim. Still, looking at Soderling’s results in 2008-early 2009, no one would have picked him to make it to his first Grand Slam final at FO.

It would be nice if Federer could mount a title defense, but I don’t know if he is ready. Only time will tell.


dunbar Says:

Good argument, Kimberley – but you could say that Murray/Sod is matched in difficulty , possibly, by Djokovic/Davydenko. From this perspective, Fed and Nadal are the ones who get the good fortune. Meanwhile, Nadal’s run seems to me almost certainly easier than Fed’s, although reality can make theory look silly.


Eric Says:

steve-o, I don’t think the question is whether Fed is ready – what does that even mean, honestly? How could he have any better results from the past several months? The question isn’t preparation but whether can actually keep going and make it out of some tough situations.


Kimberly Says:

Apparently gulbis Simon started. Anyone streaming. My prediction is Simon. I mean, gulbis is a more talented player but he will find a way to lose.


Eric Says:

Kimberly, Gulbis already broke Simon in his first service game. :( But we will see. I am still waiting and waiting for Simon to recover his form from a few years ago, but I am starting to think he never will. Whereas Gulbis can only go upward from here, mentally at least…


Kimmi Says:

gulbis up a break kimberly. i want gulbis to win. simon cant have too much confidence to take federer at the AO.


dari Says:

C’mon, you guys! Don’t resign yourself to this “oh well, nadal will take it all” attitude. Yes, he is tough as hell, and yes, he had an infallible 6 months last year, but he is human, and he did get to Australia a few days later than some. He will have to have an off day, and his opponent an incredible day, but this title is not his!
Somebody else is gonna win this, nobody wants to get BULLied anymore!
I agree that its not likely anybody in the early is gonna shoot down Rafa, but it could a surprise in the quarter, Murray in the semi, or even better yet, roger f#&%@* federer in the final! Killerrr


Gannu Says:

Eric , steve-o- the issue with Fed these days is consistency.. agreed that he has done well over the past few months but he isnt the Fed of 2006-07 when he just never ever used to have any mental lapse in Gslams…Just one bad day where is forehand is misfiring is enough… and one just cant predict that…. Thats the worry and that happens when you grow older…Infact fed was insane to reach 23 semis consecutively…

so he just now have to struggle it out… Rafa is still young and has oodles of stamina (though he fakes injuries !!)

Lets see how everything pans out.. On current form fed is certianly the man to beat!


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Don’t see any real threats for Fed or Rafa before the semis. Ferrer is no threat, Nalbandian would be on oxygen and emergency cupcakes if he made it that far. Nole and Murray’s draws are more dangerous. Soderling and Davydenko for quarters. Murray could have Melzer in round of 16- remember what Melzer just did to Nadal? Soderling could have Gulbis or Tsonga. So that looks like the most interesting quarter.

Some good early round matchups:
DeBakker/ Monfils 1st round– winner gets Wawrinka 3d rnd
Davydenko/Verdasco third rnd
DelPo/Baghdatis 2nd rnd– winner gets Melzer 3rd round
Gulbis/Dolgopolov 2nd rnd– winner gets Tsonga 3rd rnd

Hmmm. Looks like the most exciting routes through would be Gulbis, Gasquet, or DeBakker- look at what a gauntlet those three have to go through!

I think Wawrinka takes out Monfils and ARod. I’m very interested in seeing what Melzer can do, as well as Gulbis and Nalbandian. Would love to see a DeBakker or Dolgopolov break through (or Raonic).


dunbar Says:

I want Gulbis to win because he’s a no-good self-regarding wanker who always disappoints you and yet somehow remains a delight.


steve-o Says:

@Eric: Federer’s been adjusting his game to be a bit more aggressive and mixing it up more. He needs to be fully accustomed to playing that way, so that he doesn’t revert to being passive in the crunch moments. One wrong decision, or moment of hesitation, and that could be it.

It’s good that he’s been winning a lot lately, but it’s a long-term process. He’s trying to adjust a mindset that has been ingrained in him for years, it’s going to take time. In the interim, there’s bound to be some occasional backsliding into the old ways, and that’s going to be costly in a Grand Slam.


Gannu Says:

steve-o well said….and i think that occasional back sliding his something that worries me.. In a very tense match and in very very crucial moments Federer is susceptible… Mind you in the last 4 months when Feddy bear has been winning almost everything in sight he hasnt faced a very tense moment in a big match.. London he destroyed every one and in Doha also the same thing happened… the real test is how he reacts in a very tense match in a big tourney like GS..


Eric Says:

Steve-o, fair, but I am more worried that he will have a crappy day with many more UEs than usual, than I am worried that he will have difficulty being aggressive. (After all, this is more like a return to old ways than a new thing for him! :) ) But still, I see your point.


dari Says:

Fed fans stop with the doomsday worries.


Eric Says:

Simon breaks back to love! We have a real match!


dunbar Says:

pure Gulbis – serving for set, love-40 down.
qualies abandonned yesterday thru rain. Dimitrov (who missed qualifying by one spot, as 3 above him withdrew) will play his second match much later tonight. Presumably plays 3rd match tomorrow. Wonder who he’ll get in the real thing?


Kimmi Says:

what with gulbis getting broken when serving for the set..all his matches this week was like that. sigh!


Kimberly Says:

Dunbar, well said about gulbis.

Kimmi, I want gulbis to win but I’m sick of his constant disappointments and poor work ethic. Simon cant take federer. Believe it or not I don’t root against federer unless mynhusband irritates me me off by failing to perform household chores or dumping then kids on me for non business related time consuming ventures or refusing to play tennis with me. Then I will cheer for his opponent.

Will the heat come into play this time. Anyone know the weather forecast for ao?


Kimberly Says:

Dunbar, any news on mahout and Donald young in the qua lies?


Evan Says:

Am I the only one who thinks Fed’s a likely casualty before semis?? And that Davy would stand an excellent chance against Nadal in the final if it happened?? :D


dunbar Says:

Donald Young’s playing someone called Alberto Brizzi in 2nd round, quite late. Also qite late, Mahut plays one Guillermo Olaso 2nd round. Some interesting names – e.g.Massu, remember him?
Simon 3-0 up 2nd set. Simon is a battler and if he spots a weakness, he pounces. He must have licked his chops when he saw he had Gulbis. I think Gulbis nearlt broke Simon for 2nd time – before being broken himself. If Gulbis is up, reckon on him not only to succomb to pressure and lose hard earned advantage – but he at once starts to feel really bad about himself and the other player feels great. What’s the answer? Maybe to win the set when breaking serve – less time to think then.


Eric Says:

Simon has also, in my opinion, not really gotten used to tennis yet since coming back from his wrist injury late last year. He is usually very shaky early in a match (which is when Gulbis broke him) and improves steadily, which is what we’re seeing here.


thark Says:

nando is giving me fits – i have him all the way through to the quarters against novak but i don’t really believe it with my heart…

i guess maybe that’s because i can’t bring myself to believe in davy or berdych either right now.

:|


thark Says:

emergency cupcakes! haha love it tv…


guy Says:

simon is a real threat second round federer. simon is in form right now.

still nadal and federer look in good shape till later on.
but saying there are no major threats till QF SF is obvious, that’s how slams are designed for top 2 players. not to mention being 1,2 means they’re better than everybody else.
i would add that murray and djoker are probably equal threats to both nadal and federer unless it’s on clay. so it doesn’t matter who lands who in the semis.
the draw is pretty even. sucks to be nalbandian though.


guy Says:

or safina


dari Says:

Wow, nice to get a Sydney stream when you get home, not nice to see bulbs lost that first set and down 3-0. What a wanker as dunbar says


Eric Says:

Simon up 4-0 – Gulbis self-destructing, of course, but it’s nice to see GS playing at something like his level. (Guess I spoke too soon earlier!)


Eric Says:

Lol. Make that 5-0, and on serve. Whoops…


Kimmi Says:

hmmmm begal!


Eric Says:

And, if anyone cares, Melzer just got a break up against Tsonga and looks set to take their pro-set match in a few minutes.


thark Says:

i think sometimes gulbis gets distracted during the match – he keeps thinking “wait does my first name really have 2 S’s in it? shouldn’t it just be 1 S??? maybe it was supposed to be ernest$…wait where am i? what is that yellow thing he’s hitting?…”


skeezerweezer Says:

Wow this thread picked up the pace…great reads.. :)

@guy….agreed…with ur post..draw even give/take….sucks to be Nalby, or how about former #1 Hewitt’s 1rst rd in his home town tourney? Ugh…


Eric Says:

Hewitt has such cojones he can scrape by just about anyone if luck is with him. But right now vs. Davydenko it looks like he needs a few more hip surgeries – side-to-side movement along the baseline is maybe 50% of what it needs to be to stay level with anyone.


tennis2011 Says:

Somebody stated that Federer might be beaten before the semis. That is not going to happen people because there is to much on the line for him. Nadal and Federer both will have some tough matches, but will come through to the semis where they will face tough advesaries.

Semis-

Nadal over Soderling
Federer over Djokovic

Final:

Federer over Nadal


tennis2011 Says:

My prediction is Federer will lose serve only 6 times at the most in the tournament and will win every tiebreaker he plays.


Eric Says:

And yet Hewitt is up a break against Davydenko, whose overhitting is compensating for Hewitt’s slowness. But it’s still a pretty entertaining match (heads up for those not watching :) ).


Eric Says:

Wow, two breaks of service for Hewitt take the first set 6-3 — this is very encouraging for us Hewitt fans! (So… me, I guess.)


dari Says:

is davy taking it easy at kooyong or is hewitt really playing great?


Eric Says:

Hewitt played really well against Youzhny until the rain delay. He was up a set and serving at 1-0 in the second set when the rain hit. After that he played like crap (very sluggish and not hitting the ball too hard), although he was a bit better by the third set. Against Davydenko, he started off really slow and has certainly sped up, but he’s hitting the ball quite well as he always does. Davydenko is overhitting the ball a lot – I can’t find stats anywhere, but he definitely has many more UEs than Hewitt. So a bit of both.


Eric Says:

Although Davy is now up a break in the second set, so it’s pretty level.


Evan Says:

I’m thinking Davy might tank this one to take it easy before a tough 1R in AO…


Eric Says:

Well Hewitt just broke back at the first chance, so… Whatever. I know few people care about this match.

Davydenko was on-and-off again against Berdych the other day as well. I wouldn’t put any money on him in the AO, although looking at the draw he has a pretty good chance of getting to the QF if he can beat Verdasco, which I bet he can.


Eric Says:

Evan, at AAMI Classic, everyone is guaranteed to play all three matches, on the same surface as the AO. Even if you lose, you play the other losers, and so on until all eight players have been assigned a rank.

That’s why it appeals as a tune-up tournament. It isn’t an ATP tournament, just an exo – no points on the line, only practice for the AO. So your theory makes no sense, plus is based on the malicious rumours about Davydenko and match fixing that would never have been an issue if he weren’t so uncharismatic.


Eric Says:

Although to be sure, no one necessarily gives 110% at this tournament – it’s not really worth anything. But that’s not the same as “tanking.”


dari Says:

did andyM get a match in at kooyong?


dari Says:

man, between the photographers and beautiful blue on laver, all the practice photos of the top players look great. everyone looks so fit and fierce. should be a cracker, this AO!


Eric Says:

Murray didn’t play this year, although I saw something on the website about him and Cilic having a practice match that was postponed/canceled because of the rain (and the real matches being more important).


guy Says:

@skeezer
hewitt/gonzo 1st round few years ago too. at least makes for good 1st round matches. both seem to be playing well right now.


chichi Says:

What an interesting post !! Thanks.

Federer allez


jane Says:

Funny post at 11:26 thark, lol.

Eric, yeah, too bad Hewitt v Nalby is right out of the gates at the AO. I don’t want either to be eliminated right away.

chrisJ kindly posted highlights from Hewitt vs Nole at the Hopman, and from those I thought Hewitt’s form looked very good, and Nole’s too, but I was just surprised to see Hewitt playing that well.


margot Says:

A lot of premature jumping into the quarters! Lots of talent on show in the first week so let’s see what happens.
eric….u r not alone ;) I like Hewitt too, as have said b4 he’s like the knight in “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”, but alas injury and age etc
jane “Broken Embraces” very bitter sweet, very Almodovar.


Eliza Says:

I don’t believe these lead up tournaments mean much as far as winning at the AO goes. Simon might win in Sydney but I doubt it will help him against Federer.

I’m in Melbourne and the forecast for next week is perfect – fine, low to mid twenties, no hot weather looming next wek, at least. The torrential deluges have finally stopped, hopefully floods will subside, and the dreadful humidity should go away before Monday.


jane Says:

margot, good to hear, will have to add that to my ever-growing, shifting list of ‘films to see.’ Agree w/ you re: the AO. Who knows what’ll happen (although Duro’s suggestion in the first post would be good :))


van orten Says:

nadal again with a very very easy draw at least till the semis…he got as david ferrer to meet in quarters. i really wished davidenko for him in the semis or 4th round not because i want him to lose but i want him to be tested which he never really is before the semis..
he will ease through his draw and everyone will tell how strong he looks …
dont get me wrong but that draw is a joke for someone like nadal even he must be saying : oh my god that looks easy


Farley Says:

Nice draw, Roger Federer will catch the champion easily, poor Nadal, get sick before tournament, destiny to be looser.


Philly Says:

Ha-ha-ha-ha!!!!


margot Says:

Really funny how Rog fans think Rafa’s draw is SO easy and vice versa :)


margot Says:

jane: just read Duro’s post, not holding my breath for Andy at any rate :(


jojostryus Says:

margot! vice versa? really? check again! ;)


van orten Says:

come on people fed has the draw we expected him to have!!! but nadal is just the same easy draw he had at the us open…he won´t lose a set till the semis he won´t be even broken till the semis …it is just a pity he didnt get someone stronger in the quartes such as murray davidenko or roddick..but he got his fellow spaniard ferrer …i think it is too much hype right now about rafa and fed that i wanted someone to show the world yes nadal is def. beatable on hardcourts


mat4 Says:

The draw just looks in favour of a semi-final and a final between top seeds.


van orten Says:

nadal loses before the semis it s because he had a fever !! and i dont say this in sarcastic way…i mean it ..his draw is just to easy for him!!! dont say it would be an easy draw for soederling or murray but for nadal its very easy..
but on the other hand i must say that the 3rd and 4th seeds had worse luck than fed and nadal ,.,.their sections are loaded with top players

djoker and the sod will have some work to do to get to the semis


Wade Says:

2010 French open Champ, 2010 Wimby Champ, 2010 US Open Champ and now 2011 Aus open Champ! What a draw

RAFA SLAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
RAFA SLAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!RAFA SLAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Bobby Says:

A hard earned number one rank holds some perk.Nadal is the present No 1 and he deserves an easy draw.But i would have preferred some one else than Murray as a semi final opponent for Nadal.


Kimberly Says:

Hi,

I submitted my picks into the Tennis X Fans Racquet Bracket :: Australian Open ATP contest.

You should get in this contest. Submit your picks here: http://www.tourneytopia.com/RacquetBracketAussieOpenATP/tennisxfans/default.aspx. The deadline to enter is 1/16/2011 7:00 PM Eastern Standard Time.

Kimberly


Naderer Says:

Why is the title of the thread about Federer…..and not Nadal, who is the number 1 seed and has an opportunity of doing something that even mighty Fed hasn’t done yet. Look, i’m not trying to start an argument or anything but I think Rafa is the main man in the 2011 Aussie, all that Federer can hope to do is stop Nadal just as he (Nadal) prevented Federer from completing a number of calender slams….well thats what I think Sean


dunbar Says:

it would be difficult for either Fed or Nadal to have a difficult draw in the sense you feared for them. After all, as guy points out, they are the top 2. So really,you’re looking for who plays the 5th man in the quarters – Murray does (sticking to the old top 4 here), so instantly he has a much tougher assignment than the other 3. Soderling would be dangerous for any of Fed, Nadal, Murray and Djoko.
However, Djokovic COULD play Davydenko in the quarters, and Davydenko MIGHT be on. He has, after all, been in very good form only lately. And Davy, too, has the potential (even if unlikely) to threaten any of the top4 or 5.

So regardless as to how the draw plays out in the early rounds, you can say, as of now, it LOOKS like Murray and Djokovic have it much harder than Fed and Nadal. This means discounting Nalby as a serious opponent for Nadal – well, look at his draw, even if he comes through, how much will he have left,

I don’t discount Rod/Monfils/Wawa for Fed. Those three have the ability to spring a surprise in the quarters, but only if Fed is a bit off. And if Fed is a bit off, he has only himself to blame, not the draw.


Nims Says:

dunbar, not sure how davydenko is a tougher opponent than Roddick. Roddick is a grandslam champion and multiple time finalists. Davy reached finals in doha, whereas roddick reached finals too. Understood Murray has a tougher draw but count the number of times Federer had faced Sod including last USO in quarters. Not sure how many people then said Fed had a tough draw.

Also in WTF Murray whipped Sod in their RR match. Not sure if these guys have a tough draw either.

Fed should be considered having a tougher draw atleast on paper. He is facing Lacko in the first round who bageled Nadal and Simon against whom Fed I believe has negative H2H. Having to face Rod in Quarters and the legitimate 3rd best player Djokovic.


dunbar Says:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/cricket/article-1331133/Paul-Newmans-Ashes-Diary-The-Dud-Poms-beaten-giving-Aussie-press-lots-write-about.html?ITO=1490

Lovely throwback to the days when I used to read a geezer named Sydney Barnes taking every opportunity to wiping the floor with Poms. Mind you, Barnes was a tricky case, he wasn’t just any old journo, he had been a very great test batsman. Kind of knew his stuff. He certainly knew how to wind you up if you were a pom.

Looks like rain has again disrupted the qualies, so Dimitrov still hasn’t played his 2nd round (against one El Amrani). Assuming he wins that, he may have Stefan Koubek to face, quite a tough proposition. And now, they’re going to have to squeeze the matches in – hope it doesn’t affect him for 1st round on Monday.


queen Says:

Check this people.

(First Quarter) (Second Quarter)
1) Nadal 4) Soderling
31) Lopez 30) Bellucci
20) Isner 24) Gulbis
15) Cilic 13) Tsonga
10) Youzhny 11) Melzer
22) Llodra 21) Baghdatis
27) Nalbandian 32) Garcia-Lopez
7) Ferrer 5) Murray

(Third Quarter) (Fourth Quarter)
6) Berdych 8) Roddick
28) Gasquet 26) Monaco
23) Davydenko 19) Wawrinka
9) Verdasco 12) Monfils
14) Almagro 16) Fish
17) Ljubicic 18) Querrey
29) Troicki 25) Montanes
3) Djokovic 2) Federer


dunbar Says:

Nims – I’m not sure, either! I think Davydenko at his best is perhaps not quite as dangerous as Roddick at his best – especially considering the mental factor, Roddick expects to win when he is on. Davydenko always looks as if nothing could surprise him more than a win. But: I feel Davy is more consistent, he played well in the Doha final (was just overwhelmed) whereas I gather Roddick was feeble in Brisbane final.

Yes, I agree people tended to sneer at Fed/Sod, talking about bunnies, pigeons and all the rest of the demonic menagerie. I was not among those, however, always feeling Soderling was a real threat to Fed (except at the US – freak wind conditions heavily favoured Fed). And so it eventually proved. Moreover, Soderling has been a late developer, steadily maturing. Murray beat him easily – yes, it happens. Unlikely to happen just like that again, I’d have thought.


queen Says:

Say what to you want but to me Djokovic has the most difficult draw. As good as he is he will be freakin tired by the time hi makes to semis. If at all.


dunbar Says:

Queen says:”Say what to you want but to me Djokovic has the most difficult draw. As good as he is he will be freakin tired by the time hi makes to semis. If at all.”

Let’s test it. One plausible route might be: Granollers (straightforward), Karlovic (bang wham – not tiring), Troicki (could be horrendously difficult – or easy; repeat of US doesn’t somehow seem likely); Almagro – quite tough; Davydenko – very tough.

Well, that seems normal – some genuine hurdles, but hardly overwhelming. This is a grand slam, so you’d hope there would be some decent-ish challenges. Definitely a more demanding route than Nadal’s, however.


Wolf Lesserd Says:

If Söderling will be able to keep his current high quality level of playing his game, then my dear Mr. Murray your quarter-final meeting with him might be turn into one grand battle. Söderling won’t be easy prey for the Scot. After watching him at Brisbane I’ve got to say I’m really impressed by the way he conducted his match against Roddick (and others before!!!!). He improved his movement, yet most important of all was his consistency in shot-making & dominating even long rallies with only very few unforced errors, while at times outplaying Roddick regarding tactics & strategy – plus his super effective serve -all in all that could do some “evil damage” to Murray’s tennis. Let’s hope both of them will come through to clash. In my humble opinion: Mr. Söderling must be watched, as said, if he’ll go on to play like this he’s the darkest horse of all. And let’s not forget as contrasted with Murray he won’t feel the burden of spiraling pressure, thanks to great expectations… and at times Andy failed quite miserably in those past quests for GRAND SLAM glory…


Skeezerweezer Says:

Someone mentioned Rafa’s draw is USO all over again. Is it?


queen Says:

In 2009 Rafa prevented Fed from breaking Sampras’GS record during AO and this year Fed may prevent Rafa from “Rafa Slam”. I hope Rafa can do it despite Fed playing well. It will be definitely nail-biting two weeks of tennis.


Uchloveu Says:

I do not see how the Australian open is Rafa’s to lose. He has won just once here and we have a Federer with 4 wins and the defending champion too. A federer that has made the finals twice in a row and has gotten to the semi finals 04,05,06,07,08,09,10. Defeated top 8 players at the age of 29 to win his 5th Masters cup. Federer’s worst result in a hard court slam since 2004 is a semi-final. Federer has only lost to 4 men in a hard court slam since 2004. Djokovic(twice- once{mono} {once in 5 sets}), Nadal(Once in 5 sets), DelPotro(Once in 5 sets), Safin(Once in 5 sets)What does this point to? To take out Federer, you must be at your best and he will surely take you the distance because he is the best there was, the best there is, the best………… until someone takes over.


dunbar Says:

“Someone mentioned Rafa’s draw is USO all over again. Is it?”

You obviously don’t think so Skeeze, and you’re right, because 1)This time, Nadal should have a proper semi-final: surely Soderling and Murray can’t both lose their way and 2)Djokovic played the final at the US like a man who is content with what he’s already done. He’ll surely be more steely if he gets there this time round. Of course, if it’s Federer, it will be a ding dong battle without a doubt.

Never heard of Lacko till the famous bagel. Let’s say he really is the goods (as Nadal suggested he was in post match interview), and let’s suppose Simon is back to his best. Then for sure, Federer’s first 2 rounds are exceptionally tricky, especially since Fed is adept at pacing himself and doesn’t like to dig too deep too soon. From a selfish point of view, I’m quite pleased. Fed being tested so early on, apart from being exciting, could be just what he needs to harden him for the match of his life. Beating a Nadal at the height of his powers and on a clear mission – normal preparation won’t do it imo.

So J.Mac backs Nadal to win, P.Mac backs Fed. Who is reckonned to be the more astute in assessment of players?

Sorry to be gabbling so much..1)don’t have to read 2)wish everyone else would come out and yap.


andrea Says:

i know del potro’s just come back but if he finds his groove, it could prove interesting. i’m sure nadal doesn’t want to recall the straight set beatdown from NY Open….

looks like an interesting draw so far. happy that soderling is not on roger’s side for a change. he must be as well!


fern Says:

Something tells me Roger will not make it to the final this time, infact he will be taken out before the 3rd round.

The final will be a repeat of the USO with Rafa prevailing over Djokovic.


dari Says:

I think jmac may be more astute, but mostly because he has just been picking Rafa for everything lately. He made a nice call for the federer win at wtf because of the three sets and surface, though.
Pmac seems to have a sentimental softness for fed, and he loves the whole father of twins bit because he is, too!
I’d give jmac a better record, but I think Pmac will show up his brother unexpectedly. Just like i think Rog can do the Rafa if it gets to that point.


fern Says:

Naderer Says:

Why is the title of the thread about Federer…..and not Nadal, who is the number 1 seed and has an opportunity of doing something that even mighty Fed hasn’t done yet. Look, i’m not trying to start an argument or anything but I think Rafa is the main man in the 2011 Aussie, all that Federer can hope to do is stop Nadal just as he (Nadal) prevented Federer from completing a number of calender slams….well thats what I think Sean

January 14th, 2011 at 8:17 am

Sean is very biased against Rafa, so no surprises there. I like it when Rafa is given short shrift and put down before a tournament, it’s all the sweeter when he has people eating their words by lifting the trophy.

Sean don’t you think you should be a little bit neutral considering you position on this forum?


madmax Says:

Dunbar:

Never seen Lacko, and after Federer’s performance against Falla at Wimbie 1st round, maybe he is a danger. Fed does tend to be lacklustre in first couple of rounds.

But Fed and Nadal are fortunate. Especially Nadal. Murray in particular and Djokovic possibly (Davy) face very threatening quarter finals.

January 13th, 2011 at 9:40 pm

dunbar, lacko is the player who bageled rafa at the last tournament in qatar. He played Nadal and rafa got through in the third set 6:3. Lacko is indeed an excellent player. If he can cause rafa problems, then he can do the same with Roger.

fern Says:
Something tells me Roger will not make it to the final this time, infact he will be taken out before the 3rd round.

The final will be a repeat of the USO with Rafa prevailing over Djokovic.

January 14th, 2011 at 11:52 am

Don’t worry Fern, federer will be just fine. I think that with the new coach, renewed vigour and a hunger to win, Federer will take some beating.


madmax Says:

fern Says:
Naderer Says:

Why is the title of the thread about Federer…..and not Nadal, who is the number 1 seed and has an opportunity of doing something that even mighty Fed hasn’t done yet.

Fern there is another one about rafa, if you look (thread).

Yes you are right. If rafa gets his 4th slam here, that will be amazing. Fed has accomplished so much already, and trying to get that 4th elusive calendar slam, he had the opportunity of doing it 3 consecutive years, making 4 finals, and winning 3 of them, 2004,2005, and 2006. That is awesome in itself. More awesome than anything I think.

But also, this could be murray’s break through. who knows?

It all begins and is very exciting for everyone.

If you say you dont want to start an argument, why do you deliberately say fed will be out before the third round? on what basis?

I am interested in why you think Federer wont make it past the third round, with everything he has achieved so far this year and during the back end of last year? Or is it just wishful thinking?


skeezerweezer Says:

dunbar,

Don’t know much about Lack either, but if he can issue a Donut to Rafa, even for a set, he is very capable. Simon I have seen several times and is a great counter puncher, and turn offense into defense very well (Ranked as high as #6 in 2009). He does seem to get overpowered, thus his “issue”, but still a very formidable player to meet early on. He of course made to the qtrs in the 2009 AO, his best appearance in a GS to date.

I agree I like the fact that Fed is tested early on, and IF he gets through should bode him well deeper in the tourney.


jane Says:

“2)Djokovic played the final at the US like a man who is content with what he’s already done. ”

I don’t agree; obviously, being his fan, I am seeing things through that perspective. But to me, he fought HARD for the first 3 sets. Maybe he capitulated in the fourth. However, he went out with the intent to win. He was the ONLY player who took a set off Nadal, who was playing unreal tennis throughout the USO but particularly in that final, to which he’d never been, and which he knew was a historical thing. There was more on the line, one could argue, for Nadal to win it and complete his set of slams. And surely Nole must’ve been a little mentally overcome by FINALLY beating Fed – the King of Flushing Meadows for years – after 3 tries, in 07 (final), 08 & 09 (semifinals). If anything, I’d say Nole’s effort versus Fed in the semis in 09 was complacent, almost half-hearted, but he tried valiantly in the final versus Rafa, but ultimately was outplayed, in part because his serve was still not quite back to where it was in 08. That’s my shakedown anyhow.


queen Says:

Fern,

I am not sure how close you follow posts on Xtennis but ninety percent of posters are pro Fed …not necessarily against Nadal but just Fed likers so I would not expect anything else.


skeezerweezer Says:

@dari

Re; the Macs

It’s a conspiracy! One picks Rafa one picks Fed…they can’t lose….the “McEnroe family” wins!

Or how about this for more conspiracy;

John’s middle name is “Patrick”

Patrick’s middle name is “John”

What’s up with that?

LOL….ok…..gotta stop….but it’s true :-)


jane Says:

If youl look at ESPN predictions, in fact P-Mac has picked Nole.

Just sayin… :)


HSF007 Says:

Mens Final – Robin Soderling vs Novak Djokovic

Ladies Final – Justine Henin vs Caroline Wozniacki


Eric Says:

Let’s be honest. When has J. McEnroe been right about anything? He’s a pure sensationalist who says whatever comes to his mind that he thinks will get attention. In his world, about 15 different players on the tour right now have the best FH/BH/serve/whatever of all time. It’s pretty hilarious.


margot Says:

jojostryus: just taking my fingers out of my ears…aaahhh deafened by shouts of “cupcake draw” from all sides…….
oh please people, you think Simon is a THREAT to Fed??? Oh, please, in the same way Lopez is a threat to Rafa, I suppose.
fern: don’t think Sean loves Fed that much cos, for a while, that awful, awful pic of Fed, which should be trashed, was fronting this article ;)
jane: have seen Andy referred to as Mr Magic/Tragic on Andy’s fan site, very apt no ;)


Eric Says:

Simon is much MORE of a threat than Lopez. He is a former no. 6 with good wins over both Nadal and Federer. (And who just bageled forum darling Gulbis…) Whereas Lopez had a freak win against Nadal at Queens last year and has otherwise lost about a zillion times to top 10 players. I don’t think anyone is suggesting Simon will pull a big upset, only that he is a very quality opponent who Federer has to face unusually early because Simon is so under-ranked after missing most of 2010. :)


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Agree with Eric, but Simon still has no weapons. So yes, more of a challenge than F.Lo, but anyone worried about Simon taking out Federer is basically saying Fed shouldn’t be anywhere near the trophy.


dari Says:

vagabond- yes! if fed has to be worried about losing to simon, then he really shouldn’t be number 2 in the world and defending this title.
i actually think its a little bit of good fortune. simon is a bit of a test, but shouldn’t actually be able to take down fed. he will just be excellent exercise for fed along the way for more threatening opponents.


fern Says:

Madmax, it’s not wishful thinking it’s just a hunch I have that there are some tricky players in Federer’s early rounds. I hope he does make it to the final, because a Fedal final is always good for tennis.


madmax Says:

fern, that’s all i wanted to hear from you – justa bit of ‘evidence’ for saying he wasn’t going to make it – and you stated it’s ‘just a hunch’.

What are your ‘hunches’ on how rafa is going to do, after his ’bout’ of flu? I was surprised that he went on to win the doubles – that to me says he wasn’t as ill as people made out – do you agree?

Regarding Sean’s predictions – I don’t take much notice. Sometimes he’s right, sometimes he’s wrong. It’s all an innocent guessing game. He has said some incredibly positive comments about rafa recently, and not so about fed – I guess it depends on what mood he is in.


Hari Says:

Don’t forget Gulbis…. just in case ;)


dunbar Says:

“If youl look at ESPN predictions, in fact P-Mac has picked Nole”

Well, I’m confused. Last night, dari posted a link from espn giving pundits’views. 3 voted for Nadal, 3 for Djoko and 3 for Fed. J-Mac went with Nadal, P-Mac with Fed. I’m fairly sure that’s a fact. But: I can’t find it on espn, nor can I find dari’s post which seems, mysteriously, to have been withdrawn. Perhaps dari can confirm (or deny) that I read her link right?

About Djokovic:”However, he went out with the intent to win. He was the ONLY player who took a set off Nadal, who was playing unreal tennis throughout the USO but particularly in that final,” Yes, Nadal played great in final. Don’t see how you can say he played unreal thru the USO since he had effectively no challenge and that alone can account for his not losing any sets.

I’ll have to disagree about Djokovic’s state of mind. He never to me looked as if he thought he could do more than put up a good show, which he did. Against Federer, he looked eager and determined to win. He did not look so against Nadal. That’s my take. Guess we have our different takes. I do think, though, that Djokovic will be a tougher proposition for Nadal this fortnight should he meet him.


fern Says:

Rafa had and still has the flu, he played the doubles because he did not want to let M.Lopez or the crowd down, because had he pulled out there would have been no doubles final, and people had paid to see a final.


contador Says:

okay Kimberly…..did my picks and made room for maybe too many qualifiers winning 1st round. again, i think we hace to guess where they land, yes?


Kimberly Says:

I made some wild picks this time…

And on the WTA forget it, I have a Venus /Zvonereva final. Believe it or not it seemed feasible as I ran the draw. Now in retrospect i think i will go back and change because it sounds so crazy!!!!

I picked some qualifiers and a lot of upsets. AO is historically know as the tournament where wild things can happen!


contador Says:

yeah….my usual wild picking for the early rounds and taking into consideration troiki, simon, nalby, and ferrer might be a little tired…well, nalby anyway.

i’ll do a wta one too…


dari Says:

I have to catch up a bit here…
I didnt post a link, I believe it was sar (similar-looking names) I did note that the picks were even between Rafa, nole and fed, but didn’t double check who chose whom (except for killer cahill and Gilbert for rafa, I knew that much) before I responded to dunbar’s post. Jmac isn’t on the list at all, so I figured he got the info elsewhere.
If jmac did pick Rafa, (I will bet you he did) then both Macs will be wrong!


jane Says:

dunbar i did not see dari’s link, but here is the ESPN one that i cited:

http://espn.go.com/sports/tennis/picks


skeezerweezer Says:

fern…for you

From the man himself….

“(The virus is) improving every day. Hopefully, that’s gonna be completely recovered for next Monday… (but) it’s still a little bit (there),”

That is a Rafa quote as yesterday,,,,,and

“But I don’t have fever and I need a few more days, maybe, but hopefully it’s going to be fine.”

and

“…The only thing I can say is that I did good work at the end of the season. I did all I could do to be ready here.”

and

“I remember a lot of times I didn’t start playing the tournament at my best and I finished playing very, very good.”

Source http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE70D01R20110114


steve-o Says:

“I’d say Nole’s effort versus Fed in the semis in 09 was complacent, almost half-hearted”

Disagree. He played much better than he did in 2008, when he lost in Federer in four sets. His problem was, so did Federer. That was a very high-quality match determined by a few key points. Only one break of serve decided the second and third sets.

As for the final against Nadal, he faded mentally after losing the third set. He’s no Del Potro, to stay mentally tough after going down two sets to one in a major final. Then again, he doesn’t have the sheer striking power of Del Potro, so perhaps he couldn’t have continued playing at such a high level. But I think the main reason was that he just didn’t ever really believe he could win.

Nadal’s better than any other player at breaking his opponent’s will, and I don’t say this as a compliment. His whole game is predicated on making the opponent feel like he’s plugging away against a brick wall.

With Federer there’s always the hope that if you can manage to stay with him, he won’t be able to raise his game in the key moments and that you’ll be able to scrape through. Nadal is always dialed in, so you can’t just wait and hope he will have a lapse. One has to disrupt his game in order to win, you can’t just rally senselessly. That’s only going to play into his hands.


dunbar Says:

jane – yes, that’s the link which sar – not dari – posted. Well, at least I got it right that the pundits were split equally on Fed, Nadal and Djokovic. Quite why I should have made the mistake w.r.t.P-Mac’s choice, I don’t know. Problem for the optician to sort out? The psychiatrist? The mortician, possibly? All a bit worrying….


jane Says:

steve-o well i agree Nole faded mentally in the final after losing the 3rd set but until then he was in there fighting. The other problem was that his serve was put under constant pressure by Rafa, and he had to fend off break points, yet, facing Rafa’s new improved serve, he wasn’t able to break through. But the groundstrokes traded were ferocious. I guess we agree to disagree on the 2009 semi. I think Nole was in too much of his ‘nice guy’ mode and never looked like he was fkghting to win that one whole-heartedly.


jane Says:

dunbar, all those heads plastered side by side like that, it is easy to misread it somehow. I shouldn’t think you need to visit doctors because of it. Lol…


jane Says:

steve-o ” One has to disrupt his game in order to win, you can’t just rally senselessly. That’s only going to play into his hands”

I see what you mean here; nole could have had a better strategy for sure. But i still feel in part that without a good serve he coudlnt do too much to disrupt rafas rhythm as he wasnt able to come in behind anything. Nole saved 20 of 25 break points!! Whereas he converted only 1 of 4. It was the pressure rafa put on noles serve and by contrast how nole was unable to put pressure on rafas that made the biggest difference in that match. I honestly dont feel it is a given that delpo or fed would have beaten rafa the way he played that final…


dari Says:

Thanks skeexer for the Rafa quotes/link. I bet he’ll be fine physically.


jane Says:

Troicki and Simon are in the Sydney final; both of these guys can play well when they want to. Also, interesting to see Nalbandian and Ferrer: these two always have tight matches – H2H is 6-5 for Ferrer but Nalby has won the last 3.


contador Says:

speaking of picking – lendl, right after the draw…watched lendl pick the names on fromsport, picked nadal to win ao.

me? picking murray…..again? he has to breakthrough….if he can knock out nadal….and djoko knocks out federer.

murray has his 1st slam, maybe. lots of “if’s”

or….could be a repeat of us open semi djoko v fed and rafa v djoko final. djoko winning this time?

unfortunately i have little confidence in murray or nole beating rafa in a GS final. tend to agree with dunbar on nole v rafa = rafa wins

but a healthy delpo wouldn’t give in ….poor guy…has a long road ahead.

@ Hari: go gulbis!

on the women’s side i’ll go with woz


Kimberly Says:

http://www.tourneytopia.com/RacquetBracketAussieOpenATP/tennisxfans/Default.aspx

All of you tennis xers step up to the plate and do the AO challenge!!!!!!!

COntador I thought it was a tough draw to pick.


skeezerweezer Says:

Thanks Kimberly..signed up. Who do you have losing to Rafa in the Semi’s? ;-)


dunbar Says:

ah, finally Dimitrov wins his 2nd round quali against El Amrani. Thought his next match would be against Koubeck, but T.Schoorel is leading his match with Koubeck 7/6 2-2. Schoorel is the huge Dutch guy who gave Federer a spot of bother in Doha, isn’t he. So it looks like Dimitrov is going to have a difficult one whoever he plays in the 3rd. Actually, that’s good – it’ll give us some idea where he’s at and him confidence if he wins.

Li Na beats Clijsters – not sure if anyone’s mentioned her as a contender. But she surely is. I’ll never forget her steamrolling Sharapova at Edgbaston, just before Wimbie. If she gets it right on the day – one of those…


bstevens Says:

By definition, Federer and Nadal’s draw is always going to be “easy” because they have good records against virtually everyone. The only way for either of their draw to be difficult were if they had gotten Murray in their quarter or if Nadal got Davydenko or if Fed had Berdych in their respective sections (neither 3 of which happened). Don’t we expect the top 2 seeds to have the best draws?


Nina Says:

I want Nolandy in the final. Please gods hear me out once in a while.


Nina Says:

And Davydenko is very dangerous, he’s the man to beat in the bottom half.


dunbar Says:

Schoorel wins 6-2 in 3rd.


contador Says:

ooohhh it’s going to be schoorel v dimitrov. that would be one to try and stream, dunba!!

and milos, polansky, and that guy from luxumbourg who only shows up for GS’s…..mueller. also bozoljiac can be dangerous….he’s still in….

it was a tough bracket for picking, Kimberly. but…i have been switching my picks like usual


contador Says:

meant dunbar not “dunba” can’t type tonight.

aukland final…..ferrer v nalby is starting


contador Says:

yes, davy appeared out of his slump. but i can’t pick cilic


Kimberly Says:

I took cilic out to Isner!

Skeezer, Who do you think I have rafa losing to?
A. Soda
b. Murray
C. Federer
D. Isner
E. None of the above


Kimberly Says:

I guess e. Should be Novak and f. None of the above aka no one.


Kimberly Says:

I took berdych out early. I think he’s busted. And I didn’t take verdasco very far either.


jojostryus Says:

This is what typical fed fans will say in EVERY slam tournament (which is so predictable and funny at the same time :)

After the draw is released- Nadal got an easy draw
During the tournament – Nadal is a cheater
After the tournament (If Nadal wins) – He is doping or the final match is boring…

Just sayin’..


Skeezerweezer Says:

Kimberly,

“E”

:-)


Skeezerweezer Says:

@JJ

Frankly , I don’t see what you are talking about with Fed fan posts that i have seen this tourney up here. It seems to me the insecure opposite, and i would be happy to post those. You go first :).


thark Says:

so it’s interesting the lengths people will travel to generate the semblance of animosity.

the fact is that both rafa and fed are:
1. seemingly nice people
and
2. appear to be nice to each other despite their on-court competition.

and so, those desperately in search of conflict, finding it relatively impossible to criticize the players themselves for much of anything except being human, resort to attacking the other player’s fans.

“fed fans are so…”
“rafa fans always…”

dude.

give it up.

at this moment there is relatively little contempt on the tennis scene. despite this fact, the show is better than ever. is it possible that venomous hatred is not so fundamental to strong competition and brilliant entertainment as some might have us believe?…


dunbar Says:

Ferrer a set and a break up against Nalbandian. Ferrer’s got the evil eye on poor old nalby. And even if Nalby gets thru Hewitt – bet he doesn’t – Ferrer will be looking on with a quiet, beckonning smile. But what Ferru won’t realise is that Nadal will be looking at him with an even bigger smile. And that’s where the smiling will end.


Skeezerweezer Says:

Exactly my point at the 9:39 post.


skeezerweezer Says:

Kimberly,

I struggled bigtime with the Monfils/Wawa match. went against dari’s suggestion of Wawa, still undecided, the rest in the later rds were predictable to me, but for enjoyments sake, I hope I am wrong…


Skeezerweezer Says:

dunbar

Re: Ferrer, so true, so true :). If this is the sign o times for Nalby at AO, well skeezerweezers……


DC Says:

@ fern Says:
Something tells me Roger will not make it to the final this time, infact he will be taken out before the 3rd round.

————

something is a liar


contador Says:

never undersestimate ferru…..unless he’s playing nadal, of course…

better go put nalby going out earlier in melbourne. with my heart i pick him to go deep but…it’s not smart”

“something is a liar” lol….i hope so!


contador Says:

“undersestimate…”

hahahaha…making up words.

guessing simon will beat troiki but can’t stay awake for it.


contador Says:

going with monfils over wawa


skeezerweezer Says:

contador,

That’s what I’m talking about! M over W……picked the same in the brackets…watch us eat our virtual hats…lol


contador Says:

skeezer- i like both w and m…but…..i don’t know?

but i’m 100% sure abt matthew ebden over russell ; )

not sure what to do with nalby and hewitt?

you picking hewitt?


contador Says:

i do hope simon wears himself out. nothing personal against simon but he will likely play feddy


margot Says:

steve-o so right, there’s some amazing stat that if rallies go over 8 then rafa wins 99.9 recurring!
Nina: u want Nolandy final, I want Annol final ;)
Had a look at FIRST round picks, retreated groaning..


Dory Says:

Wish Del Potro would get back his Nadal slayer form.


Skeezerweezer Says:

Nalby, but after his beat down to fairy, go figger:)


jane Says:

Filled out the whole draw challenge and when i hit submit it disappeared, will try again later. Its tough to know when/where to pick a qualifier.


jane Says:

margot hoping for magic,no tragic,


Eric Says:

Here’s an interesting tidbit: apparently Murray and Djokovic are practicing together. Guess they don’t feel a Novandy final is that likely. :)

(http://www.dailyindia.com/show/419125.php)


margot Says:

Andy tweeted he’s practising outside with Beefy Boy, just hedging his bets ;)


Kimberly Says:

Jane, let me know if u need any help. The trines channel isn’t quite as user friendly as ATP,


Kimberly Says:

I mean tennis channel


Kimmi Says:

ooh lordy, what happened to nalbandian…results are not even close @#$%^^&?


Kimmi Says:

congrats to simon. goodluck federer!


Kimberly Says:

Seriously thinking of revising my pick of nalbandian going to the quarters.


Huh Says:

Who care about draws?
Al dat I want is either Fed or Muzza or Rod or JMDP or Nole or Cilic to win.


guy Says:

nalbandian is a nightmare for any fantasy picks.
vs hewitt…
nalbandian has more firepower on the forehand[who doesn't] and a backhand down the line, which hewitt almost never hits.
apart from that their games are very even, serve, slice, volleys, general baseline…
but hewitt is mentally tougher and fitter.
last year or year before i’d go with nalbandian, but hewitt is very confident right now.
and we all know who put in the bigger preseason.


grendel Says:

“a backhand down the line, which hewitt almost never hits.” ooh, I don’t know. I can’t count the number of times he used to use that on Federer to wrongfoot him.


grendel Says:

no, wait a minute, I visualised that wrong, sorry. Yes, it’s Federer moving back to the middle to cover his bh, so that’ll be generally a crosscourt from Hewitt to wrongfoot him. He does seem to do that more than most against Fed, don’t know why – perhaps Hewitt holds back fractionally, deceiving Fed?


Kimmi Says:

the new nalbandian struggles with his movement against someone who moves well. thats why we have seen lopsided score when he meets top guy. in auckland final, he was always late to a lot of shots. made a lots of unforced errors. if he beats hewitt at the AO, i dont see him beating ferrer.


Kimmi Says:

grendel – where is danbur?


dari Says:

All- some great comments I’m catching up on from last night! The spirit here at tennis x is inspiring me to act against my superstitions and do the bracket business. I wouldn’t do it ordinarily, but I don’t think this is an ordinary year! Wish me luck!


Kimberly Says:

dari, please do would love to have you and anyone else particpate!


Kimmi Says:

havent done it either. i dont feel the motivation this time around for some reason. maybe i will change my mind later..we will see. I have a day today to think about it.


dari Says:

Thanks for setting it up, Kimberly. I’m excited now, it will be my first EVER! Knowing the way I act a little irrationally, I will have kohlschreiber in the semis in no time. have a soft spot for him ;)
Anyway, OOP already up for monday!
http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/scores/schedule/schedule6.html


Kimberly Says:

kimmi-please, wouldnt be the same without you! Dari looking forward to seeing you. I have some picks that make no sense but thinking of taking nalbandian out of quarters and putting ferrer in but just can;t seem to do it.


dari Says:

kimberly. done- silly me. raced thru that wildly. cheers.


dari Says:

can you modify? i did hit submit


margot Says:

I’m thinking that if Fed is anything near his top form then only two players are in with a chance, Nole and Rafa. Unfortunately for me, Fed’s got Andy’s number in the slams and I feel Andy needs to play him earlier than the final to be in with a chance. That doesn’t seem likely to happen as Andy always ends up in Rafa’s half. Likewise with Soderling, Fed has his number and Berdych was just an aberration.
I feel with Rafa that, if he’s on song, only Andy has any chance at all, he’s done it twice now in slams and that must give him a bit of confidence. Of course we don’t know how fit Rafa is after this virus and how he will withstand two weeks playing matches in that hot, hot sun.
Of course upsets are always possible and someone out of the radar can play out of their scull and meet one of the top seeds a bit under par and… bye, bye Mr Top Seed…Andy, I’m looking especially at you ….
Am going to make an idiot of myself and enter the bracket, but at the last minute, keep changing my mind. I thought Troicki would do well but he didn’t look too good against Simon and Nalby, beefy boy etc etc..HELP!!


margot Says:

dunbar: that is a post worthy, by virtue of its length, of your good self ;)


Kimberly Says:

dari-you can always edit picks up until tomrrow at 7pm. Once the tournament starts the bracket is closed. Just be careful when you edit that the bracket you resubmit is complete!


dari Says:

oh, i see. duh “edit your picks”


jane Says:

Thanks for the offer of help. Ill give it another go and hopefully it will work. Going to go with heart not head. Figure… Why not, that’s how i watch!


jane Says:

^ above to Kimberly.


sar Says:

I picked Novak to win it all so he better do it.

Does anyone know what day Novak will start play at AO? I will be there next week but have to plan around my jet lag.


thark Says:

going with the heart is the only way, jane – i hardly think a true fan could separate the two (and i’m sure it wouldn’t be any fun if you could).

you will notice my bracket irrationally favors a certain refresco…


sar Says:

I see the Bryans lost to Dlouhy Hanley. Hmmm


Kimmi Says:

ah kimberly, i will later today. i have been busy today. never had time to sit and relax.

this year aussie open is making me nervous.


dari Says:

sar, novak plays last night match on monday.
Monday OOP is here
http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/scores/schedule/schedule6.html


Nina Says:

@Margot… Annol? Ok, lol.

One way or another I think this year is the one when Nolandy / Annol step it up and give a real challenge to Fedal. It has to be for the sake of tennis and its fans.

I’m really liking Novak’s interviews lately, he has a new spirit I didn’t see in him in the last two years. I keep in mind this quote: “There are no excuses anymore”. It’s the first step to getting up there, don’t you think?


sar Says:

Excellent perspective:

COACH DARREN CAHILL ANALYZES ANNACONE-FEDERER, PICKS NADAL AS CLEAR FAVORITE IN MELBOURNE

http://gototennis.com/2011/01/14/coa…#ixzz1B7sKQqJS

Cahill thinks Novak Djokovic is the most likely player to break the Nadal-Federer stranglehold on Major titles: “I wouldn’t be surprised if he goes all the way”, he said. He also applauds Andy Murray for going it alone for a while (the Scot isn’t bringing coach Álex Corretja to Australia) saying: “It’s not a bad thing to problem solve for yourself. It’s part of the growing up process and I think Andy’s taking more responsibility for his career.” Kind of a surprising take, coming from a coach! That said, Cahill doesn’t think Murray is going to win his first Major Down Under this year.


grendel Says:

Kimmi @10.43 – name box empty, started typing in letters, grendel came out stead of dunbar – what’s in a name? decided to leave.
Apparently, all the qualies start together, 10.am local time. So, shouldn’t be too long before get news of Dimitrov against the giant dutchman. When do we get to know who the successful qualifiers actually play? D’you know, Kimmi?

margot, if what you said was absolute, rather than approximate, nothing would ever change – a dismal thought. “Fed’s got Andy’s number in the slams…Likewise with Soderling, Fed has his number and Berdych was just an aberration.”
I think you may be right about Berdych, but I disagree about the other two. I don’t quite understand Murray (other day, talked to the chief coach of our tennis club, Scottish champion for his age group, who has a friend who coached Murray from about age 9 -12 – he was talented, though noone had any clue that he’d travel so far, and he was apparently trouble, with quite a temper; owes almost everything, tenniswise, to mother Judy). So I appeal to general principle rather than Murray’s particular character – as he gets older and more experienced, why should he not evolve to the point where he can play his best tennis against Federer where it matters? And I have no doubts about Soderling, he is certainly mature enough to play his absolute best against Federer in a slam final – whether that is good enough rather depends on Fed’s form, I suppose.


grendel Says:

ah, Dimitrov-Schoorel, 4-4. Battle to end, I suspect, hard to call. Mahut thru and Donald Young a break up 1st set.


grendel Says:

despite T.Schoorel’s service game going to deuce, tie break in Dimitrov match.

p.s.to above post(6.29)”I feel with Rafa that, if he’s on song, only Andy has any chance at all, he’s done it twice now in slams”. I am inclined, reluctantly, to agree, but I still want to see if Federer can now perform at his best against a “Rafa..on song” – and by so doing, pull out a win. For me, that’s a lot of the excitement – which is why I disagree with those who say new faces will generate more excitement. Federer has improved so much of late that one badly wants to see if it’s for real. A final with Nadal should provide some answers. Of course, tastes vary…..


dari Says:

grendel, are you about to see schoorel dimitrov live any where? or just checking scores?


grendel Says:

just checking scores, dari – is there live stream? pretty tense, you know, just looking at scoreboard. T.Schoorel has taken first set. Aaaargh! Nobody has any business being so tall.


dari Says:

i meant “able” to see live stream. i’m in no good mind today, that’s not spell check issue. i can’t find one, the only thing i see is for kavcic v. aussie.
i was interested in seeing how this schoorel looks a week after a nice set with fed.


dari Says:

anyone have any insight on how the qualifiers are placed in the draw?


jane Says:

Dimitrov lost first set tiebreak: i have only scores…

Grendel “which is why I disagree with those who say new faces will generate more excitement. Federer has improved so much of late that one badly wants to see if it’s for real. A final with Nadal should provide some answers. Of course, tastes vary…..”

Indeed, tastes do vary, hence some variety in slam winners would make a variety of fans happy. New faces on the podium, new speeches, new rituals and reactions; that’d be a breath of fresh air to tennis, imo of course. I know many want fedal forever and ever amen….


grendel Says:

Dimitrov breaks! prepares to serve at 4-3.


Kimberly Says:

http://www.tourneytopia.com/RacquetBracketAussieOpenATP/tennisxfans/Default.aspx

one of my last posts of draw challenge links for all who want to do.

Do we know who has qualified so far or not yet?


jane Says:

Kimberly i tried again and my submissions disappeared. Dont know what is up but i will try once more on the desk top, not this ipad. The quallies are still playing…


jane Says:

Raonic won the second too and is now up a break in the 3rd – woot. My dimitriov scores are stuck.


grendel Says:

new faces will come soon enough, jane, never fear. Actually, I was being a bit disingenuous – for sheer peace of mind, I’d like to see Fed in the final against just about anybody but Nadal.

I suppose what I’d really like is this: a Fed/Nadal final, but meanwhile, I have secret information from an alien who happens to have been breezing around the solar system preparatory to making a quick extra-galactic hop, and this alien has special powers which enable him to see into the future. When pressed, the alien agrees to look in on the AO final 2011, and so is able to tell me that Federer beats Nadal conclusively and in some style. The alien then pops off into another galaxy whilst I gleefully look forward to watching the final. I listen to all the heated debates with a certain calm smugness.


grendel Says:

Dimitrov capitalises on his break and wins second set 6-3. Thought it would go all the way…


jane Says:

Soon enough…hahahaha! It has been since 2004, that’s going into the 7th year, that Fed and soon after Rafa, have had a strangle hold on the slams. “Soon eough” for you is “long overdue” for me, grendel. You must be in a different tennis timezone, lol. : )


grendel Says:

Massu’s out, Dancevic and Hernych – the good czchek – are thru. Dimitrov/Schoorel 2-1 to Dim, with serve.

Actually, to revert to the Fedal business, my suspicion is that a majority of spectators – and by some margin – would prefer a Fed/Nadal final, at least for the time being, when both are playing so well. Naturally keen Nole, Murray etc fans will demur from this (to them) grisly spectacle, but it’s how it is imo. There’s something about the clash of unique champions which hypnotises the public at large, that seems to be the case in any sport.


jane Says:

Dimitrov amd Raonic look to be cruising in the third sets….


grendel Says:

Dimitrov breaks again! Yabadoo! Now hold on, you Bulgarian low life, and don’t dare to trip…


grendel Says:

Dimitrov got my message, and is 4-1 up.
“Soon enough…hahahaha! It has been since 2004, that’s going into the 7th year”

Federer is 29, and although it sometimes seems he can defy the law of gravity this is a slight (if not total) illusion. Jimmy Connors made the remark, as he trundled off the lawns of Wimbledon for the last time, “you don’t know what you’ll miss till it’s gone”.

This applies to Federer alright, I’ve been watching tennis since Borg, and Federer is a one off – I simply love watching him play, can’t get enough. I expect there are those who think the same about Nadal. Of course this is not universal. But to want the new just for the sake of its being new – I don’t buy that. The new will come in its own good time, maybe it’s here. Maybe we’ll have a Murray/Djoko final as Duro would like. If so, so be it. Personally, I hope not, although I admit I’d be fascinated to see it.


grendel Says:

wow! Dimitrov wins 6-1 in 3rd. Considering who is opponent was, that’s encouraging. Let’s hope he gets a reasonable draw. Any way of finding out what it is before tomorrow?


dari Says:

just because its new doesn’t mean its the best and most beautiful. the new group will have their time when they are ready and the old group (federer and nadal) are no longer ready!
till then, i will take old fed as long as i can get him!
the icing i need on the federer cake right now, though, is his beating rafa at least once more in a major final.
i used to fear nadal making it to the final with roger (uso semi this year was devastating, but i slightly sighed several hours later). and for my nerves, maybe i wouldn’t mind nadal getting knocked out before fed but if the fedal clash comes to be, i will relish it as an opportunity for roger to hold off prince nadal’s succession just a bit.
man, that would HAVE to feel so good for fed, right? i would want to see happy tears.


jane Says:

Who said new = best and most beautiful? Not me. But i do think it would be refreshing! And, if it were Nole or Murray to win it would be the best for me. :) And new too. And if Soda wins, it would confirm his slam break through. And if Roddick wins, it would be sentimental and might offer a nice bookend to his career. So for me, and i think for a number of tennis fans (not just Federer or Nadal fans) a new winner would be better than another Fed vs Nadal match. Of course federer and nadal fans feel differently, which is fine. Chances are you will get what you wish for.


dari Says:

no one said it, really. i was just reflecting on instances when you trade in the old for the new and kinda regret it.
i would love to see a new major winner, you can see me saying so in old posts for sure, just not this AO! ;)
i’m only rooting for one very seasoned player.


Kimberly Says:

Did dimitiv qualify? What about my boy mahut?


grendel Says:

both qualified, Kimberley – and Young, whom you asked after. Bed.


sar Says:

I’m watching the Hit for Australia event now but don’t see Stosur. She must be in town. Looks like Murray took Rafa’s place.


sar Says:

Well they saved the stars for last.


Kimmi Says:

yay – dimitrov. thanks for commentary on the match grendel, dari, jane. Hope he gets a good draw..hope this year is the year i can really watch the guy play.


dari Says:

They’ve raised 1.5 million already. Wish the best in recovery for the affected areas.
Rafa did look sweaty, but very happy.
Sammy and kimmie gave Rafa and Rog a little run for their money!
The first set of players had their minds in the gutter! Please, there are children present!


johhny Says:

“As for my pick, right how it’s Federer beating Djokovic in the semifinals and then winning the title over any one of Tsonga, Nadal, Murray or Soderling. I’m not sure of who just yet!”

well it is obvious now it’ll be: Federer defeats Murray ;)

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Rankings
ATP - Jul 21 WTA - Jul 21
1 Novak Djokovic1 Serena Williams
2 Rafael Nadal2 Na Li
3 Roger Federer3 Simona Halep
4 Stan Wawrinka4 Petra Kvitova
5 Tomas Berdych5 Agnieszka Radwanska
6 David Ferrer6 Maria Sharapova
7 Milos Raonic7 Eugenie Bouchard
8 Juan Martin Del Potro8 Angelique Kerber
9 Grigor Dimitrov9 Jelena Jankovic
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