Can Tomic Beat Federer At The Australian Open? Clijsters v. Li Na In Final Rematch
by Sean Randall | January 21st, 2012, 9:46 pm
  • 143 Comments

Generations collide tonight at the Australian Open as 19-year-old Bernard Tomic continues his ascent to the upper echelon of men’s tennis against the current king Roger Federer.

Tomic has been the talk the first week Down Under and for good reason. The teen came back from two sets to stun Fernando Verdasco in the first round, overwhelmed Sam Querrey in the second then outplayed and outsliced in a 5-set win Friday against Alexandr Dolgopolov.

Against Federer, it’s a whole new ballgame. Fortunately for Tomic he’s played his idol before with mixed success managing a set during a Davis Cup match in Australia back in September. But that match not only helps Tomic but also Federer who got a feel for Australian’s unique style.

This week, while Tomic has nearly maxed out his playing time Federer’s only been on court for six sets of tennis, three of those against Ivo Karlovic.

So while I give Tomic a good chance to win a set I don’t think he can keep it going long enough and upset Federer today. After two 5-setters and a 4-setter there has to be some weariness. And even though Tomic is the next “Mr Cool”, the attention that’s been on him the last 10 days has to have taken some mental, emotional toll.

Still, it should be a heck of a match so set your alarm if you need to. This kid’s going to win multiple Slams.

In other matches today, Rafael Nadal should have his way (as usual) against his good friend Feliciano Lopez. Nadal, who hasn’t dropped a set, has won eight of 10 meetings with his fellow Spanish lefty. Lopez beat Nadal in their first meeting in 2003 and again when Nadal was exhausted at Queen’s in 2010. Otherwise, Lopez hasn’t won a set in those eight Nadal wins.

On Hisense, I think Tomas Berdych beats Nicolas Almagro. Berdych has queitly been playing well and I think a showdown with Nadal in the quarterfinals might very well surprise.

And in the other men’s fourth rounder, Juan Martin Del Potro plays Phil Kohlscreiber. I like Del Potro but it will be tough in the heat.

As for the women, on the marquee is a rematch of the 2011 final between defending champion Kim Clijsters and Li Na. Li Na was ahead in last year’s final before losing, and I think Clijsters beats her again today. Both women agree they are mirror images of each other but Clijsters has won five of seven meetings and since it’s her last Australian Open, there’s a little more urgency and importance for the Belgian in this one.

And tonight, in the battle of Slamless No. 1s, I think Jelena Jankovic pulls the upset over Caroline Wozniacki. Caroline looks like someone who is ready to give up the top spot and tonight is the night. Interestingly, Jankovic’s former coach, Ricardo Sanchez, is now with Wozniacki.

Thankfully, we so few upsets we should be in for a great week two of tennis matchups and excitement.

Live coverage is now on ESPN2.

AUSTRALIAN OPEN SUNDAY SCHEDULE
Rod Laver Arena 11:00 AM Start Time
Victoria Azarenka (BLR)[3] v. Iveta Benesova (CZE)
Feliciano Lopez (ESP)[18] v. Rafael Nadal (ESP)[2]
Kim Clijsters (BEL)[11] v. Na Li (CHN)[5]
Rod Laver Arena 7:00 PM Start Time
Bernard Tomic (AUS) v. Roger Federer (SUI)[3]
Caroline Wozniacki (DEN)[1] v. Jelena Jankovic (SRB)[13]

Hisense Arena 11:00 AM Start Time
1. Men’s Doubles – 3rd Round
Bob Bryan (USA)[1] v. Colin Fleming (GBR)[15]
Mike Bryan (USA)[1] Ross Hutchins (GBR)[15]
Not Before:12:30 PM
2. Women’s Singles – 4th Round
Julia Goerges (GER)[22] v. Agnieszka Radwanska (POL)[8]
3. Men’s Singles – 4th Round
Tomas Berdych (CZE)[7] v. Nicolas Almagro (ESP)[10]

Margaret Court Arena 11:00 AM Start Time
Not Before:4:00 PM
4. Men’s Singles – 4th Round
Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) v. Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG)[11]


Also Check Out:
Clijsters Beats Schnyder; How Weak is WTA Tour?
No Li Way as Clijsters Wins First Australian Open Title
Roger Federer Reflects On 1,000 Matches
Kim Clijsters Beats Caroline Wozniacki In Come-Back Exo
Australian Open Women’s Preview: Will Serena Win A Sixth Australian Open?

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143 Comments for Can Tomic Beat Federer At The Australian Open? Clijsters v. Li Na In Final Rematch

Lou Says:

Tomic will not be able to stop RF from reaching the QF tomorrow:Federer is playing way better than Tomic and there is no reason why he should lose if he can sustain his normal level of play. Infact Federer is ahead of Tomic than almost all the areas of his game except first serve % (Federer vs. Tomic: Clash of Two Generations? http://bit.ly/AysC9T )


Thangs Says:

Congrats Rafa! Lopez made too many UE..


Humble Rafa Says:

Federer vs. Tomic: Clash of Two Generations

Always love how the tournament country builds up hype. Now that we have no Aussie, French, Brit (oh my!) or an American worth winning a grandslam title…it is all the more hype. It is a 4th round match and should be put in that context.

Peace.


gum Says:

My oh my did Almagro play well. It’s too bad a few spot on first serves from Berdych in the 3 tiebreakers knocked him out. He was playing like a champion. Look for him to do well at Roland Garros, he’s becoming a better player rapidly!


S Green Says:

I think Fed will try to speed-play, which is almost always very effective against anyone.


Nims Says:

I can’t see anyone other than Nadal or Novak to beat DelP. I don’t think Roger has a chance against DelP in Quarters even if he gets past Tomic. DelP playing some crazy tennis.


Daniel Says:

If he can hold and prolong the match he has a shot. Fed is already breathing strongly. Either way is a good test for
The winner who will get Delpo than Nadal.


Eric Says:

This Tomic guy is the real deal, yo.


Eric Says:

Roger’s disposable racquet covers have his RF monogram… so classy


Daniel Says:

Tomic nerves showed up, DF to give Fed a BP. Fed chose to play the point with spin givi g no pace to Tomic and got the mistake. Will serve for first set.

So far high quality match.


Daniel Says:

Goof for Tomic morale to sabe BP and the game rigth off.


carlo Says:

This is a good match so far. Agree Daniel.


atin Says:

roger is playing magical tennis….. tomic has no chance now


carlo Says:

ah, Bernie needs to move faster. Federer has an early break in the 2nd set after taking the 1st set.


margot Says:

Can Bernie beat Rog?
No, he can’t?
Over in three? Rog exposing Bernie’s poor movement.


Daniel Says:

Fed in the zone! Shaken Tomic spirit, head…


atin Says:

roger is in vintage form…so much magic … wow


S Green Says:

Margot, it’s been painful to watch Bernie. He’s given up. It is increasingly looking like a Djoko-Mahut match. I cannot waste my time anymore.


carlo Says:

haha Tomic has a break point


carlo Says:

another break point. This kid won’t go away easy.


carlo Says:

Bernie breaks back!


margot Says:

S. green, yes so right :(
Bernie just doesn’t step up and kill short balls, does he lack confidence or something?
Eat words, takes one back…lol


Daniel Says:

Fed relaxed too much!


carlo Says:

Ah, Bernie. Federer to serve for the 2nd set.


Epsilon Says:

What’s the name of that backhand of Federer that goes down in a somewhat straight line into the feet of the opponent? Flat?


carlo Says:

I sure like Tomic. This isn’t over. But I’m starting to think about Delpo v Federer AO 2009. That was a demolition by Federer but we know what happened later that year.


margot Says:

carlo: jamie’s pych has psyched me and I’m starting to feel very nervous about Tsonga..:( also think Delpot will be very dangerous for Fed.
Ferrer, if he gets there of course, and Berdych look much easier opponents to me.


margot Says:

Aussie comms are pathetic, likening this match to one Bernie played against Verdasco! Welcome to cloud cuckoo land!


carlo Says:

Are you serious? Nervous about Tsonga?


carlo Says:

oh. Do you mean Tsonga v Murray?


margot Says:

carlo: of course Tsonga v. Andy….shaking already…


carlo Says:

The aussie radio comms are huge Federer and Nadal fans, for the most part. I can’t listen to them during a Nadal match and one female comm really didn’t like Dolgo. Had to silence that :/


carlo Says:

Andy Murray is going to make the semi-final Margot. I don’t listen to psychics or fortune cookies. Tsonga won’t stop Andy but I do fear that guy that beat Andy in the final last year, I forget his name.


carlo Says:

These commentators are really losing it. Even for a reformed Federer fanatic it’s rich.


van orten Says:

Well well a real test now for Fed with delpo waiting but delpo is less dangerous than berdych hence Fed normally plays really solid vs delpo as seen last in cincy


Daniel Says:

Fed only point if concern: his first serve percentage, to low!


andrea Says:

go rog! close it out!!!


racquet Says:

Tomic used the wrong game plan completely. Only 3/4 players can go toe to toe with Fed’s forehand and be successful. He was too aggressive and hardly used his slice or played to Fed’s backhand. tsk tsk Oh how I wish Dolgo had made it instead.

Still, Tomic is going places that’s for sure.


margot Says:

carlo: 4get his name too lol. Like your confidence re JW but I always see him as dangerous. Slow courts may help Andy though.
Fed just swatted young pup :)
Now let’s see what Caro is up to.


racquet Says:

So looking forward to the Delpo/Fed match.


van orten Says:

Fed would have toyed with dolgo even more!!!! Nice what he said bout delpo on court…always a pity them together on same side


atin Says:

roger was so classy in his on court interview..i am real fan of roger as a human…he is such a great person and sportsman…go roger


steve-o Says:

That was a treat. Both men showed off all their considerable abilities, a very tactical battle.

Tomic showed his quality and why he’s so dangerous and promising. He made it a lot closer than it appeared.

As for Federer, superlatives fail at this point. After nearly a thousand matches he still has the ability to surprise with new and magical shotmaking.

Who else could hit a drop shot for a clean winner while backpedaling away from the ball?

Looking forward, we have the dream quarterfinal (Del Potro), and the possibility of the dream semi (Nadal) and the dream final (Djokovic).


carlo Says:

Margot, I am confident about Andy v Tsonga. There is that one win Tsonga was able to wrestle from Andy at AO, but that was 2008. Andy was so cool vs Llodra, I know it’s Loldra, but still. When Andy is confident and relaxed, he’s a magician and brilliant. He also has the presence of ITT in his corner. Djokovic is probably unstoppable. The thought occurs to me that Andy might be better off to go out to Tsonga and not lose to Djokovic again at AO. But it’s a silly thought and I’m the coward, not Andy.


Nims Says:

Someone at the comments above said Berdych is more dangerous than DelP. Not sure if the person knows Del P is a Grandslam champion. Anyone who had seen DelP match against Kohls would vouch he has a great chance to get to Semis than Berdych.


margot Says:

Q.Who else could hit a down the line back hand winner from the baseline, while running away from net position?
A.;)


Nims Says:

Roger as always plays one masterclass match in a Slam. This has been a trend for him. But unfortunately his next match after such masterclass has been pretty sour. I wish he played this efficiently in the Quarters.


Wog boy Says:

Thank you Roger for finishing Tomic in three, now I can watch JJ and catch early flight tomorrow morning to watch you against Delpo, go Delpo, forget AO 2009 and remember USO 2009. You are playing better and better, you can do it.
As for Berdych, what a sissy he proved to be, shame on you Berdych, you will have 15 000 people against you and I will be one of them. You even had a guts to lecture Aussies about tennis and telling them that it is not Aussie rules. They had all the rights to Booo you and good on them. You got what you deserved. I am not an Aussie but they love sport and more importantly, they know sport.


Michael Says:

With Federer in such masterful display, there is nothing much Tomic can do ? Federer, true to his class, played his sublime Tennis with ease, finesse and elegance. Poor Tomic had to face Federer who was on form and firing all cylinders. The result was foregone once Federer finds his touch. If Federer is able to continue this form throughout the tournament then he will be the Champion on the 29th. I hope he continues with his classy Tennis which is just a shade better than the rest !!


Michael Says:

Wog Boy,

I agree with you. Berdych made much out of a non-issue and it was certainly bad manners not to shake hands with your opposite player. This is not the first time with Berdych and he has displayed this cranky behaviour quite often now and then. I do not think Almagro hit that ball with the intention to hurt Berdych. He just did that at the spur of the moment.


Michael Says:

What a brutal draw Federer has in this Australian Open ? He had Karlovic, Tomic, next is Del Potro, Nadal and finally he might have to beat Novak or Murray to win the Title. It would be really nice if he wins this championship and prove that he is still alive to his critics who are writing him off from wining any more majors.


BT Says:

JJ is getting smashed for Woz out there. Woz about to serve for 6-0 first set!


margot Says:

carlo: if Andy and Nole should meet I’m sure Andy will put up a much better fight than last time. And Nole would be the overwhelming favourite, so I tend to worry less about those matches. If Andy fights a good fight, you can’t expect more.
Big Bird was a complete plonker. Hope Rafa crushes him.


Wog boy Says:

Michael,

They showed it in slow motion and Almagro did not aim at Berdych’s head, as he claims, and Almagro came to net regadless to apologise but Berdych turned his back and ignored him, and Almagro was sort of stunned, btw I think he is a nice bloke, but no-one expected that Berdych is not going to give hand to Almagro. As John McEnroe nicely said ” I would say thank you to Almagro for firing me up”.
This is no hope for JJ, better if I go to bed.


Epsilon Says:

Somebody please answer my question at 4:20.


madmax Says:

Well done Fed. Really enjoyed the match. Tomic, definitely one to watch in any draw, but still a lot to learn.

“Such was his mastery on Rod Laver Arena, Tomic could not help but show he still felt in awe of his 30-year-old opponent, who marched relentlessly into a 31st successive grand slam quarter-final.

Television cameras captured him exclaiming “wow” when the world number three produced an exquisite drop shot early in the second set and a few games later, the gangly right hander turned to his family and friends in his box and said, “I can’t do anything.”


Naderer Says:

Thats the problem with Tomic. He gave Fed way too much respect and praise oncourt when he should have fought. He lost the game mentally. Delpo had the same problem in his initial encounters with but he then he got rid of it. That’s wh@ won him his maiden grand slam


skeezerweezer Says:

Can Tomic Beat Federer At The Australian Open?

Nope. Not this time. But Tomic is the real deal, and will compete for the top 10 real soon. He has got some Fed game in him, with a 2 hander. Great match Fed, another qtr final GS. Keep makin records ma man!

Birdy, low class but his reaction to that was not unexpected. When he gave Fed a backhanded critism of Fed at Wimby, his personality imo was suspect. Now it comes out full blossom in this match.
Every athlete knows the best way to retaliate if you feel you got hit on purpose( which wasn’t the case here) you do it by WINNING. Well he did, Almagro has to go home and not continue the tourney. So Birdman doesn’t shake hands after? He deserves to get crushed by Rafa, and booed by the fans. Pathetic and a disgrace to a gentlemens game.


Colin Says:

I didn’t see the Berdych match, but all I can say is, if he doesn’t like balls fired at him in net exchanges, it’s a good thing he’s in a different generation from Ivan Lendl!
I’m optimistic regarding Murray vs Tsonga. Andy feels extra pressure in semis and finals, but I can’t see him folding in the quarters. As a commentator suggested during the delightful Llodra match, Andy may well be motivated by wanting to impress Lendl. Could be, and motivation is what he needs.


van orten Says:

@ nims i didn t mean berdych in genera is more dsngerous than delpo but Fed never seems to play his best vs him and berdy always rock solid…as for delpo he is a great guy and player and it should be s very entertaining match but here we must not forget who he is facing…delpo too will have to play his absolute best…!!!!!!!


Ajet Says:

I never like berdych. Something about him told me that he is not a nice man. I was so happy to see rafa thrashing him in the wimbledon final. :D
Hopefully rafa destroys berdych here too and takes revenge for the insult towards his countrymsn almagro. What surprises me most is that berdych is most overrated! and not to mention, him beating fed in wim 10 was absolutely due to fed playing ”one of his worst matches ever” at wimbledon and nothing else!
GO RAFA, EAT SOME BERD SNAKE FOR QF!!! ;D :D

And btw, I was sad to see tmoic lose, even though I was entirely supporting roger and am happy for his victory. hopefully tomic lands on nadal’s side net time and gives him a run for his money.


jane Says:

Wow just like Murray at Brisbane, Fed beat Tomic easily. Congrats to him on the win. I figured all along he’d win but just wasn’t sure by what margin.


Epsilon Says:

Thank you, nice people.


grendel Says:

But even if Almagro had gone for him on purpose – so what? As Colin implies, Lendl did that quite blatantly, both on tactical grounds and, apparently, because he found it amusing. As far as I know, it’s a legitimate shot. When Monfils was playing Nadal indoors on one occasion, he found himself at the net with a dolly ball – and Nadal stranded there. Monfils tried a cutesie shot – and lost the point. But, as Jason Goodall the commentator said a couple of minutes later, Nadal should have been on the way to hospital by then. A deliberate strike at Nadal would certainly have won Monfils that point – so why not? Not against the rules.

Federer came out fired up, a clear mark of respect for Tomic. But also, he was damned if he was going to be out peformed by the new young sensation. I agree with those who thought the first set was scintillating, with Tomic making a terrific contribution. Yes, he started to fade, but he’s 19. Watch for him next year, he’ll be a contender.

Sad to see it was only Fed fans who spotted the utterly glorious tennis on display. If you hate Federer, I can understand that, prejudice is natural. I am incapable of giving proper credit to Nadal, however he plays – I mean, I can, reluctantly, concede his brilliance, but I take no pleasure from it. And then there are those (like my son) who only like competitive matches, and I can understand that too. But surely there must be some neutrals who derived pleasure from the astonishing beauty, ringed in steel, which characterised Federer’s tennis today? This is tennis at an extraordinarily elevated level, and it won’t be with us for that much longer,and we are not going to see the like again.


Skorocel Says:

skeezerweezer: I’m not gonna defend Berdych here in any way – simply because I think that that ball from Almagro wasn’t exactly the most easiest to hit (that is, contrary to what Berdych said after the match, he (Almagro) certainly didn’t have that much room to hit it somewhere else), and also because I think that he (Berdych) should’ve shaken his hands with Almagro, but anyway… Remember when yo man Federer omitted the umpire after he lost to Djoker in Miami 2009? That wasn’t exactly classy as well, so you better shut up telling everyone about class & grace…

P.S. What kind of “backhanded criticism” did Berdych give to Federer at Wimby? I’m just curious…


Tennislover Says:

grendel – Not everyone – not even many of the Fed fans – can appreciate his tennis or how difficult and rare his methods are when it all comes together for him. At best, most would see the obvious grace, elegance or effortlessness especially of his movement. Otherwise, the discussion is mostly about his records, achievements etc. I guess Fed himself is to blame for this because he makes it look so ridiculously easy. I think people with technical insight or experienced observers are much more likely to appreciate that we are seeing a uniquely gifted player. Only Mcenroe comes close amongst the players I have seen. Murray has great hands but he doesn’t quite have a similar overall effect aesthetically.

There is a reason why the maximum praise -it can sometimes be extreme almost as if they are dazed or mesmerized- in this regard comes from the current and past players. They know more than anybody else how incredibly tough it is to play that brand of uniquely beautiful tennis. Fed has done it – I mean sweet poisoning as opposed to the sledgehammer – so many times against top-flight opposition that it is mind-boggling. I was watching his dismantling of Tsonga and Delpo at the AO yesterday on youtube and was wondering if something similar could happen this year too. Next thing you know is that it is now the turn of Tomic to get bamboozled and dumbfounded. It is an extremely uplifting experience seeing the head, hands and legs working in harmony in such a beautiful manner. This performance may be totally irrelevant as far as his prospects at this year’s AO are concerned. He could easily get knocked out by Delpo and I agree with nims regarding Fed’s inconsistency. However, it was another reminder
of what we will miss when he is gone.


jane Says:

I wish I could’ve stayed up for Fed/Tomic, but I was too spent. Glad to hear it was exciting: I could only find these highlights, which don’t show much. There are a lot of Tomic errors – like the first break in set one, a double fault then a u.e. The commentary I’ve read does suggest Fed was on song.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0BkowvBWZI


Tennislover Says:

I don’t mean to offend anybody here but I am just a wee bit surprised by the outrage generated by Berd’s actions. It is pretty similar to what Serena faced after that USO incident. However, we must not get overboard in our self-righteous criticism imho. They are human beings not some monsters. There are so many unethical things that happen on the court so regularly that we have gotten used to them instead of getting outraged by them. One-off incidents shouldn’t be exaggerated to vilify a player.

Someone brought Fed’s “worst play” at wimby 2010 against Berd in all this. I don’t know what they were watching and what connection it has to today’s incident. Fed may have been genuinely injured but his comments in the presser sounded like bad excuses at the time and Berd was justified in feeling that he was being robbed of some of the glory.


Tennislover Says:

Epsilon – I understand your disappointment but, to be very honest, I couldn’t comprehend your original query. There are some very knowledgeable people here and some play tennis regularly. If you could elaborate a bit more, I am sure you will get satisfactory responses.


S Green Says:

Appreciation attempted: Djokovic was no less glorious (literally) against Mahut. He played varieties of beautiful shots, experimented with a few, without much sweat, and totally demolished the French.

Apparently, hype, expectation and crowd involvement were missing from this match, compared to Fed-Tomic.

If Mahut was physically unfit, Tomic was equally unprepared mentally.

And a match, match in totality, is played by the two opposite sides, and a great match results from the brilliance of the two, not one, at least in my viewing experience. Protagonist was fully present but antagonist was missing from the story of this match, thus the lack of conflict or weak conflict in the drama.

Tomic, who idolizes Fed, summarizes: “It’s good to watch, you know. (Laughter.) Even for me, you know, playing, I enjoy watching it [Fed's great shotmaking].”

If I were a Fed fan today, like I was before mid-2007, I’d probably be enjoying the same way as Tomic did, but anyway that tells only half of the story.

Maybe, unless one is officially registered as a “fan,” it is likely to have different expectation and likely to see “brilliance” in different terms.

But then again, how do we neutrally analyze Fed-Nadal 2008 French Open final (6-1, 6-3, 6-0) when Nadal fans at the time were mesmerized by Nadal’s “great performance” and declared the match to have satisfied them. At that time, I was still leaning toward Fed or at worst hoped for a competitive match. I can compare my disappointment of that match with the last night’s. I do not see anything wrong with it.

On a side note, a word of wisdom: Neutrality is just another perspective, another point, in the horizontal line of perspectives, where for-position and against-position reside at the two ends. (underline “horizontal” above, as opposed to vertical plane).


jane Says:

Ivanovic has a 3-0 H2H vs Kvitova; I didn’t know that.


steve-o Says:

@grendel: Indeed, it took a special player to force Federer to produce that level of tennis in only a fourth-round match. An ordinary journeyman would never have elicited that kind of response from him.

Tomic’s game is unique. To compensate for his lack of defense, he moves and floats the ball with a variety of spins and slices to prevent the opponent from stepping into the court and going on offense. Once his opponent is confused, he either suddenly changes the direction of the ball, or (very rarely) hits a winner with that awkward-looking but powerful forehand.

Ordinary attacks are useless against this. As Verdasco and Dolgopolov discovered, trying to simply hit your way out of that is ultimately futile. Like a fly in a web, you just get stuck the more you flail.

Federer negotiated this minefield and found a way to open up the court and exploit Tomic’s lack of speed and mobility. The enormously complex task required superlative technical skills, precise timing, and lucid tactical thinking.

Performances like that are like listening to a symphony. You’re not conscious of the individual notes, just one continual stream of sound.

As tennislover says, it’s nearly impossible for anyone but a seasoned pro to analyze what Federer’s doing in matches like that and break it down shot by shot. But who would want to? It seems to be beside the point, anymore than one would insist on trying to hear each individual note while listening to music.


grendel Says:

Tennislover – yes, I noted Nims’ comment, and of course he is right. But it doesn’t follow that the pattern will repeat. Over the last 2 or 3 years, Federer has had difficulty in maintaining focus, but there was no evidence of that today. I feel slightly hopeful that he can maintain this steely presence all the way through.

One of the things that I like about watching Federer is that, possibly through ignorance, I keep seeing shots I don’t think I’ve seen from him before. For instance, there was in the Tomic match an extraordinary bh slice which went from one end of the court to the other, very fast, swirling deliciously in the air and concluding a long rally into which Tomic had thrown everything. He looked genuinely flabbergasted.

I don’t think Murray comes anywhere close to Federer in an aesthetic sense, and not just because of the flowing movement. He probably does have better hands than Federer at the net, though.

I agree that Berdych was entitled to feel rankled by Federer’s comments at Wimbledon in 2010. Even if he was genuinely injured, Federer chose the wrong time to bring it up. But of course, that’s just the point. He didn’t choose really, he was at the mercy of his own bitter disappointment. That’s the human factor. As for the Almagro incident, I’m with Lendl on this one. How precious contemporary athletes can be – but I guess it’s a reflection of the times.


steve-o Says:

@jane: These highlights are longer (nearly 20 minutes!) and contain the on-court interview with Courier:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9LO8P5lMWk


jane Says:

Thanks steve-o. Great serving by Fed, his backhand looked very strong and varied, the forehand was clicking, and it looks like he approached a lot, too, being very aggressive. A few wild errors by Tomic. Also, like Murray, Tomic can occasionally look a little lackadaisical. His movement is not as good as the top guys yet. Some shots he didn’t even bother to try to run down. Fed reacts well to pace and to low balls. A couple that Tomic hit higher, with more bounce, you could see them make Fed reach, like a Nadal shot would. But Fed was clearly playing excellent tennis – it looks like he hit hardly any errors; everything was working. Not sure who could’ve beat Federer last night. I think his backhand is amazing.

Tomic – does he think much on court? He says he is a good tactician, and smart – is he?


skeezerweezer Says:

grendel suberb post @ 4:54.


Rahul Says:

Federer played a great match but wasnt under any pressure at all. In fact the best part of the match was Tomic’s girlfriend. Simply gorgeous.


Michael Says:

Grendel @4.54 PM

I appreciate your post. The importance of Federer will be felt only when he leaves the Tennis stage.


Michael Says:

Wog Boy, There is no wrong in Tennis players even aiming the head. It is afterall a Tennis ball. And every player will do his very best to finish the point and not give place to the opponent to retrieve it. I do not think Almagro is that kind who will think to hurt his opponents on the other court. He is a gentleman as far as I can see. Berdych made a non-issue baloon beyond proportion. The fault is with Berdycy and he rightly deserved the boohs from audience. Possibly even tomorrow we might have the Audience boohing out Berdych. He is already a bunny to Nadal and with the crowd too ranged against him, Nadal will in all probability butcher him on court.


Michael Says:

Tennislover, You blame Roger for his comments. Right. It was just that one incident. But what about players like Nadal, Murray etc. who time and again invent excuses for their defeat ?????? Are you willing to forgive them ????


margot Says:

tennislover @6.41, lovely prose :)
Agree, Andy is not as pretty to watch as Fed, but on song Andy’s magic is damn good as well. Recent example, Lodra match.
All over (inter!) net that Tomic ain’t 19 :(


margot Says:

Michael, example when Andy “invented” an excuse please.


Michael Says:

Margot,

They are numerous. If you want an example, at the 2009 US Open, when he crashed against Cilic, he cited his ankle injury. The point about Murray and Nadal is that without being asked they will reveal their injuries to the Press and cite the inability in movement, lack of timing etc. However, they will be careful to add that this was not the reason for their defeat and that the opponent played well. But they do not bother to remember that just citing an injury takes away the credit of an opponent victory.


margot Says:

Well, if they lost and DID have an injury, so what? An explanation isn’t necessarilt an excuse.
Also, why attack other players in your need to defend your own?


margot Says:

“necessarily” of course. Oh for an edit button!


Michael Says:

Margot, Not in any bad taste. I was only responding to Tennislover comments on Roger wherein he was directly blaming him for giving excuses for his defeat against Berdych. Applying the same logic, Federer was also explaining the reasons for defeat against Berdych and it was not an excuse.


Duro Says:

Oh Nole, merciless Nole…

Four-love already…


alison hodge Says:

yawn hewitt v djokovic,so dismally one sided,c,mon hewitt at least try to make a match of it,im going for a shower as i cant stand the excitement,by which time the match will probably be over.


alison hodge Says:

seriously hewitt cannot hold serve for the life of him.


alison hodge Says:

at last hewitt manages to hold serve.


margot Says:

alison lol! Did u calm down yet?


alison hodge Says:

margot lol,funnyly enough i did actually go for a shower,which never takes me long,at least the second set was a bit more competitive,unfortunatly a past it hewitt,who did well to get this far,was never gonna be much of a test for nole,who just looks too good,not his fault as he has earned his luck,but i just hope to see more of a contest against ferrer,then hopefully against our guy,who is also looking very good,go andy.


alison hodge Says:

margot i did not see andys match,so i dont know how competitive the match was,although the scoreline would suggest it was as one sided as the one im watching now,so im not complaining just glad he got through,no offence to him but kn will probably and hopefully be spent when he faces our guy.


alison hodge Says:

nice to see a much more competitive 3rd set from hewitt.


S Green Says:

Some good news for Margot and other Murray fans: If Djokovic plays at the current level, he might not get past Ferrer, and if he does, Murray may straight-set him.


S Green Says:

One stat tells it all: At 4-5 trailing in the 3rd set, Djoko has 11 UEs to Hewitt’s 7.


S Green Says:

And Hewitt takes a set and makes it a match, sort of.


dari Says:

What lleyton is doing here at the AO is impressive and a wondwrful example to everyone. FIGHT goes such a long way!


S Green Says:

Another poor state: Djoko got broken 4 times by the end of 3rd set.


dari Says:

A little bit out of the tennis kool over the weekend, but must say im happy Andy is playing well, and aggressive- AND that tdonga is out of his way.
Congrats to kei, too for QF in slam, just what he needs!


S Green Says:

Just on the basis of the 3rd set and the first 3 games of the 4th set, I’d not be surprised if the match goes the distance, and then who knows?


dari Says:

Wow some great movemenr and use of the court from lleyton!


S Green Says:

After 40-0 (3rd game 4th set) Djoko faces a break point, and the crowd is getting louder and louder. He barely hogs.
while Aussie crowd is loving it, the Serbian box is looking baffled.


S Green Says:

hogs = holds


S Green Says:

Even the old man Tony Roche is all pumped up, which is a rare sight to see.


margot Says:

S Green, dunno, in the first set Nole looked invincible.Perhaps he didn’t take Hewitt seriously enough in second? Think he can substantially raise his game depending on whose over the net.
Gr8 to see this one a lot more competitive now.
Burt Nole wins this, this set I think.


Ajet Says:

djoker better not lose this or nadal would wake up again!!!


S Green Says:

Margot, how about Hewitt was sleep-walking in the 1st set? Or, Djoko was playing freely?
He will most likely pull it off in four but he played an untidy match after the first set (he was broken once in first set as well).

What was uncanny to me is Hewitt is is exploiting Djoko’s backhand, stretching him to the far left corner.


margot Says:

alison, didn’t see Andy’s match but was glad a) Andy got onto RL and glad b) he got off so quick in that awful heat :)


margot Says:

S Green: and…Hewitt’s serve has been AWFUL! Even more surprising he took a set off Nole.


Kimmi Says:

serving for the match like a champ


Kimmi Says:

nole needed that challenge in my opinion. things were too easy for him.


S Green Says:

Djoko does it in 4. Congrats. Kudos to Hewitt for giving the Aussie something to cheer about.
Hopefully this match prepared Djoko netter and he prepares better next time.


jane Says:

Phew. Just followed scores last set. Need to go back to sleep. Wonder if the conditions were a factor? Nole has played all day matches and much slower at night apparently, so maybe? Also no doubt Hewitt is a fighter, and I knew he’d put pressure on Nole’s serve. He hasn’t been getting very high first serve percentage here, in high 50s lots of times. Other opponents haven’t been able to exploit that but I knew Hewitt could. And Ferrer and Muzza are better returners than him. So it won’t be easy for Nole that is for sure. His serve is a weakness still methinks. And too many errors judging by the stats. Oh well, a win is a win. Good on Leyton for making the second week. Like that guy a lot!


alison hodge Says:

jane go back to sleep happily everything fine in nole land,glad as you say he got the test,he did need it your right,found a way throgh even when not playing his best as all great champions do,leyton deserves alot of credit for a great week,he and tomic have given the ozies a lot to be happy about,congrats nole.


mat4 Says:

Jane,

if you find the replay on youtube, just listen to Wilander’s comments at 3-0 in the third set.

Nole served like never before.


mat4 Says:

LH mixed his serve well. He sliced to Novak’s forehand with good results. He played an intelligent, combative game, moving well, forcing Novak to play one shot more.

Novak relaxed a bit to much after 3-0 in the third. He thought the match was finished. When he woke up from such a dream it was to late.

Nole has improved his serve. He served 15 aces to a returner like LH. His serve is much more precise, especially down the T.


Duro Says:

I would trade those couple of aces for higher 1st serve percentage. It’s still not a weapon. He couldn’t exploit it when he needed the most, in the set which he lost. Lost precisely because of it, among other things.

Still, still not a weapon. Plus it drains too much power out of him.


Duro Says:

Difficult, difficult win for Nole. Not impressive like we’re used to from him. Broken too often, didn’t serve well, his passing shots don’t get in as they did last year…

Heavy, slow conditions though, heavy balls, first night match…

Maybe it’s good for him to add this experience to himself, so not to be caught next match against a grinder such is Ferrer. He can’t get through with his shots easily in these conditions and with first or one shot. Movement is the key and patience. Layton caused him all sorts of problems by off-pace balls in the middle of the court (not all of those deliberate ones, though… Some he barely managed to get over the net, as a matter of a fact).

A good win nevertheless.


mat4 Says:

Duro:

Nole made half of his points with the serve today. Not a weapon? Of course, it is not Roddick’s serve, or Raonic’s. But it is quite decent.

I don’t understand how a good serve can drain toо much power. On the contrary: it helped him keep his strength. And his % was respectable: 64% of first serves, 73% won, 56% won after the second serve.

And the serve is the last thing to blame for the lost of the third set: he made UE with his forehand, his backhand, he shanked routine shots in the net… He certainly was not the player able to play, to quote Rafa, “one more ball”.


jane Says:

mat4, thanks. I have been checking Nole’s stats all tournament and while I see he is winning on a high percentage of both first and esp second serves, he is not getting a lot of firsts in. High 50s percentage of firsts in seems to me less than he was getting last year and so, like Duro, that concerns me. Of course all Nole fans tend to be concerned about his serve most of all because we’ve lived through “the year of double faults”, and so forth.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Bad game plan by Nole, playing ultra conservative tennis against the man who wrote the book on grind-ball. And so boring! Nole kept himself out on court a lot longer than he had to because he din’t go for big shots. Now he’ll play Ferrer who will give him a real work out, and by the time he makes the semis he’ll be facing a fresh Murray. Plus, if he plays defense against Federer as well, will he be ready to go for kill shots as he’ll need to in the semis or finals?
Will be interesting to see if other, particularly Federer, can give Nole as much trouble with the slice to the forehand.

Looking forward to tonights big tilt!


jane Says:

Ah, the UEs. Yeah, I noticed those were high too. It was a good challenge no matter what. He came through, against a tough opponent. But to win big he will need to lift his game and not get too comfortable. Cruise control doesn’t always work. More pedal to the metal needed perhaps. Negotiating the rough turns and speed bumps…


mat4 Says:

Lleyton caused him problems? What problems? He was overpowered for two sets and a half, it was almost embarrassing. He fought valiantly, but he was nevertheless completely outplayed, watching one winner after another (55 to 23).

Lleyton managed to win the third set, kudos to him, but it has more to do with Djokovic than with him.


mat4 Says:

@Jane:

Nole took the foot from the pedal off after that break in the third. He first offered a game to LH, then, suddenly, he was broken and he lost his inner belief for a few games. He obviously lacks matches.

But I think it was good for him overall, and that if he makes it past Ferrer, that Ferrer is a good opponent to prepare yourself to play Murray.


Duro Says:

mat4, you say:

“I don’t understand how a good serve can drain toо much power.”

Sometimes you or anyone else can understand things only by watching. He labors!!! Big time. The effort, the body arch he makes while serving, the kick serve energy he puts in… All of that drains energy and causes rib muscles injuries and such. I don’t like his serve anymore. Compare it with his 2007, beginning of the 2008 serve. His second was around 190 km/h, what Ben Pronin always highlights. He doesn’t serve effortlessly like Fed. This is why it’s not a weapon I’d like him to have. And way too much net hits when needs a big one. First serve percentage of 64 is not enough when the things get tougher. I want him to serve 80 % when in trouble and not to grind himself out laboring heavily.

“Lleyton caused him problems? What problems?”

Did you see the match? Nole sent more slices and forehands into the net than I saw him the whole last year. Why? He didn’t move well. Wanted for the balls to come to him rather than he ran after them. Hewitt kept sending off-pace balls in the middle of the court (Not all of them deliberately as I said) and Nole kept returning those unusually often into the net. These kind of problems. I wasn’t talking that his victory was jeopardized or something, just how difficult it was for Novak today. And yes, Hewitt caused him all sorts of problems.

Who is guilty? Novak, of course.


grendel Says:

I don’t think the Djokovic/ Mahut match serves as any kind of analogy for the Federer/Tomic match. Mahut was not expected to trouble Djokovic in any way, certainy not to extend him. The notion of him beating him will not have occured to anyone. Tomic, however, was certainly expected to both trouble and extend Federer, though not to beat him. And in the first set he did extend Federer. The first set was closely fought, and Federer brought his “A” game. He obviously felt he needed to.

For me, there was a great fascination here, as there always is when the new guard tilts hopefully at the old. Tomic played very well in that first set, and forced Federer to dig – and what a champagne party that drew forth. I for one am grateful for that.

After that, the writing was certainly on the wall. But even then, the match was not entirely without tension. Tomic is quality, there is no doubt, and the greatest of players can and do waver as the finishing line beckons. Federer in particular has faltered of late. How would his nerve hold up? That was of interest, to me at any rate.

In its way, I believe the match was a little gem. Jewells come in many shapes and forms. But, of course, taste is personal in these matters.


jane Says:

Sounds like you two mostly agree, perhaps except for the serve part.


mat4 Says:

Djokovic said in an interview that he serves better than he ever did. I also do remember an interview with Paul Henri Mathieu where PHM said that Nole served at 190 km/h his second serves. But I recently rewatched his matches against Tsonga and Federer from four years ago, and I tend to agree with Novak, not PHM.

It is not only aces. I regret the serve stats do not count “serve winners”, because he made a lot.

For most of the match, he made outrageous forehand winners, backhand down the line winners, lobs from impossible positions, passing shots, perfect bh slices… He was all over Lleyton. In the first two sets and in the fourth, he made probably about 7-8 UE, and about 15 winners.

Then, I believe he intentionally lost the fourth game in the third set, Wilander believed it too, and he spoke of it with Chris Bradnam. And suddenly everything changed. Nole played passively, missed a few easy shots, and Lleyton came back.

I think it is due to a lack of matches, and that the game is mostly here.


Duro Says:

“For most of the match, he made outrageous forehand winners, backhand down the line winners, lobs from impossible positions, passing shots, perfect bh slices… He was all over Lleyton. In the first two sets and in the fourth, he made probably about 7-8 UE, and about 15 winners.”

And then he made 13 or more in the third…

He made outrageous forehand winners, but lots of his forehands were sent back as well by Hewitt’s persistence and fighting spirit. His FHs were not as penetrating as we use to know (due to heavy slow night conditions). Lots of them ended in the out. BH assessment stays.
Lob he made one only. Passing shots were rarely poorly executed this time. Particularly ones in the stretch. He didn’t get through with any of them. He sent at least 5 BH slices into the net and at least 4 of them outside the court. The unforced ones.

Mat, you know how I like Novak, but it was not his number 1 player display.

Movement and serve didn’t pass.

Cheers.


grendel Says:

“Then, I believe he intentionally lost the fourth game in the third set, Wilander believed it too, and he spoke of it with Chris Bradnam.”

mat4, I watched the match on Eurosport too, and Wilander talked of Djokovic “throwing a bone” to Hewitt. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. If you remember, he brought up his own solitary experience of playing Borg, and apparently Borg was so generous as to toss not one but two bones to Wilander. That may be as it is, but I do not think Djokovic did anything of the sort. He did lose concentration.

It was round about the time those birds were released. This halted the proceedings for a little, and I recall Djokovic smiling. There was just something about the smile, I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I did feel it was odd, uncharacteristic, pleasant to see – and unwise.

Hewitt has always been a tremendous opportunist – he’ll sniff out a weakness in an opponent before the opponent himself is even aware it has surfaced. He spotted a relaxing of intensity on Djokovic’s part straight away, and exploited it for all it was worth. He might have won the 4th. Do you remember Hewitt’s roaring in anguish when he got drawn into hitting a ball of Djokovic’s which had landed right in the corner and putting it out, when he realised that Djokovic’s ball might well have been out?


Duro Says:

To clarify, I was talking mostly of the third set.
As far as serve is concerned, the number of games in which Nole got broken speaks for itself how well he was serving tonight…

Aces won’t change my mind.


Duro Says:

Grendel, it wasn’t the birds…

Nole’s serve is not a weapon and will betray him often when needed the most. Too much effort, too much labor, too much susceptible to get broken.

A serve and a movement lost him a set tonight.

A serve lost him almost all other games he got broken in. And there were too many of them, believe me… That’s what bothers me the most.


Brando Says:

In this i have to agree with Duro. Nole needs to pcik up his serve as he goes along in this tourny. He’s capable of it.

He should meet andy in the SF, and if one looks at their serve stats and in general there service games, then andy has the upper hand at the moment.

IF, and it is a massive IF, andy keeps his serve firing, then he has the return to cause nole all sorts of problems.

Andy looks a very, very dangerous kettle of fish atm!

It’s true his opponents are nothing to write to home about, BUT his demeanor, on court cool and lack of tantrums- which usually lead to slef destruction- have been absent so far in this tourny.

Things may change for him when the pressure kicks in, but so far it seems that he has had the ‘MENTAL CLICK’ nole experienced this time a year ago.

time shall tell….


mat4 Says:

@Grendel:

You could be right. There was a sort of decompression at this moment, and Djokovic shanked three returns and a forehand.

But there is another thing that make me think that he gave a chance to Lleyton: do you remember the set point at 5-0 in the final last year? Andy missed his first serve, then Novak banged his return a bit long, just like he didn’t care. The moment in the third set looked quite similar.


mat4 Says:

@Duro:

Come on, Duro… He was broken once in three sets, twice in the third. Aced LH 15 times… Served an average of 190 km/h… You must have watched his matched against Baggy in Dubai by mistake…


mat4 Says:

@Grendel:

BTW, I feel you could write a blog about tennis. You have a great perception of meaningful details and a poetic plume. I really enjoy reading your posts.


Duro Says:

Come on, Mat! He was broken 4 times overall! 4 times! That’s too much if it was a dominant display with a big serving day. I would trade those 15 aces easily if you offered me that he hadn’t face any break points.

And 34 UE…

If you liked what you saw I’m fine with it. I certainly didn’t.

Not sure if you’ve been watching the same match we all did (the one where Hewitt took a set of Nole leading 3-0, with 15 useless aces which couldn’t compensate, not even remotely, for the 4 games Nole got broken in and lost a set because of it).


margot Says:

Brando @1.18: wishin’ ‘n hopin’ ‘n dreamin’….;)
This time last year, don’t think Nole lost a set against Ferrer, Rog and Andy on his way to the title. Could be wrong. He hasn’t quite “clicked” yet. But of course gr8 champions click at precisely the right moment.


S Green Says:

I and Duro see Djoko from the same vantage point whenever we express our dissatisfaction and critically demand more from the No. 1.

I am not talking about agreeing for the sake of alliance, which is more related to pathos than ethos(I do not sing Duro’s songs in praise and enthusiasm); I am talking about the vantage point that I and Duro have shared for a long (observation is lens-related construct, and where that lens is directed has to be accounted as well).

As for my miniature argument with Grendel (since we are talking in civility after a long time, thus a different historical context), I was merely stimulated to respond to this clause of yours, “If you hate Federer,” which is not conditional at all in this instance, and in all honesty I have never held that position even conditionally (some of my publicly recorded articles, under Xeno-philous or Shital Green, are testimony to that, both at Planet and Bleacher; some of which you must have come across).

Another point, I do not think “prejudice is natural” (maybe, prejudice can be naturalized, which is the same as culturized, and I am certain I have not embedded and acculturated this particular prejudice in question.

However, during the heat of the match, I generally tend to take expressionist position and say less scrupulous/ less prudent things (like Tony Roche was doing last night with his fist-gestures) about any match, particularly the ones played by the players of my interest. I tend not to watch a match if I think it is between players with no merit or of disproportionate abilities.
Let’s leave it at that.


Duro Says:

My old ingenious friend, S Green…

I salute you.

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