Clijsters, Nadal, Federer Charge Into Quarterfinals at Australian Open
by Staff | January 22nd, 2012
  • 205 Comments

Kim Clijsters fought back from 2-6 down in a second-set tiebreak to defeat China’s Li Na 4-6, 7-6(6), 6-4 in just one of many dramatic storylines that unfolded on Sunday at the Australian Open.


Clijsters rolled her ankle in the first set, going on to lose the opening set, but refused to yield.

“I said in my mind, keep fighting,” Clijsters said. “You never know what happens on the other side of the court…I knew if I could just try to let the medication sink in or if I could get through the first 20 minutes [after the ankle inujury], half hour, I think the pain would go away a little bit and then maybe with the adrenaline I could just fly through it.”

In her post-match conference Li broke down in tears recounting the pressure points of the match.

“Maybe 6-2 up in the tiebreak I was a little bit shocking,” she said. “Of course I was nervous.”

Clijsters saw her next opponent lined-up when world No. 1 Wozniacki played the last match of the day in defeating former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic 6-0, 7-5.

“My confidence is high, my fitness is good, my play is improving and I’m very positive,” said Wozniacki, who is fighting to keep her No. 1 ranking from Victoria Azarenka, Petra Kvitova and Maria Sharapova, who are all within reach.

The No. 3 seed Azarenka and No. 8 Agnieszka Radwanska also set up a quarterfinal meeting with wins on Sunday, Azarenka defeating Czech Iveta Benesova 6-2, 6-2, and Radwanska pounding No. 22 Julia Goerges 6-1, 6-1.

“I would be a liar if I said I didn’t care about it,” Azarenka said about the top spot.

On the men’s side Roger Federer made short work of Bernard Tomic, ending the homecountry favorite’s run 6-4, 6-2, 6-2.

“I thought I played a really good match,” said Federer, who had no difficulty breaking the Aussies serve, of handling the tall teen’s unwieldy ground game. “I knew I had to. Anything else wouldn’t have done the job tonight.”

No. 2 seed Rafael Nadal likewise advanced in convincing fashion Sunday, pounding No. 18 seed and countryman Feliciano Lopez 6-4, 6-4, 6-2.

The Spaniard will next face No. 7 seed Tomas Berdych, who was heartily booed by Australian Open fans when he refused to shake No. 10 seed Nicolas Almagro’s hand after beating the Spaniard 4-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(3), 7-6(2).

“Well, I mean, just to say about this story, which I already take it as a past,” began Berdych in his post-match conference, trying to explain that he didn’t shake hands since Almagro tried to take his head off with a ball when he was at the net. “It’s just one thing that what happened from the side of Nico was pretty much maybe not what should be happening in the tennis, and that’s it, you know. So I think if they want to look at it like that, then I think maybe we both did some mistake. So it’s even, and that’s it. You know, I wouldn’t do any big story with that, you know. Just something happen there, and that’s it, you know. It’s already we don’t have any problems at all together. That’s how it is, you know. It was pretty tight match, and I think it’s more about the game than just this story.”

Federer will next face No. 11 seed Juan Martin del Potro, a straight-set winner Sunday over Philipp Kohlschreiber.

“Roger is the best tennis player of the history, and of course he’s the favorite,” del Potro said. “I remember three years ago I play on quarters against him and I only win three games. So if this time is something different and I win more games is going to be okay for me.”

Fourth-round action concludes on Monday with (21) Ana Ivanovic vs. (2) Petra Kvitova, (4) Andy Murray vs. Mikhail Kukushkin, Ekaterina Makarova vs. (12) Serena Williams, (14) Sabine Lisicki vs. (4) Maria Sharapova, (1) Novak Djokovic vs. Lleyton Hewitt, (24) Kei Nishikori vs. (6) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, (17) Richard Gasquet vs. (5) David Ferrer, and Sara Errani vs. Jie Zheng.


Also Check Out:
Clijsters Straight-Sets Bartoli in Comeback at Cincinnati
Henin, Clijsters in Same Quarter; Williams Sisters Semifinal Looming?
Kim Clijsters Becomes First Mom Ranked No. 1 on WTA Computer [Video]
Kim Clijsters Beats Caroline Wozniacki In Come-Back Exo
No Li Way as Clijsters Wins First Australian Open Title

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205 Comments for Clijsters, Nadal, Federer Charge Into Quarterfinals at Australian Open

van orten Says:

Delpo will have to play his absolute best vs Fed. Fed will have to play his best …makes for an entertaining match


Lefty Says:

When JMDP played Roger at this stage before he was in awe of him. He is long over that now as he showed later the same year at the US Open.

I expect JMDP to win more than 3 games this time, maybe even 3 sets…


andrea Says:

devastating loss for li na. even watching the third set was painful…i can’t imagine playing it like she did…she was in disbelief that she was even in a third set. but you have to hand it to clijsters. not sure where she pulled out all of those match point saves in the second set tie breaker but that crazy lob goes down as a classic.

i don’t know about everyone else but every time i see slow motion of players rolling their ankles i get a bit queasy,,,


Humble Rafa Says:

Li Na = Lady Forehand from Scotland.

Both chokers, atleast Li Na has something to be proud of.


tennisfansince76 Says:

Delpo looked good last night. i’d have much preferred a delpo nadal qtr.


tennisfansince76 Says:

Delpo looked good last night. i’d have much preferred a delpo nadal qtr.


Dave Says:

Roger Federer hits 1000 matches back to Zen-like calm and lethal touch‎
http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2012/jan/22/roger-federer-australian-open?newsfeed=true

What Federer has done so far is pretty amazing considering the players he has faced — and will face (in the quarterfinals) — have arguably been the toughest or most challenging opponents faced by any of the big four players heading into the semifinals. It certainly didn’t help Roger that Andreas Beck (the weakest player who might have given Roger some easy practice) gave him a walkover, as John Newcombe noted: ‘Newcombe, conversely, believes Federer’s far less taxing passage – it included a second-round walkover – has denied the 16-time slam winner the chance to play his way into peak form. “I think that Roger will win in the end, but it’s going to be a very tough match, and one of the reasons is that Roger hasn’t had any matches to get himself into form. [Ivo] Karlovic doesn’t give any rhythm to your game, and the way Bernie plays is very disruptive to the other person’s game. Since September when I saw him closely at Davis Cup I think he’s probably improved 15 per cent all around, and just his general fitness, and knowledge of what he can and can’t do on the court. I’m also really happy to see that he’s exploding more, especially off the forehand, not just hitting the ball back. He’s developing a really big weapon there.” ‘ No mean feat for even Federer to be able to turn it on like that against Tomic after a walkover, followed by the rhythm-sapping match with Karlovic.

Federer’s match with Del Potro should be the highlight of the quarterfinals, followed by a potential Murray-Tsonga and then Nadal-Berdych. Djokovic has had the easiest opponents into the semifinals of the big four — unless David Ferrer can unleash the Devil within him again (as he did at the WTF)… if he beats Gasquet. It would be something if Hewitt can somehow pull roll back the years for one great surge against Novak, though it’s unlikely.


jane Says:

Fed’s biggest concern is his back as the tournament progresses. If his first serve percentage was low, as I read on some thread, then it could be back related, but i am not sure.

Personally I don’t think a revived hungry Hewitt, then an on form Gasquet/Ferrer is easy, but I cheer for Nole so I guess I tend to see it differently. Last year Ferrer pushed Murray hard in the semis. He is a very strong hard court player. Some of it comes down to match ups too. Ferrer just beat Nole at WTF. Meanwhile Berdych hasn’t beaten Rafa since 2006!!! Murray has a very good record versus Tsonga, too, so while Tsonga can be dangerous, that match doesn’t worry me. I truly believe Murray will come through. Fed vs. Delpo is the most difficult to predict, I agree with that. Delpo is the darkest horse. ;)


Thangs Says:

Poor Li Na..Feeling very sorry for her. Biggest slip than Navotna’s 1993 one..ofcourse it was grand final..


Steve 27 Says:

Come on Del Potro! I believe if you can win the first set, Federer will be in a difficult situation.
I think you can win this important match.


van orten Says:

delpo is by far the favourite fellow player of roger federer …you read every interview he mentions delpo he is always very positive and would love him to be number 1 and multiple slam champ one day…in argentina roger federer is by far the most popular and loved foreign sportsman …delpo always talks about roger being not only his idol but friend who really cared about him during his injury ! so once fed is gone delpo clearly will be not only my favourite player i believe and as i mentioned before a pity they have to meet so early in QF


Gordo Says:

I agree that DelPo has the best chance of upsetting Fed and preventing a 1,2,3,4 semi final alignment, but that is because the Argentinian is getting back to his A-Game, and not anything to do with Fed; were it to be DelPo vs Rafa, Nole or Murray I would be thinking the same thing.

If we do get a 1,2,3,4 semi final matchup, the match I am more looking forward to than Fed/Rafa is seeing how Murray fares against Djokovic.

This should be one interesting week of tennis.


Ronniefan Says:

thought after USO finale they had fed would be furiouse but a true gentleman

anyone remember where fed was angry about the late challenge of del potro and the banter with the umpire


alison hodge Says:

i think it would be the come back of all come backs,if delpo were to beat roger,rafa and then andy or most likely nole in the final,difficult as that may be,not out of the realms of possibility,regardless of what happens from here on in,hes on the right track,and has had a tournament to be proud of,im sure he will still have a great year this year.


Lou Says:

Delpo is a strong fella….he will def provide a tough challenge to Federer….Overall it will be an interesting match to watch..Even Fed said he missed him after us open 2009 when he got injured and had thought that he will become world no.1…Delpo is a fighter .. A must read .for Delpo fans: Juan Martin Del Potro – Fall and Rise Of The Fighter? http://bit.ly/owcb66

Go Delpo….


sheila Says:

so hoping federer gets 2 finals although this is a tuff task. i think hes had a tuff draw in that hes playing all the tall guys w/some major heat on their serves. it seems a tall order for federer 2 win delpo, nadal & djokovic. so my practical & probably predictable scenario is it will be djokovic & nadal in final again. i think they will dominate once again in 2012 & i think nadal wants 2b the man so badly again he will win this 1 against djokovic. hope im wrong & federer gets thru & wins #17.


grendel Says:

jane:” Some of it comes down to match ups too. Ferrer just beat Nole at WTF.” I don’t believe that loss has much significance. Djokovic wasn’t remotely himself at the WTF as we all know. When Djokovic is on song – and he appears now to be very much on song – I imagine he’ll simply brush Ferrer aside. And Gasquet, who hasn’t beaten him for nearly 5 years, even more so. Hewitt might be tricky, though. But hardly a serious threat.

Of course, it might be that Djokovic is playing too well for anyone to trouble him outside the other top 3 and del Potro.

But for this slam, Nadal has sleepwalked into the quarters, and Berdych is unlikely to reverse that trend. Djokovic’s had it almost as easy. Murray and Federer have had it by far the toughest on paper – and Tsonga and delPo are the only other credible contenders for the title, as was clear from day 1.


Skorocel Says:

andrea: „not sure where she pulled out all of those match point saves in the second set tie breaker but that crazy lob goes down as a classic.“

Yeah, but had Li Na didn’t mess up the backhand which preceded this lob (remember, Clijsters played a pretty mediocre dropshot which Li Na got to in time, but inexplicably played the ball directly to where Clijsters was moving), Kim would be already on her way home…

===============

@van orten: Aside from Djoker & Murray, JMDP is by far the best of those „young guns“ today. Well, 23 isn’t exactly the “youngest”, but anyway, the guy, if healthy, is & always will be a major threat, because contrary to people like Tomic or indeed Murray, he has TWO MOST FUNDAMENTAL WEAPONS in today’s game which he can (more often than not) relly upon: serve & forehand. Wouldn’t surprise me a bit if he can take out Fed on Tuesday…

===============

„So if this time is something different and I win more games is going to be okay for me.”

Funny guy, this JMDP ;-)


jane Says:

We’ll see grendel. I agree that Tsonga & Delpo are the most likely other contenders, here, and I agree that Fed’s had the toughest path so far and it continue to be daunting. Murray had the toughest opener, but he’s had a fairly smooth path since. I believe he’ll beat Tsonga should they meet, that is, if Tsonga beats Kei Nishikori. Not sure what to make of it as it was an exo but Nishikori beat Tsonga at Kooyong so you never know. Delpo and Fed is definitely going to be interesting. Based on form so far, I’d pick Fed to win it, and face Rafa in the semis. I don’t know what’ll happen in that match either. If it is Nole/Muzza and Fed/Rafa, I think either semi could go either way. It’d be very tough to call.


grendel Says:

well, I go further, not “most likely” but “only” other contenders.Nishikori beating Tsonga in an exho has, imo, almost no relevance. I agree, Murray is favourite to beat Tsonga – but if the Tsong is singing, he can take anyone.

If Fed continues his current form, he should beat delPo – but of course delpo has a good shot. “I know what to do to beat him”, he said to Barbara Schett, and perhaps he does.

I don’t agree about Murray/Djokovic. Djokovic is strong, strong favourite here, and it is not imo tough to call. Even so, Murray does have a chance, in the same sense as Tsonga has a chance against him.

If delPo beats Fed, I think he’ll beat Nadal. But Fed? Reason says he cannot beat Nadal in 5. Time and again, he has come up short in absurd and even demeaning ways, and why should this time be any different? All Federer fans have to face this, and yet again hope marches timorously into battle waving a distinctly hesitant flag.

Even so, there are grounds for hope – or do we make them up? Maybe we do,but one of the things which impressed me in Fed’s last match was how accurate he was (I leave aside the aesthetics, which I mentioned in another thread). There was something curiously businesslike about him, as if he utterly believed the mission he was on. I think he will, in general, play very well against Nadal should he reach the semi – the question is,in the critical moments, will all that monumental baggage which lurks in his skull suddenly surface and turn his tennis arm into a lead weight? Reason suggests this is probable, and yet reason can only work on the data supplied to it. And we do not know all the data – for we do not know Federer’s state of mind, which is the critical factor in this case.

So actually, I will agree with you on this one, that a Fed/Nadal semi could go either way. That’s my attempt at optimism.


Kimberly Says:

This match is crucial for ivanovox. If she can win it it could resurrect her status


Kimberly Says:

Kvitova already up a break but ivanovic hangin on


Kimmi Says:

both making too many errors. kvitova with a break but not great tennis.


Kimmi Says:

quick set by kvitova. go go go


Kimberly Says:

Odd shot


Kimberly Says:

Petra jusr a far better player. Ana just has nothing to give her


jane Says:

I picked Kvitova to win it all; I hope she can do so, but Serena’s in her half – that could be the biggest hurdle.


Kimmi Says:

I hope she wins it too jane. i cant wait to see serena and petra crush.


Kimmi Says:

kvitova at the net..sublime!


Kimmi Says:

ha ha kvitova missed a smash. hope she can serve it out though..ana is starting to hit the ball well.


Kimmi Says:

petra got nervous, ana breaks, game on


jane Says:

Didn’t see that coming; but credit to Ivanovic.


Kimberly Says:

I would like to see a longer match. I don’t really care who wins but love watching.


Kimberly Says:

Bad time for a df Ana


Kimmi Says:

I know kimberly, 2 DF cost ana. but kvitova was better apart from that poor game when she was serving for the match.


jane Says:

Ana seized her moment and tried to push the match further but Kvitova dominated the tiebreak in the end. So Murray and Kuku now right? Cookoo? ;)


Kimberly Says:

kvitova was levels above her. anyone with two eyes could see that.


Kimmi Says:

muzza vs kuku and nishikori and tsonga should start now. Apparently it is very hot today..34 degree max this afternoon. Petra said she was lucky to get the first match, i agree with her.


jane Says:

Kimmi the AO website shows 26 degrees. But it’s always much hotter on court too.


Kimmi Says:

i was watching euro sport commentary and the said today will be the hottest day since they started. maybe 26 now but will get hotter in the afternoon.


jane Says:

This is the first time Nole will play an evening match; week one was all in the day. I wonder if the conditions are much different? Sharapova/Lisicki could be really good – just not sure how late I’ll be up tonight.


Kimmi Says:

apparently kuku never lost a five set match, he is 4-0 now. well, murray does not need to take him that far..


jane Says:

Muzza and Tsonga both with early breaks.


Kimmi Says:

jane – sharapova/ lisicki at wimbledon semi was 6-4 6-3. so i dont really have much of expectation. but you never know..

ofcourse the condition at night are different. apparently courts are much slower. federer commented about that a lot.

JJ said the same after losing to wozniacki last night.


jane Says:

Yeah, realize they are different, just was wondering if it was “much” different. Sounds like it is.


racquet Says:

First set to Muzza in 22 mins. Returning is white hot today.


Kimmi Says:

so kuku has an injury apparently.

Muzza should put him out of his misery quickly then.


Kimberly Says:

Hard courts get really hot. I played today and they said only 80 but seemed much much hotter because the cement seems to absorb the sun and make it hotter.

Meanwhile, Murray playing very well nut this other guy seems like he left his game at home. Or does Murray’s play just make it look that way.


Kimberly Says:

Cay courts not as hot as hard courts.


Daniel Says:

Kimberly is right, one of this days I could’t stand the heat in my feet, playing on hard mid day. And I was playing with special socks and a white nike Air vapor (just like Fed:)


Kimmi Says:

maybe murray needed a more competitive match to prepare for tsonga..


jane Says:

Kuku is not going to trouble Muzza today; he’ll be off the court in no time. Meanwhile, I think Nishikori could come back. Wasn’t he down two sets in one of his matches and came back? Not sure I’d write him off just yet.


Kimberly Says:

Daniel, I wear sharapovas shoes, in fact today I wore the dress shoes and visor she is wearing in this tournament, the white and green. It was hotter than It had been in awhile. Sharapova shoes so light and great for court speed. Serena shoes much heavier, yet Serena moves so much better.


racquet Says:

Don’t think he wants it too competetive in this heat. Looks like there are more rallies in the Tsonga match.

Whoops, and Kukushkin retires!


jane Says:

Well, no time indeed. Muzza is done for the day.


Kimmi Says:

muzza said kuku push him to three sets (5-7, 6-3, 6-2)in brisbane. hmmm, hard to believe the way he played today.


racquet Says:

Nice on-court interview. Meanwhile, Nishikori breaks in the 2nd set. Keep him out there as long as possible Ken.


jane Says:

I knew Nishikori could trouble Tsonga. Even though Kooyong was an exo the scoreline was telling, imo.


racquet Says:

Something is up with Tsonga. He looks a little sluggish; serve misfiring and more wayward shots than usual. Nishikori seems to be playing well however.

Double break. Interesting.


Kimmi Says:

tsonga could be troubled by heat. he is gone off the boil for some reason..


jane Says:

Good for Murray to get off the court while Tsonga dukes it out. I think things are shaping up well for him.


jane Says:

Or Kimmi, he’s gone “on” the boil ;)


racquet Says:

I’m surprised that Tsonga is engaging in all these rallies. Energy sapping.


racquet Says:

Wow! Nishikori takes the 2nd set 6-2. There goes my sleep; too much drama.


Kimmi Says:

true, tsonga “on” the boil jane. he is running out of ideas. murray coach scouting.


steve-o Says:

Nishikori is one of those players who gives big, powerful players trouble. He’s very consistent and nimble, and he’s got a lot of variety and plus surprising sting in his shots.

If his opponent gets sloppy and fails to put him away, he can mount a comeback and grind the other guy down.

He did the same to Cilic in a long five-set match at US Open.

If this goes five sets, I favor Nishikori.


racquet Says:

Yep, agree. The way Tsonga looks right now, it could be over in 4.


racquet Says:

Nishikori breaks. Leads 3-1 in the 3rd.


jane Says:

When Kei beat Tsonga at KooYong apparently Tsonga came out blasting, won the first set 6-1, then Kei worked his way into the match and won the next set 6-4, and finally he dominated the last set 6-1.

Murray must be smiling in his hotel room! Monfils loses in a taxing 5 setter, and Murray gets Kuku, and now Tsonga may go out. Last time Murray played Nishikori he beat him 6-3, 6-0, in Shanghai last year, so it’s recent. It’s not over yet, but it’s looking very possible that Tsonga will be facing a 2-1 set deficit shortly if he doesn’t figure out a way.


racquet Says:

Kei didn’t play this well in Shanghai. Now I can see how he can trouble some top players.


jane Says:

^ Maybe steve-o is right, though, that it is power players he troubles, in which case Murray can mix it up and should be fine.


racquet Says:

Yep, Murray would have the answers against him. Wow, Kei serving for the 3rd at 5-1. Tsonga can’t buy a 1st serve.


jane Says:

Wow, Tsonga is getting dusted.

Meanwhile who is Makanova, pray tell? She’s getting the better of Serena at the moment!!?!!


racquet Says:

Kei takes the 3rd 6-1. Meanwhile on RLA, Serena down 2-5. Is this freaky Monday or what?


Thangs Says:

What happened Tsonga?? he looks so tired..


jane Says:

Tsonga, do or die: has to win next two sets.

Serena loses set one 6-2. She can come back if anyone can, but hmmm, still interesting.


Kimmi Says:

makarova woke me up!


jane Says:

Kimmi, if Benesova made me think bossanova, Makanova makes me think macarena. LOL.


Wog boy Says:

Jane, it is Makarova :-)


racquet Says:

Finally Tsonga wakes up and breaks in the 4th.


Kimmi Says:

oooh macarena! lol she is starting to make serena worry. but with serena it not over till the fat lady sings. i remember azarenka was almost home then things changed…


Michael Says:

As regards the quarter finals line up –

1. Nadal Vs Berdych – Berdych is Nadal’s bunny and for sure it is going to be a cake walk for him. Nadal has got the easiest path to the semi-finals in this tournament.

2. Federer vs Del Potro – The edge will go to Federer and if he maintains the form that he showed against Tomic, then it will be straight sets or most could be extended to four sets. But if Federer is having an off day, then the match will go to the fifth and anything can happen ???

Therefore, a Federer-Nadal semi-final is a definite possibility and a mouth watering match that will be for the fans.


andrea Says:

at some point, it has to catch up to serena…she can’t keep being away from tennis for months, come back and win grand slams. it’s made for a good story to date…


Wog boy Says:

It looks like girl from freezing Russia handles heat better then girl from Florida. Deasn’t make sense, does it?


jane Says:

Wog Boy, Makarova is even better! It’s even closer to Macarena! :D

Tsonga is about to lose his lead it looks like.


Michael Says:

Grendel, You seem to be belittling Roger much and you give an impression that he has always fumbled against Nadal at the lost moment. It is not that Roger has never won over Nadal. He has done that over 9 times in his career and in Courts other than Clay, it is always been a dog’s fight between them except for some of the matches. I accept that in 2009 Australian Open, Federer collapsed in the 5th set. But this happened to Federer even against Del Potro at the US Open. He is human and not a machine. Just to dig out the fighting spirit of Roger, you can take his 2008 match against Nadal at Wimbledon. He lost but with honour. Every match is different and it all will boil down to the form on that particular day. If Federer shows his class, he can definitely beat Nadal and he is quite capable of it.


jane Says:

Big hold for Tsonga, to dig out of love-40. Now Macarena has a little hole at 15-30. Can she keep dancing? Hey! Macarena!


Eric Says:

Williams is playing just about the sloppiest professional tennis I’ve ever seen. The real question is how hasn’t she already lost 6-0 6-0?


Kimmi Says:

OK, now i am starting to think macarena will win…


Kimmi Says:

match point makarova


Kimmi Says:

WWOW!

upset..congrats makarova.

sharapova probably licking her chops.


jane Says:

Makarova Macarena!!!! Woot! First big upset, really.


racquet Says:

Wow, Serena out. Jo and Kei into a 5th.


Eric Says:

So, how many times did SW double fault? Has she broken Sharapova’s record?


Wog boy Says:

Fourth time lucky, Makarova wins. I am pretty sure she will be happy to do makarena now :)


jane Says:

5th set drama on Hisense. Either way, Muzza and Lendl are probably sharing some jokes with their feet up. ;)


Thangs Says:

Wow Makarova…Congrats! Arrogant is gone..Hurray!


Nims Says:

Looking at the schedule for Tomorrow, Roger vs DelP would happen at post noon. Bad luck for Roger. Again he needs to adjust to conditions from Night to Day match and looking at the way he was sweating the other day, not sure how much this match is going to suck his energy even if he gets through (which is highly doubtful).


jane Says:

Nims, Delpo dislikes the heat; it saps his energy quite visibly.


jane Says:

Love-40 for Kei… danger time. Another upset in the making?


racquet Says:

Kei breaks! leads 3-1.


jane Says:

And holds to love. Leads 4-1. Interesting that Kei was a wlidcard into Kooyong because Raonic was sick, and he had two good wins there, one over Tsonga and another over Roddick.


jane Says:

Tsonga with 2 break back points – can he still win this??


jane Says:

Kei holds for 5-2.


racquet Says:

Not flailing like that he won’t. 5-2. This is nail-biting stuff.


jane Says:

Wouldn’t it be funny (as in strange, not ha ha) if Gasquet beats Ferrer and is the last Frenchman standing but the one many would’ve thought least likely to succeed, especially after la Monf and Tsonga both reached the Doha final?

Tsonga holds for 5-3. Last chance saloon.


racquet Says:

5-3, Kei to serve it out. Now we’ll see what he’s made of.


racquet Says:

He does it! He thoroughly deserved it. Played with heart and guts. Wow.


Michael Says:

It is all over for Tsonga in this year’s Australian Open. Murray will only be too pleased to face Nishikori. In the beginning, it appeared Murray had the toughest draw but now with the frequent upsets in his part of the draw, he is having the easiest way to the semis.


jane Says:

Tsonga out! Muzza’s draw has opened up nicely the last two rounds.


stu Says:

Hi everyone

Too bad for Tsonga!

Muzz beat Kei easily at Shanghai last year…


Thangs Says:

Congrats Nishikori…You deserve it…

What a build-up given for Tsonga…been in the final of past X tournaments…latest win in Doha…too much noise.


mat4 Says:

I had problems with streams, so I just managed to watch parts of that match. But it seems it was a victory of mind against body, just like Hewitt’s against Raonic.

Jo-Willy has obvious problems with his movement and some less obvious with his brain.


jane Says:

^Thangs that’s the thing with Tsonga – he blows hot and cold, he is unpredictable. I wonder if going coachless is a good idea? It seemed to be at first, at Wimbledon last year, but maybe he’d do well to get some help in his corner? Just a thought.


blah Says:

frenchmen are enigmas.


mat4 Says:

Oh, no, they are not. The FFT makes lots of efforts to help his players and makes it to easy for them. They are just spoiled. Did you know that JWT didn’t watch matches of futures opponents but Eric Winogradsky did it for him?


Nims Says:

NK reminds me of Giles Simon. Excellent movement and subtle groudstrokes, generates excellent power when required. But the player of such style are being prone to more injuries. But how nice it would be if NK can remain injury free, we have an excellent player. No wonder Roger had lot to praise him.


Drake Says:

seems the psychic was wrong.


mat4 Says:

… future opponents…

Jo-Willy says he is focused on his game… what a joke. The point is that he is able to make tactical adjustments without a coach. He never learned it. Somebody else did his homework.

Right now, he hard work he has done with his coach is still paying off, but how long will it last? Tsonga accused Winogradsky to have a wrong conception, to go in the wrong direction: they were working on his backhand, movement and baseline game, and Jo felt he should focus more on aggressive options.

But I feel that that work is what allowed Jo to rise in the rankings. EW thinking was quite safe: he insisted on improving weaknesses. He also insisted on losing weight. JWT is slowly going back where he started from.


mat4 Says:

… he is not able…


steve-o Says:

Bad matchup for Tsonga. Nishikori is just more efficient with his energy and makes fewer mistakes.

Tsonga couldn’t keep his high-risk game together and his return game was all over the place. Made wrong decisions at the important times.

Nishikori and Tsonga are like the mosquito and the elephant. The tiny mosquito bites and bites and bits and drives the elephant into a frenzy of rage and confusion, trying to swat the tiny mosquito.


mat4 Says:

Sorry, I got a bit excited.


jane Says:

steve-o, interesting comparison, the elephant and the mosquito. So what will we have with Muzza and Nishikori? One tired mosquito and one hungry one? ;)

mat4, I get the sense your passion comes from the fact that you like Tsonga.


Wog boy Says:

I think that KN can trouble Andy !

No bad feelings for Serena’s fans, but whenever I listen her press conferences I can’t help thinking that she not the sharpest knife in a drawer. Same today . Sorry ;(


tennisfansince76 Says:

i’d say that a day match favors Fed if the weather is like today. big men melt in the heat.


mat4 Says:

Of course, Jane. He is one of my favorite player, and my greatest tennis deception recently.


Wog boy Says:

^she IS not^


mat4 Says:

Woggy:

NK has absolutely no chance whatsoever (was I affirmative enough?) against AM. JWT had none, NK has less than none.


steve-o Says:

@jane: I don’t know what happens when two mosquitoes meet. And I’m not sure I would describe Murray as a mosquito, or any other kind of insect.

But I predict Murray’s relaxing back in his hotel, sipping an iced drink with a big smile on his face after his post-Kukushkin hitting practice. He’s all but assured of booking a date with the world #1.

Whom will you be rooting for between your two faves?


mat4 Says:

Jane, as you can see, usually prose wins against poetry.

I should add that this prose (NK) was quite poetic at times, and the poetry insipid (JWT).


Wog boy Says:

Weather tomorrow, will be exactly the same as it is today . Hot and humid, It is relly awfull.


mat4 Says:

Steve-o:

I believe she will root for AM. For my part, I am certain that the winner of this match will win the AO.


Wog boy Says:

Mat4, I trust your opinion, but I loved the way he played today, and he was confident to serve match out. Maybe I got carried away with his gutcy performance, we will see. But I didn’t say he is going to win, just to trouble him.


jane Says:

steve-o, what species would you compare Muzza to?

As for rooting, let’s just say it’s good and bad no matter who wins. Nole has winner’s points to defend, and he’s never defended a slam, so it would be awesome to see him start by doing that. But Muzza has finalist points to defend and he has yet to win his first major. If Muzza gets to the final and loses I will be sad, sad, sad!. If he beats Nole I really couldn’t see Nole lose to a better guy, but he had better go on to win the whole thing – or wrath of jane and ITT! ;) If Nole wins, then the same applies. I will want him to defend the title. I suppose, in-short, my emotions will be on a roller-coaster. Nole’s my fave, so I do want him to continue to do well this year and prove wrong the naysayers who think last year was a one-off and he will now plummet. Muzza’s my second fave and I want him to win a slam to shut up the agonizing press and pundits and to prove that he can do it. And for himself most of all.


stu Says:

Steve-o and mat4, I believe she will root for Nole :). She’s a Nole fan first!

GasQ-Ferrer looks like it will go all the way…


jane Says:

True stu. Nole first, Muzza second. But I’m always sad when either one of them loses, especially at the slams, ugh. Now I am dreading this match!

How about this 2 slams each this year for Muzza and Nole. With Nole ideally getting the FO to complete his set, and Muzza winning at home. Divide up the hard courts as you see fit. ;)


jane Says:

Ferrer gets set one. Hmmm.


margot Says:

Ooops for Jamie’s psychic…;)


mat4 Says:

For my part, as a Nole fan, I am deadly afraid of what Murray can do, with his exceptional physique and that lethal backhand. I also believe he can play that forehand much harder than he does.

But, as NK showed us tonight, tennis is a game of mind above all. The steadier player will probably win.


jane Says:

mat4, poetic prose? Now you’re confusing me. Just don’t say poetic grammar, okay?


mat4 Says:

@Jane:

I think Nole woud sign to split AO-FO/WB-USO with Andy. Not to mention that he would complete not only a career slam, but a Grand Slam that way (in a calender year or in two years — it is just semantics).


mat4 Says:

@Jane:

Did you forget that the grammar of sanscrit (and latin) was learned in form of verse? I learned some orthographic rules that way too.


stu Says:

Yehp, AO and FO to Nole, and then the Olympic gold, for the Golden Nole Slam.

Muzz needs a Wimbledon, I agree…


van orten Says:

It’s ok for Fed to play in the afternoon…nadal hasn’t played a night session yet and that way I hope to watch at least a couple of sets ..


stu Says:

Gasq is the biggest head case. Glad I don’t have to stay up to watch. Nite, all


mat4 Says:

Finally found what’s wrong with my connection. I can watch RG now!


jane Says:

Night stu, yeah looks like Ferrer is taking a stranglehold on the match. Maybe Gasquet can come back???

mat4, oh, I didn’t forget. I didn’t know that, so you can teach me more. I am okay with blurred boundaries anyhow. Many of them are kind of arbitrary.

I can’t stay up for Sharpie/Lisicki and Nole/Rusty unfortunately. But, go Nole. I hope he can win.


mat4 Says:

Richard has perhaps found a way to play DF.

Good night, jane.


Eric Says:

Typical Gasquet: start poorly and then come back… he seemed to be avoiding that (played better than Ferrer in the first several games, I felt). Now the second set is bearing out the pattern…can he keep it up? Ferrer is a pretty tough cookie. Check out that court coverage… (are you watching, Serena? You can do something other than stand there when they hit a ball somewhere that isn’t already in arm’s reach!)


Michael Says:

Most likely it will be Djokovic Vs Ferrer and Murray Vs Nishikori is confirmed. In this scenario, the top 4 will justify their rankings if it plays according to script. I am sure about the three ie. Nadal/Djokovic and Murray will reach the semis while I have some doubts on the Federer Vs Delpo match. Right now Roger is playing well and he is expected to get through. But it also depends on the way Del Potro plays. If he clicks, then Roger will find it very tough and the match might even go to five sets.


Eric Says:

Ferrer through! Surprisingly straightforward, I have to say. Djokovic (or…Hewitt?? hahaha!) is in for a tough one.


blah Says:

neither hewitt or ferrer will lay down for djokovic, but with his form right now i wouldnt be surprised if he straight sets both.


margot Says:

Now apparently the immensely talented 19 year old Tomic, is an immensely talented 21 year old…uh, oh..


van orten Says:

margot, how come ?


margot Says:

van orten: Mystery about his Birth Cert. Wasn’t born in Australia. Possibly being bad mouthed?


alison hodge Says:

wow talk about shocks,congrats to kn,and makarava,and great to have other new players getting in the mix,great for andy too,he will be fit and fresh for his tie against kn,sorry for andys opponent not nice to retire injured,sorry for jwt love the guy and his game but not his day,still better luck next time.


alison hodge Says:

margot maybe jamies pyschic should not give up her day job just yet,whoops that is her day job lol.


Michael Says:

Novak is blowing away Hewitt and is leading 4-0 in the first set. The match might finish pretty soon given the way Novak is playing.


margot Says:

alison, lol here too!


van orten Says:

Well hewitt


dave Says:

Well done Lleyton. 31-year old Hewitt showed us why the icons of the Federer-Hewitt-Safin-Roddick-Nalbandian generation were no push-overs.

A Hewitt who is only 70% of his physical and game potential (the surgeries, pain killers, unable to move like he once did, and whose game and consistency have suffered from numerous injury breaks over the past 9 years, coming in from a tough match with Raonic) is still enough to give Novak — currently the best player of the Nadal-Djokovic generation — a run for his money. A 100% Hewitt would have beaten Djokovic today in four sets.

This Djokovic-Hewitt match shows us why Federer has been and is the player most likely to beat Djokovic at his best.

Not sure whether that’s more impressive or the fact that Hewitt, like Federer, do it the ‘old school’ way. Hewitt has gone about his business professionally without making excuses, whining or making a big deal about his severe injuries… unlike Nadal and Djokovic, who are adept at creating and milking publicity about their injuries, whether real or not.


vox777 Says:

Dave, you are joking, right? Do you really believe that 100% Hewitt would ever defeat 100% Nole? Every one of Noles shots is better then Hewitts, and variety of game… and serve…
Truth to be told Nole relaxed a bit and Hewitt was hitting impossible shots in 3rd set. Everything went in… If Hewitt wasn’t able to defeat Nole 3 years ago, when he wasn’t suffering from injury and when Nole was not in his best form, how can you imagine that he could beat him now… or ever… 100% on 100%… That’s the whole story… You can play like that for one set but 3 or 5? In my opinion it is impossible. Hewitt is lucky to have pulled one set, and he knows it. He was a kamikaze in this match, nothing to lose, hitting full power always… Nole had a good warning to never drop a level, or underestimate opponent, and great preparation for Fererr who is similar type of player as Hewitt is… And stop hating Nole or Rafa…
Truth to be told, Federer might be now in his best ever form judging on level of his BH. And truth to be told you are Federer fan who is very scared for his player, because you don’t believe that he could win against Nole or Rafa, and you hope that someone else might take them out. And I am Noles fan and I would like to see him battling Federer and Rafa, because he will play his best and not drop his level, and I believe in my player (as I always did) that he will overcome everybody out there simply because I believe that he is the best player with best game plan!
Still good match for Nole, great change of ball direction, great pressure from home crowd and well played Hewitt.


atin Says:

roger will defeat del potro ,rafa and nole one by one….let them come….he will show why he is a legend… roger at his best is simple unbreakable


vox777 Says:

Nice attitude, but he will have a hard time against Rafa and Nole to loose 3 sets is highly unlikely. So he will get past Del Po (sorry Del Po :( ), but fail to beat Rafa, who will brake him over and over again (statistics and age differentiation imply that). Nole and Rafa are just too good for Federer on GSs these days… And imagine Nole start playing like he did in Doha which he eventually will (where he broke unbreakable with ease)… And enjoy watching tennis :)


Duro Says:

You’re good, Vox, very good…


atin Says:

i still remember the round robin match between rafa and roger…where roger thrashed rafa 6-3,6-0.. so u never know ,anything can happen and remember its not clay …so roger has great chance of beating rafa here..but del potro can be a dangerous opponent too


van orten Says:

and I believe in RF!!!!!
He can beat anyone anytime anywhere!!!!!!


vox777 Says:

Tnx Duro… So far this AO has been very good… Great matches (sadly I’m not able to see 75% of mans fav matches, but that is what it is…) We’ll just have to wait, hope :) and see who wins…
I hope it’s Nole


Nims Says:

I believe though Roger’s game is pretty solid so far, his most important weapon THE SERVE is not as accurate as it was in the end of last season. Not sure if he is cautious about his back injury recurring or it’s hampering him is unknown, but he is not service with the same authority as he did at the end of the year.

I believe Roger’s serve is the one which enabled him to be competitive against Novak. Without the serve it’s going to be difficult for him to outrally these big guys including Del P.


jane Says:

Nole beat Hewitt at Wimbledon in 2007 and that’s the place Hewitt played arguably his best tenni. I don’t think dave can say, handsdown as is implied, that Hewitt would beat Nole if both were at their best. We just don’t know. Nole has 4 slams in Fedal era and Nadal has ten slams so even if you say it’s beyond Fed’s era, Nadal is no chump. I get that you are pumped for Fed dave, and you have reason to be, but I don’t think it is really necessary to poo-poo Nadal or Nole or Muzza to make your point. They are all awesome players too. Nadal could chase Fed’s lagacy yet.


jane Says:

Nims, agree with you about Roger’s serve. It is still one of the very best in the game. It may be the difference versus Delpo, although Fed also moves better than his younger, bigger opponent, his still can glide,


Nims Says:

Jane, I’m not sure if Roger’s defense while moving to his right is as good as it was in his prime years. He has not been able to control his FH on the run for quite some time. I think this will be a huge difference in this match. I thought it was the problem he had in USO 09 also.


jane Says:

Well, you know his game better than me Nims. But he looks in great form based on those highlights steve-o posted for me. Delpo looked good against PK but the heat did seem to bug him at first. Should be a good match.


Ajet Says:

Contrary to what many think, I really believe that delpotro is one guy who can actually beat fed, no matter what, if everything clicks for delpo. It’s coz the cae of delpotro isn’t the same as rafa, in case of rafa, fed is stone-cold and displays a disbelief and that more than anything else proves to be his undoing. Right now, only one other guy has imo created a mental block in fed’s mind and that’s why fed’ll most likely lose to him, even if he gets past delpo and rafa, and that second guy’s Nole. But tennis-wise, this delpotro guy is something else! No matter what level of confidence federer shows against him, delpo can beat him purely by playing his devastating tennis. I believe, if the serve and the FH clicks for delpo for three sets, then not even fed can do much, let alone others. I believe there’s only one guy who is right now clearly capable of beating djoker, and that guy’s Delpotro coz imo it’s only delpo, apart from fed, who has no apparent weakness. Not even djoker can stop delpo if he comes into his own. Not even much movement will be required for delpo, his unbreakable serve and explosive forehand are easily enough for taking three sets away from any opponent, sooner thsn the opponent even realises! That’s imo the power of juan martin…

I mean, who can return delpo’s serve when it’s firing? Really nobody!
Who can reach to or stand befoe his forehand??? Nobody!
Can you attack his BH even when delpotro is in form??? I don’t think so!
Movement of delpotro??? well, a confident guy can fly on court and delpo too can do it if he gets a wrythm in the match!
That’s why am saying, virtually no weakness!

VAMOS DEL POTRO!!!


grendel Says:

jane – I need to eat crow twice. It turns out my scepticism about the relevance of the pre AO exho was unjustified, whilst your adducing it as evidence in favour of Nishikori WAS justified. It’s especially mortifying for me, in a way, because I’ve been a fan of Nishikori ever since he burst onto the scene in San Jose 3 years ago. His career has been a little disappointing – but he has been plagued by injury.It’s good to see him doing so well recently. This is surely the end of the road for him, though.

The other one is Djokovic. Hewitt certainly exposed some weakness. I don’t suppose you can attach too much importance to that, but I am now inclined to agree that you had it about right when you suggested a meeting with Murray would be too close to call. Murray was interviewed today by Annabelle Croft on Eurosport, and he came across as more relaxed than I’ve ever seen him. He made one interesting point. When Croft questioned him about his reputation as a counterpuncher, and just how he had changed his game to alter that perception, Murray said that he wasn’t hitting the ball any harder, it was his positioning which had changed – he was now placing himself much closer to the base line, enabling him to take the ball earlier.

b.t.w., I believe Nims’ point about Federer’s serve is that it is not quite so authoritative as at the end of last year. I haven’t looked at the figures, but I believe he is right, and quite possibly it is to do with protecting his back.


Ajet Says:

What djoker/rafa/fed has done against delpo, don’t tell me! I more or less know about it. But what I know for ure that delpo’s serve at FO 09 was unplayable, and this is not even roland garros clay! so if delpo serves well(need not serve even his absolute best, just consistent), then also fed’s gonna have a harrowing time on court, let alone if delpo serves fed out of aus open! and that doesn’t apply to fed alone! delpo can beat anybody and anywhere, all that he needs is to get his wrythm back!


Ajet Says:

i mean ”delpo’s serve at FO 09 in that semi against fed”, that was unplayable. fed was leftcompletely answerless until the moment and fatigue caught up with delpo. otherwise fed would have been toast that day and delpo would be already sitting with two slams!


Dave Says:

vox777: You sound defensive. Hewitt was only playing at about 70% for the first 2.5 sets. If 31-year old Hewitt was 100% — no injuries, surgeries, no injury breaks and fully match practiced over the last 10 years — yes, he would have defeated a 100% Djokovic tonight. Hewitt wasn’t “kamikaze in this match, nothing to lose, hitting full power always” as you claim (like Djokovic was when he was matchpoints down against Federer at the US Open), if anything, Hewitt was not aggressive enough for the first 2.5 sets, allowing Djokovic to dictate too much). If Hewitt was able to play well for two sets in a four setter, he could certainly have done it for three or four sets had he started off playing that way. And don’t forget that at this year’s Australian Open, Hewitt had tougher matches against players like Raonic, Roddick and Stebe, than Djokovic had with weaker players like Lorenzi, Giraldo or Mahut.

Regardless, Hewitt was still able to challenge Djokovic despite his obvious lack of movement… and his game, consistency and confidence affected by lack of consistent match practice. Do you know why? That’s because Hewitt’s big toe on his left foot has undergone two major operations in the past 14 months. Hewitt’s big toe has no cartilage left at all, so Hewitt requires a painkilling injection just to allow him to play a match. Can you imagine running on a foot without cartilage in the big toe? That left toe limited him to 20 matches in 2011 and about 30 matches in 2010, yet he still took a set off Djokovic at 2010 Wimbledon. Hewitt lost to Djokovic at the 2008 Australian Open (which Djokovic won), but don’t forget that Lleyton played an epic five-hour five setter against Marcos Baghdatis in the previous match.

If David Ferrer plays his best, he has a chance to again beat Djokovic — though perhaps not the 6-3 6-1 spanking he handed Novak at the World Tour Finals two months ago.

Don’t confuse Djokovic’s exposure of vulnerability tonight with your imagination that Federer fans are so scared for Roger that we are hoping others will take out Djokovic and Nadal. Federer is playing at a level that he should be able to beat both rivals in three or four sets. Why would we want to deprive Federer of the opportunity for victory? Mark my words, both Nadal and Djokovic will be making pre-emptive injury excuses before they play Federer (Rafa already has, lol).

On the other hand, Nadal himself would probably be very happy if someone took out Djokovic.

Rafael Nadal joins Aussie fans in getting behind Lleyton Hewitt ahead of clash with Novak Djokovic
http://www.foxsports.com.au/tennis/majors/rafael-nadal-joins-aussie-fans-in-getting-behind-lleyton-hewitt-ahead-of-clash-with-novak-djokovic/story-e6frf4nc-1226251102547


jane Says:

grendel, following Nole’s stats I knew once he ran into someone who could return well, he might feel pressure on his serve. And as someone else pointed out, slices to the forehand were also an issue.

Re: Nishikori. His two wins at Kooyong were versus power players, Roddick and Tsonga himself. So I thought that might be a sign.

But I am guessing as much as the next person – no need to eat crow. :)


jane Says:

dave, “Hewitt had tougher matches against players like Raonic, Roddick and Stebe, than Djokovic had with weaker players like Lorenzi, Giraldo or Mahut.”

Sometimes, this is precisely the problem. One guy is match tough while the other has been crusing along, and bamb! It goes both ways. You can look at it as one guy is fresh and the other is worn out, or one guy is battle tested and the other guy hasn’t faced enough competition and is coming into the match cold.


Dave Says:

jane, the 31 year old and injured Hewitt — whose specialist doctor told Hewitt his battered left big toe without cartilage was the “worst he’d ever seen” — does not need three tough matches in a row before facing Djokovic in his prime. In his prime Federer often turned it on whenever needed even without match practice.

jane says: “Nole beat Hewitt at Wimbledon in 2007 and that’s the place Hewitt played arguably his best tennis.” What you didn’t mention is that Hewitt lost in the first round of the 2007 London’s Queens Club grass tournament, an event that he was defending champion and had won four times. And Hewitt only got to the fourth round of the 2007 Wimbledon championships by beating players like Bloomfield, Bolelli and claycourter Canas. It was a surprise that then world No. 5 Djokovic still took over four hours to beat a physically-compromised Hewitt 6-7(8), 6-7(2), 6-4, 6-7(5). Although Hewitt has won more grass court matches than Sampras, Lleyton had been battling hip, knee and other injuries during, before and after 2007. The Hewitt of 2006 Wimbledon probably would have beaten Djokovic in 2007 Wimbledon.

jane, you must be imagining I pooh-poohed Murray whan you stated “I don’t think it is really necessary to poo-poo Nadal or Nole or Muzza to make your point”. Prove to us: when did I pooh pooh Murray?

And it’s silly to presume that I pooh poohed Djokovic and Nadal just because I wrote “A 100% Hewitt would have beaten Djokovic today in four sets… This Djokovic-Hewitt match shows us why Federer has been and is the player most likely to beat Djokovic at his best… Hewitt, like Federer, do it the ‘old school’ way. Hewitt has gone about his business professionally without making excuses, whining or making a big deal about his severe injuries… unlike Nadal and Djokovic, who are adept at creating and milking publicity about their injuries, whether real or not.” Clearly Nadal and Djokovic sensationalize and milk their real or fake injuries in a way that Hewitt and Federer never have in their far longer careers.

And what is your point about “Nadal has ten slams so even if you say it’s beyond Fed’s era, Nadal is no chump.” Are you imagining I called Nadal a chump?


mat4 Says:

Dave:

“The Hewitt of 2006 Wimbledon probably would have beaten Djokovic in 2007 Wimbledon.”

Dave, come on, grow up. I honestly believe that Djoko let LH win the third set on purpose. I also believe that Murray will beat DelPo in the final. But just like your sentence, it doesn’t mean anything.


mat4 Says:

“Avec des si on pourrait refaire le monde.”


Dave Says:

mat4: Wow, you can see inside Djoko’s head to know that he “let LH win the third set on purpose”.

At least I watched Lleyton Hewitt play Wimbledon in 2006 and again in 2007. It doesn’t take much of a tennis brain to reach the conclusion that (a) Hewitt played better in 2006 Wimby than 2007 Wimby and (b) Djokovic struggled to barely beat Hewitt even though he wasn’t playing that well. Djokvic won only 51% of the total points.

Thus, my comment was reasonable (“The Hewitt of 2006 Wimbledon probably would have beaten Djokovic in 2007 Wimbledon”) while your comment that claims to see inside Djoko’s head is ridiculous.


jane Says:

dave, I mean to say that even if you say Nole has won four slams because Fed or Hewitt or whomever aren’t in their prime, I would counter that Rafa and Muzza are in their primes and Fed is still playing excellent tennis, so Nole is quite a player, that’s all.

Also, I was mistaken about Murray as I thought it was you who said Murray uses injury excuses, but that was a different poster named Michael.

I understand you lauding your favourite Federer, but I was just trying to say, why do you have to put down Nole and Rafa in the process. They are both excellent players and champions. I think Nole has matured a lot in the last couple of years and he has shown it on and off the court. I don’t think he “milks publicity” personally.

Anyhow, I won’t go on and on. We have different views and that’s fine.


jane Says:

dave, we really don’t know what would’ve happened had prime Nole faced prime Hewitt or if Nadal and Fed came of age at the same time, or if Fed had a two-handed backhand, etc. It’s speculation. And to what end? I am guessing you want to suggest that Nole is vulnerable now? That he is half the player of Fed/Hewitt’s generation, etc. Well, that’s your opinion. Perhaps he is vulnerable. We’ll find out soon enough. However, no one can predict the future or the “what ifs” of the past either. We can speculate, but we can’t say definitively.


vox777 Says:

Dave, for some reason, you seem quite upset… Hewitt lost, big deal, it was expected… You think he had a chance in a match, I think he didn’t. You are referring about 2011. WTF, where Nole lost first time ever to Tipsarevic? and “surprisingly” lost to Ferer (who as I remember lost all crucial matches against Nole)… And did Ferer win that tournament? No Dave, he didn’t. He was destroyed. Nole was facing severe injuries on WO 2008 and retired to Rafa in SF (so much about him being 100% then against Hewitt)… And don’t give me what if… Tell me with which shots would 100% Hewitt be able to defeat Nole? Which game plan would he use? For federer, we all know (thank you Rafa), attack BH and it will brake sooner or later…
And Dave, crippled men don’t run like Hewitt did today (you are probably healthy and probably couldn’t run like that, I’m fit, but 6’11 so I can’t either) and he was only in pain when missing impossible shots… And maybe if he was more aware of his health (as Rafa and Nole are trying to be) just maybe he wouldn’t have had so much problems.
So as much as I like Hewitt, he never had consistency as Rafa/Nole/Federer had, and playing one match and hitting every shot don’t mean anything in my book… Beating Federer and Rafa back to back on the other hand does, and 6 months without a loss does (Rafa and federer loosing almost exclusively to him)… So tell me Noles weakness why could anyone out there defeat him when he is 100% (Agasi said himself that he had never seen such a return game and that he is happy he is retired, and Agasi knows “something” about returns). Of course Ferer has a chance, he is a top 10 player, Berdich has chance, Del Po, heck, Nishicori has chance, that is why tennis is played on the court not on the blogs… Everyone can have amazing and a bad day… But most likely Nole is still a favorite here… Because when it is tough he gives his best…
And again about that return against Federer which hurts you so much… Nole is the best (ok Rafa too) returner in the game, he hit 3 return winners today on set points in 3rd set and you are still surprised? If Federer can’t do it, it doesn’t mean no one can! And Federer had more luck in first set of that match, so what, that is tennis… Hewitt would play better in 1st or 2nd if he could, but he couldn’t. He was kamikaze, because he started playing impossible when he was 3-0 down in third, when he was already gone… It wasn’t his normal game, it was hit and forget, without game plan… Please deal with it… And sorry I wrote so much :)


Dave Says:

jane, my view is that Murray tends to make far less excuses (than Nadal or Djokovic) and I think he has retired only once from a match despite his congenital leg problem — so I don’t consider him to be a whiner or exploiter of publicity on his ailments.

For sure, both Nadal and Djokovic are exceptional players, that’s not the issue. Rod Laver himself rated Djokovic the sixth best player of the present era and Nadal the fifth best player.
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/sport/tennis/gallery-fn77kxzt-1226250654969?page=17

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/sport/tennis/gallery-fn77kxzt-1226250654969?page=12

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/sport/tennis/gallery-fn77kxzt-1226250654969?page=1

But the behavior and traits of a champion goes beyond winning matches and collecting titles. You don’t think that he milks publicity over his supposed injuries, but I do (and have previously presented evidence on it as you know). On this issue, we can certainly debate.

Bottom line, the injured, 31-year old Hewitt has exposed vulnerabilities in Djokovic’s game that his previous three puff-ball opponents have failed to do.

My view is that even at age 31, Hewitt — had his game not been compromised by severe injuries, operations, being away from the game so many times — would have probably beaten Djokovic had Lleyton’s game naturally progressed from where it had been in 2001/2002. Of course it’s speculation and there are many variables, wtc… but it’s a reasonable opinion, given his proven fighting spirit. If Hewitt’s legs and movement were in good condition, he would have been able to track down many more of Djokovic’s shots.

I’ve run out of time to chit chat, gotta go.


Dave Says:

vox777 Says: “Dave, for some reason, you seem quite upset”. Nope. Actually you seem upset and I adisagree with what you said. But I’ve no time to chit chat at the moment. Talk later, bye


carlo Says:

The one match I picked to watch yesterday was Nishikori v Tsonga. Kei has been a special favorite and I didn’t know why other I liked watching him play. Now I get it. While it was tough watching Kei pick apart and frustrate Big Jo, it was an impressive show of his patience and clever mind. The 1st set he lost but acquired a feel for Jo’s best, then executed his plan in the 2nd, 3rd and 5th set (and heartbreaker for Tsonga). Kei was visibly tired in the 4th set and I wasn’t sure he could hit another winner but he had paced himself and had enough reserve to confound the powerful Frenchman one more time and get a glorious win. He returned serve brilliantly and showed the composure of a champion.


Skorocel Says:

“This Djokovic-Hewitt match shows us why Federer has been and is the player most likely to beat Djokovic at his best…”

Uhm… Please, enlighten us on this one, dave.


margot Says:

carlo: he’s a pocketful of joy :) But too small in these days of massive tennis players.Isn’t he a bit like Hewitt and Ferrer? Gonna be top 10 next year, I hope.


carlo Says:

He is another joy, Margot. There’s several I’m excited about and he’s one. Yes, I picked him to get to top ten but that may be another case of wishful thinking.

Kei went down 6–1, 6-0 v Muzz in Shanghai. And again, I believe Andy will have watched and prepared to meet the Ninja. I don’t know what kind of recovery time Kei has but he was visibly hurting in the 4th set. I don’t for a minute underestimate Kei’s motivation or willingness to fight. It’s a match I won’t miss!

It looks like Nishikori has prepared himself well for the big servers. His size is a disadvantage but I look at Ferrer; plus Kei shows a presence of mind on court I admire.


mat4 Says:

For my part, I like Ferrer a lot. He shows a lot of courage, a lot of fortitude year after year knowing he lacks the strength to beat those monsters at the top (because they are all absolute physical monsters, from Federer to Murray via Nadal and Djokovic).


carlo Says:

My memory was wrong. Murray over Nishikori was 6-3, 6-0 semi in Shanghai; he lost 6-1, 6-0 to Federer in the Basel final.

He’s lost 3 times to Nadal but took a set off Rafa and relying on memory again now – it was on grass, forgetting when. Djokovic – 1 win in Basel 3 sets and Kei lost the 1st set.

Matt4 – The top 4 are physical monsters. And Ferrer is the one compatriot that I don’t consider a wuss v Nadal. His record against Federer hints at his being psyched out when it comes Federer. With Djokovic, Ferrer will give his all but I don’t give Ferrer much chance against an in form #1 defending his GS Title. Djokovic is blessed with it all: mental, physical, you name it.


grendel Says:

mat4 – Ken “muscles” Rosewall could handle the giants. The “little master” he was called, wasn’t he, as well as “muscles”. And Rod Laver, after all, was only 5ft 8. Those days gone for good?


grendel Says:

carlo – Nishikori took a set off Nadal at Queens 2 or 3 years ago, and generally pushed him. Exciting match. Nadal opined that he would get to the top 5


carlo Says:

Top 5! High praise from Humble Bull. I don’t feel quite as silly now.

Isner was my other top 10 pick but I’d trade him for Raonic at this point. It’s early in the season to tell and many fortunes can change.

Kei just turned 22 in December which makes him exactly a year younger than Milos. I anticipate a good match when they meet.


madmax Says:

What was really interesting yesterday about Federer’s match against Tomic, were the stats compared with the year before.

In 2010, Federer hit 51 forehand winners from the quarter finals on against Hewitt, Davydenko, Tsonga and Murray. His opponents only combined for 13. Federer hit 19 backhand winners, while they combined to hit nine. And most important, Federer was 45/75 (61 per cent) at the net, but his four opponents could only manage 33/65 (51 per cent).

Not attacking Federer doesn’t work this year, last year, the year before, or the year before that.

The main problem for Tomic is that he is not naturally aggressive with his court position and finishing at the net. In his post-match interview, the second question Tomic was asked was what was his game plan to win against Federer. He answered by saying “to play a little bit aggressive, more aggressive.”

It may well have been the tactic written down on paper pre-match, but when push came to shove and the lights of Rod Laver Arena shone their brightest, Tomic played how he wanted to play (rallying) instead of what would win the match (attacking).

For example, Federer owned the net in this match. He won 19/25 (76 per cent) while Tomic was only 3/8 (38 per cent). The tour average is around eight approaches a set, but Tomic only made it to the net eight times in three sets. That’s a death sentence.

Link posted:

http://straightsets.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/23/breaking-down-federer-vs-tomic/


jane Says:

Kei can play on all surfaces too, and that’s key, hee hee. He kept it fairly tight versus Nole once at the FO (maybe scoreline doesn’t reflect it but I remember then thinking how good he was) and he pushed Rafa on grass, as grendel mentions, and now he’s beaten Tsonga on hard courts. Goes to show that the little guy has it all. One thing worries me with him – and that’s injury. Seems he’s missed some serious development time out with injuries hasn’t he? Also, is he a player who tires/fades after a big win? I don’t know. After the big win over Nole in Basel, including a bagel, he had nothing left in the final versus Roger. I wonder if this win over Tsonga will have depleted him such that he’ll be wiped out next round? The good thing, however, is that it’s a slam, giving him an extra day of recovery. I want Muzza to win, but hopefully Kei can keep the match somewhat competitive.


Ajet Says:

I am a huge hewitt fan, but even I’d not say that a 100% hewitt WOULD beat a 100% djoker, nothing suggests that as a surety. Of course a 100% hewitt MAY beat a 100% djoker ”at times”(as djoker IMHO is far from invincible) but overall djoker’d always hold a healthy edge over hewitt. This I say considering that before hewitt was hit by his unfortunate injury when he has just started his success, he consistently used to beat fed. An don’t tell me that fed was too bad at that time, fed then was lot hungrier, motivated, younger, faster than he’s now, but hewitt still used to beat him. I mean it’s guys like nalbandin to a greater extent and hewitt to a smaller extent who had actually stopped fed from becoming the all-usurping tennis player in 2003, otherwise fed mighta won a cuple more slams even in 03! And federer is a guy who has apeared to me as closest to being invincible since sampras(nadal clearly was the other invincible guy, although only on clay), while djoker at no point of time has appeared that invincible ”to me”. So considering all this, a guy who could beat federer consistently at some point of time could also have beaten a nole at times, no doubt about it, but just not as much as he mighta wanted; and nole would always have held an edge over hewitt regardless, even then…

That said, I’m not buying that hewitt, even if at 100% would beat this dangerous djokovic… PERIOD…


mat4 Says:

@Grendel:

1. I don’t know your age, but 40 years ago men were not that big. Connors was 178, Borg 181, JMac 183.

2. About the fourth game of the third set and Wilander’s comments. I wrote it in the previous thread, but now it is difficult to find. Do you remember the final, last year, the return Novak made at set point. He just closed his eyes and banged it, and the ball sailed long. I thought at the time he didn’t want to bagel Andy. He lost his serve immediately afterward.

Tonight, he was double break up in the third set, and it looked similar.

3. I also wrote in that thread that I really enjoy reading your posts. You have a poetic plume and an acute sense for meaningful details.


Ajet Says:

federer fans sometimes expect to much from the players of federer’s generation to do against their younger(and class) rivals like nadal/djoker, which simply is not fair.


carlo Says:

I’m making all kinds of mental errors. Kei is a year older not younger than Milos Raonic, almost to the day.

Kei has had a tough draw, Jane. Easy 1st round but the match with home fave, Ebden, went 5 sets, then Benneteau 4 sets and 5 sets in miserable heat v Tsonga. Mentally and physically drained at this point, is my guess. Hard telling what it was in Basel. 3 sets v Djokovic plus the occasion of meeting Federer on Fed’s home court? or, it wasn’t enough recovery time. I vaguely remember hearing about something bothering Kei after the Asian swing. Yeah. I think he’s had, and seems prone to injuries. Really, it’s hard to think of players that aren’t frequently injured.


margot Says:

mat4: I admire Ferrer tremendously as well. Such a fighter, never gives up.
carlo: according to Andy Brad Gilbert has given Kei one piece of advice and that is “get to the gym.” And apparently he has been!
grendel: yes, I do think those days are over. I think Rafa has brought a new physicality to the game and all must follow. Andy and Nole certainly have.

Top story: Nadal Suffers Early Knock Out; Federer v Djokovic Saturday; Monte Carlo SFs Picks And Pans
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1 Rafael Nadal1 Serena Williams
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