Are Djokovic, Murray Headed To The Australian Open SFs? Women’s No. 1 Ranking Race Heats Up
by Sean Randall | January 24th, 2012, 6:52 pm
  • 187 Comments

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal did their parts Tuesday at the Australian Open. Federer scorched Juan Martin Del Potro 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 to advance to his 30th career Grand Slam semifinal.

Nadal’s path was much tougher and much more physical. Late into the Melbourne night, Nadal finally fended off Tomas Berdych in 4-hours, 16-minutes, 6-7, 7-6, 6-4, 6-3.

The results set up the match we’ve all been waiting for: Federer v. Nadal, this time in the semifinals.

Before I get to that match, there’s unfinished business in the men’s quarterfinals. Tonight, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray need to win to set up their own super semi showdown Friday evening and complete the Fab Four’s second straight Slam semifinal appearance.

And looking at the opponents it’s difficult to fathom it won’t happen.

Murray is on first against Cinderella Kei Nishikori. The 22-year-old Nishikori is a capable, tough, feisty player, but after a lot of tennis to reach the quarterfinals including a 5-set win over JW Tsonga, I don’t think he’ll have enough to beat Murray. The Scot also beat Nishikori easily in Shanghai last fall and he’s just been playing with so much confidence and focus, so I expect the same here.

In the past Murray may have eased up in this situation but new coach Ivan Lendl won’t have any of Murray taking a few points off, not in this one.

Speaking of taking points off, David Ferrer is not prone to that nonsense. And that’s what makes Ferrer so great. Tonight, though, the Spaniard will have to do much more than fish to beat defending champion Novak Djokovic. The Serb has been strong all week and even though he lost to Ferrer in a poor effort at London, he shouldn’t have too much problem with David this evening.

Djokovic seems so comfortable, so at ease on the Rod Laver court it’s downright scary. There simply are no weaknesses in his game right now – if there is please comment below! Ferrer I think we’ll keep it close but without any real weapons David can rely on, it’s Djokovic in straight sets.

On the women’s side, with Caroline Wozniacki mercifully out of the tournament – you can credit the gutsy Kim Clijsters for that – we are guaranteed a new No. 1 on Monday. And it’s about time.

Former champion Maria Sharapova and Petra Kvitova are the heavy favorites today and for good reason. Kvitova shouldn’t have much problem with Italian Sara Errani while Sharapova struggles but prevails over the upset-minded lefty Ekatarina Makarova.

If Maria and Petra do win I think their semifinal on Thursday will decide the 2012 Australian Open champion and the No. 1 ranking that will go with it.

Matches kick off on the Tennis Channel in about 15 minutes.

AUSTRALIAN OPEN WEDNESDAY SCHEDULE

Rod Laver Arena 11:00 AM Start Time
Sara Errani (ITA) v. Petra Kvitova (CZE)[2]
Not Before:12:30 PM
Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) v. Maria Sharapova (RUS)[4]
Not Before:2:30 PM
Andy Murray (GBR)[4] v. Kei Nishikori (JPN)[24]
Rod Laver Arena 7:30 PM Start Time
Novak Djokovic (SRB)[1] v. David Ferrer (ESP)[5]
Sania Mirza (IND)[6] v. Liezel Huber (USA)
Mahesh Bhupathi (IND)[6] Colin Fleming (GBR)


Also Check Out:
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Rafael Nadal Now Leads The 2014 ATP Points Race
Rafael Nadal Just 130pts Behind Leader Novak Djokovic In 2013 ATP Ranking Race; Federer At No. 11
Poll: Who’s Most Likely To Finish In Top 2: Murray, Nadal Or Federer?
Novak Djokovic Increases No. 1 Lead Over Roger Federer In 2012 ATP Points Race

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187 Comments for Are Djokovic, Murray Headed To The Australian Open SFs? Women’s No. 1 Ranking Race Heats Up

grendel Says:

Kvitova Errani to start soon. Had never seen Errani before this tourney, but I have looked in on a couple of her matches. She seems to be very consistent, very tough – and has rather a weak serve. Could be a decent contest.


andrea Says:

would be a real shocker if david came out ahead tonight, but stranger things have happened. also, kei was looking pretty good against tsonga…very relaxed. plus i love the fact that he is sponsored by ‘cup ‘o noodles’. how cute is that???


carlo Says:

It’s incredibly cute, andrea. ‘cup ‘o noodles’ Kei could be a dangerous opponent if he has any energy left.

Meanwhile, Errani, someone I’ve never seen before was broken in the opening game but Kvitova couldn’t hold serve 1-1.

Errani looks to be about Cibulkova’s height.


jane Says:

Ha ha, Kei & “cup o’ noodles” – great fact.


carlo Says:

Apparently Errani went to the same school of grunting as Schiavone, she sounds too much like her.

Kvitova has no problem breaking Errani’s serve but needs to hold her own. Come on Petra!


Lou Says:

There are no weaknesses in his game currently.Check out his stats which are a lot better than Ferrer, he should be able to pull through easily: Djokovic/ Ferrer: What does statsmeter indicate? http://bit.ly/yEBjja


Kimmi Says:

petra hits more out that in at the moment..


carlo Says:

Sara Errani is feisty like Schiavone and fights off another several BP’s. Petra making some errors that game.

But I’m thinking Kvitova will have to work hard to lose this.


Kimmi Says:

I know carlo, her body language is not helping either.


carlo Says:

Errani is keeping it close, Kimmi.

Petra needs to serve this set out now.


carlo Says:

lol, I like it when Petra screams “Pojd”

2 more points, girl.


Kimmi Says:

phew! concentration is required here.


Kimmi Says:

me too. apparently she says “pojd” but I cant hear this. it sounds like scream to me.


Kimmi Says:

3 back to back winners. yes!


carlo Says:

There was a Czech poster here last fall who told us it was their version of “go” Kimmi, and I had an audio of the word…it doesn’t sound like it’s spelled at all. But that’s what she barks.

I’m going for dinner as soon as I see Petra is through and intentionally miss the Sharapova match, Kimmi.

Kvitova with the early break. Pojd Petra, Pojd…

Some nice touch shots from Errani and she moves well.


Kimmi Says:

wow, errani is coming up with great shots


carlo Says:

Beautiful lob from Errani. I see how she got this far.


Kimmi Says:

kvitova can easily lose this match, it is getting tougher and tougher for her.

errani is a very tricky customer.


carlo Says:

I know. This match is closer than expected.


carlo Says:

wow, great volley by Sara! forza Errani


carlo Says:

lol, the Italian is playing like Schiavone!

Deuce on Petra’s serve. oh no


Kimberly Says:

Errani seems like the closet one to answering the kvitova serve


Kimberly Says:

Wow, defense and the rips a winner


carlo Says:

Yeah. Errani is reading and returning the Kvitova serve very well. Maybe has Petra off guard because she wasn’t able to focus and break Sara.

Impressive play from Errani holding serve and leading the 2nd set.


carlo Says:

I think. Petra just came back from somewhere and stepped on the gas.


Kimberly Says:

Match about to be over but very impressed with errani


Kimmi Says:

One more serve petra. POJD!


carlo Says:

5-4 to Kvitova in the 2nd set after some powerful hitting and she’s serving for the match!

Come on, Petra!


carlo Says:

Yes Petra, Into another GS semi! POJD, POJD!


Kimmi Says:

5 straights games to win…something eventually clicked for petra. good luck in the semi.


Kimmi Says:

enjoy dinner carlo.


Skorocel Says:

carlo: “lol, I like it when Petra screams “Pojd”

I too ;-) Just as with Ivanovic’s “hajde!”, it somehow sounds more natural than to hear them scream these stupid c’mons. And yes, “pojd!” means “come on!” in Czech. Our Cibulkova (who’s Slovak) usually screams “podme!” (or non-literarly “pome!”), which, to my amusement, Monfils often used to cheer himself up in his matches when he was dating her, LOL:-)


jane Says:

Just like Sharapova last match, Kvitova hits lots of errors in this match but wins. Congrats to her! I am super pleased with the ladies this time round – some new faces, some consistent faces. Excellent.


Chico Says:

Ok, time to turn the volume off..


Kimberly Says:

Go go go Maria!


Kimberly Says:

Looooove Maria’s game when the shots go in even with her lack of variety


grendel Says:

well, I thought it might be close-ish – but at one point in the 2nd set, Errani, having been a break up for a while, seriously threatened a 2nd break and we actually began to contemplate the unthinkable…

Errani was dressed like a boxer – no concession whatever to feminine frills – and she was curiously like a boxer, too. Ducking and weaving, you felt, in the face of this monster on the other side of the net. She was rock steady, as she always is it seems, and she has plenty of skills. As a good doubles player (she’s in the semi later today) she has nice hands at the net and a serviceable lob. Sometimes, she’d stand toe to toe with Kvitova, feeding off her pace, and winning rallies through sheer doggedness, and sometimes flair. She even scored the first ace despite the weak serve.

Kvitova was torn. In the Wimby final, she had no mental problems. Sharapova was the senior player, with a handful of slams under her belt – Kvitova the contender from nowhere. In such circumstances, particularly with Sharapova jittery about the serve, it was easy to keep cool. But today, Kvitova is the aspirant #1, with a lowly #48 on the other side of the net. Should be easy – of course her team will have warned her against such thoughts, but they clearly welled up unbidden nonetheless. Her frustration at not being able to just – brush her aside, was tangible. Even so, Kvitova is no Ivanovic. There is a tendency to flakiness, to absolute collapse even, but then she suddenly recovers and plays with calm authority – for a bit. And so it goes on. There is an underlying strength there, you feel, and once she can sort out this strange topsy-turvy facet in her nature, she’s going to be formidable.

Meanwhile, physically, what a contrast this pair presented. Errani has this weird way, just as she is about to serve, of opening her mouth wide open. Hantuchova does that too, and it looks ugly in the elegant Slovak. But it makes Errani look like a little bird squawking to be fed. She is absolutely concentrated, all the time, and when the camera focuses on her in slow-mo, immediately following her shot, she looks a bit like a wizened old woman – a sort of Edith Piaf. She is actually gamin like, and very appealing – the camera can be cruel. Kvitova, on the other hand, when she has for the umteenth time overhit the ball, looks like a great sea walrus, wailing her lamentations across the waters.


Wog boy Says:

POJD and HAJDE,

For western, particulary anglo-saxon people it will be much easier to pronounce properly if they imagine letter Y instead of letter J, like POYD and HAYDE, that is how letter J is pronounced in Slavic languages.

Nice day, very nice actualy, 24 and low humidity.


jane Says:

Macarena is doing the “one more ball” thing to Sharpie, who isn’t looking too sharp right now. Break point.

Kills it with an ace and a “come on!”


jane Says:

Are you there for the matches Wog Boy? Will you see Nole/Ferrer tonight?


Chico Says:

Guess nobody is perfect. Yaargh!
I mean, Yaargh! somebody would do Yaargh! sharpie a favor, Yaargh! if she’d be clamped down Yaargh!
She’d be an absolute goddess, Yiargh! without that apelike grunting Uurgh!

Grendel lol, any literature out there with your signature on it?


jane Says:

Kimberly, Sharapova is looking pretty great tonight – so focused. I always knew her return was wicked, but faster than her serve! Whoa.


Kimberly Says:

Well she just got broken hopefully she will get it back together.


Wog boy Says:

Jane, I heve been here since monday, I am waVing to you right now :-)
I still have headache from yesterday hot weather, no drinks involved, and I got sunburnt, but I am enjoying big time, great tennis and great city.
Yes I will be tonight here in full force cheering #1 NOLE THE GREAT !


Kimberly Says:

Chico, I just love her, I have her exact outfit, entire ensemble and am washing it and wearing it every match for the duration of her stay in the tournament in support of her. Of course I wore the yellow tutu during the French and she still lost to nA li.


jane Says:

Okay well I’ll look for you Wog Boy – watching on my 47″ HD TV. It’s ridiculously nice. Not the same as being there, though, I am sure. Lucky you… :)

She’s back Kimberly. No problem. Very determined. i like the neon green in her outfit.


Kimberly Says:

Wow they are counting down the hours to fedal on espn


Wog boy Says:

I have feeling there is more muscles on Maria, legs and arms, you girls are better judging those things?


racquet Says:

C’mon Masha, wrap this up in 2 please. Don’t want to wait too long for Kei/Andy.


Wade Says:

Come on Djokovic and Murray! I’ve got live tickets to both semi’s and final at Aus Open and would be my dream come true seeing the top 4 players doing battle in the best of a 5 set tournament!


jane Says:

Congrats to Sharapova! Nice result for her; she’ll be gunning for more next round but Petra will be tough to beat. She’s a strong competitor too. Chris Evert seems to really like Maria; she says all good things about her.

Wog Boy, she looks the same on t.v., I think? Still long and lean. She’s always had those perfect square clothes-hanger shoulders.

Bye Macarena! She was awesome this AO. A true giant killer.


Chico Says:

I know Kimberly, maybe I was a bit on the teasing side there ;), but you got to admit that it might not really be 100% fair. It is not just one player that has commented that you can’t hear the contact between the ball and racquet. Have to say that personally if a opponent would be grunting, it would be just annoying. Can’t say, at least consciously, that I would listen to how the thud sounds.


Kimberly Says:

Her legs look skinny because she is tall but they are actually quite strong and muscular and her shoulders are enormous, she appears much more slender than she is because of her height but she is quite strong,


carlo Says:

Yaaargh! “I say instead of the bad words in my head,” says Sharapova, Yaargh!

Yaaargh! Yaargh! Chico, how do I get Yaargh! out of my head, Yaargh! now Yaargh!


Wog boy Says:

Jane, it is probably only me, it is true, she always had that kind of shoulders.


Kimberly Says:

Many women grunt when they unload on the ball. Players who aren’t bringing on the wood may not need to, but strong female players who are going for there shots often need to. Notice they won’t grunt on weaker shots, volleys, or drop shots but only on the powerful groundstrokes and serve. It’s understandable and many players do and it doesn’t seem to annoy anyone in the circles where I play.


Chico Says:

@carlo

Listen to any Gaga song of your choice. Once should be enough.


Kimberly Says:

Jane—–sharapova is the best returner in the wta. Novak is the best returner in the ATP. Both clearly went through rough patches (Novak has finished and sharapova seems to be improving) with their serves where there serves were so bad they were forced to win games on their return. I think this has a direct correction to their return ability. So maybe now if Maria’s serve improves she can be the next Novak? Of course her movement is not comparable though.


Humble Rafa Says:

Both mens’ semis are Friday? Or does the Arrogant One do me a favor by getting organizers to have one semi on Thu?


jane Says:

Good points Kimberly – if Sharapova could just improve her movement forward in particular, then she could finish some points at the net.

It’s Muzza-Kei time. :) P-Mac and Fowler calling on TSN2. I doubt I can even last through this whole match – had day from hell, and am beat.

Wog Boy, you’d better cheer loudly for Nole. What are you wearing? Where are you? Behind the ump’s chart? On the “Melbourne” side? Give us some clues? We can play “where’s Wog Boy” instead of “Where’s Waldo”? ;)


Humble Rafa Says:

This is a good time for Mr. Lady Forehand to choke. Just saying.

In other Scottish news, his Lady Forehand has slightly improved from last year. Moving in the right direction.


jane Says:

Lots of errors from Kei thus far.


racquet Says:

What a rally to get the break!


jane Says:

^ Long one, and Muzz with the victory fist, :)

Kei tweaked his ankle in that? uh-oh.


carlo Says:

Skorocel: Thank you for the mini lesson in Slovak. I’m a big fan of Peter Sagan and the Velits bros. And that’s an interesting nugget about Lamonf. Did Monfils marry her?

Ivanovic has a cute fist pump and “hajde”

Wow. I don’t think Kei is going to last long.


Chico Says:

I believe you, and it sounds understandable, but have you played against as loud opponents as eg. Maria at her “best”? There is a fine line between girly cuteness and brutality here :)

And I do it too, but my matches are seldom payed for to look at so the opponent is not making a living out of it either. I can also control it if I concentrate.
Takes a bit off the concentration on the game but I don’t think it would take long to learn away from it.

I have never ever been commented on it, but then I think it is more of a problem for opponents of higher pitch women.


racquet Says:

Jane, apparently Kei played a 2 hour mixed doubles match during yesterday’s scorcher. He looks a little pooped already in the 3rd game. I hope not too pooped to give us a competitive match.


Kimberly Says:

Well i do it too and no one has ever complained. Some of my opponents do, and some of the you gets girls have higher pitch. Tobe honest, I’m worried about myself and what I can do to win the match and what strokes im going to hit, shot selection, serving strategy, I’m not worried about them and what they are doing, In fact, in some opponents the absence of a grunt means run forward, a dropper is coming.


jane Says:

racquet, yeah they said something about doubles. Did he win? I hope so, because it’d be nice for him to go on and win something. He’s a fun player to watch too. But super s-l-o-w today. And “sloppy” per P-Mac.


Michael Says:

Those who keep harping only on the H2H have to look at this damning thing. Ferrer has beaten Novak 5 out of 11 times and Novak is always finding the going tough against him whereas he gets blasted off the court by Federer and Nadal who on the other hand find things too difficult against Novak. Is any other example is required to prove any further ??


Humble Rafa Says:

in some opponents the absence of a grunt means run forward, a dropper is coming.

Haven’t you seen a Maria Sharapova drop shot with a fake grunt. Grunt and the drop shot execution are awful!


jane Says:

Wow! Kei!


Chico Says:

Hmm.. couch tip? Treating strokes as senses? When you shut out one you intensify the concentration on the one left, unconsciously sharpening the accuracy. I’m sure anyone that has played with e.g. a shoulder that prevents only serving, making you rely on the groundies, can confirm that one. Problem would be how to keep the touch while finding the serve again.


carlo Says:

Kei has played (2) 5 setters – Ebden and Tsonga, (1) 4 setter – Benneteau, plus his 1st round which was easy straights sets; and been playing doubles with Kamiko Date-Krumm.


jane Says:

carlo, is he winning with Date-Krumm?


Humble Rafa Says:

Date, kei lost


racquet Says:

Kei is showing some skills out there. I’m not sure if he won the doubles – hope he did.


Wog boy Says:

Jane, I am opposite ump’s chair, in the line with net, mid-upper level, sun is just coming on my row, feels hot, next to steps, and ofcourse, I am wearing T- shirt with Nole fist pumped on T-shirt, and navy- blue round hat. Is this enough.

Aussies love underdogs :) don’t they :)


jane Says:

HR tells us they lost; too bad.

He has a lot of variety; just lacks accuracy and oomph. Muzz is looking very focused and lethal, pulling out the droppers etc. At least the temperatures are nicer today.


jane Says:

Great to see Andy continuing to have fun on the court; who would have thought that Lendl would bring out the fun side of Andy, but in a way it seems he has.


carlo Says:

They lost yesterday to some Italians.

Kei, pronounced ‘Kay’ I think, Jane, has been a “slow” starter in all his match’s except his 1st round. This will be interesting to see if he’s too physically wiped to put up a fight in the 2nd set, or like with Tsonga and others, he can put something together.


carlo Says:

Ohh, that was a bad drop shot, Kei


jane Says:

Thanks for the pronunciation information carlo. Wasn’t sure if it was Key or Kay.


carlo Says:

What a return, Kei buddy!

lol, I can’t help cheering him. But I want Murray to win…


carlo Says:

Oh. I wanted Kei to get the break back for the fun of it. Andy is a strong boy!


racquet Says:

He has been good at getting out of break point situations this year.


jane Says:

Muzza hasn’t been getting rattled when he’s faced bps. He just knocks them off, 1, 2, 3. But he isn’t getting a lot of first serves in right now: only 42%. He needs to up that going forward.


jane Says:

i haven’t seen those Muzza fanboys lately – you know the teen boys with the tank tops spelling out A-N-D-Y? Where’d they go?


racquet Says:

According to their tweets, they’re a bit short on cash and have to pick and choose their matches. 1st set to Muzza, 6-3.


carlo Says:

Ha! Kei working side to side cc


jane Says:

They have tweets?! What are they called?

Kei hits some nice angles. Murray is hammering his forehand. Not lady-ish at all, in my humble opinion. ;)


carlo Says:

This is a very good prep for Andy before Nole. I want Kei to keep it up and push Andy.


jane Says:

Arrgh, so tired. Can’t last. Lendl texting?


racquet Says:

They don’t have a group name, but their ‘spokesman’ goes by the twitter name: Shane Bullen. As I say that the A-N-D-Y boys show up! haha


Wog boy Says:

Jane, they are here.


jane Says:

Yeah, just heard them singing to the tune of “Old MacDonald” lol.


carlo Says:

I hope they’ll be there for the semi, and loud!

Take these BP chances, Kei.

Murray sublime volley


jane Says:

Smart by Muzz to drag Kei in for those two bps.


carlo Says:

Nishikori with a Djokovic-like ROS!!


jane Says:

carlo, I think Muzza has lots of Aussie fans; there will be no shortage of cheering for him, whether versus Nole or Ferrer.


racquet Says:

Ooh, lucky net cord gets him the break back.


jane Says:

Kei looked so tired walking to his chair. Will he go the distance?


Skorocel Says:

@carlo: I’m not that big of a expert/fan of cycling (follow only the TDF, and even there only the most crucial stages, LOL), but yes, the Velits bros & Sagan are quite promising. Peter Velits already managed to finish 3rd in Vuelta (actually, he was later moved to 2nd after one of the guys who finished in front of him tested positive for some stuff), and last year finished 19th in TDF. Sagan got some very good stage wins last year too (he’s a sprinter as you may know). From what I heard, he’ll participate in TDF 2012 (for the first time in his career), so it’ll be interesting to see if he can have some success here as well…

About Monfils & Cibulkova, no, they didn’t get married, LOL :-) I guess those 40 cm of difference in height was too “little” of an opposite to attract here, LOL :-)


Contemperory Says:

Murray has the same number of unforced errors as his winners. This won’t be enough to face Djokovic.


carlo Says:

The AO radio commentators are saying Kei can’t handle Murray’s serve. I agree, but I think Jane Kei is just to tired. He was handling Tsonga’s serve fine. And Kei not making the shot selections or able to execute nearly as well as v Tsonga.


jane Says:

Great rally from both of them!


steve-o Says:

Nishikori looks completely spent after being broken for the second time in the second set. Murray is going to roll through this now.


Contemperory Says:

Agreed, steve-o – but what do you think of Murray’s level in this match? I take that its not enough to face a bigger player.


carlo Says:

Skorocel: Sagan is a Beast! He is only 21 ( young in cycling) and won tour of Poland, a 7 day race! He won 3 stages during the Vuelta d Espana ( 1 of cycling’s 3 week major tours) and he wins all kinds of accolades from cycling fans and considered one of the favorites to watch this season. He’s famous for being entertaining too – did a wheelie going up the steepest climb in Spain in the Vuelta, Angliru! lol, like I said, I’m a huge Sagan fan : ) And Peter/ Martin Velits too, but not like Sagan. : )

Oh lol, I misunderstood. Didn’t know Monfils dated Cibulkova. She’s great though. Really like her too. Lots of talent in Slovakia, hey.


jane Says:

I don’t think Muzza’s UEs are a problem. Maybe he’d want to bring the first serve % up if he can. However, if Nole passes the Ferrer test, let’s not forget that he had some issues of his own versus Hewitt. So who’s to say who’s in the better form? It will come down to the day.

Right now, it seems to me that any of the top four guys could win. I haven’t seen Ferrer, but he seems to be cruising and meanwhile his H2H is 5-6 with Nole.

Wow, they are already hyping the Fedal. Hope it lives up to the hype.


Michael Says:

When the draw was released, Murray was picked to have the most toughest draw, but as the tournament progressed, he is having the easiest path to the finals compared to the other three. Federer, by far, has the toughest road to the semi-finals and he still needs to beat Nadal and either Djokovic/Murray to lift the trophy.


marrisv Says:

Murray a set away from making his fifth consecutive slam semi…


Michael Says:

Rogerrafa, Why can’t the Miami repeat itself again ?? Moreover, Federer is no Berdych or Ferrer for Nadal to cake-walk. I am sure Federer will do all that he can to prove his critics wrong, but if he still fails after playing well as he is doing in this tournament then I will have no hestitation in congratulating Rafa for outplaying Roger. The only thing I hate is Federer losing after playing like he did in 2009. That is no credit to Rafa but only helped by Roger’s patchy play.


carlo Says:

The Nishikori fans are loud. Nishi-kori!

But I don’t think it will work to get him going. It’s a big result getting to the quarters, like Dolgopolov last year beating Soderling.

Andy Murray looking ready. Go Andy!


racquet Says:

Sloppy service game hands the break back. Get it together Muzza!


racquet Says:

It’s the achy-breaky set.


carlo Says:

Matchpoint Murray. Into AO Semi’s for the 3rd year in a row! Congratulations. Go Murray!


racquet Says:

Not the cleanest win but it’ll do.


Michael Says:

Whoever gets through in the Federer-Nadal semi-final will be very happy to face Murray instead of Novak. That is obvious. If anybody has the best chance of beating Novak, it would be Roger in his prime form or Murray. Nadal will be the least favourite to win against Novak.


Contemperory Says:

OK, schedule released for tomorrow.. Fed Vs Rafa at 7:30PM.


Wog boy Says:

Forecast for tomorrow, 23 degrees, doesn’t help Federer, does it ?

Forecast for friday 30, doesn’t Novak if he is to go through, does it?


Michael Says:

Wogboy,

Forecast for Friday 30 – it doesn’t help Murray either.

Forecast for tomorrow 23 – The edge is with Rafa, but Roger is capable of turning it especially with the kind of form he is having in this tournament.


Wog boy Says:

Michael, I didn’t know about Murray, that makes it even for both. Roger is in top form, that is for sure, but low temperature, slow court and what I sow last night from Nadal, goes in favor of Nadal. I think Brando from the other thread got it right about Nadals game in 1,5 – 2 last sets. We will see, it is only 24 hours to go. I am more worried about my man tonight and hopefully on friday. Ferrer and Andy are more then good players.


racquet Says:

Murray handles hot & humid better than Djoko. Miami 2009 showed that.


Wog boy Says:

@racquet:

There we go, did you have to say that :)


steve-o Says:

@contemporory: Murray’s level was decent. It helped that Nishikori was running on empty after all those five-setters. Murray did what he needed to do and did it with reasonable efficiency.

He said he wasn’t serving very well, and I agree with that assessment.

But had he been playing twice as well as he was today, I still wouldn’t think he could take Djokovic.


racquet Says:

There’s a great interview with Federer and Laver at ESPN:

http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=7501282&categoryid=2491545


Michael Says:

Wog Boy,

Ofcourse the edge is with Nadal and considering the high level of play he showed against Berdych in the 3rd & 4th set does place him as favourite. But Federer will have his revenge if his first serve percentage is good. So, it depends on the form of the particular player on that day.

About Novak, ofcourse he has a dicey H2H against Ferrer and he lost recently in the World series against the same player. But my gut feeling tells me that Novak will be a different animal in majors and I see this match ending in straights most probably. The tougher one for Novak will be against Murray and if he does get through that and might be face Nadal, then the title will be his for taking.


Wog boy Says:

Michael, I will buy you a drink if you are right for tonight !
We will see about the rest on Friday, you might end up with double shot of your choice :)


Nims Says:

Bad bad schedule for Roger. I thought if the conditions are hot, he can sustain for 4 sets, but looks like it will be a 3-setter for Rafa.


margot Says:

Go Andy!
What I’m really impressed with Andy is his movement this tournament. It has been sublime :) Also, he IS at last playing more aggressively. Serve was c*** though. Needs to improve that whoever he plays next.
Yes, jane, it’s as if Ivan has lifted a huge weight off his shoulders. Good to see :)
Hope Ferrer and Nole go for 5 long tiring sets and a 5 hour match…after last year only fair..;)


Gannu Says:

Nims dont be so irritatingly pessimist…If you belive in ur man then support him….negative energy or attitutude is the worst thing that one should have..sad to see fed fans behaving like this


Ajet Says:

Too bad I can’t wait for federer vs nadal 2012 AO!
;)


Ajet Says:

What I can endure is anybody losing in the semi or quarter of men, but what I cannot endure is murray reaching another final and not winning it!


Lou Says:

Game stats for both Djokovic/Ferrer in AO till date: Djokovic/ Ferrer: What does statsmeter indicate? http://bit.ly/yEBjja


racquet Says:

Fantastic rally already in the 1st game!


Nims Says:

Gannu..I’m not sure if i’m being pessimist. I’m trying to be more practical. I don’t see it’s a disaster for Roger to lost to Rafa. It’s going to happen everywhere, probably except WTF.


racquet Says:

Gritty hold by Ferrer. 21 mins for 3 games. Bet Djoko is irked about those missed BPs. If they keep this up they’ll run themselves ragged.


van orten Says:

Fed not having a chance cuz it will be a little colder? Gimme a break folks…why always reading too much into something like that…relax!


racquet Says:

Is anybody else watching this incredible match?


Duro Says:

Oh yeah…


Nims Says:

@van orten: Fed’s chances gets reduced by 10% if the condition is colder. It’s not 100%. But 10% against Nadal and Novak is pretty huge.

I remember seeing how Roger suffered in his evening matches compared to day matches last year. He even mentioned it few times in his interviews how the cold weather does not permit him to hit thru the court.

Imagine Roger cannot hit winners against Nadal and win a tennis match? That would be crazy.


margot Says:

ajet: rueful lol!


Duro Says:

B r e a k !!!!


racquet Says:

Ferrer breaks back!


racquet Says:

Uh-oh Djoko winces in pain (holding his hamstring?).


Duro Says:

Right on time!

Serving for the set…


Duro Says:

Damn I hate these grinders, Hewitt, Ferrer, Murray.

They squeeze last drop of life out of you…

2:0 Nole, but half dead.


racquet Says:

3-0 in the 3rd but Nole looks exhausted.


Duro Says:

3:0 Nole in third…


Duro Says:

Racquet, what racquet are you?


Duro Says:

5:1 Novak.

7th GS semi in row about to happen…


Duro Says:

Phew…

3:0, but tough, tough as hell.

Semi Chances – 51,73% in Murray’s favor.


racquet Says:

A Head racquet of course. ;)


Brando Says:

Murray- djokovic is 50/50 I feel. Whoever out of the 2 serves better shall win. Good thing for Murray is that nole’s 1at serves in % is pretty low and he produced more errors than winners in the ferrer match. He’s also the fresher player. Plus point for nole is that he’s been there done it and has been tested.


Duro Says:

Head Youtek IG Speed 18×20, baby!

The best there is…


Wog boy Says:

Didn’t I say that Ferrer is a fox terrier, I am siting in Arena watching doubles and waiting for my pulse to slow down so I can go. My humble opinion that it was a lack of agression in first two sets that made Nole work so hard. It doesn’t matter now, that is past, thank God.
Kriket, now we can talk about Murray match :-)


Wog boy Says:

@Margot:

Your wish didn’t come through, under three hours:-)


Duro Says:

Nole serves like sh.t. That’s the only problem. We shouldn’t fool ourselves. That’s a HUGE problem. If he doesn’t turn it around (which he of course won’t) in the Murray match, a trouble’s lurking around the corner…


Michael Says:

Wog Boy,

You owe me a drink since I got it right today. Djokovic in straights and that is what I have predicted. But although it was straight sets, the match was just brutal and some of the range of angles and shots hit by both players were just amazing. I know the tenacity of David Federer and I saw that today yet again. What a tough competitor he is ? Although I do not like his style of play, yet he is nevertheless interesting to watch just for his never ending arsenal of shots. Novak was feeling very uncomfortable in the first two sets when Ferrer was almost covering every inch of the court and the most crucial in the match was the second set tie breaker where Ferrer made some unforced errors which helped Novak. But in the third set, I saw the terrific Novak who beat Nadal six straight times. If he plays like that, then the title will be his for sure. Although my heart says Roger should win, yet my mind says that Novak will end up the winner. Not that I do not like it because Novak is my second favourite player today in the men’s circuit.


Brando Says:

@duro: I agree. Nole’s serve is the key against the top 4 players. IF it is on then he should win, if it’s off then as you rightly put it, trouble awaits. Still 50/50 though like rafa- fed, anything can happen depending on the day…..


tennisfan Says:

Tomorrow we have the epic battle which I think every tennis fan has been waiting for. Its going to be one tough battle, two great champions taking on each other…both are playing very well till now , if we look at their game stats till now (Federer/Nadal Epic Semi- Final – What do Australian Open Stats Indicate?- Part 1 http://bit.ly/z4jhyP ), we can see that their weak points have been completely different till now at AO! Can’t wait to watch it!


Mg Mg Says:

It is the only third time since 1987 that the top four men’s seeds have marched into the semi-finals at the Open. Great Tennis Era !!!


Michael Says:

Six straight semi-finals for Andy at Australia. A terrific feat indeed. But it is a long road ahead to pick up the title as he has to beat Novak and then Roger/Rafa whoever gets through. It will very tough for Murray to beat Roger/Rafa in finals even if he gets the better of Novak. I hope he gets beaten in the semi-finals to avoid the disappointment of another final which will be devastating to his morale. Murray’s best chance would be a Rafa-less, Roger-less final and Novak-less final.


jane Says:

I just hope one thing – may whomever wins the Nole vs. Muzza semi hoist the AO trophy this weekend! ;)

Didnt’ see the end of Murray’s match nor any of Nole’s match, but Duro, who is usually fairly optimistic, sounds bleak. Uh-oh for Nole. I just hope he plays well and his movement isn’t hampered. No doubt Ferrer is tough.


Duro Says:

Brando, thanks for agreeing with me.

So 50/50/50/50.

What can tennis world wish more…


jane Says:

Duro, I didn’t watch as was sleeping; what did you think? I thought you said 51-73% in Murray’s favour?


Duro Says:

Jane,

I know it was early morning in Canada. You’re excused (for not watching). Not only because it was morning, but because of the unbearable torture you would get through by watching.

God, I hate grinders… (Talking about play style. As for personality, David couldn’t possibly be better person than he is).


Duro Says:

No, no… No 51-73 % in Murray’s favor. 51,73% Murray’s chances. That leaves Nole with tiny 48,27% :-)


jane Says:

Uh-oh Duro. I am on the west coast so it’s still only 5:00 am but I woke up and thought “check Nole’s scores!” :) Glad to see he is through although reports I am reading say it was a tough victory.

I agree with you that it’s awesome for tennis fans to see the top four in the semis.


Wog boy Says:

Michael, you can have two, Duro is right, first two sets were torture for Nole’s fans. I just got back in hotel, had to get drink to chill out. But as we say, after rain comes sunshine. I am positive and will be even more after second drink:-)


Duro Says:

Wog boy,

That drink ain’t water, for sure… :-)


Wog boy Says:

Duro, it is not, it is Smirnoff, not my favorite, but there is nothing left in mini bar :-)
I am waiting to see on TV little bit of Nole’s match if I don’t fall a sleep.


Duro Says:

Skip it. You may hurt your eyes… :-)


S Green Says:

Duro,
Yes, Djoko will have to improve his serve, and reduce unforced errors by a great margin to have his chances against Murray.

The mess of the UEs began as early as in the 1st game: He could not convert any of the 3 break points; he had 2 chances on two easy 2nd serves and failed. On Ferrer’s 2nd service game, Djoko had 3 more BPs but missed one with forehand, another with backhand error, and wasted the third with his forehand landing short in the mid court, followed by an unsuccessful drop shot.

The 1st serve percentage and winner-error ration some of you guys pointed out above sum most of Djoko’s problems.

Above all, the BP conversion rate was disaster.

I am not worried about his “clogged” nose, but what do you think about the hamstring issue? Did that play any role in the UEs last night?

As for the next match, it all depends on how quickly he can mend or mitigate those problems.

Let’s not be totally pessimistic: Djoko still possesses his insanely curly, wide-angle shots from both wings; and he feels Rod Laver is his home turf (confidence).


kriket Says:

I hope that ancle pain Novak felt during the QF match, really went away not to come back. It’s just that I’m not sure if Nole is 100% fit, overcame his injuries fully. He did seem a little fragile and gasping for air on the court. If he van sustain his fitness until the end of the tournament, he’s the clear favorite to lift the trophy. He’s got the game, no doubt, fitnesswise, I’m not 100% sure. I sure hope those injuries stay out of his way, now that he’s in his prime. It would be lame if we, tennis fans, would be denied to watch such a player perform his best against the other 3 of the Fab Four.

So my pick is Nole all the way IF an injury doesn’t come up.


S Green Says:

One more thing: As Djoko’s forehand has improved immensely, it seems to have tipped the balance in that the strength and accuracy of his backhand is no longer the same as last year. His backhand was so infallible that it even surpassed the excellence of his forehand at times, both in attacking and defending, particularly turning defense into offense. That’s how reliable it was but no longer the same.


rogerafa Says:

@ Michael

” Rogerrafa, Why can’t the Miami repeat itself again ?? Moreover, Federer is no Berdych or Ferrer for Nadal to cake-walk.”

Actually, both Berdych and Ferrer have won twice against Rafa on outdoor hard. You could say that none of the wins is of recent origin but neither is Fed’s 2005 win. A poster wants Fed to play like Berdych but Fed does not have that firepower. His game is different and suits Rafa more.

” The only thing I hate is Federer losing after playing like he did in 2009. That is no credit to Rafa but only helped by Roger’s patchy play.”

Please do not take any credit away from Rafa if Fed could not win that day. More often than not, Roger plays “patchily” against Rafa or, more appropriately, is not allowed to play well by Rafa on slow and high-bouncing courts.


rogerafa Says:

“… but what do you think about the hamstring issue? Did that play any role in the UEs last night?”

Novak was breathing heavily after some long rallies but his movement was not affected at all. He was doing his normal sliding, splits and stretches. He also didn’t talk about it in his interviews. I do not think there is any reason for concern. He is safely through to the next round. I am glad that his rough patches have come against players who did not pose any real threat. He has shown great ability to raise his game when needed. Novak-Rafa no. 30 is very much on and I expect Novak to hold that trophy on Sunday.

” the strength and accuracy of his backhand is no longer the same as last year”

I do not know about the other matches but his backhand down the line was on fire today and it is a big weapon for him. He uses it brilliantly to keep Rafa pinned in his backhand corner. Maybe the cross-court backhand is not being used as effectively compared to last year.


S Green Says:

rogerrafa said, “his [Nole's] backhand down the line was on fire today and it is a big weapon for him.”

Djoko’s backhand is still great, better than most. The point I was making is in comparison to last year. The backhand was stronger than his forehand last year and this did not imbalance or adversely affect his forehand.
Now, he has relied more on his forehand, which is slightly more error prone than what his backhand was.
Remember his last year’s success could be safely attributed to his reliance on nearly error-free backhand. Majority of his UEs came from his forehand, not just in number (which is obvious because he was using forehand more) but also in percentage, which is the crucial point.

One correction: The BP conversion rate was 42% (5 out of 12) at the conclusion of the match, but until the end of the 2nd set, it was 30% (3 out of 9), which is not horrible. Probably, more than BP conversion, Djoko’s inability to consolidate his break in the 2nd set was a problem, and this may have something to do with his hamstring issue?


Duro Says:

Hey SG,

Nice to see you again. I am maybe unusually critical to Nole these days, but he’s a champion now, he doesn’t need the same kind of support anymore here, or in real tennis life.

You noticed every detail precisely and correctly. As for the hamstring, it didn’t play any role in UE nuber or ratio. If he starts being more aggressive, he wouldn’t be forced into position to ran as much, stretch as much, labors as much and spend himself as much. With David, knowing him very well, Nole shouldn’t have allowed that kind of a game to happen. With Ferrer you must be fast and ultra aggressive. No exchanges if possible and try to shorten the points, taking time off David, going for the winner every time (like in Abu Dhabi), even if it leads to a bigger UE count. Saving the body and energy is the most important thing after playing this grinder, giving you would win anyway…

About the backhand, you noticed it very well. Not that it’s weaker or less precise, it’s just that he doesn’t passes his rivals anymore when on stretch, meaning no so efficient Offense/defense transition now, but that’s due to a poorer movement rather than worse backhand than he had last year.


S Green Says:

Correction:
Remember his last year’s success could be safely attributed to his serve and reliance on nearly error-free backhand.
Last night, majority of his UEs came from his forehand, not just in number (which is obvious because he was using forehand more) but also in percentage, which is the crucial point.


S Green Says:

Duro, I also had sensed his slightly slower movement and taking too much time to pull trigger. Thank you for confirming it.


rogerafa Says:

@ Duro

You are absolutely correct about Novak’s tactics against Ferrer. For a player who has so many weapons, it is incomprehensible why he does not attack more, come to the net more often and try to finish the points quickly.

@S Green

“Djoko’s inability to consolidate his break in the 2nd set was a problem, and this may have something to do with his hamstring issue?”

Whatever issue Novak had, it did not appear to hamper him in any way during the rallies. He obviously looked distressed between points and changeovers. Even if there was a hamstring problem, it probably was a tiny little tweak which went away after some time. Otherwise, he would not have been able to do his usual stuff on the baseline.


Duro Says:

To summarize,

Slightly slower movement (thus defense and transition hampered), slightly less efficient backhand (passing shots when on stretch precisely) and serve.

Serve is killing me. Lacks speed, 1st serve percentage not high enough and definitely not a weapon, especially when needed the most. That’s why it gets broken way too often. Everyone did it but one-legged Mahut…


grendel Says:

“come to the net more often and try to finish the points quickly.”

I only saw bits of the match, so don’t know if they were representative. Djokovic came to the net and was easily passed, and on another occasion he muffed his volley, prompting Frew Macmillan to remark he regarded Ferrer as the better volleyer. And sure enough, Ferrer shortly did a beautiful stun volley.

The better Djokovic is from the base line – and most people seem to agree there is noone better at the moment – so he must feel correspondingly doubtful about leaving this safe terrain to venture into the comparative unknown. That’s just human nature. Perhaps he needs to feel both confident and secure before he starts approaching the net on anything like a regular basis.

I notice Hingis, who won a slam at 16, remarked recently “we all started very young, at 14, 15 years of age, but that’s the time when you learn most”. Maybe it’s a little older for men, but even so, habits of play learnt in the formative stage may be hard to adapt.


Michael Says:

Roger Rafa,

It is true that Roger’s game suits Nadal well and it is about match-ups. But in 2009, although there is no excuse for Roger to lose especially after Nadal played a very long match the day before, still I maintain that he could have won that match had he even posted a 50% first serve percentage. Rather Federer was serving below 40% which is abysmal by any standards and Nadal was lucky to find Federer in such a situation. But all credit to Nadal and I do not want to take anything away from his victory. But Roger lost because he played a very bad final which is normally not Roger-like in slams atleast.

Top story: 2014 N. American Hardcourt Schedules: Where Will Federer, Nadal And Djokovic Be This Summer?
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Rankings
ATP - Jul 21 WTA - Jul 21
1 Novak Djokovic1 Serena Williams
2 Rafael Nadal2 Na Li
3 Roger Federer3 Simona Halep
4 Stan Wawrinka4 Petra Kvitova
5 Tomas Berdych5 Agnieszka Radwanska
6 David Ferrer6 Maria Sharapova
7 Milos Raonic7 Eugenie Bouchard
8 Juan Martin Del Potro8 Angelique Kerber
9 Grigor Dimitrov9 Jelena Jankovic
10 Andy Murray10 Victoria Azarenka
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