Rafael Nadal v Andy Murray Ahead? Australian Open QF Tuesday Picks And Pans
by Sean Randall | January 26th, 2015, 11:49 am
  • 187 Comments

No offense to Roger Federer, but what a quarterfinal lineup at the Australian Open these next two days. We have seven of the top eight players in the world still alive, the only casualty being Federer who just had one of those “senior days” in his loss to Seppi – there will be more of those ahead. The Swiss’s spot goes to the electric 19-year-old Nick Kyrgios who will have to face Andy Murray tonight.

Up first though is former champ Rafael Nadal against Tomas Berdych. So to my picks…

Rafael Nadal v Tomas Berdych
Yeah, yeah. Tomas Berdych has never played this good. He hasn’t dropped a set. Hasn’t missed a ball. He looks great. Says he’s playing better now than when he reached the Wimbledon final (where he lost to Rafa). He has a new team. Newly engaged.

Whatever. I’m not buying in. Sorry, Tomas: You have lost 17 STRAIGHT matches to Nadal. So I don’t care if you come out in a superman cape and a machine gun, I can’t pick you to take out Rafa. Not until you actually do it. That simple.

Yes, Berdych has a great game that matches up well with Rafa – big power, decent backhand, hits flat. Though movement is an issue. But the biggest problem is between the ears. And I just don’t think he has the mettle nor the belief to pull off the big win. Something will go wrong. The wind might whip up. He’ll miss a volley or he’ll get a bad line call. Just something.

That said, Nadal, though, definitely has some issues with confidence. But he also seems to be working them out nicely. Since that Tim Smyczek escape, his stomach bug has vanished and he just whipped a big man Berdych-clone in Kevin Anderson, so that should make him feel a lot better. And it’s week two, so…
The pick: Nadal in four

Andy Murray v Nick Kyrgios
The story of the men’s event so far has been continued rise of Nick Kyrgios. The 19-year-old has won two 5-set matches including an 0-2 comeback over Andreas Seppi the other night. It’s astonishing what this kid can do. He’s got a huge game, moves well and has the moxie and flair you just can’t teach. Remember how he beat Nadal at Wimbledon?

My guess is in a 3-4 years when he becomes a steady Top 5 player he’s going to be one of the polarizing guys on the tour, much like Roger, Rafa or Agassi.

Now that I think about, if Agassi and Sampras were put in a blender, Nick would come out!

But that’s down the road because tomorrow night Andy Murray is going to give him an old-school lesson. Thats’s right. I figure the Scot will make him hit a lot of balls, watch him run side-to-side and up-and-back and eventually wear him down. The Rod Laver crowd will be juiced for their new star but that should bother Andy.

Murray’s fit. Kyrgios isn’t.

After an emotional week and some taxing tennis, I can’t see Kyrgios authoring another stunner. I just can’t. He has to be spent. And Murray – as we saw in his thrilling win over Grigor Dimitrov – is all business right now.

With Federer out, Nadal perhaps not in top form, he’s got to smell the blood, the opportunity. Kyrgios will have his time – and heck, he might even have a better career than Murray – but right now it’s Andy.
The pick: Murray in three

As for the women quarters, which is pretty good as well, I think Halep wins in straights and I also like Sharapova today in straights over Bouchard.

TUESDAY AUSTRALIAN OPEN SCHEDULE
Rod Laver Arena 11:00am Start Time
Ekaterina Makarova (RUS)[10] vs. Simona Halep (ROU)[3]
Not Before: 12:30pm
Eugenie Bouchard (CAN)[7] vs. Maria Sharapova (RUS)[2]
Tomas Berdych (CZE)[7] vs. Rafael Nadal (ESP)[3]

Not Before: 7:15pm
Andy Murray (GBR)[6] vs. Nick Kyrgios (AUS)


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187 Comments for Rafael Nadal v Andy Murray Ahead? Australian Open QF Tuesday Picks And Pans

SG1 Says:

Really impressed with Murray right now. For the first time since his Wimby win, he’s showing the ability to dig deep and grind out tough matches. Dimitrov hits an incredible ball but Murray hung with him and eventually wore him down. I don’t think anyone likes his 2nd serve but the man is playing some incredible tennis off the ground. Watching the match against Dimitrov, it really struck me how well Murray can improvise. Whether it’s a mishit ball or one that is hit unexpectedly short, Murray has the tools to deal with it. Dimitrov looks very comfortable (and devastating) when the ball’s in the strike zone but when he has to manufacture a shot, he’s just not as talented as Murray. At least not at the moment. I think that it’s this ability that allows Murray to get by players who at least visually, seem to be better technically.


Tennis Fan Says:

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RZ Says:

I could see Berdych knocking out one of the big 4, maybe even two of them, to win a slam. But I can’t see him knocking out 3 of the big 4 to win. He doesn’t have the mental or physical stamina for it. So even if he knocks out Rafa tonight (I give him a slight chance for that though I expect Rafa to win) and then goes on to beat Murray (assuming Andy gets through Kyrgios), I still wouldn’t put my money on Berdych in a final against Djoker – or even Wawrinka for that matter.


Wimbledon Says:

Its really funny that almost everyone picks Rafa with a clause that Berdych has a chance so that irrespective of the results they can claim “I told you so”.


Daniel Says:

Berdych won’t beat anybody in finals, his recordis awfull.
He may even beat Nadal (almost laughing typing this) and Murray or Kirgios but come final he would fold.

The whole mach for him today relies on first set. Nadal pobably knows it and will try to start in the zone. Against Anderson he was just hanging first set, if he starts in similar fashion mabe Berdych has a shot. But if he starts as he finished last match… No much will change. If berdych serves abive 60% the chance of a long match is possible.


Margot Says:

OMG! A double jinx! The horror the horror. Any minute now RZ is going to tell me she’ll be watching….;)
Only kidding…..agree with both pics.
And indeedy good to see Dom still in the draw. Was an excellent comm at RG too.
Go Andy!


Okiegal Says:

@Margot…..your Andy is looking good! I know you are busting your buttons with excitement. I was so glad he beat Grigor…..a great match and fun to watch!


RZ Says:

No worries Margot. I still plan to be asleep during the matches, so if things don’t go well for Andy it’s not my fault!


jane Says:

agree with sean’s picks, although i think probably rafa in 3 too.


Wog Boy Says:

Wake up Halep!


Wog Boy Says:

Laidies are playing today too, not that you would have know that if you checked TX;)

Did I miss laides thread?


mat4 Says:

I’ll go with Berdych. Especially if he plays like he did in the Beijing final last year…


Wog Boy Says:

^^ :))


tennismonger Says:

Now the real question is: Does anyone beat Tomas Berdych 18 times?!


Wog Boy Says:

^^wasn’t that what Vitas Gerualaitis said when he finally beat Connors?


tennismonger Says:

Yeah, guess I didn’t paraphrase quite right…maybe, “Does nobody beat Tomas Berdych 18 times?!”

We’ll know the answer in just a bit!


Wog Boy Says:

Commentators said that it will be first time in open era, if it happens, to lose 18 in a row.


Wog Boy Says:

I think, this it, Makarova is just blasting Halep off the court. My ladies favourites are dropping like flies.


jane Says:

seems like genie’s settling down.


jane Says:

on the other hand, she’s hitting some wild errors, like that forehand on set point.

wog boy, that’s not a stat you’d wanna be known for (the 18 in a row one).


Patson Says:

I’m with mat4 on this.

Bold prediction: Berdych in 4.

If I’m proved wrong, please ignore this comment
:-)


Wog Boy Says:

jane, I think Bouchard is trying to push Maria out wide and going for to much, that is why she missing IMO.

Maybe Berdych is already holding 17 in a row one, so he doesn’t mind if he “improves” his record:)


skeezer Says:

Maria is actually exciting to watch at times, on mute.


Wog Boy Says:

And Maria breaks, is this it?


jane Says:

i agree skeezer; she can be fun to watch, although the screeching is grating.

wog boy, yes, she just did that in the last point – hit wide – and maybe she gets a bit overwhelmed/nervous in these big matches; she certainly did in the wimbledon final last year, even though petra was clearly in the zone.


Wog Boy Says:

Maria is just in the zone today, I am fan of neither but Maria just plays her best, Bouchard can’t do too much about that, but it is not over yet.


skeezer Says:

I think Bouchard looks better though. She is hot.
Whoops! Sexist! My bad…sorry.
Bouchard has the mettle to play Maria, she just needs to believe. She is being out muscled today and Maria the Vet knows it.
Congrats to Maria.
Unmute time.


Wog Boy Says:

Well, it is over. What do we have here with this result, one happy Nole fan (mat4), and one not very happy Nole fan (jane) and one neutral (me).


Daniel Says:

Sharapova was on fire, flawless performance today, think he is in the finals already, to play Serena most likelly.


jane Says:

wog boy, honestly i am pretty neutral. i actually like sharpie. she’s got great fight and i love how she goes down – or doesn’t – swinging. she’d be out of this tournament already if she wasn’t gutsy and didn’t take risks, but she did and now she’s in the semis. kudos indeed!

let’s see if berdych can “improve” his records – take that however you wish. ;-)


van orten Says:

It feels as if berdych plays for the first time in 20 matches without a cap..


jane Says:

wow, rafa is standing far so back.


jane Says:

nadal had won 37 of the last 40 sets he played versus berdych. but nadal can only get better. he made some whacky errors. berdych seemed to be hitting really hard though.


Daniel Says:

Wow, Berdych survived a few tuff games courtesy to Nadal not capitalizing and now break Nadal again to close first set 6-2. Will start serving first second set.
Nadal very frustrated with how he is playing but major kudos to Berdych whose returns are killing Nadal today, pressuring him from the get go.


kjb Says:

Even after watching the first set, I would still give Tomas around a 12% chance of winning.


tennismonger Says:

I’m jumping on the Patson bandwagon – & not just because Tomas is ahead now…we know how that can go w/Rafa. Enough is enough already!

Sports psychologist to Tomas earlier today: “you look in the mirror & you see a lowly but hungry qualifier…playing Rafa in round 2…now do what you must do!”


skeezer Says:

Bird will lose. Rafa is the GOAT of Bird. Bird is lucky and Rafa is injured or not feeling well or is not practicing enough or is not wearing his shorts long enough.


Wog Boy Says:

Two things that might affect both players, you work out in whose advantage:
It is pretty cold in Melbourne, ball doesn’t fly so fast…but doesn’t bounce high either.


skeezer Says:

Bird is luckier than lucky now. No problem. According to HR, he will come back and crush Bird and give him a Cat, no?
Fans tried to tell Rafa wearing pink is bad luck. But he will prevail. He is the ultimate warrior and hero of us all.


Okiegal Says:

I don’t believe Rafa will get his 18 in a row against Berdy tonight…..the Birdman is on fire and I’m not surprised!! He’s played much better than Rafa this week. I don’t see Rafa coming back from two sets down….he’s not playing that good….. 3 double faults already.


jane Says:

a bagel coming?


Okiegal Says:

4 doubles now…..


skeezer Says:

Rafa is on point now. Has Bird right where he wants him. And Unc Toni is trying to coach from the box again, lol.
Brad G, who is commentating and previously says Rafa is GOAT, is now talking about New York weather. Whats up BG?


skeezer Says:

Rafa is waitin for Bird to cough, and he will. We all know Birds qualities. Rafa can’t cough as big as Bird?


Wog Boy Says:

Berdych is going to make fatal mistake if he starts seeing finish line now.


Danica Says:

Wow Tomas!
Just WOW.

Tomas IS playing great but something must be bothering Rafa. He doesn’t run and his forehand, usually a thing of beauty, is nonexistent.


Michael Says:

It sounds incredible, but true. Berdych has win the first set and leading by 5-0 in the second against his age-old nemesis Rafa. But still the job is only and Rafa can make a strong come back if he some how wins the third set and take Berdych out of the comfort zone. But so far things are looking very good from Berdy’s angle and all that he needs to do is to maintain this momentum. It will be quite interesting to see how Rafa fights back from here ?


tennismonger Says:

I’m a belieberd.


Wog Boy Says:

Rafa moved much closer to base line on return, he is trying to change something to be more agressive…and is looking to Unlce Toni for help.


skeezer Says:

Bagel, Donut, Zero. -1. Last time this happened in a Slam was against Fed. But Rafa will win. Warrior, Man, watch wearer.


Danica Says:

They just showed Rafa holding his inner thigh, as if it’s painful. I hope it’s not an injury.


tennisfansince76 Says:

Bg and pmac just conjured a Rafa hamstring injury. Please stfu.


skeezer Says:

LMAO…was expecting this;
Per Commentators……Rafa rubbing his hamstring…could be injured….is he injured? Yes, that must be the excuse!!


Daniel Says:

Nadal finally wins a game after losing 9 straight.
Let’s see how Berdych will react. He sure doesn’t want to “wake” Nadal, whonlooks almost desperate.


jane Says:

look where rafa’s standing. all his balls land mid court because he’s so far back at times. and he’s not running much down. it’s puzzling. he played much better the last 2 rounds.

maybe wog boy is right that it’s partly the cooler weather. however one of the commentators i’m listening to said that cooler weather should actually benefit nadal because the game is slower, allowing rafa to run down more.


Daniel Says:

Nadal slicing thinking thay eventually Berdych will miss. I think he should just play freely and be super agressive. Only way for him to have a shot of reverting this score.


Wog Boy Says:

jane, Actually Nole said last night after the match that it was harder for him since ball doesn’t bounce really high on cold weather and Rafa can’t put full, desired spin on the ball.


jane Says:

crowd mentally impatient now, cheering rafa’s correct challenge, ha ha.


Daniel Says:

Excellent point won by Nadal to close the game. This is the kind of points he thrives on.


Wog Boy Says:

I am fed up with second commentator and Rafa’s hamstring.


Daniel Says:

Nadal just took a white round pill.


jane Says:

i didn’t see that daniel. maybe an aspirin? anti-inflammatory?


skeezer Says:

The Rafa come back. The little white pill.


Wog Boy Says:

jane, he sent somebody from his box to go and get the pill and took it, pay attention wher he goes for towell, he has two on both sides but always take one on uncle Toni’s side so can hear him (Jim Courier noticed that, not me).


Michael Says:

If Berdych manages to lose from here, he may not win against Rafa for ever.


jane Says:

will watch it wog boy.
berd making a few more errors but he’s hanging on at the moment.


metan Says:

Couldn’t believe it, that Rafa got begel. Alarm!
What is white pill.


Daniel Says:

tense game for Nadal now.
First two sets he did”t force Berdych to serve for the set to feel pressure as Berdy broke end of both sets. Let’s see if they both will continue holding.

Also, Berdych wide open serve on deuce side is killing Nadal today, maybe he should give 1 step in to return.


Daniel Says:

What a point by Berdych, condition must be pretty slow today for him to get to that ball. Nadal stop at frustration. Everything is clicking for Berdych today, one of those days.


Daniel Says:

Big point at 30-30


Daniel Says:

Amazing BH cross court by Berdych to set BP, This could be the point of Berdych life


Daniel Says:

Great hold by Nadal, with some FH DTL winners.
First time Berdych is under pressure in the match so far, 4-4


Daniel Says:

First really wow point by Nadal!


Daniel Says:

Berry hold his arm and hit the net decreasing speed of his ball, Nadal able to get and passing shot FH DTL, BP for Nadal.


Daniel Says:

Berdych has some cold blood today, what a second serve on BP down in this time.


Daniel Says:

Can’t believe Berdych chose the wrong side, second time he did this. Another BP. This could be the chocking moment


jane Says:

okay what was in that little white pill? now nadal hitting winners and running around. and berdych can’t find a first serve and hitting errors. maybe it was a “momentum switcher”? ;)


Daniel Says:

No another ace down the T


Daniel Says:

2 aces in a row.


skeezer Says:

Bird is finding typical easy ways to lose, as usual. He is worried about Rafa’s hamstring, is it true or no? Ask Unc Toni. And his Vamos’s is to irritating, as usual. Its always good for a free point.


Wog Boy Says:

This was huge hold for Berdych.


Daniel Says:

Well, this was THE hold by Berdych to lead 5-4 and saving BP’s in a game that was vintage Nadal to break.

Nadal under tremendous pressure serving down 4-5. Last two times Berdych broke to close the set, let’s see if he will go all out again. Tense end of set for both players now.


courbon Says:

Just wake up…Holy f°°°!!!Bedrych bageled Rafa?
Nah, it must be still a dream…I’m not fully awake…


skeezer Says:

Rafa needs another white pill, you know, the hgh/prp/ped kind. Maybe he needs 3.


skeezer Says:

Nothing like a white pill to make ya beat a bird, specially after being bageled.


skeezer Says:

Seriously, I find it amazing that Bird does not know what to do with Rafa’s chop, easy, sitter BH. Dude, crush it! Wtf?


Daniel Says:

If I were Berdych I would go for broke:-)


Daniel Says:

Berdych 2 points away. This is it for him


Daniel Says:

Double match point. He just have to think point by point.
Nadal saves the first with first serve in.


Daniel Says:

Another great serve by Nadal


Daniel Says:

Poor Berdych, didn’t make the FH return on first BP. Now play tiebreak with those two match points in his head. Let’s see if he can do it.


Daniel Says:

Flawless tiebreak by Berdych, lost one point after a first serve by Nadal and that is it. 2 points away with 5-1, not even he can lose from now, can he?!


Daniel Says:

5-3, Nadal saves one mini break.
Berdych needs anig serve to open 6-3.


Daniel Says:

Me and my mouth:-)
4-5 Nadal and 2 serves. poor Berdych


Daniel Says:

No, return winner to set 2 match points again. Third MP.


Michael Says:

It is make or break situation for Berdych. He is seving for the match!!


Daniel Says:

Nadal saved another BP., Berdych didn’t go for his shots.
Now first MP on his serve. Can he deliver a big serve open?!


Wog Boy Says:

Astalavista baby


skeezer Says:

What? Bird wins? Impossible. Must have been not enough white pills.


jane Says:

i guess the momentum shift wasn’t enough today. tomas was very mentally even today. is that due to his new coach!? impressive.

and now he has wins at the slams versus ALL the big four, just like tsonga i think.

nadal was not playing his best today – especially in those first 2 sets – but tomas deserves credit too. nadal won like 29% of second serves today. what the heck?


Wog Boy Says:

Nobody beats Berdych 18 times in a row.


Margot Says:

OMG Here comes that jinx! Bloody worried now (
Only saw last set but Berd had a magnificent serving day and Rafa a poor one.
Now where’s my faithful sofa?


Daniel Says:

YESSS Congrats Berdych for a major win, the record of 17th straight loss is intact, nobody beats someone 18th in a row:-). Can Berdych do a Wawa or Cilic, he seems ready for it and didn’t lost a set so far.

A lot of drama this set, congrats to Nadal when even on a terrible day able to regroup in third set and see the most expensive he could have done after what happened in first two sets.

Somewhere Djoko and Murray are smiling, possibly winning a major without having to go through Fed and Nadal, and if one of them is out, the other may not need to beat a big 4 for a Slam, something that didn’t happen since forever.

As for Nadal, to soon or age is finally catching up, in the old days he just didn’t have a bad day in the office as he did first two sets.


Michael Says:

Berdych has won. And what a shocker this is beating Rafa in straight sets at a Major !? Nobody expected this kind of of result more so especially the way he won with such consummate ease. I am not sure about the physical well being of Rafa. He was in some discomfort. But it is still a great result and morale booster for Berdych. Now he has a very good chance to go to the finals as in all probability he would be meeting Andy against whom he is very confident and that is manifested in the H2H which is loaded in favour of Berdych.


Jeez Says:

Which is Bigger??

Federer defeated by 10 time loser in Seppi

OR

Nadal thrashed by 17 time loser Berdych !!!


tennisfansince76 Says:

Interesting start to the year. According to results so far federer is ranked somewhere btw 16 and 32. Nadal is 5 to 8


skeezer Says:

An embarrasing loss of massive implications
Rafa,
-In his prime
-Gets bageled in a Slam
-Loses in straights to a guy he has owned
-loses to a mentally proven unstable top player

Kudos to Bird, who proved he can have resolve, and more importantly no one beats Bird 18 times in a row.
Now can we put the Roddick card to bed?


youyong Says:

Federer’s loss was a bigger shock given Rafa’s iffy form and Berdych’s strong play so far.


jane Says:

andy had this happen before when both fed and rafa were on his side. maybe it’s a jinx. :)


youyong Says:

Shut up skeezer. Stop your gloating. It’s massively irritating. HR is an idiot. You don’t have to be one too.


tennisfansince76 Says:

@wogboy 😃


Daniel Says:

Last Slam by Nadal at 28 is gone, during RG he will be 29, entering a period of 4 Slams aged 29 (RG 15′, W 15, USO 15 and AO 16′) and than joining the thirty club. Time is really flying, next year he will be thirty mid year, damn, remember RG 2005 like it was just yesterday.


Margot Says:

Well, well well, it must’ve been that cap holding him back all these years…..;)


Wog Boy Says:

Actually, on second thought I don’t like it, Roger, Rafa …Nole plays Raonic who hasn’t beat him in four tries.


brando Says:

Congrats to berdych for the win. To be honest: glad Rafael lost. I agreed with Robert Koenig prematch that berdych would win since Nadal’s is not solid enough at the moment. Patches of good tennis, not prelonged enough stretches. Not enough to win a slam at all really. To be expected in second event back, but I liked how he improved in the last set after the dismal first few. Congrats to berdych once again: could be a Djokovic v Berdych final since Tomas has won 5 in a row in straight sets.


Okiegal Says:

@Jane…..no, it’s due to the new lady in his life….he’s showing out for her! Lol He played so good today. He was steady on serve and his fh was awesome! If there are Berdy fans here, a BIG CONGRATS are in order. Not my guy’s day…..outplayed from the get go…..but sometimes that’s the way it goes…..first your mine and then your clothes!

C’mon Andrew……gonna try to stay up and hopefully watch you beat that annoying kid with the mohawk. Pulling for you the rest of the way. I still say Novak is the guy to win it, but don’t know who will be on the other side.


Tennis Fan Says:

Nadal has won his last slam


youyong Says:

Personally I feel Rafa is past his prime. I don’t see him ever going back to his previous form. He will have his moments just as Roger has, but we are way due for a change of guard. Am rooting for Kei, since he’s Asian. :)


Sean Randall Says:

Too good from Tomas. Got close in the end, but he fought through it. I’m not surprised he won, (though straight sets?) more surprised that it took him this long – over 8 years – to finally beat Rafa.


Okiegal Says:

My post at 12:51 …..first your money and then your clothes……still not proofreading….


skeezer Says:

“Federer’s loss was a bigger shock given Rafa’s iffy form and Berdych’s strong play so far.”
Don’t be an idiot, Rafa’s loss was a major shock against a guy he has owned 17 times, not even close.
He got bageled and lost in 3 for goodness sake!
As far as your complaining, you all if the sudden complain about me, but never have seen you complain about HR..who has consistently made fun of Fed…is he/she somehow protected? LMAO, no way!
Rafa is out, enjoy Tennis and the remaining competitors.


youyong Says:

HR is not a Rafa fan. He’s an idiot. You are simply playing into his game.


Daniel Says:

And Nadal, please no more pink, don’t you remember RG 2009?!

@12:46am
No tennisfansince76, Federer has 250 pts from Brisbane plus 90 from AO: 340, Nadal has 360 plus 10 Doha: 370, the difference between then is smaller:-)


brando Says:

And Nadal, please no more pink, don’t you remember RG 2009?!’: lol this, I knew it was over before he hit a ball with that kit!


jane Says:

come on you fedal fans; are you seriously arguing about whose *loss* was worse now? ;D


brando Says:

Good luck to Andy v the wild thing. It will be mental more than anything that match, if muzza keeps composed he can fare well. But to be honest: he was getting schooled by dimitrov at times and if Nick or Tomas fires with their hitting it could turn nasty.


Tennis lover Says:

Something I predicted last year. NADAL’S SLAM WINNING DAYS ARE OVER. 14 is still mindboggling. Wait folks, RG ’15 doesn’t belong to Rafa.


Margot Says:

Lol jane! But ’tis true!


Okiegal Says:

@youyong……As bad as it pains me to say this, I’m gonna agree with you, I can’t see him ever getting back to his old self. Rafa’s double faults in this tournament were OTT. He may improve some after more match play, we will see! Your guy Kei has been impressive this week. Good luck to him! He appears to be a very nice young man. Love his demeanor.


Thangs Says:

Great Sean..Your jinx worked very well…..On his first article on AO 2015, Fed was out. Second one took Rafa out.


skeezer Says:

Watching the match, one glaring point is Rafa’s movement. It’s bad, not Rafa like. And if he doesn’t get that together he is going to be in trouble at FO also. Rafa use to move so well, but maybe it was at a cost. His body type wore hard on his running. Thus the knees and back, etc. and this match was evident. If he doesn’t get that all out movement back he will be in trouble at FO….


tennisfansince76 Says:

@daniel I st and corrected.
@okiegal jeesh do you have to be so magnanimous in response to the loss of your favorite? It sets a bad precedent on this blog😉


Andrea Says:

Wow and wow. Congrats to berdych for an epic win. I mean, no one thought that would happen. Amazing effort.


tennisfansince76 Says:

@skeezer I wouldn’t be so quick to write Rafa off for the whole year.


skeezer Says:

“come on you fedal fans; are you seriously arguing about whose *loss* was worse now? ;D”

Ok, jane & margot you all know where all this stuff orignated from, and NOT from Fed fans, c’mon ;)l
Alls fair in love and war ;)


brando Says:

‘Watching the match, one glaring point is Rafa’s movement. It’s bad, not Rafa like.”: correct assessment but it’s a confidence and 2nd event back thing. Rafael did say when he’s confident in his game. Composed with what he’s doing he then moves well. Too early to feel strong about his game after his lay off. He’s playing well in patches right now, and his performance is not high from start till end. Personally: to be expected in his context. Needs time to get his game up to mark. Good thing is he improved from Doha and QF in a slam, 2nd event back is a decent step in right direction. 3rd set today was also a good step performance wise. Little more composure and he could have had a better result in that one. All in all: to be expected progress wise. Not bad or great.


Tennis Fan Says:

Nole the next one to fall


youyong Says:

@Okiegal, I’m a huge Rafa fan too and I hope he can turn things round especially later during the clay season. But with all the young guns coming up and based on his inconsistent level of play over the past year, I won’t be surprised if we have a new FO winner this year. Just like for Roger fans, we should just enjoy that they can still play but need to temper our expectations. :)


metan Says:

Big Congrats to Birdman. He deserves it
I am not sad that Rafa lost, actually I was so happy that he wanted to play for AO. Thank you Rafa for few nice matches in AO. I hope that I can still see you hold other trophy.


metan Says:

Maybe Andy is gonna be the winner of this AO..


Wog Boy Says:

Just saw parts of Rafa presso, he looks and sounds like a broken man.


skeezer Says:

@TF76
No way I am writing off Rafa. In fact, he showed his potential in the 3rd set. He is coming, and coming soon. He still is the pick fo FO, but his movement concerns me. He is not running fult tilt for balls. At this level, you need too. You need to show your opponet that your willing too. And players are watching that. We’ll see….


Michael Says:

May be too much was expected from Rafa and he has become a victim of expectations. Afterall, this is only the second tournament after his come back and most importantly it is major. He didn’t have enough match practice in the earlier tournaments that he played having lost early in the initial rounds and suddenly at the Australian Open his fans were expecting him to be at top gear which is nigh impossible. From the way, he beat Kevin, it did appear that he was nearing his level and was peaking at the right time. But, a lot depends also on how your opponent plays. Berdych it appears was in murderous form and he had a good serving day. Rafa on the other hand apart from his off play also seemed to be having some physical distress which was not clear. Ofcourse, he cannot offer this as an excuse for this loss but just like Roger lost to Seppi, it has to be definitely taken into consideration because he literally pulverised Berydych 17 times whenever they had the opportunity to meet. And so, this loss has to be seen from many angles and might be just a combination of Berdych’s exceptional play matched against Rafa’s off day coupled with his physical problems. All these made possible such a one sided result and Rafa need not be disheartened with this loss. I already see many posters reading too much into this defeat and portend for bad days ahead. But, I do not think it to be so and Rafa will be readying for the Clay season in right earnest and he is definitely going to be a different player out there. Once he finds his groove in Clay, he carries it forward to other surfaces and that is how Rafa’s career has all along shaped. Even the last come back, he made only in the clay courts, but this time he had no choice but to get started from the hard courts which is not his favourite surface. And the courts too at the Australian Open are faster this year which made life still difficult for Rafa.


Giles Says:

Well done Berdy. Now back up the win!


jane Says:

if murray wins the title he replaces rafa at #3; if kei reaches the final, he replaces rafa at #3.


Okiegal Says:

@youyong…..Okay, that’s great!! I haven’t read any of your posts before, so really didn’t know who your fav was. Hoping Rafa’s lack lustre play tonight was because of rust from not having played that much since Wimby. He’s not moving at all like he has in the past. Double faults galore. Confidence level very low. This is why he said he wasn’t a favorite for the AO. Who would know that better than him?? He was so fortunate to get past Tim. I’m proud of how far he did get…..a good result considering what he went through last year.

@tennisfansince76…..Being the magnanimous person that I am……I’m so very sorry that I offended you by unknowingly possibly setting a precedent to
this “BS” blog……..jeesh…..don’t be so
testy!!


Giles Says:

Some people are just too obsessed with rankings. Give it a rest already pls!


wilfried Says:

@Michael January 27th, 2015 at 1:43 am
Agree with your overall assessment, and particularly with the end.
Nadal was not happy with the speed of the courts this year and told so during a training session at the start of the tournament (not to the press perhaps, but to my favorite player)


brando Says:

@Michael: Disagree about the court speed. Rafael even said in press he likes it when it’s fast. Problem today was the cold conditions did not really favour his top spin game on a hard court. Despite that though: he still played a pretty good 3rd set. From his side: dismal start to the match. 0-2 in less than hour was not good enough. But expected considering his scenario. Tomas: did what a top player does and took full advantage. To berdy’s credit he played a excellent match from his side. It is what it is and the player who played poorly lost, and the one who played excellent won. I don’t think conditions- of course they play a part- made the decisive difference. Nadal could have beat Tomas in those conditions. He didn’t. Tomas did playing excellent tennis, and thatwas the decisive difference maker today methinks. I think Tomas will be a handful for whoever in the semi final.


Patson Says:

Not surprised. Law of averages had to catch up one day, and that day was today. I feel like Nadal’s court positioning and the depth of his shots is generally a good indicator of how confident he is. Both were lacking throughout the tournament which I guess can only improve as the season goes assuming he remains injury-free.

Anyways, lesson of the day: Nobody beats Berdych 18 times in a row, nobody.


brando Says:

@patson: completely agree. “Not surprised. Law of averages had to catch up one day, and that day was today. “: hence why I said I was glad it came today. Did not see him winning the event at all hence thought a loss today would be easier to get over than heartbreak hotel closer to the title itself.


Nirmal Kumar Says:

if murray wins the title he replaces rafa at #3; if kei reaches the final, he replaces rafa at #3.

First part most unlikely, second part there is a chance.


Nirmal Kumar Says:

Congrats to Berdych. Everything worked out for him today. He has a massive game and if all things come together he is a heck of a player to beat. Nadal may not have been at his best, but still Berdych has a much say in the match with the kind of ball striker he is. Kudos to him a deserved semi finalist.

Stan vs Kei is going to be the next interesting one.


Michael Says:

Brando @ 3.48 am,

Well, my sense was that faster conditions on the court favour hard hitters like Berdych rather than defensive players like Rafa. Ofcourse, as you rightly said the cold conditions too could have contributed to Rafa’s problems with his rhythm and placements on court. That bagel in the second set which Berdych managed to deliver to Rafa was the unkindest cut of all and sealed the match in my opinion. It has been quite sometime since Rafa managed to get bageled in a set and that should have shattered his confidence, although to his credit he managed to turn around things in the 3rd set despite those set backs and the tie break was also too close to call. Had Rafa won that tie break, I am sure he would have went onto win the match as Berdych’s game would have then slowly unravelled wherein that mental block would have haunted him. Imagine that scenario and what would have been the reactions of the media commentators in such an eventuality ? The whole discourse would have changed and the World would be singing paegns about Rafa as to what a great fighter he is blah blah and also would have crowned him the Champion. But it never happened and today we have some Commentators literally not giving him benefit of doubt and are skeptical about his future. Nonetheless, all ifs have no worth unless they materialize and all credit to Berdych, he finished things when it mattered.

Regarding the semi-final, I feel Berdych will enjoy the edge irrespective of whosoever he meets. Against Andy, he is confident as he holds the edge in their H2H and moreover Andy’s weak second serve will give more than a handle to him to dominate the match just he did against Rafa whose weak second serve was just pounded with Berdych hitting the tram lines. May be Nick would be a harder opponent for him in my opinion.


wilfried Says:

@Brando
I’m inclined to credit more what Nadal says off record to another player who’s practicing with than what he says to the press.
As for the law of averages, it is a too cheap explanation to me.


Okiegal Says:

……but somebody did beat Berdy 17 times in a
row. The streak was gonna end and had a gut feeling today was the day. Just think what kind of feeling Rafa had about it ending and the pressure it put on him.

C’mon Murray!! Looking good…..2 down and 1 to go!


wilfried Says:

Here’s what Goffin had to say about the court speeds, citing Nadal as well.
« Depuis que je suis arrivé ici, on a eu chaque jour des conditions différentes. On est passé de 18 à 35 degrés… Je ne suis jamais parvenu à m’adapter or je joue beaucoup au feeling et, là, aucune sensation. La balle était tantôt lourde, tantôt trop petite et elle ne sortait pas de ma raquette. Et puis, la surface est ultrarapide cette année. Je me suis entraîné avec Nadal, mardi, et il était aussi agacé. C’est comme si on jouait avec des balles magiques sur des terrains très rapides ! J’en ai même parlé avec Karlovic qui en rigolait, lui. Il se sentait même mieux qu’à Wimbledon ! »


Okiegal Says:

Yay, Andy!! Congrats to Margot. Did you manage to come out from behind the sofa? LOL. He was very focused tonight…..Good for him!!! I’m pulling for him!!!


Margot Says:

@OK
Hi darling :) Was much less nervous than Dimi match :)
Now getting super anxious about semi. Berd is 4-2 against Andy. It was windy today. Hoping for a hurricane in next match.
@Wog Boy
What can you do?…;)


Margot Says:

PS
Really glad 2nd jinx unjinxed :)
Andy’s first serve was brilliant today and he is protecting his 2nd serve. What’s this with Nick would have a better chance against Tomas?
Hold your horses folks!


Michael Says:

An emphatic win by Andy. But I feel that he has his task cut out against Berdych against whom he always has struggled in the past. And this time, the task gets even tougher considering that Berdych is playing some breathtaking Tennis and has just eclipsed Rafa which would have taken his confidence sky high. So, with Andy too determined and focused this time around to somehow win the trophy, it should be a cracker of a contest and might go even the distance. However, I would give the edge to Berdych to go through to the finals although Andy is no push over and might pose a stiff challenge.


the DA Says:

@Margot – Yippee. Our boy did it. Reminds me of how he handled Raonic at the USO in 2012. It wasn’t perfect but the tactics worked very well. And those gorgeous topspin lobs and passing shots. Oof!
Now for the dreaded SF – dreaded because the media will turn it into the Amelie vs Dani match. I’m just going to revel in this return to form :)


Wog Boy Says:

@Margot,

I will have a word with the engineer from above…:)


Margot Says:

Thank you Wog Boy! Now a nice big hurricane please :)
Yep, DA after the trials and tribulations of last year, it’s wonderful to have our old Andy back.
His ROS has been magnificent this AO and back has come his wonderful, confident BCKDL which really neutralised Nic’s second serve.
That defensive lob from way behind the left baseline, OMG pure Murray Magic!
So nice about Nic too, in post match interview.


mat4 Says:

Congratulation to Patson and myself — of course — for seeing this happen…


mat4 Says:

I know that I will trigger a lot of angry answers in this post, but I believe that there are few things that have to be said, written.

First, I was certain, and I wrote it clearly on another French language blog, that Berdych had the game to beat Rafa. I watched him in the previous rounds, and he was imperial. I even think that he will make the final. But like everyone else, I thought that he was also able to find a way — unimaginable to us, simple mortals — to lose, just like he (almost) always does. A real talent ;-)

But the key reason was Rafa’s slump, that started last year. At the same time, Ferrer started slowly to slump too. Ferrer, e.g., was already spent at the beginning of the match against Nishikori, two days weren’t enough any more for him to recover. It could be age, of course, but…

… it all started with the introduction of tennis biological-passeport. The key thing is, I quote:

“If a player’s blood profile deviates beyond accepted parameters, set by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), they could be banned, even if they have not failed a drugs test.”

It means also no “eggs”, hypo/hyperbarric chambers, “pure air”, etc.

So, no proof, whatsoever, and time could prove me wrong. But, in my opinion, Rafa’s time is over. He still plays well, his FH is vicious, he knows everything about tennis, but he can’t run every ball the way he did before, his defence is not what it was. Just like in the case of Ferrer, it could be age, usual decline, but, for me, it is all too evident not to be at last hinted.


mat4 Says:

… at least hinted.


Wog Boy Says:

mat4,
You are dead man walking..


skeezer Says:

^Lol…good one WB.


brando Says:

@michael: fine post. To be honest: everyone is entitled to their own interpretation of the match. We’ve both stated our thoughts, crucially Rafael his, all that is left is the event itself: let’s move onto that. Muzza v berdych: I root for muzza but I fear he’s going to get pummeled by Tomas. Barring the MPs Tomas showed ice cool concentration, raw hitting and just pure clinical tennis. I think he fancies his chances and Andy and really is not intimidated by him. He also has what Andy struggles most against: big serve, power and clean hitting. I actually thought -prior to today- that for Andy to reach the final his best chance was to face Rafael. Sounds bizarre I know but I was of the opinion that Andy can handle a undercooked Nadal. Berdych though is firing on cylinders, is 15/15 in sets played and his confidence is sky high after beating Nadal. I think he’ll take to the court feeling like the favourite and with Dani in his corner he’ll really fancy his chances. I want Andy to win but a repeat berdych performance and I don’t think Andy has the answers to be honest. Edge to Tomas prematch I feel.


brando Says:

PS: I also thought Tomas was unlucky to lose to Andy in USO 12′. Had the wind not knocked his game sideways I think he would have won that day. He’s a obvious talent and tough matchup for Andy.


Nirmal Kumar Says:

That defensive lob from way behind the left baseline, OMG pure Murray Magic!

Is there any other player who hits this particular shot better than Andy? I know Rafa hits few, but not as consistent as Andy.


mat4 Says:

@WB, skeez:

Hopefully, at that French blog, everybody is normal and root for Fed and Novak. We have only one rafan there, but since she’s a young girl, we all understand that why she roots for an attractive young man.


Hippy Chick Says:

Mat4 sorry i thought you were better than that,rather patronizing comment….


Hippy Chick Says:

^Not to mention ageist,and sexist^….


mat4 Says:

@Alison:

Glad you’re here!

If you write the same thing about me rooting for Sharapova… would it be sexist? And if it is sexist… couldn’t it still be the truth? ;-)

And it wasn’t a patronizing comment, but a joke. I forgot the :-), but I thought you know me better.


mat4 Says:

@Alison:

And finally, does your reaction mean that Rafa isn’t a handsome young man?


Hippy Chick Says:

Mat4 firstly thanks,and yeah fair enough you got me there lol,and granted Rafa hasnt been hit with the ugly stick,but there are plenty of other players equally good looking perhaps more so same with Maria?,but for me it isnt about that,and never has been,its what he brings as a tennis player,and hes a way better player than Maria,5 GS off clay is as many as Marias won in her whole career theres the comparison right?….


Hippy Chick Says:

^Shoulve said theres the difference^….


Daniel Says:

Some think not but age is a factor, and losing only gets to know you how to lose more. It happen to Federer and is starting to happen with Nadal.

First yo start losing to guys you never do: Ferrer and Almagro on clay last year. Then you lose matches to some low ranked players, end of his year. And now first real blow in a Slam.
Of course second tourney back, I remember me and Brando said he was not in contention, We got carried away by his draw: Berdych / Murray or Federer, but deep down he still is not in Slam level. That is the thing with Slams, you need to have all aspects of the game sharp for two weeks and there is always somebody else playing better.

Next tournament for Nadal is on Rio, clay in 3 weeks time, there is where he can start building his confidence back. But if he doesn’t win that tourney or at lest making finals, going to IW/Miami without this confidence boost will only imply 2 more losses. By the time he hit clay season if his confidence is still shattered may b e too late to recover. This year will be one of the most tense and dramatic from him with a lot of pressure to deliver plus fighting his own body,
Not that he is doom and will never win a Slam again, but the shift happened just like this for all great players in the past and he wilt not be exception.

Think Kei is beating Wawa kind of easy, his BH DTL is the best shot this tournament so far. Djoko will pass by Raonic as well, so think it will be Djoko x Kei semis rematch of US Open and that match can go the distance if both keep form.
Djoko will be with no rhythm due to 2 big serves in a row whereas Kei will come after Ferrer and Wawa.


sienna Says:

the winner of semi Djo-Nis will be favorite in final.


sienna Says:

Daniel great post.
a lot is happening and we can easiley get a nishikori-berdych/Murray final with nishikori actually favorite riding second straight final.
What a chance gone by for the injured Cilic. The level of play is by far lower then he showed in US OPEN.
Cilic run at US open is of gigantic magnitude compaired to level portrayed up to now.

We learn from the master himself how important it is to play every slam possible. chances of winning come with in certain time frames that vary for each player who knows how long Cilic timeframe is. but it is a bummer and will give asteriks to the current winner.


RZ Says:

@Wimbledon – it’s not so we can say “I told you so” by saying that Berdych has a chance. It’s because we (or at least I) respect Berdych’s game and think he has the goods to win, but have seen him wilt enough times to know that his mental game isn’t usually up to par (although it was last night).


sienna Says:

mat4
you get away with murder.
you find the right tone but in a way youre accusing Nadal of blood doping. Maybe you know more about Nadals bloodvalues compared to his winning/losing periodes. they should show the data.


Daniel Says:

I also think Djoko will raise his level according to competition, he has done this before in the past and implying great but didn’t play anybody worth so far.

He will learn from the past and be super sharp this time, similar to what he did in Wimbledon post RG loss. USO he was the favorite and kind of got struck by surprise with Kei, not this time.

Still think he is super favorite for this tournament and only Murray (who won 2 Slams finals against Novak) will have a chance in the final and even so a big if with later matches between the tow. Key plays great but his serve is attackable and Djoko will pit a lot of pressure.


Michael Says:

Brando @ 7.47 am,

You echo my thoughts and cannot disagree with you. Berdych is the over whelming favourite against Andy. He has the confidence after beating Rafa and that too in straight sets. He is facing Andy against whom he has a favourable H2H and he has the experience of being in such situations before in his career. Although upsets do happen and Andy can surprise us if he plays his very best in such a way that his first serves starts clicking from the word go.

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