Djokovic v Wawrinka For The Right To Play Murray In The Australian Open Final, Who’s The Pick?
by Sean Randall | January 29th, 2015, 1:32 pm
  • 294 Comments

Before I get to tonight’s second Australian Open men’s semifinal, a quick look back at last night. Tomas Berdych came out of the blocks firing, playing much like he did Rafa. The problem for Berdych was Andy Murray wasn’t going away. After trading breaks, Berdych, who led 5-3, took the opening set in a grueling, physical 77 minutes.

At the end of the first, some words may or may not have been exchanged, depending upon who you listen to. Regardless, Murray revved up his game in the second slapping Berdych with a bagel. And once Murray grabbed the break mid-way through the third you could see the match was over. Berdych had a brief spurt in the fourth, but he looked cooked.

After a good first set, Berdych reverted back to norm, as usual. But credit to Murray who played some of his best tennis since that 2013 Wimbledon title. He was aggressive, he was attacking, he was blazing fast and even though his second serve was suspect at times, he came up with some clutch serves when he had to.

With two days off before the final he has to be exceptionally pleased with where his game is at. And if he plays like this in the final he very well might be a 3-time champion come Monday.

But who will he play?

Novak Djokovic v Stan Wawrinka
This one has all the makings of another good ‘ol fashioned slugfest. And why not. The last two times Djokovic and Wawrinka have played at the Australian Open that’s exactly what we got.

Remember 2013 12-10 in the fifth for Djokovic?

Remember 2014 9-7 in the fifth for Stan?

And in between those two marathons they played another five setter at the US Open won by Djokovic. So these two know the deal. They know what they are in for. And both are in groove.

Stan says he’s playing better now than he was a year ago. If he beats Novak I’ll believe him, but that said he did look really, really good against Kei Nishikori the other day. Wawrinka’s been bombing his underrated serve and crushing that lethal backhand of his. And the suspect forehand has held up. The nerves, well…

Djokovic, though, has looked even sharper. He hasn’t lost a set and just gave a lesson to Milos Raonic. He also dismantled Fernando Verdasco and Gilles Muller. But Stan will be a different animal, or Stanimal if you will.

The Swiss has the ability to get Novak moving, and moving off of the baseline, then he hurts him with the backhand, something few players can consistently do. So it’s great matchup. But I think in the end Djokovic wants revenge for last year and he wants this title more. And I just don’t think Stan really feels like he belongs. Then again, maybe Stan comes out without a care and just rips the ball. Even then, the nerves catch uo.
The pick: Djokovic in four


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294 Comments for Djokovic v Wawrinka For The Right To Play Murray In The Australian Open Final, Who’s The Pick?

brando Says:

Djokovic in 3.


Marylynn Says:

This is a difficult decision. If it was Rafa, I would pick him to win…yes if Rafa had won the quarter final … I would say he’s ready to win the whole thing, but that didn’t happen. So, I will go with, ummm this is really difficult, I need to draw a name from a hat or something, can’t decide who will win this one. I think nerves may get the best of Stan, but however, I do think he’s playing great, but so is Djokovic. I guess I can’t decide. OK here it goes my pick will be Stan the Man since he is most definitely the underdog.


Ben Pronin Says:

Why would nerves play into Stan all of the sudden? He already won his slam. He achieved more than he ever expected. Winning a second slam would be like super gravy for him. I don’t think nerves get him. He will lose if Djokovic plays better than him.


alice Says:

Nole really has to win this one and take the title. He’s the best hard-court player in the world yet he’s lost before the finals in the last 2 hard court slams and hasn’t won one since AO 2013. I’m banking on him stepping up this time and winning this match then taking the title – absolutely no idea about the score-line. In some ways I hope the match isn’t too long as I don’t want the outcome of Sunday’s match to be influenced by fatigue and the disadvantage in playing second (yes players come back and win as Rafa did against Fed but it definitely is a disadvantage and I’d like to see something like a level playing field).


brando Says:

”He will lose if Djokovic plays better than him.”: damn no one thought of that one! Well done for cracking the code there Ben.


Giles Says:

Quite simple really, I’m going with the Sean jinx and picking Wawa.


brando Says:

@Alice: fatigue is BS excuse. Rafael did it 09′ and then Novak did it 11′. Besides: whoever wins this match will be going on a schedule seen as normal at all the other slams so it’s no big deal. Besides: I cannot see a lot of long rallies between these2, and whoever wins will definitely not want to use fatigue as an excuse since I think they both see this as the THE big match. For wawrinka there’s no tougher challenge at AO then Novak. Ditto for mole. Defending champion, only guy to beat him here in peak: definitely the toughest challenge. So whoever wins will not give a damn about fatigue and will look to win title after beating their toughest challenge.


Daniel Says:

Agree with Sean, Djokovic in 4.
Djokovic is playing great and with his return he complicates everybody lives. Even if Wawrinka is serving great he will have to do it for a long time.
Also Djokovic serve seems better as well, especially the T one.
Ok, they played 3 close five setter where Djokovic won 2 and lost the other 7-9 other than that he won basically all contest they played. Think Stan already got his big win and to get another Novak will have to be off his game, what he is not since a while now.


Ben Pronin Says:

In 2009, Rafael Nadal was 22 years old.
In 2011, Novak Djokovic was 23 years old.

So fatigue isn’t exactly bs. It’s a fact that recovery is more difficult with age. And just because they see it as a big match and will OBVIOUSLY want to win the title, doesn’t mean that any fatigue their body will feel will suddenly vanish. Not caring about fatigue doesn’t mean they won’t feel it. That’s not how it works.

So yeah, neither guy will want to play too long no matter how confident they are in their ability to recover.


alice Says:

@ Brando

don’t they play RG and Wimby semi-final the same day?!
fatigue certainly is a factor if you are carrying any injury …someone said that Wawrinka had a problem a day or so ago..can’t remember what exactly as I have the flu and can’t think straight!


brando Says:

@Alice: you misunderstood me. What I meant is the schedule is the same for these guys as it would be at FO or Wimbledon: SF Friday and then final on Sunday. USO also has only a daybreak so it’s no big deal. Federer had 2 days rest in 09′, Nadal in 12′, yet who walked away with the title?


alice Says:

@ brando

ok sorry follow you now..!!
I did say I was ill…!
sometimes of course it can be pressure to play first with an obvious advantage and everyone saying you’re going to win. look at the nervy way Fed started against Rafa in 2009 when everyone said precisely that…


brando Says:

@Alice: lol no worries and get well soon. My point aside: all semi finals should be played on same day is just a no brainer. Fed starting like that v rafa? Fed is rafa’s pigeon so how else was he going to start at the sight of seeing his daddy across the net in a grand slam final? Lol.


alice Says:

@ brando

thanks for your good wishes!
will be here tomorrow to read comments on the match.
adje Nole!
am a Rafa fan but if he can’t take the title then I think it should be Nole – he’s the world’s best player and the most deserving to take the title.
(also think he deserves more than 7 slams)


brando Says:

@alice: your a Rafa fan? Vamos to that! Re Nole: I prefer others but he’s a class act and a legend. A big, memorable contributor to what makes this era great. Period.


Patson Says:

Agree with brando. Nole in 3.


Eric W. Says:

I think the winner of this goes on to take the title. This will be every bit as entertaining as the final, methinks. Stan no longer fears Nole, or anyone else, which makes him just as likely to win as his higher rated opponent — who aside from Wimbledon 2014, has been very shaky in GS finals (and even semi-finals) since Roland Garros 2012. That said, if Nole beats Stan and then Andy on Sunday, it may launch him to a repeat of his 2011 year. Confidence and mental strength determines winners at this level, and the competition now is as brutal as it’s ever been in history at the top of the men’s game.


skeezer Says:

“This is a difficult decision. If it was Rafa, I would pick him to win,”.
If it was Rata, I would pick Nole or Wawa to win..


django Says:

Why on earth did Murray fire Vallverdu and Green anyhow?


Kimberly Says:

Nice for Murray but I am more convinced now more than ever that Berdych will never win a slam. Has the game but lacks it everywhere else. Wawrinka is the hardest hitter on tour now so he always has a chance against anyone.


neri Says:

i think that if stan wins this one it ll be in a 5 set game only. on other ways nole3-1


Brando Says:

@Kimberly:

‘Wawrinka is the hardest hitter on tour now so he always has a chance against anyone.’:

Great, great comment and equally, I am so surprised no one has said this till date!

For me Wawrinka is the biggest and best hitter on tour. The way he slaps that single handed BH alone is testament to his hard hitting.

And I completely agree:

When he’s on song he can beat anyone, on any surface.

That’s some natural brilliance you just cannot argue with regarding his game.


Brando Says:

@Eric W:

‘I think the winner of this goes on to take the title.’:

Have to say I agree with this.

This SF reminds me of Nadal v Djokovic at RG 13′:

The 2 best players for that event colliding in the SF. Really for AO- truthfully based on last 2 years- Novak v Stanimal is THE heavyweight match.

Novak is the main man unquestionably here. And Stan is the only one with the W against him so this is it.

Hence why it reminds me of RG 13′ interms of match billing. In that one the winner of the match would face Ferrer.

Many considered Ferrer the 3rd favourite for that event due to the dismal form of Federer. In this event- likewise- due to Fedal under performance Muzza is a 3rd favourite also.

Obviously:

Muzza is a tougher match than Ferru in a Grand Slam final, but there are some similarities on the semi final.

Bottom Line:

This is a heavyweight clash and one that is exciting even for neutrals who do not support either.

Only hope is:

We do not get a damp squib as I fear since we have not seen a classic match so far in this event for me.

Wawrinka v Djokovic was one 13′ and 14′:

Here’s hoping for a 2015 all out, street fight, with the best single handed BH taing on the best 2 handed BH in the game going toe to toe for 5 sets!


Michael Says:

This is really tough to predict but I will go for Wawarinka as he is playing some exceptional Tennis and even when he lost to Novak at this venue, it was by a whisker not much to separate. And so in this anybody’s match, just one or two points will change its whole contour. The winner of this one will definitely hold the edge in finals although Andy is looking menacing.


pogi Says:

WAWA in 3


wilfried Says:

The title of this thread says it all: Djokovic vs Wawrinka play for the right to play Murray in the final.
Murray is therefore the guy to beat this time and not the other way around.
Don’t underestimate him neither underestimate his coach.


Margot Says:

Great comment Wilfried and needed saying.
Good luck Nole, do it in 5 long, closely contested sets ending with 58-56 in the fifth.
Only kidding….a little ;)


Nikola Says:

Novak in 3 in semis and in 3 in finals.


Eric Says:

Margot, that’s not so far off from their past few GS matches!


Colin Says:

A late response to Alice, who thinks Nole “deserves more than 7 slams”.

The word “deserves” can be used only after the event,I think. If we’re considering personal qualities like determination and dedication,surely we’d have to say David Ferrer “deserves” to have several slams to his credit. He hasn’t got them, so he doesn’t deserve them. A slam trophy is not awarded for personal qualities (otherwise Ivanisovic would never have won any!); it’s awarded to the guy who won the match on the day.


jane Says:

well, i know i am nervous as heck for nole! stan was stanimal versus kei. still, i am looking forward to 2 of the world’s best male tennis players duking it out in this forthcoming semifinal. this is what we love, right? RIGHT!? :O (she says, trying to convince herself…)


mat4 Says:

A difficult watching in perspective… Took some medication against hypertension already…


jane Says:

good thinking mat4. i should take some baby aspirin and maybe a g&t.


Daniel Says:

this set is going fast, 3-2 in 11 minutes, wow!


Daniel Says:

15-30 and Djokovic trying to break down Wawa BH, wrong choice:-)


jane Says:

stan called the doctor, already? i wonder what’s up?


Daniel Says:

Now Novak time to deal with 15-30 on serve.


Goose Egg Says:

Kind of random, but I just saw the seeds for last year’s Indian Wells… Federer was seeded 7th and Delpo was seeded SIXTH! It’s amazing how much of difference one year on tour can make for some people


Danica Says:

I never understood the saying “He (whoever) wants this title more”. How so? They all want it badly. Equally.

And Wawa breaks. After Nole made bad tactical decisions in previous game where he could break Wawa.


Daniel Says:

Wawrinka painting the lines two FHs to break.
Novak had 0-30 last game and played wrong shots, now Wawrinka with the break serving 4-3.


Eric Says:

STAAAAN


mat4 Says:

No, it’s not this, Danica. Novak played 3 matches in a row against big servers, and needs to find his groove.


Daniel Says:

Now the game began…0-40. And Djoko still playing to Wawa BH


Daniel Says:

But it he get the break right back to love.


Daniel Says:

What an angled BH, before T line


jane Says:

holy crap! stan’s backhand is crazy-wild! how can you possibly anticipate it? this set is fast fast fast. i can’t catch my breath.


Daniel Says:

Awful FH out by Djokovic on set point.


mat4 Says:

The comments are so biased…


mat4 Says:

On Eurosport, I mean, not here.


Danica Says:

Yes, that angle Wawa hit with his BH was gorgeous. Just amazing.

Ugh, Nole missed two set points :(


Danica Says:

TB
Nole so misshits.


Eric Says:

Stan breaking out the ol’ Swiss shank there…


Daniel Says:

5-0 Novak, tiebreak is his. Hope the “curse” of first set win lose the five set match stops today:-)


Danica Says:

7:6 Nole!


Daniel Says:

At this pace (43 min set in tiebreak, must be a record) they can play a five set shorter than yesterday semis.


mat4 Says:

Difficult to watch. Novak isn’t near his best.


Patson Says:

33,333% job done. Go Nole !


jane Says:

nervy and FAST first set.


Eric Says:

off to sleep now. cheers everyone. go stan!


Daniel Says:

Well, at least last two times Wawrinka served Djoko had 15-40. This adds extra pressure to Stan.


Daniel Says:

Didn’t know that at 29 years and 310 days Wawa is trying to be the oldest finalist in AO Open era. This is a young man Slam.

I wonder what are the records for the other three, from my head: Sampras and Agassi US Open where above 30, Fed 30 at Wimbledon, Fed 29 at RG?!


Danica Says:

Daniel, that’s exactly why I was sure Nole would win the TB. He gets more points on Stan’s serve than vice versa.


Daniel Says:

Liking Djoko serving and volley a few times already.


jane Says:

daniel wasn’t agassi older somewhere, either at FO or AO??


Daniel Says:

Yeah Danica, last 3 times Novak hold fro love and he had BP in 3 Wawa games while Wawa only the one he broke.


Daniel Says:

Yeah Jane, at AO Agassi won at 32, Wawa is trying to be the second.


Giles Says:

Go Wawa go!


mat4 Says:

Very difficult match. Novak lacks his usual aggressiveness, because he just isn’t sure in his shots enough. He still needs time to find the right depth.


Daniel Says:

30 love and now BP


Daniel Says:

DF trying to force second serve.

yeah mat4, Djoko is making some unusual mistakes. But than he wins a point like this:-)


Danica Says:

Right, THAT was an AMAZING point.


Daniel Says:

Djoko’s volley are great so far. He only lost 1 point on net


Daniel Says:

40-40 this is the game for Novak, last time Wawa break first he broke right back


Daniel Says:

Wawa unleashing an BH DTL


mat4 Says:

It just doesn’t look good. Novak is unsure in his shots. Wawa is much more aggressive, but he is the steadiest player here. And the BP realisation: Wawa 2/2, Novak 1/5.

Novak looks subdued already, a bit like Berdych yesterday.


Daniel Says:

Your are exaggeration mat4, Novak serve looks excellent he is just as you said finding his groove. Won’t be surprised if he breaks Wawrinka now, he just doesn’t need to give easy points to Wawa. Put the returns in and open FH.


Daniel Says:

The game Djoko was broken he was 30-0 up and suddenly lost 4 points, just a minor blip.


jane Says:

agree with mat4 this time daniel. nole hasn’t settled into this match. other than verdasco in round three, he just hasn’t had rhythm. muller and raonic were all about the serve and nole just needed to protect his own. wawrinka meanwhile played kei and g-lo so i think he’s more grooved for rallies. also nole is just off his game. WAY too many errors. i don’t think he’ll win unless i see a big shift here at the start of the third.


Daniel Says:

Djoko lost a set, match is on!

Beginning second set he had 15-40 and missed an easy FH long, that shot cost him this set because right now Wawrinka is more aggressive. But as long as Novak protect his serve and hold he will have shots in Wawrinka serve. Pretty even contest so far. Novak was better until 2-2 second set, now a slight momentum for Wawa.


mat4 Says:

jane, that’s what I think too. He has to be much more aggressive, to hit harder, to be on top of rallies. Nothing of this so far. The key game was the first one of the second set: had Novak made a break, everything could have changed — although I can’t be sure, of course.


jane Says:

mat4, complete letdown. passive and errors galore. not good at all.


Daniel Says:

Finally Novak saves a BP with Wawa mistake. Djoko too passive, he felt losing second set and seems to unsure, but champions find a way, still believe in him.


Daniel Says:

This game is really important.


Daniel Says:

Wawa going for the lines no stop


Daniel Says:

Great hold! Now go on and play more freely. He indeed lacks power on his shots.


mat4 Says:

Huge hold for Novak. First time he saved a BP. Perhaps it will change something in his game.


Daniel Says:

15-40, now Djoko better wake up and clean his shots, so far no mistakes this game.


Daniel Says:

Djoko breaks, the importance of that hold.

Let’s see if Djoko close the game with some serving.


mat4 Says:

A bit of hope for Novak, who doesn’t play much better.


jane Says:

finally nole went to stan’s forehand instead of the backhand, and he held. why was he going towards stan’s backhand? seems entirely counterintuitive.

nole’s defence got him the break. he let stan self-destruct there. it reminds me of what rafa did to nole in the the 2013 USO. nice to see nole finally making a few adjustments.

but can he hold?


Daniel Says:

Now Djoko is totally in the match.


Daniel Says:

Game Djoko 3-0.

Agreed Jane, once he stop missing and return everything Wawa errors increase. Tags is five set match, some variation in momentum and now Novak has it.


mat4 Says:

I am not certain. He seems to play a bit faster, and to change depth better, but Wawa played too risky in key points.

The stats are very lying: Novak has won 10 points more, and every of his stats is better. On the court, a completely different story.


Daniel Says:

He missed 2 drops but at least is trying to variate the game.


Daniel Says:

Djoko finding his range on the return, more pop. Another BP for him.


Daniel Says:

mat4 this stats are probably due the fist 8 games Djoko serve where he won half 40-0. He was winning more points.


mat4 Says:

Daniel:

Probably. He let Wawa run away with this game.


mat4 Says:

And with this one too.


jane Says:

this is over for nole. poor shot selection. passive. blah. gave back the break.


mat4 Says:

jane, I am afraid you’re right. But, on the other side, he has won already seven, and he can’t win always.


Danica Says:

If he looses this set, Nole I mean, I am off to bed.


Daniel Says:

Wawa BH is so good that I didn’t saw Djoko run away his BH to hit inside out FH, there is no time.

Wawa saved BP to go down 0-4 and now break for love serving 2-3 This set is crucial for both especially novice now who had the lead.


the DA Says:

This is such a strange match. Weird energy. Stan looks like a shadow of the guy who beat Kei and Nole is listless and passive. They’re taking turns playing well but if both do it at the same time, watch out. Maybe they’re saving it all for the 5th set.


jane Says:

danica, same here.


Daniel Says:

Guys this are the last 2 AO champions is expected a topsy turvy match, none will dominate for long, there will be paths for each player. Very evenly contested.

Wawa just prove to be Djoko’s equal on this court for 3 straight years, something none else came close.


Daniel Says:

40-0 game for Novak, last game it was 30-30 on Wawa serve. Djoko always puts pressure, if Wawa make bad mistakes Djoko can break again. That is the thing of having the best return in the game.


Daniel Says:

Another easy hold by Novak with some mistakes by Wawa.

Pressure time for Wawa who will serve 4-5 down. Now is the time for Djoko to do something more aggressive, go to the net and unleash his FH. Haven’t saw he hit a really powerful FH all match, apart from running passing shots.


mat4 Says:

The decline is here for Novak too, not only for Rafa and Fed. I guess that his last season was his last spark. There are already at least two players out of the “big four” better than him in big events — Wawrinka and Nishikori.

Every slam he wins will be a pure bonus.


mat4 Says:

@Daniel:

Are you an optimist, or a realist?


mat4 Says:

The CC FH doesn’t work, his key shot…


Daniel Says:

Awful FH middle of the net at 15-15 Djoko?!?!


Daniel Says:

mat4, Nishikori has 1 big win in his career, that is USO against Novak, don’t consider that to be better than Novak.

Right now he is 2 points away from third set at deuce. Even in his not sublime best he is in the match


mat4 Says:

It seems you’re a realist…

Nishi is better from the baseline than Novak, although Novak has improved his open stance FH. I am certain about this.


Daniel Says:

And just close third set for 2-1 lead and will start serving fourth set. Don’t know what you guys are drinking?!?!

Djoko is the undisputed better AO player out there, closest to Nadal on RG last 3 years, better Wimbledon last 4 years and second best US Open. Apart from RG and clay he is the favorite every tournament he plays this year.


Daniel Says:

And if he wins this in 4 sets can’t see him losing to Murray, not after holding Wawrinka who presented to be his biggest challenge in AO.


mat4 Says:

Daniel, I watch Novak for years. Finding his groove is one of his problems, in such tournaments. Had he played against Ferrer in the quarter, I wouldn’t think about the result, the way Wawa plays — Wawa’s making to many UE right now, and he is far below his level of last year.


Daniel Says:

Easy hold to open set. Now let’s see how Wawa will react after being broken to lose third.


Daniel Says:

The saying goes, you only play as good as your opponent allows you to, both ways. Maybe if Wawa was playing better Djoko level will improve as well. As it is, it’s just enough. 0-30


jane Says:

so funny that nole didn’t even know he won that set, ha ha. i am exhausted though…zzzzz.


FedExpress Says:

apart from 2011, how many multi slams has nole won in one season. none

and his GS finals record is pathetic. 7 GS off 14 finals.

and to call him the best harcourt player is a bit too much. Yes at the AO he is in a league of his own.

but at the US open just miserabel. lost to nadal (twice), murray (!!!) and fed in the finals


Hippy Chick Says:

Decline is inevitable for all players,Roger,Rafa even Novak,he will most likely go on to win this match and the AO now,but he didnt win either HC GS last year,which means two year since the last one,and thats assuming he wins this title too,also 18 months between the last AO in 2013 and Wimbledon 2014,so one has to ask is the decline happening already,Novaks been in many finals but hasnt really dominated the GS,all baring 2011?my two cents….


Daniel Says:

Another BP for Djoko.


Daniel Says:

Djoko breaks and taking control of the match. His return improved and that translate to trouble for Stan.


Daniel Says:

Number one player with Wimbledon in the bag coming with a big leading in ranking is not on decline on my view.
This Ao will give us a better indication, if he wins it he will hold 2 Slams, so no decline at all, actually improvement considering his Slam record.

Fedexpress, I was saying better HC than Nishikori and at AO he is the man to beat.


Daniel Says:

Topsy turvy match indeed, Djoko with 2 BH errors to be broken just when he needed to close the door.

At least last 2 times Wawa served he broke so he still can open lead.


Colin Says:

FedExpress, why do you put those exclamation marks after Murray’s name, as if it is amazing that Nole could lose to him? May I remind you, the reason Djoker faced Murray in the final rather than Fed, was quite simple: Roger couldn’t even get past the quarters.


Daniel Says:

0-40 Djoko, another break coming,?!


Hippy Chick Says:

Alright not decline then,but its not exactly outright domination either….


Daniel Says:

Wow Wawrinka and this volley. Djoko send a venous shot. Amazing!!!


Daniel Says:

Djoko’s FH is too short. Crack the ball.
Wawa saving 3 BP’s, could be turning point for him.


Danica Says:

FedExpress, do you want to say that Roger is better HC than Nole?


calmdownplease Says:

Quite Colin,
Quite.
But this particular poster is hardly alone, is it?
Andy, who is actually playing the best tennis of the tournament, has been written off by most of the pinheads here at every stage.
He just needs to let his tennis do the talking on Sunday and if he does he’s got a good chance.
Of course even afterwards there will be more asterisks
Novak/Wawa was tired, sad, it was too hot/cold yadda yadda
hahaha


Danica Says:

*HC player


Daniel Says:

Danica,

With 9 Slams and 56 HC titles Federer is better HC player than everybody else.


FedExpress Says:

@colin

murray was seeking his first GS and nole came back from two sets to love that one would expect him to win the match with his experience

and this has nothing to do with Fed. he lost fair and square against berdych in the QF.


calmdownplease Says:

Is this match finally going to light up now?


Nirmal Kumar Says:

This match is being defined more by UFE rather than winners. Not a great match though. Hope the quality picks up. Wawa is trying to play as bad as possible. Still Novak is not good enough to take them.


FedExpress Says:

@danica

yes, fed is the better HC player than nole and the titles speak for themselves


Daniel Says:

0-40 Novak, awful game. Can he save it? otherwise seems 5 set tradition remains.


Nirmal Kumar Says:

Andy, who is actually playing the best tennis of the tournament, has been written off by most of the pinheads here at every stage.

CDP, I agree. I did not give Murray much of a chance, but looking at this semis and previous matches, Murray seems to be playing better tennis in this tournament.


calmdownplease Says:

Sorry, but Fed is not the better HC player
He WAS the better HC player
But its 2015 now
march of time and all that.


FedExpress Says:

break stan the man

4-3


Danica Says:

Calmdownplease,
as far as I am concerned, no, I am not belittling Andy’s chances, on the contrary. If he wins on Sunday, he will win deservedly. There are no excuses for the one who loses, no matter what.


calmdownplease Says:

I can’t believe this is the semi of a slam
Lets hope there’s some kind of a crescendo now


Nirmal Kumar Says:

FedExpress, do you want to say that Roger is better HC than Nole?

Is this question even relevant at this stage of Novak’s career. Maybe in another 5-6 years, things could change.


FedExpress Says:

CDP,

the best hard court player of all time is Fed

from 2011-2015 nadal and nole


Daniel Says:

Wow, 2 aces.

Wawa started slow 4th set and Djoko didn’t got his chances, now Wawa in the driver seat.


calmdownplease Says:

Why is Wawa so popular here?
Is it Fed fans giving him the support?
must be surely


Daniel Says:

Well, Stan hold.

Djoko better regroup and hold his game to at least put pressure on Wawa to serve for it and start serving first fifth set, which can make a big difference.


sienna Says:

it is unfortunate that the best HC player could not enter this slam for injury reasons.


FedExpress Says:

according to age wawa should have declined already but it isnt the age but competitng at the top for several years that can lead to decline faster

wawa is older than nole and nadal but plays the tennis of his life because he hadnt much success before 2013.


Danica Says:

FedEx, we are talking PRESENT tense. Who IS the best HC player? At the moment. Not who was the best 10 years ago.

At the moment, right now, Nole IS the best. Results speak for themselves. Heck, Roger didn’t even had the guts to play him on the last huge match of the season.


Daniel Says:

Important easy hold by Novak. Moment of the truth for Wawa serving 5-4 to force a fifth. Really though Djoko would win this set ease after he had that 0-40 game after Wawa made an impossible volley down 15-40, 1 point and everything changes.


mat4 Says:

The big difference would be if Novak unleashes his shots…


calmdownplease Says:

Of course over 5 sets there will be peaks and troughs
But this one has been all trough and no peak
I didn’t even notice Wawa had broken
Did Novak?
lol


FedExpress Says:

@danica

yeah he hadnt the guts. yaaaaaahhhhhhhh


jane Says:

nole is so bad. wow. i don’t know what to say. what happened? so many errors. just so so disappointing. :/


FedExpress Says:

nole pushing like a retard


Nirmal Kumar Says:

At the moment, right now, Nole IS the best. Results speak for themselves. Heck, Roger didn’t even had the guts to play him on the last huge match of the season.

Stupid statement. the guy beat him in their previous HC match in Shanghai.


mat4 Says:

Wawa is the favourite in this fifth set. He’s playing better, and shows more self-confidence. Hope that Novak, at least, will finally try his best and play at least a set like a champ.


FedExpress Says:

0/14 WInners/UE nole

hahahaha best harcourt player. yes best harcourt pusher


metan Says:

May be Nole miss his family, just my opinion. He doesn’t look the same. Is father time changed all the father priority??


calmdownplease Says:

Everyone now should leave it all on the court
Its to get to the final FFS
This coming set has a LOT of ground to make up on to turn this into a great match.


Daniel Says:

And we get a fifth set. Unbelievable that this 2 for the fourth straight Grand Slam HC match will play a fifth set, and here 3 in a row each winning one.

Wawrinka is playing the big points better, saving more BP’s and breaking first opportunities.

Important for Novak is to hold his opening game and avoid easy mistakes. Both seem fit.

Important stat, Djoko had 0 winner fourth set


Nirmal Kumar Says:

It’s more mental now in the 5th set. Got to give slightly better chance to Novak, considering the pressure of being defending champ might make Wawa more tight.


Nirmal Kumar Says:

Additionally Novak serving first. It’s a huge plus in the 5th set.


Danica Says:

Well, FedEx, obviously he hadn’t the guts otherwise he would’ve been a good sportsman and played even though aware that he would lose. But no, some lame excuse like “I am not fit to play Novak”. Never mind people who paid big money to come from all over Europe to see the last big match of the season. Fed just didn’t want Nole to get closer in their head to head count. Simple.


Daniel Says:

Novak too tentative, go for the lines and angles to move Wawa, playing to much mid court.


Daniel Says:

BP Wawa. Djoko needs to serve.


Daniel Says:

Wawa is the agressor this last games, he is dictating play.


Daniel Says:

Great hold by Djoko in a game Wawa went for broke.
Hope he unleash his game and realize that he has to be the agressor, what he was;t the whole match.


Daniel Says:

0-30. Pressure for Wawa


Daniel Says:

2 DF Wawa. This is it for Djoko, he couldn’t ask for more.


jane Says:

“Important stat, Djoko had 0 winner fourth set”

daniel, this cracked me up in that way things do when nothing makes sense and it’s nearly 4 in the morning and you’ve been watching madness prevail.

murray must be chomping at the bit watching this, lol.


Daniel Says:

Djoko broke after a FH slice where wawa had to come in.
Let’s see if this time Djoko holds.


Hippy Chick Says:

Danica im not a Federer fan,but he treats the integrity of the sport very seriously,hes only pulled out of matches a couple of times in his whole career,so i doubt he would pull out of the WTFs lightly?….


Patson Says:

Yeahhhh ! Nole just needs to hold his darn serve now.


Daniel Says:

Yeah, game Djokovic 3-0. Now drama to see if he hold this lead. He better get an insurance break. Wawa is more tense, double faulted so this is the time for Djoko to finish him. Had this chance benign fourth set and didn’t capitalize, now another opportunity.

Even tough this is 5 set it is about the same time of Murray x Berdych match where they have a bunch of long exchanges as well.


Nirmal Kumar Says:

No matter what is the result of the match, Wawa can be a proud man. He played good tennis till the semis and took the No 1 player to the 5th set. No shame.


Daniel Says:

0-30, Wawa feeling the moment. Djoko can run away with this set if he is more agressive.


Danica Says:

Hippy, I agree re: Roger’s stats. However, only few days later he was able to play like nothing happened and win DC. At the WTF, it was obvious and if you read between the lines of what he said, you’ll see that he didn’t think he could win. That’s not a good enough reason to disappoint all the tennis fans.
As far as his game and his records are concerned, he is an amazing athlete that plays beautiful tennis.


brando Says:

Wawrinka looking tired on serve.


Danica Says:

Guys, don’t forget that Novak had a break in the 5th set last year too. And we know how the match ended up. So…


Daniel Says:

BP Novak. Similar to fourth set.


Daniel Says:

Wawa went awol. 4-0 Djoko and don’t see him losing now unless a major choke happens or Wawa goes for the lines and everything goes in.


brando Says:

4-0 match over me thinks.


jane Says:

“Wawa went awol”

^ mat4, look it’s poetry! ;)


brando Says:

This reminds me of Djokovic v nishikori at wtf. Kei had momentum novak was nervous in first game of deciding set but he did not get the game and 0-6.


Daniel Says:

Wawa painting the lines, deuce


Daniel Says:

Finally a huge FH from Novak.


Daniel Says:

Ace, game and match!


Hippy Chick Says:

Great tournament from Stan,although it was always going to be a tough ask to try to retain the title,Novak has that little bit of extra zeal even when not playing his best,i think he will win the title,but go Andy….


brando Says:

5-0 this is over. Excellent match, congrats to Novak on win and wawrinka: excellent defense, no choking just lost to best player at venue in 5th.


brando Says:

This match is only 3 hour 30 minutes long: very short for a 5 setter.


Daniel Says:

Match against Murray si completely different game, Murray doesn’t hit as hard as Wawa and it will have more slices and different pace. Novak is battle tested after this match and it has everything to be a great contest between than.


Daniel Says:

Line judges are killing Djoko today


Daniel Says:

BH DTL winner to set match point.


jane Says:

“Line judges are killing Djoko today”

definitely; at least he just laughed it off.

kudos to stan. he came out guns ablazing.

kudos to nole for surviving and winning ugly.


calmdownplease Says:

WTF happened a 5th set bagel
And yet I doubt I missed anything amazing
Sunday’s another day.
Good grief what a turkey
I’ll give Novak the edge as he is undefeated in finals here but honestly I’m feeling like I will be `pleasantly surprised` come Sunday..
;0)


Danica Says:

Ok, so the finals is set with my two favorite players :)


Patson Says:

Props to Stan. Nole owned the 5th set. Can’t wait for the final.

Congrats to all Nole fans. Go Nole !


calmdownplease Says:

Yeah big congrats to the Novak fans
ENJOY IT WHILE IT LASTS
I’m joking of course lol


Daniel Says:

Yeah, congrats Novak, tying Federer and Edberg with 5 AO finals trying to become record holder of 5 titles in Open Era.

What is up with this later round eagles, QF Nadal match, Yesterday Andy x Berdych and today. Will the final have a bagel too?


Jeez Says:

Its almost feels Djokovic & Wawrinka played 5 SET just to make the crowd happy!!!


Patson Says:

How about giving all Nole-Stan matches a ’2 sets all’ head start in the future ? I mean it’s going to be a 5 setter anyway, so why not just start with the 5th set ?


calmdownplease Says:

I must say I’m glad Wawa will end his career with a slam, he’s has a beautiful game to watch.


calmdownplease Says:

Novak is trying to take confidence from this match on Eurosport, and he knows there’s not much to take.


Margot Says:

Damn, 5th didn’t go to 50-48 then…;)
Didn’t see match but scores suggest Stan ran outa gas in the 5th?
Anyway, many congrats to Nole and comms to Stan. At least as CDP says, he has one slam.
So….another Andole final at long last. And, much as I like Nole, GOOOOOO Andy!


Michael Says:

Well, when you make 69 Unforced Errors in a match, you do not deserve to win unless the Opponent matches with you or you make extraordinary winners. In a vastly fluctuating match where the quality of Tennis was pretty much average despite being an excitement filled five set encounter. Neither Novak or Stan were playing at their best and they were make far too many UEs to their liking which would have greatly enthused Andy if he had cared to watch this match. There were only moments of occasional brilliance by both the players and they exchanged sets mostly due to the Opponents excessive count of UEs. Of the two, Novak should have been pretty disappointed about the quality of Tennis he played in this match. He was obviously saved by Wawarinka’s inconsistency and if not for that Wawarinka could have easily won this match if he only played half the level he did against Nishikori. Such was the poor quality of Tennis displayed by Novak today which was unbelievable where he was netting returns and shanking at will. He was totally out of sorts in the fourth set despite being a break up and then with his rank bad display let Wawrinka claw his way back into the match. But, suddenly the momentum shifted in the fifth, when Novak managed to put his foot on the pedal and also helped to a great extent by Wawarinka’s UEs which just kept mounting. I do not know this was any strategy Wawarinka worked out with his coach Norman to go for broke, but it badly misfired. Nevertheless, the crowd got excited and curious in a five set match where unfortunately the quality was deprecating.


alice Says:

congrats Nole fans am very very pleased he won!
commiserations to Stan fans..
didn’t see the match but reading my favourite journos twitter feeds it seeems that it was terrible. many saying that Stan could have won it – is that true?
apparently Nole had zero winners in the fourth set!?
Murray fans must be feeling chipper


Michael Says:

I think Andy would be extremely pleased watching this match and would only hope that Novak plays exactly the way he did in this match which would place the Trophy in his hands for the first time. What a level Andy played in the semi finals and when we compare it to this match, it was pretty much mediocre. I hope Andy can sustain his form in the finals and win his first Trophy. He deserves it truly for all his exploits at this Venue.


brando Says:

@Michael: great post I think there is only one thing and one thing only Andy can learn from that match: I must not be error prone and passive like that. I think that’s the main and central thing. Wawrinka can get away with it since he can hit an insane number of winners. Novak can also hit more winners than Andy so it’s a must he keeps a tight game on Sunday.


Daniel Says:

Deep down what matters is Djokovic bagel Wawrinka last two times they played.

Sunday is a new game and Djoko can only take good things out of this win, beating defending champion, his nemesis so to speak in AO with his B game.


alice Says:

don’t know why everyone seems to be saying that Nole will win regardless on Sunday.
If he played as badly as the journos twitter feeds suggest then he will be vulnerable – Murray’s return of serve was very good yesterday and his slice gives Nole a heap of problems


brando Says:

PS: there is no way Novak is going to play at this level again. He’s too consistent a player to be like that in back to back matches. Plus: I think he was always going to be nervous v stanimal for understandable reasons. He’ll be ALOT more confident v Andy since against Stan to a degree he was at the mercy of his power. Not v Andy,where it’s more of a cat and mouse game. He has a greater margin of error v Andy I think.


brando Says:

@Alice: it’s because Novak is like Nadal: ultra consistent in their game. They may play crap once a blue moon but they’ll tough out the win nonetheless as Novak did today. They always step up next match and that’s a slam final so you know he’s going to step up. Plus he arguably best his toughest foe today.


alice Says:

@ brando

hope you are right. he’s played very poorly against Stan before – ie US Open 2013 but played a lot better in the final until he imploded in the fourth set against Rafa. But that’s what Rafa does to players through his sheer will and tenacity.


Michael Says:

Brando @ 7.40 am,

Thanks !!

Of late, I think Andy is a lot more aggressive on court and he hits winners from impossible angles. I am pretty much impressed with his quality of Tennis against Berdych (more so watching this dreary match) and if he can some how maintain that level, he is going to lift the trophy for the first time coming Sunday. The question is will he live up to expectations or will the pressure of a fourth final here will be too much for him ? We have to wait and see. But nobody deserves the trophy more than Andy.


calmdownplease Says:

This must be where the `Murresmo`effect will be tested of course.
Andy picked her because she `listens` apparently and let’s not forget she helped Bartoli to an almost unthinkable win.
So if it’s about listening and `emotions` now (and he is still Lendl like aggressive too), Andy should be more prepared for this final, and play a vastly superior match to the other complete and utter car crashes of before.
Judging from this tournament it seems that Andy really did make an astute pick, yet again.


alice Says:

@brando

sorry in my previous post was replying to the one before!!


Daniel Says:

Djoko won’t play this same way against Murray because Murray can’t play as aggressive as Wawrinka, never did and most likely never will. He can have an overall aggressiveness, not missing but the way Wawa pressure no. So that will allow Djoko to take control of some rallies. All their matches are kind of even contest, apart from the times Murray was too passive, AO 2011. Expect a close encounter with usually the first set crucial, especially for Andy, In the past he played great first set only for Djoko to hold him back and eventually win and than Djoko improve and Andy decrease his level. The matches he won he got the first set. He never beat Djoko after losing first set.

So to me that will be the key. Pressure is on both but I think more so on Andy due to this being his fourth final. But for both players to lose will be really bad, Djoko will continue his 1-2 Win loss rate in Slam finals and Murray again coming short in AO. The loser can lose 48-50 fifth set and it will hurt as bad as straight set loss.


Michael Says:

Brando @ 7.45 am,

That only should be disheartening for Andy. Will Novak step up his level at the right moment and thereby once again deny him the trophy he truly deserves ? It will be pity if it happens. Nevertheless, in Sport there is no room for sympathy and if you want to achieve, you have to beat the best.


El_Flaco Says:

Djokovic played awful against Dimitrov at Wimbledon then came back and was great against Federer in the final. Hopefully, Murray and Djokovic will bring their A game.


alice Says:

@ calmdownplease

do you think Mauresmo is better for him that Lendl?
Wilander was arguing that she is better suited to him as their games are much more similar ie more creative rather than power based.
am afraid that I really don’t like Lendl..


Giles Says:

https://twitter.com/sebastianfest/status/561088618987417600
Lol. Just look at him. He’s definitely been over eating!


Michael Says:

Agreed Daniel. There is a lot at stake for both Novak and Andy. Pressure is Novak for losing most of the Slam finals except for last year’s Wimbledon and Andy who has already made three finals here and playing his fourth one. Just imagine the kind of pressure cooker situation he is in ? Will he able to tolerate the heat ? I hope the quality of Tennis doesn’t suffer and we get a good final unlike the Semi finals today.


alice Says:

I really really hope that Nole does step up for the final as it is a joy to watch him when he plays his best.
IMO if he does he will win and it won’t go 5.
I don’t enjoy the Djoray match up at all I’m afraid


brando Says:

To be honest Daniel’s post @ 7.49 just completely and utterly hit the nail on the head ‘re the final. I’ll add: I see Novak being stronger than Andy after an hour. To me it seems Andy gets fatigued real quick after a gruelling set, he has a letdown. Novak though really does not. He can play a bad set, go mentally AWOL but physically: he’s always there. So to that’s a major plus for Novak. Besides: he’s in Andy’s head like Nadal with all those wins let’s not forget. The mental advantage is with Novak between these 2. Hard for Andy to change that on Novak court where in 5 years he only lost 1 match!!


Margot Says:

No pressure on Andy can ever be like the pressure he experienced at Wimbledon.
And good he’s the under dog, it suits him.


alice Says:

just looked up the forecast for Sunday.
20C with a 60% chance of rain so the roof could be closed. Is going to be pretty humid so Nole isn’t going to like that. also going to be a bit windier than today…we all know that Nole doesn’t like windy conditions so I hope that won’t be a factor


calmdownplease Says:

@Alice

I think Lendl was the perfect choice at the time. And we must be thankful that this legendary player
imposed some of his steel into Andy’s game for him to break through.
But he’s not forgotten anything Lendl taught him and will not forget, but perhaps it was forcing him to be not quite the player he actually wants to be.
It looks like, to me, they are aiming for a balance, and judging from this AO the mix seems about right.
Variety AND Aggression (and better serving) makes Andy a very tough cookie indeed.
My only slight concern is the FH errors we have seen,its still not quite up to Wimbles 2013 although others elements may indeed have now been surpassed. I imagine this is a chink Novak can exploit on Sunday with success.
Although when Andy plays Roger Novak Nadal he is almost a different player.
Everything should be on song.


alice Says:

@calmdownplease

agree with a lot of what you say. I think people underestimate Andy in terms of his decision to go with Mauresmo – he’s a lot smarter than they give him credit for. I also never thought he was just going to fade away as some predicted – he may have had a dreadful match against Fed at WTF but he’s a totally different player at the slams – goes from a minnow to a shark!
What do you mean when you say he is almost a different player against the other big 4?
I still think his forehand is a liability at times though and that this is structural at some level


Michael Says:

Well about this exhaustion factor weighing against Andy, he beat Novak at the US Open only in a five set match and so he can really do it. The question is only as to whether he will be over awed by the situation ? Being in a 4th final without winning is not an easy situation to be in and that is where Novak has the real edge although he too is under tremendous pressure to prove his critics wrong on his pretty dismal rate of conversion of Grand slam finals. So, the question is only as to who is going to buckle under pressure come Sunday ?


alice Says:

@ Michael

Andy’s court speed has improved markedly from last year so that would suggest that his overall fitness is better also.
Very difficult to quantify the pressure as it works both ways but there will be far far more questions over Nole losing from the media and public whereas Andy even being in the final will be seen as all jam given his record last year. these outside expectations take their toll, especially the narrative over Nole’s failures recently in the hardcourt slams where he is always favourite. am beginning to wonder if he is starting to feel some of the pressure in this regard that Rafa has at RG (I know it is not the same but something along those lines)


Michael Says:

Alice @ 8.20 am

Good post. I agree !!


calmdownplease Says:

`I still think his forehand is a liability at times though and that this is structural at some level..`

His FH always had a lot of power, he just never used it as a weapon before Lendl, the BH is not enough to win slams on its own. But once Lendl was in charge it was a weapon.
Its not to do with technique rather it was his approach to tennis.
It seems a little muted again but I think he will unleash it on Sunday.
Some more FHDTL shots would help his cause given how well Novak normally moves (although not in this match really)
I mean he becomes a lot more focused when playing big 4 players regardless of what has gone before.
They can hold his interest a lot longer than other players without his usual dips, or less of them.
I do hope this match is more like their Shanghai match than the usual ping pong matches they often do at the AO and elsewhere.
Or better still ahem Wimbledon :)


calmdownplease Says:

`Andy’s court speed has improved markedly from last year so that would suggest that his overall fitness is better also..`

Agreed, his movement has been at times unreal this fortnight.
Also he has been returning (stats wise)better than Novak in the tourney which is obviously significant.
The main problems for me are FH UE’s and of course the 2nd serve, but his first serve is excellent and he will fire many aces to compensate.


Grand Slam Says:

http://sport.blic.rs/Tenis/266853/Sa-OVAKVIM-zuljevima-je-Novak-igrao-polufinale-sa-Vavrinkom-FOTO Now this explains Novak’s poor movement! Blisters lack of focus…. Hope he heals by Sunday so we can see a decent match????


calmdownplease Says:

` these outside expectations take their toll, especially the narrative over Nole’s failures recently in the hardcourt slams where he is always favourite. am beginning to wonder if he is starting to feel some of the pressure in this regard that Rafa has at RG..`

You just saw pressure take its toll in this bad match.
I’ll be honest, the only reason I’m not saying Andy will def win on Sunday is that I have to see what Andy Murray will turn up first.
But he surely has gotten better each match and one can’t say the same for Novak.


alice Says:

@calmdownplease

you see the problem as one of attitude rather than technique? evidently you know his game way better than I do but I don’t think I can really agree with that. he seemed to have some real technical issues with his forehand which Lendl worked on and this combined with his new aggression changed things. (but the technical issues seem to reappear under pressure sometimes).
Just my 2 cents and I may of course be wrong!!
I expect you saw that poll on SI recently where loads of ex players and pundits voted for the best forehand, backhand &tc… what was noticeable was that the only player to come out well in both backhand and forehand was Nole who topped the votes for 2 handed backhand (with Andy second) and also got in at number 3 or 4 for best forehand (whereas Andy wasn’t even in the reckoning).
this for my money is where the difference lies in their relative success – Nole is just more balanced and can play more consistent tennis off both wings (thats how he gets to beat Rafa where Andy tends to fall short)
not the only factor of course but a central difference
but just my opinion and I am not an expert by any stretch of the imagination and you know Andy’s game way better…he does have better touch than NOle…


Ben Pronin Says:

If Djokovic and Murray play the same way they did in their respective semis, it’ll be a straight foward 3-4 set win for Murray.

But I don’t know. I can’t see it happening? But after what we all witnessed in the Djokovic-Wawrinka match, I have no idea what to expect anymore.


calmdownplease Says:

Andy is more creative than Novak, has better anticipation and is better in certain smaller areas (at the net in particular). He has better touch and better retrieving skills.
But Novak indeed has the better FH and is more mentally stable all round.
There’s not enough in their return of serve or BH for me to say there’s an edge although most people think Novak has the edge.
I didnt just mean attitude I meant philosophy or style.
Andy’s FH is/was underutilized as he was very defensive for the longest time with his game based around the BH.
I think you are right about the Novak Nadal situation to a point, but there is also the pysch issue to take into account as well.
Novak has more confidence playing Nadal.
And has played him much more and won much more in the past.


alice Says:

@ ben

Nole played some dreadful tennis in his five setter against Stan at the US Open in 2013 and picked his level up a lot in the final. OK he lost but he got sandbagged by Rafa at the end of a set where he was in control and then imploded…he was actually playing great tennis before then.
what is all this about blisters?! I really dont want something like that to affect the outcome

PS he went awol at RG going five with Seppi..has done this several times before and then picked up his level


alice Says:

@calmdownplease

but Nole has done way way more damage to Rafa’s serve than Andy. So against Rafa I see Nole again having the better return of serve…am sure I’ve seen Andy actually struggle with all the slice and spin on Rafa’s serve and that is hardly Rafa’s strength! (the serve I mean).
think what Nole did to Rafa’s serve in 2011!!
this again is why Nole has had more success in that head to head


Margot Says:

Ben: all Andy fans know that come the final Nole will raise his game and come out fighting. Just hope Andy does.
Alice: Really enjoying your posts.
Would be really ironic if Nole has blisters because the last time they met at the AO……..
CDP: I’ve seen forehand better but other aspects of his game at this AO seem much improved and glorious BDL is back at last!


alice Says:

@ Margot

thanks for that. am ill in bed so am surprised I make any sense.
think Andy has a very good chance of winning and he will see himself as the underdog which will help him
I really don’t want blisters or injury to be a factor – remember last year’s horror!!


calmdownplease Says:

We shouldn’t mention blisters when Pronin is milling about ;)


calmdownplease Says:

@Alice

For me its not his return that is the issue against Nadal.
Andy can return just about anything (Novak often has more bite in his ROS)
I just think that mentally/physically Novak has found a way to handle Rafa’s intensity more successfully than Andy.
He’s had more practrice too and also the fact that he was also brought up on clay should be included in the discussion.


alice Says:

@calmdownplease

I thought that Andy attended an academy in Spain when he was young??
ie if so, he must have been playing on clay?
do you know that details?

PS am not trying to knock Andy!


Margot Says:

alice: Andy had 2 years at the academy in Barcelona, is all. Till he was 16 playing in Scotland on grass/hard/indoor.
Mainly indoor I think cos of the atrocious weather in Scotland.


alice Says:

@calmdownplease

yes, just looked it up on Wiki – he went to an academy in Spain when he was 15 and trained on the clay courts there.
all the more mystifying that his clay-court game is so inferior to how he plays on grass and hard.
don’t think Nole grew up playing on clay did he? didn’t he have to play just about anywhere because of the war?


alice Says:

@ Margot

ok I see wasn’t for long then but you would think nontheless that playing there at such a formative age would have left more of a mark..


Ben Pronin Says:

Which is why I’m guessing he’ll be playing a lot better in the final than he did today.

Here’s the other thing, Wawrinka was playing horrible tennis, too. Both guys were picking up steam, playing their best respective matches of the tournament in the quarterfinals, and just came out flat today. Maybe they both felt the pressure of putting the same display they had in the past 2 years. I don’t really know. But Wawrinka was either missing by 12 miles for points at a time or hitting outrageous winners for some other points at a time. Especially with the weight of his shot, it’s hard to get any kind of rhythm against that.

Murray is generally also a rhythmic player, so that could help Djokovic. But for everyone saying Murray can’t crack a forehand, please rewatch last year’s US Open semifinal. And then find a match where someone hit harder. You can’t, because it doesn’t exist.


Emily Says:

Well, that was a strange and disappointing semi, and not just b/c my fav didn’t win. They were both off their games and Stan should have won the 1st and the 3rd, and he got a little lucky pushing it to 5.

Both of them also weren’t quite there mentally. The commentators couldn’t understand why neither of them were reacting much on the court, since both are known for their outbursts when they play well. The lack of “come ons” meant that the crowd really couldn’t get into it. Novak didn’t even notice when he won the 3rd set!

Stan even said in his press conference that while he thinks he’s still playing well, ie. his QF performance and the fact that he was giving himself chances on Novak’s serve, he was mentally spent from the entire tournament. I think it was that that contributed to the bagel at the end. As much as it broke my heart to watch it, he wanted out.

I still think this is a confidence booster for Stan since so many people had low expectations for him here. Now he knows he has to bring this game to every tournament, stay motivated, and win some smaller events, maybe even another Masters 1000. I’m actually excited for another good season for Stan.

However, I am interested in these discussions, re. the final. It is so hard to tell who is the favorite after these semis, since they had such different dynamics. Both Andy and Novak were responding to that particular opponent, whether it was the Berdych coach drama or the Stan 3-peat. Novak needs to pull himself together and be more animated on court. He knows he can beat Andy, but his strong performance these 2 weeks has to make him nervous.

When I saw them play their QF at the US Open, you knew from the 1st ball that Nole was going to win. Andy had no belief and was using strange tactics instead of trusting his game. He has to be steady and focus on himself; both of them do. I would give the edge to Novak, just b/c he’ll be disappointed with this performance, and last time the commentators predicted an epic Murray win at the AO, Novak won in straights.

These are more my own observations then stats, and no sour grape, so congrats to Nole and Andy fans. However, if Andy wants this title, w/ a draw opening similar to Wimbledon 2013, he needs to take the initiative and the trophy away from Nole.


Emily Says:

@Ben, I think you’re referring to last year’s QF b/w them. I was there in person and I’m sorry to say that while he hit those forehands very hard and it won him the 2nd set, it felt more like an anomaly. Novak didn’t let it get to him, even if it was a new tactic, and played his game for the next two sets as it felt like Andy couldn’t keep that pace up like and just isn’t a player who hits strong forehands for an entire match like a Delpo.

(Sorry for the really long post, I think it’s my longest, but I’m still coming down from my disappointment)


calmdownplease Says:

`Murray is generally also a rhythmic player..`

Not really, at least not compared to Fed or Novak who are rhythmic
Part of the Murray gameplan will, no doubt, be to disrupt and change the rhythm often, to use trick shots and be unpredictable to stop Novak getting too comfortably in a groove (when he becomes almost impossible to beat). It’s up to Novak to stay aggressive and hit winners.


alice Says:

@ emily

commiserations over Stan losing. I didn’t see the match but read the twitter feeds of the tennis journos I trust afterwards and all of them were saying Stan could and maybe should have won.
Regardless of the result, he’s shown he belongs at the top table and he can hold his head high.
I actually think that despite the big drop in ranking that the pressure he was suffering from after winning AO last year will fall away and he will put in some good results at the masters coming up and increase his ranking.

@ben

I wasn’t arguing that Andy can’t hit great forehands.
I’m arguing that it’s still an erratic shot and comes and goes under pressure – no-one picked it as a winning shot on the SI poll whereas Nole’s forehand was in the top 5


Colin Says:

There’s another thing that interests me about Andy’s time in Spain – language.

It was there that Andy first met Rafa, and it was Rafa’s enthusiastic description of the academy that prompted Andy to say he wanted to go to Spain.

Now obviously Andy would have known no Spanish, as the only foreign language taught in most UK schools would have been French. Andy did take Spanish classes at the academy, but apparently wasn’t too brilliant.

What I wonder is how the heck they communicated in those early days of their friendship. Even now, Rafa doesn’t alway express himself easily in English, so what must it have been like when he was a teenager? Their conversations must have been like comedy routines!


alice Says:

@Colin

ha ha! very good point…they’re both very good fooballers and play station addicts which are activities with their own lingua france…
they weren’t at the same academy though were they?
am sure the Nadals turned down the Spanish TFed. request for him to go to Barcelona.

I saw that you responded last night to something I said about Nole deserving more than 7 slams. Can’t remember too much of the gist of what you said I’m afraid.
But it is a natural syntax is it not? I mean we all begin sentences and thoughts with these kinds of phrases whether rightly or not.
I do think that 7 slams is poor reward for Noles’ brilliance over the last few years but since 2011 he has been wayward in the slams and we may well see that happening again on Sunday.
I for one would not be surprised.


alice Says:

sorry meant lingua franca!!


calmdownplease Says:

`I do think that 7 slams is poor reward for Noles’ brilliance over the last few years but since 2011..`

How?
He got 3 slams for his brilliance in 2011
And he has been disappointingly not brilliant in others hence the losses.
I didn’t think his Wimbledon campaign last year was anything amazing either, and he was only facing a clearly not quite with it Federer in that final.
So there’s also less than brilliant wins for him too.
I cant think of a slam were he has been particularly hard done by off the top of my head.


Humble Rafa Says:

I wasn’t arguing that Andy can’t hit great forehands.
I’m arguing that it’s still an erratic shot and comes and goes under pressure

Hence the name Mr. Lady Forehand.


KatH Says:

Andy has one thing in his favour – he knows Nole extremely well. He well knows what he has to face. While the same may be said of Nole i.e. knowing Andy very well, there are some small but new aspects of Andy’s game he’s introduced in this tournament that when used sparingly are unexpected by his opponent. Whether this will be enough to make a difference? who knows!!!!!

Hope it is a good match whoever wins.


calmdownplease Says:

Oh Humble, if only that was funny
Just think how much you would be appreciated given its the only joke you have :)

@I should say I don’t know any slam where he was hard done by except maybe Wimbles `13
lol


alice Says:

@calmdownplease

not saying he’s been hard done by – am saying that given his level of consistency and ability over the years on all surfaces he has underachieved at the slams.
hardly a contentious point!
is not only my view but the view of just about every tennis commentator and ex-player around


alice Says:

@calmdownplease

think you may be misunderstanding a bit where I’m coming from. I’m a Rafa fan!


calmdownplease Says:

I don’t care what SI or `just about every tennis commentator thinks`
Which commentators anyway Andrew Castle?
Chris Evert?
Mats Wilander?
Please!
It’s a stretch to say Novak is underachieving in my view esp when a certain Mr Murray is on the tour.
I’ve noticed certain Nadal fans here going on about Novak like this and I think its mostly because he dared smack him about in 2011.
So its not an entirely objective position to take, although its understandable.


Ben Pronin Says:

Djokovic has underachieved. I don’t even know what there’s to debate here.


alice Says:

@calmdownplease

Ok have it your way. Nole has been the end of year world number one for 3 out of the last 4 years though so that certainly constitutes objective criteria.


calmdownplease Says:

Im sorry but it is debatable
He will finish on double figure slams and will, thanks to Fedal, have earned more in prize money than they.
Anyway you cant always win every final youre in.
If judged by those standards they have all underachieved.


calmdownplease Says:

Well Novak is one away from Lendl’s 8 and he was number one for 5years
And hasnt Novak won at least one slam every year since becoming number one?
Put it this way I would be unsurprised if he wins 2 or even 3 this year.
He is already a great in my view.
But I think that 11 is going to be difficult to replicate.


calmdownplease Says:

Actually I think his losses at RG and coming down from the heights of `11 are probably what made him `underachieve` as you put it.
But it was a pretty remarkable year no?


Ben Pronin Says:

I don’t know if Djokovic will get to double digits. There are no guarantees. He’s a whopping 3 slams away.

Alice makes a good point, 3 out of 4 years he’s ended number 1. And only 1 multi-slam season. That’s underachieving for a guy who’s made 7 additional finals. I agree you can’t win them all but he’s certainly blown some great chances.


alice Says:

@calmdownplease

no I wouldn’t be surprised if Nole wins multiple slams this year (especially with Rafa’s injuries and Fed’s getting older)
but I and many others have predicted the very same for years and it hasn’t happened so who knows!
I wouldn’t be surprised if Andy bags a couple of slams this year – he looks good to go


alice Says:

@ben

i think he will get to double digits in slams and deserves to do so.
I also think he will get the career slam at some point. Rafa’s injuries are not doing him any favours.
if he doesn’t get the career slam then I would be hard pushed to think of anyone who deserved it more. think of the way he has pushed Rafa on clay! for that alone he deserves a RG title one day (just not against Rafa I hasten to add!!)


alice Says:

@calmdownplease

yes I do agree that once he started losing to Rafa and lost RG to him he seemed not to be the same player. part of his extraordinary self-belief had been bound up with being able to beat him


Giles Says:

Who on earth is the Djoray match-up??
I do wish posters would just stop reminding us of 2011 and repeating Joker’s heroics that year over Rafa. Rafans are not likely to forget but hey do we have to be reminded over and over and over again? Surely not. Rafans have moved on from that. Sh!te happens to everyone. So please Alice do us a favour and you can move on as well.


calmdownplease Says:

Anyway with regards to this slam
I personally don’t think Novak is playing well enough to win the title.
It’s all fine and well having your one bad match in the first week, another thing entirely playing c**p in a semi final.
We’ll see, but to me It will require Andy to implode on some level (and yes that’s a possibility), but as of now he looks very serious about winning it.
More serious than I have ever seen, but it’s sport and you never know what the new day brings.
And if Novak’s mediocre performance is due to a blister problem, well there’s time for that to be sorted.


Emily Says:

It’s interesting to compare Rafa’s reaction to losing to Novak versus the other way around. Maybe Novak feels like Rafa is this mountain at the French he can’t get over, even in 2011. Federer never got to Rafa the way Novak did, but then it switched and Novak didn’t know how to recover, other than beat everyone else.

However, and this is coming from an objective stand point, Rafa came back from those losses in 2011 and the AO final in 2012 to get more slams, which Nole only seemed to do at Wimbledon. I don’t know how Rafa had the season he did in 2013, but as long as Roland Garros is in his pocket, he seems to feel less pressure at the other slams.

Novak is a hall-of-famer, but he may be an eternal #3, even if he is the number 1 player in the world. He has proven he can beat all he other guys in the big 4, but he just never took over the tennis world the way Fedal did. I saw him on Letterman before the US Open and it felt like Dave had to repeat the fact that this guy most of the audience had never heard of was the number 1 player in the world.


alice Says:

@emily

good post!
one thing I think that does work for Rafa is that he doesn’t mind being kicked around so much as Nole. after the 2012 loss at AO you could see that he was genuinely upbeat saying that he now understood how to beat Nole. Most players would have been devastated to take yet another loss, lose the break in the fifth.
Nole’s self-consciousness in relation to the crowds – his awareness of them all the time, wanting to be loved and so on…works against him.
Am not sure though that Rafa’s hold on RG makes him relax elsewhere…he feels tremendous pressure to win it and sometimes it really gets to him especially in the first week.
sorry ..not being very coherent..am ill in bed today hence posting all day!
sorry again about Stan…


SG1 Says:

I think this is the best Murray has played and I don’t think that Novak’s level is as good as it was when Murray beat him in a couple of slams. And Murray looks incredibly strong. Picking Murray here. Hope the 4th time is the charm.


SG1 Says:

Murray may not have Stan’s power but he’s a better all courter which I think will serve him well.


Emily Says:

@alice,
thanks for the commiserations, but it’s the beginning of the season (I actually think it was worse watching Delpo lose his Wimbledon semi to Novak).

I agree that Novak lets the crowd get to him in a way that Andy seems to have outgrown. I read an article (it may have been linked on another thread) from New York Magazine on Novak and it discussed his desire to be liked and the US Open debacle w/ Roddick.

Playing Rafa at the US Open where you’ve had some tough crowd experiences and he is such a favorite may have gotten to him during their finals. Not sure who the crowd is going to root for in the final, but considering the connection the country has w/ Britain and the fact that they were behind Stan may give Andy the edge. I think it’s a shame b/c he’s a great player who has always felt a bit in the shadows or the one playing the spoil sport.

You sound pretty coherent to me, maybe tennis makes you feel better


alice Says:

@ Emily

you like Delpo too! he is one of my favourite players both in terms of game and personality, the ATP has really really missed him. (actually think the ATP had a pretty bad year last year). If he hadn’t been injured all those years ago I’m sure he would have won more slams and been in the top 4/5 on a consistent basis. his injuries are awful…
I feel a lot of sympathy with Novak over how the crowds treat him.. remember RG 2011 with Fed!! But last year the RG crowd gave him that standing ovation! It would help him a lot though if he could try and cut out the self-consciousness both with the crowd and the journos. Saw a presser he did before RG last year with everyone suggesting he was going to win it and him lapping it all up – Rafa doesn’t enjoy flattery at all and that is an enabling factor in his game.


courbon Says:

And all that talk of BIG 4 in decline….
Actually I think it will be very difficult for new generation to break trough this year.
Andy is back to his top level, Novak is constant, Fed is at the good level also and Rafa…well Rafa, 2 months from now will be firing on all cilinders!Even the old school , like Wawrinka and Bedrych are in good form.And if Delpo comes back healthy?
Sure, young ones are knocking on the door ( and Cilic managed to get his head through for the moment ) but there is still big door standing firmly shut.


RZ Says:

@courbon – yes, the Big 4 are back at the top of the rankings. Wawrinka will probably stick around in the top 10 (aside from his Monte Carlo title, he doesn’t have many points to defend until summer), as will Berdych. I can see Raonic and Nishikori staying in the top 10, and Dmitrov might make it back in. I’m curious to see what will happen with Cilic (another delay due to injury(, Ferrer, and DelPo.


Emily Says:

@alice,

yeah, Stan and Delpo are my two faves and have been for a while. They are opposites in that I’ve followed Stan for a while b/c I loved his game so much, but I never thought he would achieve all that he did last year. His game has improved so much and Magnus Norman has helped him get his head straight so he could win a grand slam. Federer was this constant shadow and I never understood why no-one was that interested in the “other Swiss,” meaning I was often watching his matches on outer courts.

Delpo, on the other hand, was so young and explosive when I first saw him play at the US Open in 2009. I had never seen someone play like him before and that final was so exciting. It’s been tough watching him go through these injuries b/c I believed he could have become #1 and won more slams if not for those wrists. Nice to know there are other fans on the site.

I also like them both b/c of their personalities. Delpo is the gentle giant, but Stan is funny and doesn’t take himself too seriously. He stands up for himself, on court and off, but seems to be friends with everyone on the tour. They both work hard for their goals and I hope both achieve success this year.

I think you’re right in terms of Rafa avoiding flattery or expectations. It was the best thing for him when he said he wasn’t one of the favorites at the AO this year, when he had been a year ago. He keeps those expectations inside and doesn’t want to talk about what he should or should not be able to do. Didn’t see Novak’s RG presser, but Rafa knows when to keep his mouth shut and how to dodge awkward questions like if he’ll catch up to Roger’s slam count. Little things like that get you support, but a particular performance in a match can make a player popular. Novak always has his fans, but at this year’s US Open QF, there was more support for Andy.
Novak just seems to stick his foot in his mouth more than the others, or at least he did when he was young.


Giles Says:

Wotz going on with Cilic? He has pulled out of Zagreb


courbon Says:

@ RZ: For sure, Raonic, Nikishori, Dimitrov and maybe Cilic will be regular top 10 probably but I think this year probably 3 out of 4 slams will belong to BIG 4.
I have same thoughts regarding Delpo-he is still young, so he still has time to make impact in Tennis world…


alice Says:

@emily

thanks for that. very hard having Delpo out for so long..am kind of wondering how he is going to come back now. yes, he is a gentle giant and very endearing – he was epic at Wimby 2013 stepping over the net to talk to Nole, chatting with the crowd…
do you read the changeover? just wondered because Amy Fetherolf who is a co-founder there is a huge Delpo fan and is often posting about him or writing on her twitter feed. the best of the journos there has left the site – juan jose vallejo who now writes for Rolling Stone – check out his twitter feed some time….it’s way better than most commentaries/write ups and frequently very witty.
bring back Delpo asap! the tour needs him!


Okiegal Says:

@Giles 1:44……You will need to check with Sienna about that matter! LOL


Giles Says:

@Okie. You know who has well and truly jinxed him . No kiddin’

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