Nadal Says Body is Good; Murray, Federer On Deck Wednesday at Aussie Open
by Jeremy Davis | January 17th, 2017, 8:02 am
  • 82 Comments

Not No. 1, but still defending Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic aced a stern test in his opener Tuesday in Melbourne, defeating former semifinalist Fernando “Hot Sauce” Verdasco 6-1, 7-6(4), 6-2 to move into the second round.


“It feels like home,” Djokovic said after the match. “It feels like coming back to the place that I had an incredible amount of beautiful memories.”

A key to catching the No. 1 Murray will be for Djokovic to end the fortnight with a seventh Australian Open title, which would break the record he shares with Roy Emerson.

“Of course, when I saw the draw I thought to myself, ‘This the only match I can focus on,’” said Djokovic, who almost lost to Verdasco in Doha earlier this month. “I managed to start really well with great intensity. The second set was a gamble — it was pretty close.”

Djokovic will next face Denis Istomin.

All the Top 10 seeds in action advanced relatively comfortably on Tuesday as Djokovic was joined in the second round by No. 3 Milos Raonic who rolled Dustin Brown 6-3, 6-4, 6-2; No. 6 Gael Monfils who breezed past Czech Jiri Vesely 6-2, 6-3, 6-2; No. 8 Dominic Thiem who needed four sets to subdue German Jan-Lennard Struff 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-3; and No. 9 Rafa Nadal who stared down German Florian Mayer 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.

The former No. 1 Nadal, languishing at the No. 9 spot after a 2016 filled with injury and doubt, looked sharp in the high heat of Melbourne.

“The body is good,” Nadal said of his wrist, knees, hair, etc. “And that’s the key. If the body is not good, everything is more difficult. After Roland Garros everything was more difficult, but that’s in the past.”

Nadal will next face Marcos Baghdatis, who won when Mikhail Youzhny retired in the second set of their match.

“Never easy, the first round — there is always little bit more nerves at the beginning,” Nadal said. “I didn’t play against an easy opponent — the way that [Mayer] plays is not a conventional game. You know, he change a lot of the rhythm of the point, changing with a slice, then he hit a winner. Then he plays little bit slower ball. Is not easy to read his game, no?”

The No. 3-seeded threat Raonic was not distracted by the net-rushing shot-making antics of Brown, dropping 18 aces on the German and finishing with an impressive 46 winners to 25 unforced errors.

“The main point for at least myself was I really had to focus on myself,” said Raonic, who saved all three break points he faced. “He’s very capable of going very high up with his level, but that can also drop quite quickly. It’s about really providing a solid level for myself, and hopefully that weathers the storm.”

Raonic will next meet another serving machine, Gilles Muller, who defeated American Taylor Fritz in straight sets 7-6(6), 7-6(5), 6-3.

Lower-seeded winners on the day were No. 11 David Goffin edging former Wimbledon juniors champ Reilly Opelka in five sets, No. 13 Roberto Bautista Agut, No. 15 Grigor Dimitrov, No. 18 Richard Gasquet, No. 22 Ivo Karlovic who outlasted Argentine Horacio Zeballos 22-20 in the fifth, No. 21 David Ferrer, No. 24 Alexander Zverev who came from 1-2 sets down to beat Robin Haase, No. 25 Gilles Simon, No. 30 Pablo Carreno, and No. 32 Philipp Kohlschreiber.

At 22-20, Karlovic’s win over Zeballos was the longest fifth set in the history of the Australian Open, and was the longest match in games since the tiebreak was introduced at the tournament.

The lone upset on the day was provided by Italian Fabio Fognini, who iced No. 28 Feliciano Lopez 7-5, 6-3, 7-5.

Other unseeded winners of note into the second round Tuesday were Aussie Jordan Thompson over Joao Sousa in five, Alexandr Dolgopolov downing Borna Coric in four, Radek “The Worm” Stepanek who will next face the No. 11 seed Goffin, and American wildcard Frances Tiafoe topping Mikhail Kukushkin in four.

Wednesday in Melbourne look for highlights (17) Roger Federer vs. Noah Rubin, (1) Andy Murray vs. Andrey Rublev, (4) Stan Wawrinka vs. Steve Johnson, (31) Sam Querrey vs. Aussie teen Alex De Minaur, and (10) Tomas Berdych vs. Ryan Harrison.


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82 Comments for Nadal Says Body is Good; Murray, Federer On Deck Wednesday at Aussie Open

Willow Says:

Good, great, just play, and we will see what happens ;-) ….


rognadfan Says:

He looked pretty good yesterday! It remains to be see how he overcomes the ones with bigger guns. Wish him luck!


RZ Says:

Van Persie is holding on to her lead at the top of the ATP bracket.


Danica Says:

Opelka was so close. He was serving great in the fifth, only to lose his serve when it was the most important. Then Goffin routinely served for the match and won. I was a bit sorry for the big guy as this would have been big for him.


skeezer Says:

The top dogs look rejuvenated, albeit some a little rusty at times, and healthy and ready of the most part. Good to see, Gonna be exciting to see how the young guns will measure up with the seasoned players this tourney. Be aware of Roanic.


Chrisford1 Says:

“The body is good,” Nadal said of his wrist, knees, hair, etc. “And that’s the key. If the body is not good, everything is more difficult….”

LOL!
So how is his new hair looking, anyone?

================
Speaking of hair, Milos is looking good and may be a threat to take it. But he, if fully healthy, will be a real menace at Wimbledon. (I humbly predicted Raonic would win Wimbledon in the next 3 years…three years ago! Last chance for my prophecy to happen..)
===============
Djoker laid down the law with Verdasco.


sinha71 Says:

You do have to admire Milos with all of the ex players he has used as acoach to constantly improve every facet of his game.

He can win it all if he stays mentally strong but he still makes many mental cramps that lead to costly errors or allowing his opponent to stay in the point.

This is still his weakest area.


J-Kath Says:

Chrisford 1:

Milos will be a contender but I don’t see him winning Wimbledon this year at least.


Willow Says:

Hope Rafas ready for Baggy, who will be more rested due to the retirement of Youzhney, and Baggy seems to have a large contingent of crowd support no matter where he goes, mind you so does Rafa ….


Willow Says:

And one match at a time, from the other thread thanks J.S and Navdeep ….


Chrisford1 Says:

J-Kath if I was odds making for Wimbledon I’d put Andy 1st, then Djokovic, then Raonic. Same as the rankings and possibly the same order you’d pick according to odds.
If you get a chance, watch Raonic. He is so much better than he was a couple years ago. Mobility, backhand, court “sense”, focus and stamina all improved.
He’s a scary beasty.
Rafa might make a semi, but I don’t think he has the goods to beat Novak or Andy. Raonic does. Stan does.


J-Kath Says:

Chrisford 1

Saw Milos at O2. Yes, strong – but …


J.S. Says:

Speaking of Hair ONLY….
Milos reminds me of Donny Osmond….just saying!


Chrisford1 Says:

From the presentation of last years champions and awards ceremony.

1. Check out the white gloved bearer of Novak’s trophy. Caught white-handed with a booger on top!
2. Djokovic schmoozing as always. I guess he has a dispensation to flirt if he wins a major..
3. Angelique Kerber looked awesome. What a dazzling smile! And she wore flats.


jane Says:

nadal hit nearly 40 winners and his serve percentage was good. i was only half watching as was busy but he definitely seems rejuvenated. i give him a definite shot at the title. saw some of andy, who got stronger later in his match, but saw none of fed as was on too late. missed novak too but glad to see it went smoothly overall.

i liked kerber’s outfit too, cf1, esp that she wore flats; she looked cute and at ease.


Margot Says:

And out goes Isner at the racquet of Zverev senior. Sad? No.


Jatin Says:

Its awesome to see Fed playing again and fit, it felt like eternity.
Didn’t even watch much tennis after his injury.
Even though I know his chances are very slim but I am quite excited with the prospect of his back to back encounters with seeded players.
All possible encounters -> Berdych, nishikori, andy, stan, novak … man, can you get a much tougher road than this ? :)
Just glad to see him back.


Emilia Says:

A bit strange that Novak asked for the challenge 3 times and he was always right!

Am glad that the Big 4 are together again.


Van Persie Says:

So glad that Kyrgios is out…even if I overestimated in my bracket!
Well done, Andreas! Well done!


Van Persie Says:

Correction: I overestimated him in my bracket.


Giles Says:

Each time I see Sir Murray he looks chunkier than the time before. What’s he eating?


Giles Says:

Glad the hooligan Kyrgios is out. Well done Seppi!


Margot Says:

Dan’s the man😍👏🙆


J.S. Says:

I AGREE VAN PERSIE -
So glad Kyrgios is out, I am emberassed for him! Nike should be ashamed sponsoring this jerk!

Seppi did a great job staying focused – Must be difficult to ignore all the hoopla.


J-Kath Says:

Hey Margot:

I was just coming on to say exactly what you said:

DAN IS THE MAN.

PS: Between us, I’ve been thinking Edmonds will also go far.


RZ Says:

@Van Persie – I had Nick doing well in my bracket too. Back to the bottom for me!

Nice win by Evo! I’m afraid I jinxed Cilic by placing him high in my top 10 predictions. Maybe he hasn’t recovered from losing that DC match to DelPo after being up 2 sets.


Van Persie Says:

Hi RZ,

Yep, I am really doing well with that half of the draw now :) Evo took out my semifinalist. hehe.
Cilic is impredictible. He can lose or win to anyone any given day.


Daniel Says:

Murray pretty loose on court. Rublev has nothing to hurt him. About to bagle second set.


AndyMira Says:

No!no!no!….Please,don’t get injured Andy!


RZ Says:

Crap, just read that Andy rolled his ankle during his match. That would be such bad luck if he’s injured. Fingers crossed that he is okay.


BBB Says:

RZ I saw a snippet of the post-match interview and Andy said he didn’t think the ankle would be a problem….


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Sneeze, Milos is not exactly a young gun anymore: more a tennis-middle-age gun at 26. I also believe he is a slam threat. Has he been coming to the net as much as he was last January?

Any reports on Kyrgios antics?

How did Fed look?

thanks for answerers!


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Sorry, “Sneeze”! You know who I meant. Back at-choo!


RZ Says:

Thanks BBB. Glad to hear it!


Margot Says:

YAY! ANDEEE! Cruised through that one….expecting derdoowrongron to pop up any mo and tell me I’m wrongwrongwrong…
RZ: Andy rolled his ankle but was able to put weight on it straightaway, so it didn’t lok too serious and thank goodness he’s not playing someone like Ferrer next!
Nick was a dick apparently. What a shame his on court role model appears to be early Monfils, rather than Rafa say :(
Tennis needs you Nick, you idiot! Brings kids in to the beautiful game.


BBB Says:

Nick’s post match interview was refreshing – he said he hadn’t taken his preseason seriously enough and had to step up his fitness. I think he also said he needs a coach. So let’s hope this is the beginning of a new approach from him.


Van Persie Says:

^^ he needs a new brain.
I think it is the only player from ATP, that I really cannot stand at the moment. Something in his eyes, something about him disgusts me…even if I know, that he cannot be that bad.


J.S. Says:

YES!!! Andy’s post match interview said will ice it tonight but he was okay.

Crazy thing about Kyrgios he was easily winning (dominating) until he got mad and gave up. I don’t think he LOVES tennis and his demeaner is very self absorbed –
SO talented, sort of sad! Maybe NIKE yanking their sponsorship and all that money would make him to have to play to win? Someone posted a pic of his “CRIB” in the Bahamas.
MY RANT – He gets what he wants without having to win!!

Happy for Seppi, didn’t he beat Djokovic last year too? He really had to stay focused, I was impressed!

Tomorrow is RAFA, Serena and Djokovic wooohooo!!!


Van Persie Says:

Seppi beat Federer at the AO 2015, if I remember well.
Djoko had also some difficult matches with Seppi. Djoko has 12-0 against Andreas.


DjokoEmilia Says:

To AndyMira:

Thank you for this adorable photo of the adorable kid and now a young man.


J.S. Says:

TY VAN PERSIE
I knew he had caused some trouble against the top players. Good for him!!


Van Persie Says:

J.S.,

Yes good for him. He’s a decent and cute tennis player. Always liked him


Navdeep Says:

Anyone know Rafa’s match time ?


Giles Says:

Joker was so cute as a youngster. Shame he’s turned into what he is right now. Hiding for cover! Lol


jane Says:

thanks andymira, that’s cute. :)


Giles Says:

https://twitter.com/stu_fraser/status/821642426989314048
Hey skeezer. Better get your prayer mat out! Lol


RZ Says:

@Margot – thank goodness!


madmax Says:

Oh Federer!

The match against Rubin, very cool. Enjoyed the mauling.

Next: Berdych.

Here we go again! The use of the drop shot will be crucial to Roger’s game plan, I feel, against Berdych. Federer has been here before against him, but it must seem so strange, because normally, this would be a QF match. If Fed can get that number 17 out of his head, then he can focus on playing a great match – and by that I mean, Fed REALLY needs to work on his stability from the baseline and I don’t mean to get into long rallies, but seriously, these unforced errors are driving me nuts!

Please, just bring Berdych into the net and get a hold of those magical drop shots early Roger! Berdych has the strength and the power, but usually, he either freaks out, chokes or makes too many unforced errors himself. I think that Federer is playing so many power players these days. Have you seen Raonic shoot from the baseline. He is just awesome. What a transition for Raonic! But going back to Federer, I just love Federer. I don’t care who he plays, as long as he wins. It is never a walk in the park against someone of Berdych’s calibre. However, Roger must, must, must take his chances early on – it would certainly do him no favours to have a 5 setter this early on in the tournament – it is something that I do not want to see – a 4 or a 5 setter against this guy.


AndyMira Says:

@Jane…I hope u don’t mind,but i ‘fell in love’ with him the moment i saw him and wanna keep him on my FB profile so i can swooning over him every day!!


J-Kath Says:

Navdeep:

U are welcome.


Navdeep Says:

What’s going on with Novak here !


Van Persie Says:

Have only watched the first 2 sets. Istomin played very good, Novak not so much…I guess Nole expected an easier match and his opponent is on fire today.:)
What happened in the 3 set, do not know and I also cannot watch what is going on at the moment :(
There will be most likely a 5 set or will Novak find a way to finish this in 4 ??


Van Persie Says:

Istomin hit some amazing forehands DTL in the 1 set…


Daniel Says:

Just wake up for a mid night p….s and see that djoko had to save a set point to avoid a fifth set😱😱😱
Ask me if I can get back sleeping again?! Will have toneatch now, hoping he closes in four.


FedExpress Says:

never saw a luckier player than nole. played shit all season bar one match and won them all with the help of his opponents. just sickening

and mental midget like istomin are massive ont he tour. again SP wasted. now look how he egts broken.


FedExpress Says:

and as is noles luck he will win the tournament


Daniel Says:

Tiebreak!


Daniel Says:

Wow Istomin FH DTL winner, 3-1 with a minibreak


Daniel Says:

5-1. Looks like it will go to a fifth with Istomin winning 2 tiebreaks this match.
Even so, Djoko serves first and after 4 hours it will have to take something on Istomin. Djoko is more used to this scenario and Istomin will have to break to win, no tiebreaks in fifth set for him.


Daniel Says:

Ace, fifth set it is.


Van Persie Says:

The 5-th will not take long. 6-2 or 6-3 for Novak.


Daniel Says:

First break to Istin, 15-30 on hos serve at 3-2


Daniel Says:

4-2 Istomim. Can he do it?


FedExpress Says:

5-3 istmonin

will he choke like federer?


Navdeep Says:

moment of truth for Istomin. Serving for the set !


Navdeep Says:

moment of truth for Istomin. Serving for the match !


Daniel Says:

Serving for the match. Moment of truth for Istomin.
Can mot believe Djoko will go down second round. Only over when fat lady sings. He can still break, Istomin will feel the pressure


FedExpress Says:

moment of truth for Denis
to decide if he is a choker or not


FedExpress Says:

2 MPs


Van Persie Says:

Done!
Congrats Istomin! Well played!


Navdeep Says:

he’s done it ! upset of the year


Danica Says:

Great feat for Denis. Well done, amazing shot making. Sincere congrats to Istomin, absolutely spectacular and deserved win. I hope he goes deep. If he can keep up with this play, I am sure he will.


Daniel Says:

Wow, he does it!! Unbelievable. Major congrats tomIstomin, doesn’t even look loki he is tired still going for his DTL shots. Impressive stuff.
Djoko won here 5 of last 6 years losing only to Wawa in 5 before. And now again in five.

But this time is a huge upset. First sign that Letting Boris go was wrong. Next Slams he plays he will be 30+. Looks like this took a massive demt on GOAT debate. Can not see Djoko catching Federer anymore. After RG last tear thought he had a 50% chance, now only 5%. He will have to win 5 Slams 30+ amd with the way things are going latelly not looking promissing. This could be the begging of his “decline” as it was with fedal at 28+/29. Seems times catches everybody.

Somewhere Murray and Nadal are smiling (even Raonic) whonseems now the favorite of bottom half to reach finals. Looks like this os Murray’s time. Glad I changed my bracket from Djoko to Murray winning in last minute. Seems my huncj Djoko wouldn’t win was right. Just didn’t thought he would lose this early.

Also he can kiss coming back to #1 bye for a long time. Only after Wimby he will have a chance again. He will lose 1955 pts with this loss and with the points he has to defend till RG is not gonna happen any time soon.


skeezer Says:

McEnroe; “upset of the decade”.

I watched this match. Istomin earned this match, totally in a zone.
Nivaks form was all over the place. Is he still putting in the hard yards? Doesn’t look like it.
Congrats to the 117th ranked 30 yr old.


Daniel Says:

Oportunity for Dimitrov or Thiem to make semis to play Raonic / Nadal / Zverev. Hope onn of them gets there, to see some new blood going deep.


Danica Says:

Yes, Novak was all over the place, his shots in out more often than not. Serve was terrible. But, none of these things are an excuse. Denis was playing Nole’s game and beating Nole with it. Totally deserved win.


AndyMira Says:

Hope Rafa can avoid the day of upsets today..

Top story: Federer Books Final Four Berth At ATP Finals, Thiem Advances; Last SF Spot At Stake Friday