So three rounds down at the first Grand Slam of 2018, four more to go, and what have we learned at the Australian Open?
Roger Federer – I wouldn’t say a great start, but positive and he’s certainly playing good enough to win here. Plus, his draw is a joke with Marton Fucsovics tomorrow then likely Tomas Berdych. I think the Czech will actually put up a fight this year, but that’s a nice road.
Rafael Nadal – Speaking of easy draws, Rafa’s got another cushy opponent today in Diego Schwartzman. Good news for Rafa is forget the knee problem, he looks great! Again, the opponents do factor in, still though, he’s just dominant and there have been zero issues with the knee. Ahead, though, Marin Cilic in the quarter followed by either Nick or Grigor in the semifinal. So it will get tougher but he looks terrific.
Novak Djokovic – It was hard to make anything out of his first two wins against the overmatched Donald Young and an unfit, heat-stroked Gael Monfils, but last night Djokovic played well against a decent foe in Ramos-Vinolas. The serve is surprisingly OK, groundstrokes are there, movement good. Yeah, there was a bit of an injury niggle yesterday, but otherwise all systems seem to be firing. Tomorrow he’s got Hyeon Chung who should really push him, but so far a very, very encouraging start for Novak.
Nick Kyrgios – A week from today he really could be in the final, he’s playing that well and he’s on a run. It’s just a question of can he keep it together mentally, especially when things get tight and he the score gets deep. Tsonga let him off the hook a bit the other night, but the kid so far has been all right.
Dominic Thiem – He doesn’t get the headlines, but he’s rock solid and built for the punishment. And I think after coming from two sets down to Kudla the other day in the heat, he’s found his rhythm. He now has Sandgren then likely Djokovic. Could he sneak into the semifinals.
Hyeon Chung – He kind of reminds of Stan, just like a bulldog. Does everything very well, moves excellently, just solid. Seems fit. Maybe he’s the real next gen star. Let’s
Ivo Karlovic – He’s about to be 39 and he’s still out there and still killing it. 39!!
Fucsovics/Edmund/Seppi/Sandgren – Way to take advantage of opportunity! And someone will go further.
Grigor Dimitrov – Five sets against Mackenzie McDonald is not a good sign. He did overcome the young American then pretty much did the same against Rublev. But if he doesn’t cut down on the double faults and the errors, I don’t see how he beats Kyrgios tonight. Clearly, he’s feeling the pressure of being among the favorites.
Whining About The Heat – With each year, the players just seem like they are getting softer and softer. If you can’t take the heat, do something else! I don’t ever recall this much whining about the heat in the past and now the tournament is looking into some new policies which eventually will likely mean no one plays when it’s over 90F! I’m joking… I think.
Milos Raonic – Maybe injured, maybe not. It doesn’t matter. You lost in 4 to Lukas Lacko in the first round.
Sam Querrey – Coming off his best year, Sam fell apart to Fucsovics. That can’t happen. Tough start to 2018.
Alex Zverev – German wunderkind laid yet another egg in a Slam. I agree with him that I don’t think it’s a physical issue, but that means it’s mental. And that’s about as bad. Losing to Rafa is one thing, but going down to Chung the way he did has got to do some damage to his psyche. Too bad the French is four months away because he’ll have that taste in his mouth a very long time.
Jack Sock – What the heck happened? He looked so good at the end of the last year, now looks like he celebrated those achievements too hard during the off season.
Gael Monfils – You can’t last more than an hour in the heat? Choose a different sport.
Australian Open Website/App – Complete trash and a complete embarrassment. I’m no tech guy and I even know it needs an overhaul.
So what’s ahead? For all the world it still looks on paper like another Roger-Rafa final a week from today, but I just have to think something happens to derail it.
I had thought maybe the Kyrgios-Dimitrov winner get to the final, but I have no idea how either one of them beats Rafa with the way he’s playing. And Roger looks like he’s in form, as well. So maybe Berdych can play spoiler? Maybe Thiem beats Roger in the semifinal? Maybe Djokovic does it.
I don’t know but I guess I’d be more surprised that we get Roger-Rafa than if we don’t. The beauty is, we’ll find out really soon…
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