Favorites Federer, Nadal, Murray Ease into Australian Open Third Round
by Sean Randall | January 22nd, 2009, 1:31 pm

Well, my two picks David Nalbandian and Venus Williams really crapped the bed. Those of course were the two big upsets through the first two rounds of a somewhat dull Australian Open as we saw the top players really having their way with their opposition. ADHEREL

But with both fields now pared down to 32 we now get down to business.

For the men, it’s tough to say who’s been the most impressive among the Fab Four. My pick to win, Roger Federer, looked shaky in his first rounder with Andreas Seppi, but the Swiss really poured it on against Evgeny Koralev on Wednesday. And I’d put Novak Djokovic in that same camp. The Serb started slow but played better in his last match.

Top seed Rafael Nadal breezed through two really sub-par opponents, as did Andy Murray who benefited from an Andrei Pavel retirement and then pounded Marcel Granollers earlier this morning.

So I’ll put the Fab Four at even. Maybe a slight edge to Rafa.

Same goes for the Americans. Hard to make heads or tails about Andy Roddick or James Blake as both have played exclusively qualifiers through two matches.

The French guys are really coming on though. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is blessed with a great draw in meeting Dudi Sela next, but his durability remains a question mark. Gilles Simon has played well as have Richard Gasquet and my man Gael Monfils.

Having said all that I still like Federer to get through and take this title. I think the slow court speed works for him, especially in his section. Marat Safin’s a threat, but a paper threat. The Russian might get a set but I really can’t see more than that. And then I expect the Swiss to knock out Tomas Berdych, who’s apparently found his game again this week. The real test for Fed, however, will come in the quarterfinals where it’s really looking like he will meet Juan Martin del Potro. JMDP has really looked sharp thus far, and I don’t see how the Argy can lose to Muller tomorrow or Cilic/Ferrer on Sunday. Too bad he’s in Fed’s section because against any of the other Fab Four I think he’s got a better chance.

Also tomorrow we’ll see Roddick take on the magician Fabrice Santoro. Roddick shouldn’t have much of a problem against Fabrice, but the court speed might really hurt him later against Tommy Robredo. I’ll look forward to that one if it comes to pass. As for Djokovic, I see nothing but smooth sailing with Amer Delic and then probably Marcos Baghdatis. With Nalbandian out and the court playing the way it is I think Novak gets through to the semifinal to face Federer.

In the top half Saturday Nadal might struggle a little with Haas, but wins in the end. Then things get real dangerous for the Spaniard. I know i picked Gasquet over Nadal and for now I have to stick with it, although I did not like how Richard played in the first round victory against Diego Junqueira. But what really encourages me in the top quarter is Monfils. With no signs of a foot problem he’s my new pick to make to the semifinals. Slower court, rowdy fans, plenty of atmosphere are all good for Gael.

Not much has changed for Murray in his path. He still has a relatively dream draw. I know Jurgen Melzer nearly scalped him (or should have scalped him) at the US Open, but Murray’s since a new man. I still think the red-hot Fernando Verdasco, who has curiously broken up with Ana Ivanovic, can pull a set but that’s really it. I’m not convinced yet of Tsonga’s health, and Igor Andreev had a stomach issue in his win over Ernests Gulbis. Blake is hanging around but he’ll need to deal with Andreev and then Tsonga just to get to Murray. Good luck. So Murray is still the clear pick.

As for the women, I took a flyer and went with Venus to win. That didn’t work out so well, did it? With Venus now concentrating on doubles it’s going to probably come down to the Serena Williams-Elena Dementieva semifinals to decide the ultimate winner.

For tomorrow, Baghatis-Fish, Ferrer-Cilic and Wawrinka-Berdych and of course Federer-Safin should all be interesting and entertaining. And actually the women might have some drama with Dokic-Wozniacki, Kleybanova-Ivanovic and Hantuchova-Cornet. Just wish I had the time to watch it all.

I’m not a fan of the 32 seedings at Slams because it does take away from the early rounds, but it does usually payoff for the middle rounds. Hopefully that will be the case again this weekend.

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74 Comments for Favorites Federer, Nadal, Murray Ease into Australian Open Third Round

MMT Says:

I’m really surprised that Muller is just an afterthought in all of this. At the US Open, he beat Tommy Haas (from 2 sets down), Nicolas Almagro (also from 2 sets down) and 5th-seeded Nikolay Davydenko. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Muller found a way past JMDP, especially since we saw how poorly he played a serve a vollery, Feliciano Lopez in the Davis Cup final.

The Delic match could also be trouble for Djokovic, given the atmosphere we can expect strange things in that match, up to an including an upset, but I agree it’s not likely.

Verdasco is playing the best tennis of his career at the moment, and I would be very surprised if he didn’t take Murray to 5 sets, but I also think Murray will make it through to the semi-final.

I also think the 32 seeds is the stupidest thing ever. It should stay at 16, but because so many top players, especially on the women’s side, go on injury leaves and drop in the rankings the slams probably decided enough 3rd round matches with a high seed and a Williams sister, or a Sharapova. But I’m a purist, and I think it’s ridiculous.

jane Says:


“The Delic match could also be trouble for Djokovic, given the atmosphere we can expect strange things in that match, up to an including an upset, but I agree it’s not likely.” I agree – Delic is serving out of his mind at this tournament, so Djokovic will have to serve well also, and his serve is one thing that can be fantastic or inconsistent. So a lot will depend on that, probably longevity and playing the big points well (i.e., if it comes down to tiebreaks)


“I also think the 32 seeds is the stupidest thing ever….I’m a purist, and I think it’s ridiculous.” Can you clarify what you mean by this? That there’d be only 16 players seeded and the rest wildcards or what? Sorry if this sounds like a “clueless” question but it probably is!

Von Says:

The Australian Open has seen seven first-time Grand Slam finalists in the past decade. All seven of the players, who went on to reach career-high South African Airways ATP Rankings the year of their final run, had never advanced past the quarter-finals at a Grand Slam tournament prior to reaching the Australian Open final. Six of the seven were ranked between No. 18 and No. 54, and five of the seven were playing in their fourth to eighth Australian Open:

Year First-Time G.S. Finalist (Rank) Result A.O. Appearance,
Previous Year Result Best ATP Ranking After
2008 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (No. 38)
l. to Djokovic 2nd, 1st RD No. 6 (Nov. 17, 2008)
2007 Fernando Gonzalez (No. 9) l. to Federer 7th, 1st RD No. 5 (Jan. 29. 2007)
2006 Marcos Baghdatis (No. 54) l. to Federer 2nd, 4th RD No. 8 (Aug. 21, 2006)
2003 Rainer Schuettler (No. 36) l. to Agassi 5th, 3rd RD No. 5 (Apr. 26, 2004)
2002 Thomas Johannson (No. 26) d. Safin 8th, 3rd RD No. 7 (June 10, 2002)
2001 Arnaud Clement (No. 18) l. to Agassi 4th, 4th RD No. 10 (Apr. 2, 2001)
1999 Thomas Enqvist (No. 21) l. to Kafelnikov 8th, 2nd RD No. 4 (Nov. 15, 1999)

Here are some of the players who fit the criteria and are possible contenders to reach their first Grand Slam final this year in Melbourne:

Rank (1/12/09) Player A.O. Appearance Result in ’08 Previous Best G.S. Result
No. 20 Marin Cilic 3rd 4th RD 4th RD
No. 21 Tomas Berdych 6th 4th RD QF
No. 29 Paul-Henri Mathieu 6th 4th RD 4th RD five times
No. 33 Philipp Kohlschreiber 5th 4th RD 4th RD twice
No. 51 Ernests Gulbis 2nd 1st RD QF

Well, so much for predictions. Of the five (5) foregoing players, two (2) remain, Berdych and Cilic, and the other three (3) are now history.

MMT Says:

Back in the day, there were only 16 seeds in the grand slams, with a certain number players given direct entry by way of their ranking (as in the 1-year rolling entry ranking points), with another alottment of wildcard entries given to whoever the tournament wants to let in, and the remaining places given to qualifiers who go through 3 rounds of a single elimination qualifying tournament to see who gets those places.

All places in the tournament, with the exception of the seeded players, are drawn at random (as in the draw) which means that the #33 ranked player in the world (in this case, Sam Querry) could have been drawn against Rafa Nadal (or any of the other seeds) in the first round, but none of the 32 seeds (#32 is Austrian Jurgen Melzer, BTW) would play each other before the 3rd round (e.g. the round of 32).

But back in the day, Rafa or any of the other seeds could have been drawn against the #17 player the first round (in this case Robin Soderling).

That doesn’t seem like a big deal, but Soderling is a pretty good player, and in 2002 (two years after they first started seeding 32 players instead of 16) Pete Sampras was seeded #17 and could have been drawn against Lleyton Hewitt, Andre Agassi, Marat Safin or Yvgeny Kafelnikov.

Upon reflection, I probably should have given this example instead of the Williams sisters, so for any of their fans out there I apologize, but basically I think 32 seeds makes the first 3 rounds pretty boring, and I also think it’s giving modern players a leg up on the greats of the past.

MMT Says:

Correction: It may have appeared I contended that Sampras was seeded 17 at the Australian Open in 2002, but he was seeded 17 at the US Open. But it’s worth noting that he won the US Open in 2002.

MMT Says:

Von – you left off 1998, the year of the scissor kicking, steroid ingesting, Adam’s apple bulging, Petr “Where’s the Other E” Korda?

The Australian Open was his first and only grand slam final and victory, and he basically retired after that. But not before beating, in 3 straight sets dropping and dropping only 6 games, the player Sports Illustrated dubbed, “The Most Hated Man in Tennis” in 1998 (http://vault.sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1012309/index.htm), Marcelo “The Jerk” Rios. Rios, if you recall is the only player in the history of the men’s computer ranking system to reach #1 without ever (even eventually) winning a grand slam.

What a loser.

But what scares me about that list is, of all the players on that list NONE of them went on to win anything else in their careers. Fair enough, some of them are still playing, but…it kind of makes you wonder.

Von Says:


“Von – you left off 1998, the year of the scissor kicking, steroid ingesting, Adam’s apple bulging, Petr “Where’s the Other E” Korda?”

I can tell you have great admiration (just kidding/facetious) for Korda and Rios. It’s interesting about the AO historically being a slam for newbies. I remember a while back you posed a quiz for me on the above topic and I picked JMDP, Cilic, Gulbis and Davydenko. Again, just like the above, only two remain to claim the coveted trophy.

I’ve mentioned previously how much I dislike the first 3 rounds of the GS — it’s absolutely boring. A few of the matches are interesting, but definitely not those of the top 4. I’m absolutely disenchanted with the manner in which the opponents of the top 4 get beaten to a pulp, and then it is proclaimed that the “top’ guys are truly awesome in their match play. Get real!!

I also think qualifiers are more dangerous than players who are ranked 400 – 1100, because a qualifier has to prove himself to gain entry into the slams.

The more I discuss tennis with you I’m awed by that vast tennis database in your head. Mazeltov!!

BTW, whatever has happenened to grendel? It’s usually about this time (4th round) he usually appears to join in the discussions.

MMT Says:

Grendel is probably sleeping during the day to watch the tennis at night :-)

The wikipedia article on rios is just littered with atrocious things this guy has done as well as the article in Sports Illustrated. I just can’t stand the guy, and I’m glad he retired without a slam.

Gives me hope that good guys don’t necessarily finish last!

jane Says:


Thanks! It makes perfect sense now (btw, I checked your blog and read the piece on Nadal/Fed/Fans and No#1. It was great, so I’ll check back regularly).

One thing I do like about the first rounds is that we get to see players we don’t often see, and sometimes they are surprisingly good and challenging.

On the other hand, I can see that only 16 seeds could make for some bang-up early rounds and potentially more upsets and surprise winners. And the top guys SHOULD be tested! And their way to the finals should NOT be paved.


I suspect Grendel is enjoying the tennis, analyzing Federer’s game as he does so well, maybe going at it with his sons, who like Spaniards like Rafa and Hotsauce. But he is missed.

tennisontherocks Says:

yeah, Aus open has produced more ‘first time finalists’ than others. I think the timing and weather (the heat) may be big factor. Its beginning of the year, so the top guys are more susceptible for an early upset. I guess that makes it more fun also.

I do miss the 16 seed format and some of the first shockers it can cause, like the Graf-McNeil at wimby. But since the top players are happy with 32 seeds, I don’t see this going away.

Sean Randall Says:

MMT, I wouldn’t say Muller’s an afterthough – he is up a set on Del Potro at this moment – I just don’t think he can do much with the draw that’s in front of him. I still look for JMDP to comeback and win this match.

Novak shouldn’t have any trouble with Delic. Amer’s has a big serve so there could be a tiebreak or two, and maybe Amer can snare a set, but it’s hard to see any upset happening in that one.

With the introduction of the 32 seeds at Slams it assures the top players of not having to play anyone in the Top 24 the first three rounds, and I think that’s a pity. Although it does mean the top guys are more likely to avoid the big, early round upsets this ensuring there presence in the all-important middle weekend ticket/viewership drive. So in the end it’s probably good for tennis.

Tennisontherocks, as you say the timing is does lend for more surprises at the Aussie then elsewhere. The heat and the layoff really hurt the players who didn’t train over the season (see David Nalbandian!).

jane Says:

Instead of complimenting Muller for everything that he is doing right thus far (which is A LOT – wicked serve, some beautiful volleys, steady from the back – alas, a weak return though) the ESPN commentators keep ruing over Del Potro’s misses.

Del Potro is still a work-in-progress. As I’ve said before, if he gets through this and runs into Federer, Del Potro doesn’t have a very good chance.

Muller should work on his return game. Geez he’s really good on hardcourts! Could there be another fairy tale run in the works here?

Sean Randall Says:

Jane, are you watching ESPN. In the U.S. the match is on the Tennis Channel with Leif and Justin.

Muller has a huge serve, but these courts are better suited for JMDP. I think eventually JMDP will get a break while Gilles will have to win three tiebreaks to take the match.

Muller by the way has yet to manage a break point. JMDP is 0-for-5 so far.

jane Says:

Sean, I am watching the TSN feed, which says it’s ESPN, but maybe it’s ESPN2. It is not Gimblestob (thankfully!!!!). The commentators are getting a little better in this second set. How could you NOT credit Muller for just saving those set points, that one stab lob on break point/set point for JMDP was FAB!

I am not convinced Sean. Muller, to me, seems more focused. JMDP seems just slightly bothered by the sun etc. He will maybe still come through, but I am liking what Muller is bringing…

Sean Randall Says:

Naturally as soon as I write that Gilles gets a break point. Then on set point JMDP completely gags a put away volley. Interesting.

Von Says:


Why aren’t you watching ADhe.net, FYI Djoko’s match is on at the Laver Arena?

Sean Randall Says:

Let’s see how JMDP gets over that missed volley on set point. That’s going to be tough to recover from.

jane Says:


I am just going there now on my laptop; that way I can follow both matches! What a junkie I am hey? I am glad to see Djokovic got an early break. I know Delic has a power-serve and can come back quite readily so Novak better stay focused and on his toes.

jane Says:

Well JMDP finally got a break! That might give him some momentum. But I don’t imagine that Muller will go away too easily given his penchant for dramatic 5-setters.

I thought Djoko was going to give his break back for a minute there. He’s definitely spraying more balls than usual still.

Sean Randall Says:

JMDP shakes it off and gets a break.

So much about tennis on hardcourts/grass is the ability to break serve. Like Muller, Delic will be lucky to get a break the entire match while Novak will have plenty of chances I imagine (he’s already converted one). Same goes to Roddick and Santoro. Roddick will have more chances to break serve than Santoro so he should will rather easily.

jane Says:

Muller with an early break in the 3rd – and this after fighting back from what? Love-40 in the previous game? This guy is fun to watch anyhow.

jane Says:

I see Cilic took the 1st set against Ferrer, but Ferrer is up a break in the 2nd. Mind you, I think he was up a break in the first too.

Andrew Miller Says:

A random thought for the xblog: is Andy Roddick a victim of slowed-down hard court and grass court surfaces since 2003? Maybe Stefanki’s hunch on weight might be a good one. I know, like Mr. Randall mentioned, that the right fitness attitude could have come in handy for Nalbandian and others!

jane Says:

Well that didn’t last long; now JMDP is cruising.

Djokovic just got broken so he’ll have to be careful. Delic is hitting better form after a pretty weak first set.

RG Says:

Delic just had a brilliant hold. Tennis Channel is showing it live now.

Beatrice Says:

Hi Sean. Well, I believe it´s nice to have 32 seeded players. I think the top players should have easier rounds so that they can practice enough and be ready for the real battles. Seven 5-sets matches in two weeks playing against good players would cause a lot of injuries and early upsets. And if it wasn´t this way, some players would have harder draws than the others.. donpt you think it´s unfair? You had picked Gasquet x Murray for one of the semifinals. Can you imagine this match as a first round match?
It would be crazy. What do you think?

Beatrice Says:

Hm. interesting! Djokovic has lost the second set. I hope we can see another upset here :DD

Tejuz Says:

Well.. some stats after seeing Safin vs Fed head to head…

Everytime Fed wins 3 matches against Safin… Safin hits back with a win… it was 3-1 then 6-2 and probabaly it could be 9-3

Also the last 3 times that Fed beat Safin after his AO loss was on Grass courts(Halle and Wimbledon).. so this is the 1st match on hard court which certainly is Safin’s fav surface of all the Grand slams. He lost a tight 5-setter to Baghdatis last year and also a tight 4 setter to Roddick the year before.

I certainly like Safin’s chances here… just hope it again is one of those epics between the 2.. like the AO and the Master’s cup semis..

Tejuz Says:

well.. the diff between a top 10 players and the rest is they cant keep the momentum going for more than 3 sets.. Am sure Djokovic will take the next 2 sets easily..

RG Says:

Cilic was outstanding against Ferrer. Both his serves and groundstrokes were crisp. His next match vs Del Potro should be a good one. I like Cilic’s chances against JMDP. How do they stand head to head?

Novak is up 2 sets to 1 against Delic. But he does not look very convincing to me.

Sean Randall Says:

Andrew, Roddick’s a victim of Federer, Nadal, etc.

Beatrice, why not just seed all 128 to make it truly fair. Had Murray drawn Gasquet in the first round I’m perfectly fine with that. It’s a Grand Slam so guys should be tested immediately but as we’ve seen this week it’s hasn’t been the case. I think the Top 8 lost one set combined thru the first two rounds. A real snooze-fest!

Andrew Miller Says:

I just caught some of the Hantuchova-Alize Cornet in pre-match. I am so amazed by Hantuchova’s striking of the tennis ball, it is so clean. But I also look at Cornet – she has the quick take-back of Andre Agassi (maybe it’s just the head racquet?) Hantuchova and Patty Snyder are two female players who I would LOVE to have seen win a major. Though the odds are stacked against that possibility – it would be great. That said, I find a lot to admire in Alize Cornet’s skill with the racquet – she seems pretty darn good! I detect a little bit of Henin in her.

Andrew Miller Says:

Watching Delic-Djokovic: Is it just me or is Delic’s serve and volley style making a dent on Djokovic here in the fourth set? Call me crazy, but it looks like excellent serve placement and a quick, well placed volley, combined with tough heat conditions, is working pretty well.

Andrew Miller Says:

RG – I agree with you. Delic is playing some inspired tennis!

jane Says:

I had to go to my son’s piano lesson so am missing the Djokovic match. i guess it’s going 5. I am not surprised. I just don’t think Djoko has looked right this year so far, or that his heads in the right place. Oh-me-oh-my Novak! I don’t think I can watch…

But what’s with Lu? Robredo is wiping the floor with him after he took out Nalbandian.

RG Says:

The Djoko-Delic match has definitely gotten more interesting. What a hold by Djokovic under pressure!

jane Says:


“well.. the diff between a top 10 players and the rest is they cant keep the momentum going for more than 3 sets.. Am sure Djokovic will take the next 2 sets easily..”

I am not sure I agree; in fact lots of guys outside the top ten go long 5-setters and keep the momentum going. A case in point is Delic, who’s come back from 2 sets down twice here I think. Or Muller last year at the USO, who also won in a bunch of marathons.

Andrew Miller Says:

Sadly, the last service game from Djokovic showed why he is #3 in the world and Amer Delic is the challenger: Djokovic hit most of his serves in the deuce side, to the backhand of Delic, and Delic did not catch on despite Djokovic repeatedly serving there! Two aces, down the T, at 15-40 (ace) and deuce (ace). Delic needed to guess on one of those and hit out on that backhand that he has been using well this set. Instead…caught flat footed and NOT THINKING! That was not a good mistake from Delic.

That said – he is confidant on his serve – he is serving out the lights! I am just surprised that when Djokovic favors a side on his own serve, that Delic doesnt take a educated guess. That way he wouldnt find himself having to serve out the game to go up 6-5 and hope for luck in the tiebreak…he could have evened the sets at 2 a piece and used his fire-hot serve to go up 1-0 in the fifth.

Easier said than done. Djokovic just served his first point to Delic’ FH for the first point of the 5-6 game and then to the BH for the second point of the game…it’s a switched strategy! And now serving again to the FH on the deuce said, and I’m guessing that he’ll aim for the BH on the next point…Delic’s got to think out there. He’s playing a fine match but he’s not reading the serves very well and now finds himself in the tiebreak.

jane Says:

Well it looks like it’s going 5 anyhow Andrew; Delic is playing better in the tiebreak so far, imo. But we’ll see.

Beatrice Says:

Hm.. Sean, I cannot agree with you. Do you think it would be fair if nadal played his first three rounds, for example, against Brian Dabul, Paul Capdeville and Peter Luczak and roger against ancic, ginepri and gulbis?? Roger would probably get more tired and spend more time on court (in the heat).
But I agree that the first rounds are so easy that they get really boring.. that’s a fact!

Andrew Miller Says:

Actually I am being quite negative…All credit to Delic. He is playing a courageous match. Sure, he’s missing a lot of shots that others may not miss at the top tier, but he is putting up everything he’s got, and it’s commendable…go Delic!

Andrew Miller Says:

Darn it. Great match. I was rooting for Delic. He was fighting hard the whole time…and his serving was AMAZING. I hope he keeps working hard. Am I wrong in believing – Jane – that Delic had some pretty solid shots during the match? Some of the forehand and backhands were smooth (but it was the consistency and the nerves I think that may have done him in).

jane Says:

No you’re not wrong at all Andrew! I thought what I saw of the second set was excellent tennis by Delic. And then I caught the end after my son’s piano. Delic has definite promise.

But since Djoko is my current fave I admittedly wanted him to win, even if he is making me mad lately with bad choices and comments. I still support him.

Besides if an American is going to knock him out, it has to be Roddick!!! Another guy I’ll always support for his pure heart, humor and determination.

RG Says:

Novak is thru! Wow! What a tiebreak! That successful challenge by Djokovic was certainly a turning point!

I believe, this has been a good test for Djokovic. He kept his composure and served well at crucial points in the match – somewhat similar to last year’s run. I also liked the way Novak closed out the match – on his serve strongly.

Similarly in the other match, I liked the way Cilic served out the match on a strong note.

jane Says:

Can’t wait to see Cilic and Del Porto!! Much as I was impressed with some of Muller’s shot-making tonight, I was hoping we’d get to see these two play.

Maybe we can see if Ryan’s proposal was right: that Cilic is underrated and JMDP overrated.

RG Says:

Sorry Andrew – Delic did play some great tennis. On the other hand, he had no pressure. He was swinging freely on his groundstrokes, whereas Novak was the favorite.

But, I am glad that Novak is thru.

jane Says:


Looking at the stats, Delic also had too many errors at 56. Also Novak’s second serve was slightly better. But maybe nerves played a part too. Djoko has had more big match experience so that would’ve helped him, I’d think.

RG Says:


As I mentioned in my earlier post, I too am looking forward to the Cilic vs Del Potro match. And I am backing Cilic to win against Del Potro.
He was very impressive in his victory over Ferrer.

How do they stand head to head?

jane Says:

Hi RG,

I just checked; JMDP and Cilic have never played. I didn’t watch the Cilic match tonight but I did watch his match with Tipsy which was pretty error-strewn. JMDP was solid tonight, but it took him a while to break through the Muller serve. I’d think the Cilic one might be tougher. We’ll see!

How do you think Djoko will do going forward? I haven’t seen Fish or Baggy here yet so don’t know what kind of form they’re in, but Roddick has looked formidable the few times I’ve seen him play.

And even though he beat a “qualifier” in Malisse, we all know that X-man is very, very talented. So Andy looks to be in good form. He’s in a good place mentally and physically and personally. Now might be a good time for him to really do something. Djoko on the other hand hasn’t seemed to pumped here, or happy. I hope all is well enough. Haven’t seen his family at all.

Ryan Says:

Thanx Jane for the support….I think that the Nike brand is responsible for hyping up and overrating their players especially this JMDP guy….he is not as great as people say he is. I have seen him play. He just makes good use of his power and reach that his 6 foot 6 frame offers but he is not that naturally talented. He is just a plain grinder.
I cant define talent in tennis but I always recognise talented players when I see them.. …Cilic is better and he has the game to kick JMDP out of this tournament.

RG Says:


Thanks for the info on Cilic-Del Potro matchup! I agree, Djoko hasn’t looked very good coming into the Aussie Open. But, I hope this match provides him some much needed confidence.

No – I haven’t watched either Mardy Fish or Baghditis play. But, I would like a rematch between Roddick and Djokovic. It would be very interesting – especially after their action-packed encounter on and off the courts at the last US Open.

Sean Randall Says:

Great effort from Amer. Just didn’t go his way in the end and experience prevailed.

Beatrice, the draw is random so yes, sometimes it’s not fair but over time it evens out. So I see no issue of “fairness” regarding 16 seeded draws.

JMDP has beaten Cilic twice, coming in juniors. I give JMDP the slight edge in this one. He’s got the bigger game.

jane Says:

Me too RG: “I would like a rematch between Roddick and Djokovic.”

Ryan, you may have a point about brand-hype. I just think there’s something to what you said about these two young players. There may be a slight mental edge to JMDP, he’s kind of like Rafa that way, he’ll play people down. But there is something more striking about Cilic’s game; when he played Djoko at the USO last year, it was an awesome match and Cilic showed that natural talent you spoke of.

When the heck is the Safin – Fed match? Do I have to say up all night!?

jane Says:


When Cilic and JMDP played, that was eons ago. Here’s what Cilic said in his presser:

Q. What about the next round against Del Potro?

MARIN CILIC: I mean, obviously he’s playing good. Winning in Auckland, coming in in good form, good shape. Saw a few points when he played the round before. I think he’s playing very well.

I think he’s gonna be tough opponent to beat.

Q. Did you play with him in juniors?

MARIN CILIC: We played long time ago. I’m not sure where was that. I think like when we were 15, 16. But it was like four or five years ago or something.

Q. Did you beat him?

MARIN CILIC: No, I think he won. We played twice. He won both. But that was once under‑14, once under‑16.

Sean Randall Says:

Eons ago is correct! Not sure how much relevance there is but just pointing it out.

Safin-Fed match will be on 5am or so ET. I will be fast asleep!

Von Says:


Roddick’s match is now being shown on ATDHE.net, live streaming in the Ivanovic v. Kleybanova slot on the Hisense court. Enjoy.

Ryan Says:

To jane: Well the jelena dokic match starts at 3:30am that is if ur in washington. The fed safin match is right after that.

Ryan Says:

I was surprised that djok wasnt really pumped up for this dellic match. It had a lotta political heat….but still he turned it on when it was hot in that 4th set.

Von Says:

ESPN is now switching over to Roddick’s match. I suppose they’ll be going back and forth between Jankovic and Roddick.

jane Says:

Roddick’s cruising so far.

I was happy to read this re: Amer & Novak: “Otherwise, it was all business on court, punctuated by shows of good sportsmanship. Several times, Djokovic applauded with his racket after great shots by Delic and gave him the thumbs-up when the American correctly challenged a line call in the tiebreaker.”

Kroll Says:

Its was amazing watching Dokic win, I must say. She has a pretty good game and some impressive retrieval skills, and considering how focused she seems, I cant see top 10 being too far off. Comebacks, especially of this kind, are a pretty cool thing…

Daniel Says:

Federer has found his serve! 100% points won on firts serve. He had almost a perfect set against a quality player like Safin, being able to raise his level when neede. I hope he can do it again when he face the big guns.

NachoF Says:

Safin seems to finally be putting up a fight

Ryan Says:

Fed is out to prove a point this time……

Polo Says:

Between Cilic and del Potro, I think Cilic is a better player but del Potro probably has more confidence and court poise at this time and will probably win.

Federer has played three matches the way he used to play about three years ago and that should bode well for him. Sorry to see Safin go but that is just how it goes.

Rodick, my dark horse keeps getting darker with each match (that is a positive comment!)I was not able to see Roddick’s vs Santoro. I hope he was able to conk that wuzz with his serve a couple of times, at least.

I am very happy for Baghdatis. I hope he gets even deeper into the draw but even if he does not make it farther after his 3rd round win, this tournament should give him confidence to do better for the rest of the year.

Djokovic had a tough match against Delic but still came through. Still a tough competitor who should not be ignored.

Can’t wait to see Nadal’s and Murray’s 3rd round match. All those top guys seem to be saying to each other with each match, “Top that!” And everybody seems to be responding very well.

Well, the cream appears to be rising to the top. This is one delicious tournament.

Polo Says:

I don’t include G Simon, Gasquet, Blake (no way!) and even Monfils among that cream.

margot Says:

First two sets Fed was brilliant- some of those winning forehands, coming from defensive play,were breathtaking, just the same old magic. Looks like Roger and Rafa all over again….

MMT Says:

I know it’s old news, but I was thoroughly impressed with the performance of Navarro who put a lot of pressure on Venus with the quality of her play. True, Venus didn’t play that well, and didn’t make adjustments to cut off the points and pressure Navarro, but a lot of that was down to Navarro, and full credit to Venus for crediting her for that. Unlike her petulant sister, lately Venus is all grace when she loses and Serena would do well to observe and emulate this example.

The Djokovic Delic match was a belter – I’m so impressed with the power and completeness of Delic’s game. He played the way I think we all imagined Philipousis would play had he not underachieved, and he gave Djokovic everything he could handle today. I think the Delic serve is the hardest I’ve seen if you combine the first and second serve – no comparison. The sound coming off his racquet sounds like the ball is bursting every time he hits it off both wings, and he’s got a nasty slice that brings me back to old school tennis. In the US he would have been a tight end, or a small forward, but being Bosnian-American, he’s become one hell of a player.

That said, hats off to Djokovic who is still hitting like a ton of bricks off both sides, and serving fantastically on the most critical points. I have to say, the absence of his parents, and his sportsmanship throughout the tournament has been an absolute delight, and on a personal level, I actually hope he defends his title, even though I still think Murray ’s the man to beat.

I just think it’s a damn shame that these idiot fans can’t behave themselves, and they’re destroying a great atmosphere for a great match. It looks like hooliganism has moved from soccer to tennis, and this is just awful.

Federer looked like a million bucks for the first two sets – if he playes like that (which I don’t think he will) he’ll win the title without dropping a set. Berdych has been a bit of a bogey player for him the past, but I really don’t see him coming up with the goods against Federer.

Finally, the Kleybonova really ought to be embarrassed by her fitness. Enberg was kind to her saying she was only 19 and that she’d grow into her body, but as any woman will tell you, naturally, 19 is about the best you’re going to be physically without a whole hell of a lot of work. Men tend to complete their physical development a little later, like 22/23, but by 19 years old, a woman has to have the work ethic to look like an athlete. I’m happy she won, but it’s as embarrassing for the game as it is for a guy like Nalbandian to walk around looking like he’s with child.

I know it’s early in the year, but if Roddick can lose 10-15 pounds in 2 months (and he was in pretty good shape), surely Nalbo and Kleybannova can too!

Danica Says:

Although I am Nole’s fan, I congratulate Amer on great game. My feeling is that better player lost. Novak managed to go through on sheer luck and experience. His game was not what I expected ( I kind of blame the heat that obviously doesn’t suit him), his lobs were bad, usual weapons were not working… Delic had a number of beautiful shots and his game was more appealing overall. Congrats to Delic and good luck to Nole against Marcos.

For all of you around the world that cannot see the best matches live, here is a great link:


I simultaneosly followed Novak-Chardy on TV and Cilic-Tipsarevic on my lap top :)).

jane Says:

Hi Danica,

I’ve been following 2 at once too! We’re crazy hey? :)

I was wondering if it’s Nole’s racquet that’s causing his shots to have less oomph, as opposed to the sun as you’ve suggested. The reason I say that is because I’ve noticed his groundstrokes aren’t as deep or accurate as usual, and I suspect it could be due to his getting used to the new equipment. I could be wrong, but that’s my feel after watching most of his first 3 matches.

Anyhow, onward and upward; I hope he does as well as he can do. I hope come back and post too!

jane Says:

That should be I hope you come back and post too, Danica.

Von Says:


Welcome back! Here’s a very good link also — the picture is grat especially if you have an HDMI Monitor.


Danica Says:

Hi Jane and Von,

thanks for the link ;), I’ll check it out now (want to see Monfils match). And I’ll be posting here whenever I have anything vaguely interesting to say or add :).
Regards ;)

nisha Says:

Who do you think is going to win the Australian Open? Nadal or Federer?

I hope its Nadal. Really good topic which discusses each player’s strengths and weaknesses


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