Djokovic Follows Nadal Out Of The Doha Draw; Federer Survives In Three In Brisbane
by Sean Randall | January 8th, 2015, 2:02 pm

We are not even a week into the 2015 season and already we’ve seen a bunch of surprising results. First defending champion Rafael Nadal got bounced by qualifier Michael Berrer in his 2015 opener Tuesday in Doha. Then hours ago top seed and Doha debutant Novak Djokovic was stunned in three by Ivo Karlovic 6-7(2), 7-6(6), 6-4 in the QFs.

Meanwhile, last night Roger Federer struggled against someone named John Millman 4-6, 6-4, 6-3. Federer was actually down a break in the second to the 153rd-ranked Australian. How the hell does that happen?

“I thought I got quite lucky,” said Federer on-court. “He was playing great tennis until maybe the last couple of games. I had to fight very hard. Credit to him for pushing me to the edge.

“I didn’t play badly, but maybe felt a bit tired at times. The first match of the season you never know quite what to expect. I am sweating like crazy. I am happy we had a good match and I got through in the end.”

Of the three, I actually rate the Federer result as the biggest surprise.

Rafa was making his return debut, so there’s some anxiety there and Berrer’s been a semi-decent player in the past.

With Karlovic, the ball really isn’t on your racquet. If Ivo serves well – and he did with 21 aces and never facing a break chance – he’s a tough out for anyone on any surface, especially during a sandstorm. And that’s what happened today.

“It was unbelievable,” said Karlovic. “When I arrived here, I didn’t expect that one. He wasn’t able to show his full range because it was windy. I just focused on my game and in the end I was a little luckier.”

But Federer almost losing to a 25-year-old Mailman, er Millman, who had never beaten a guy in the Top 75? That’s not a good start.

Luckily, though, for all three HOFers it is just that, THE START. But if it’s any indication, what a wild ride this year could be.

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49 Comments for Djokovic Follows Nadal Out Of The Doha Draw; Federer Survives In Three In Brisbane

brando Says:

Excellent appraisal Sean of events. Rafael? As I said he’s just embarking on his return so it will take time for him get his groove going. Novak? Facing ivo that can happen. Fed? He’s 33, first match back. I think expecting him to hit his stride immediately also is too much.

Jack Lewis Says:

Yep the one that didn’t lose is the most surprising result…

A local player almost pulling a huge upset in front of his home crowd, I’ve never see that before.

Mailman… that’s gold Jerry.

sienna Says:

Jack Lewis
The world needs a nice cynical view point atm.
appreciate it.

Wog Boy Says:

Nole will be right in Melbourne, there is no sandstorme, changing nappies…and hopefully no Dr Ivo.

Milkman had Federer for the throat but had to let him go becasue he was running late for his milk run.

I remember few years back when Federer lost to Dr Ivo at IW, he had to play against him again after few months and he said “I hate playing Karlovic, I didn’t make any mistake in IW and yet I lost”, I can add “you were due to lose one in Basel last year, if it wasn’t for the nasty Swiss fans heckling Dr Ivo and cheering when Karlovic was missing first serves.”

Tmd Says:

Millman has taken at set off Murray and now Fed.Not bad at all.

skeezer Says:

@Wog Boy,
True about Dr. Ivo, and really about Isner/Raonic. I remember to Fed saying that…lol.
If there big serves are on, you can bet at the very least sets are going to be TB’s, cause they ARE going to hold serve. And from there, anything can happen.
I like the battles with big servers. If you can get a return back here and there, and run the the big guys around, you usually have the advantage. But the days where there is no chance returning there monster serves, you had better hold yours. IT’s a cat and mouse game of a different sort. I realize some may think its all boring and what not, but if you really look into the match the strategies are often different and you have to be even more precise in your shotmaking abilities.

I never got an answer about this, the courts at AO are going to be slower than Doha…right?

Okiegal Says:

I hung in the Wimbledon match between Isner and Mahut for three days……loved every minute of it! Boring to some I am sure. But my interest was seeing who was going to cave first. That’s a piece of tennis history that I witnessed……don’t believe we’ll ever see anything like that happening again……bizarre!!

Wog Boy Says:

skeezer, the speed of AO courts are classified as medium to fast courts, not really slow but not fast either, but the bounce is higher, of course, one can lay them down to be slower or faster than it is offical rating for that surface. When the old one (Rebound ace) was replaced with new one (Plexicushion) for 2008 AO, Federer wasn’t happy and since then everybody (wrongly) are labeling AO courts as slow, the problem for Federer wasn’t speed, but higher bounce. The only reason why they didn’t replace Rebound ace with Plexicushion before 2008, was patriotic, previous tournamen director didn’t want to replace Australian made and owned Rebound ace with American Plexicushion.

Here is nice article from last year about the matter:

jane Says:

i think nole said before playing dr.ivo this time something like “i haven’t met anyone who likes playing him,” which i guess echoes fed’s sentiments and i am sure those of many.

skeezer, i do not know for sure about the courts, as i don’t know where to check that info, but daniel said on the other thread that the courts at the AO are slower than those in doha.

jane Says:

okie, i was on holidays for the epic isner-mahut, so i caught glimpses of it here and there, which is about all i needed. ;) mahut is a good grass player, and i do remember some great dive volleys and such from him. isner isn’t as fun to watch in my opinion. but to each her/his own.

andrea Says:

dr ivo. aka ‘the lottery’.

i don’t think any player relishes facing him, especially first match back after a break.

but, congrats to him for a ‘big’ win, pardon the pun.

Humble Rafa Says:

I am not sure why these guys have problems playing the Tallovic. I mean, just put the ball back in court and that’s all you have to do.

Okiegal Says:

@Jane……Like I said, seeing who was going to get broken first, was why I hung in there with it. As far as it being a great match, it wasn’t…….but it was a historical match…..a real “ace fest”.
Thanks for the response……sorry for Novak’s loss….was very surprised. Know how you feel, I was disappointed Rafa left early…..very early…..but alive in the doubles….go figure??? Says:

Wog, the other way Oz is idiosyncratic is the heat and humidity which fluffs the balls and makes them fly slower, so even though the surface may be considered one speed, the experience is different.

Wog Boy Says:

TV, can you use more simple word for me, I am a bit slow, I had to google “idiosyncratic” to find out meaning of the word,
My answer is yes and no. Brisbane is more hot and humid than Melbourne, but the balls don’t fluff and bounce is low and court very fast, they changed it for the last year, just on time for Federer to play Brisbane, coincidence?:)
Perth courts, on the other hand are exactly the same as Melborne, but west coast is dry compare to east coast and Melbourne which is more humid, if the balls fluff and affect the speed of court in Melbourne it should be the other way around in Perth, but is not, the speed is unchanged.

jane Says:

milos lost the second set to groth; the third is just getting started.

Wog Boy Says:

Groth, the footy player, is outserving Milos.

jane Says:

it was very close, wasn’t it? but groth got tight in the final tiebreak, perhaps understandably, and milos, who’s more familiar with those situations, raised his level just a little bit, enough to get through.

Wog Boy Says:

Similar as yesterday against Kubot, serving fest just different result. Very fast court.

jane Says:

kei just served “tomic the tank engine” a bagel in the first set. he will be very dangerous at the australian open.

Wog Boy Says:

I wish I could watch that one, Tomic is so full of himself that after he beat Kokkinakis said “I know hoe he (Kokkinakis) felt because I know how I felt as 18 years old playing top players”!!

Wog Boy Says:

I back and watching now it is 3:3 second set. Jane, I don’t think Nishikori is as dangerous in Melbourne as he is on fast courts, where his very early pick up and great footwork can do more damage.

jane Says:

yeah i guess that makes sense wog boy, although i remember last year at the australian, kei came close to beating rafa – weren’t there 3 tiebreaks or similar? anyhow, he’s just broken tomic and will serve for the match – so that would mean raonic, dimitrov and nishikori are all through in brisbane.

kjb Says:

IMO if Kei stays healthy for any amount of time he could go onto win multiple majors on any surface. He hits the ball so clean and early. Great footwork and super quick. Backhand is off the hook. Love watching him play.

Just watched the Raonic-Groth match. Lil bit of a snoozefest. Milos didn’t get a sniff of a breakpoint the whole match. Groth through it away in both tiebreaks. His return game has got to improve to have any chance against the top dogs in 5 set format.

Wog Boy Says:

^^pretty much agree with all points.

Michael Says:

It happens. You tend to get a little rusty, tepid, lethargic and out of sorts at the start of the year. Novak’s loss to Karlovic is not a surprise as the later is always capable of springing upsets which has dotted his career. He has a big booming serve and if that finds the lines then it is only boom, boom leaving the opponent frustrated. What should be disconcerting for Novak is not the loss, but the nature of it. He would especially be perturbed by the fact that Karlovic managed to break him in the third set and thereby sealing a convincing win. Now the Qatar field is wide open and Berdych and Ferrer have chances to lift the title thereby giving an impetus to their run at the beginning of the calendar year.

At the other end, you have Roger struggling against a qualifier. But what is reassuring is that he has won. Qualifiers are always tricky to play against as they have nothing to lose and all to play for. They can swing their racquets quite freely and there are days although rare when they will find the right targets and if you are not the favoured one, you would find yourself at the other side of the net facing the music and suffering a humiliation.

Overall, it is apparent that the creamy layer of Tennis has struggled at the beginning of the year and we need to wait as to how things unfold from hereon. May be the top is reserving their best for the all important Australian Open ?

Wog Boy Says:

One more thing about Nishikori’s game, his return game is just excelent.

jane Says:

kjb, i agree about raonic; his return game versus groth was horribly lacking.

also agree about kei; he is the most dangerous of the up-and-comers for the reason both you and wog boy point out. i’d add that i think chang is another feather in his cap; chang has that compete level and push that maybe kei needed. he might be the final piece of the puzzle for kei to break through and win a major.

Yolita Says:

I don’t think this loss to Karlovic is cause for concern for us Nole fans. Ivo was in the zone and played impeccable tennis. Not only did he serve brilliantly, his groundstrokes were very good, he was calm, he made the right choices at the right time. He kept his cool and his focus.
A very well deserved win. He was so happy! It was good to see.
I just finished watching Nishikori demolish Tomic. Nishikori will be very dangerous this year. He’s looking just fine! Very fast, very confident, playing great tennis.
Let’s see how he plays his next matches.
If he wins and Stan loses tomorrow, Kei will take the #4 seed for Australia.

skeezer Says:

Now knowing the different speeds and surfaces of these prelim tourneys into AO, how can one gauge the top players form once they reach AO? Exception?>>>>

Yolita…I think most fans acknowledge Kei ( if healthy ) will be a force to be reckoned with this year on whatever surface….the guy can play.

Margot Says:

I remember Hewitt playing Karlovic at Wimbles, and winning, but the pictures at the net were bizarre, talk about David and Goliath.
Also remember Andy saying his wrists hurt after playing K.
Love watching Kei too. In my top 5.

sienna Says:

wow has cilic pulled out of Australië Open?
He would have been more then a dark horse.
with the way formerelite 4 is playing andere how freaking easiley he beat Nishikori in US Open

That final was aan walk in Central Park for him. Nishikori is considered a top contender on this site and Cilic a freak accident. but the one match that mattered was easy pickings for Cilic.

sienna Says:

yup Federer just had to surrender 6 points in set 1. Is something wrong with him? Maybe Sean can give some insight. The start is not so good surrendering over 5 points and taking longer then 19 minutes for the set.

sienna Says:

yup just aced the guy for 5-1 lead in second.

1 on 2nd serve.. what is wrong with Federer?

He is winning but surrendering aan game in 2nd and maybe more.

sienna Says:

0 and 1. Did Murray step in place for Duckworth?

skeezer Says:

Fed rebounded well with a bagel and a stick over AU Duckworth. Onward. Says:

What an amazing semis line-up in Brisbane. Dad and the Kids.

Daniel Says:

Wow, Fed winning in 41 min. that was fast.
The semis look awesome, hoping for a Fed x Kei final. But basically any combination will be interesting and improve chances for AO specially if Fed is not the winner at the end. All this guys needs this boost.

fumus Says:

Wow, Tennis-x.. . what a bunch of hacks you are.

So Nadal loses and it’s “ominous” (also not a proof read post) and when Novak loses it’s expected, normal and nbd y’all!

Why do you guys hate Nadal?

Also, WTF is this article? Millman is “Mailman”, did you even watch the match or just read the scores? That kid has game, a great serve , nice backhand and good feel around net.

Not sure what happened at the end of that match but I think he just got a bit tight and stopped going for his shots as much.

Horrible hack job tennis-x! Keep it up.

skeezer Says:

Nadal lost to a qualifier, again. That I would quantify as ominous.
Nole losing to Ivo is not. Ivo’s qualities were well mentioned here, he is a tennis vet who can geat anybody on any given day (Clay excluded).
Fed did mention he was “lucky ” at the end and acknowledged Millmans great play.
I don’t get the hate comment but whatever…

sienna Says:

if all it was spitefull against Federer.
Winning isnt enough. He needs to win free flowing and with ease.

Never have I seen such rubbish.

Daniel Says:

Exquisite tiebreak by Ferrer with perfect passing shots to win third set. Onto finals.

elina Says:

The following presents a very interesting court comparison analysis.

The index is a normalized ratio of the number of aces at that tournament normalized to the average number of aces for all ATP tournaments.

Other than 2011, based on this analysis, the court surfaces in Doha and AO were pretty much the same. Both are pretty much exactly average “speed” with an index close to 1.00.

Event Sf 10 A% 11 A% 12 A% 13 A% 3yr

Australian Open H 0.98 1.10 0.92 1.08 1.03
Doha H 0.88 1.29 0.90 0.98 1.00

The fastest court in 2013? The red clay of Sao Paulo due to the high altitude and thin air. Faster than Wimbledon (which was 4th).

Wog Boy Says:

” That kid has game, a great serve , nice backhand and good feel around net.”

That “kid” is 25 years old #157 that never qualified for GS appart of playing AO 2013 as WC. Don’t make him better than he is, it was rush of adrenalin in his home town and pretty rusty Roger. Don’t get me wrong, he is very nice young man but not so good tennis player, we will not here about him until next year Brisbane.
As for Nole, he lost to #27 and Rafa lost to #???

Wog Boy Says:

^^ “hear” and not “here”

elina Says:

No different than losing to Zeballos on clay no less in 2013 and look how that turned out.

As for Nole? Serving giant. Can happen to anyone on any given day.


Wog Boy Says:

The only problem that Rafa might have at AO is luck of matches, after first week, he should be right to go for the title, if there is no nasty surprises in the first week of course. This time around the good draw is more important than ever for Rafa.

madmax Says:

Okiegal Says:
I hung in the Wimbledon match between Isner and Mahut for three days……loved every minute of it! Boring to some I am sure. But my interest was seeing who was going to cave first. That’s a piece of tennis history that I witnessed……don’t believe we’ll ever see anything like that happening again……bizarre!!

January 8th, 2015 at 6:41 pm


I was there when the match was being played. Only reason it was the longest match ever was because it was over three days. A lot of the shots were serve only, or one-two shots on the return.

It really was a boring match, with little variety towards the end. Understandable because both players were extremely tired. Certainly not one of the all time great matches.

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