Tennis 2019: Plus ça change...

coremiller

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With Fed at his age you don't know how many more chances he's going to get. Tough to see it slip away when he had two match points on his serve.
 

jon abbey

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I don't have a problem with a tiebreak at 12-12, they already played five hours. Fed had his shot in the middle of that set, two championship points on his racket.
 

Ale Xander

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Dammit. F the Tiebreaks.

Gained a lot more respect for Djoker though.

That 11-11 game was one for the ages

Best replay system in sports.
 

BigMike

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RIght there Roger shows why he is the most popular athlete in the world.

What a class act

"I'll try to forget"
 

jon abbey

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Went back and watched most of the last set again with my wife who didn't see it this AM. Fed pushed so hard in that 11-11 game, he didn't have much left after that.
 

jon abbey

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Great piece by Joe Pos on the final yesterday, I didn't realize Novak had zero unforced errors in the three tiebreaks:

"None of them is the greatest ever. I know this is a strange thing to say, but I’m more sure of this than ever. Roger Federer is not the greatest ever. Novak Djokovic is not the greatest ever. Rafael Nadal is not the greatest ever.

No.

They all are.

They are the greatest ever, the three of them, a package deal. Sure, that might sound like a copout, and that’s not how they want it, obviously, and that’s not how fans want it either. But it seems to me the most reasonable conclusion. Yes, theoretically, we can argue about which one of them is the greatest in the same way that we can argue about who would win a fight between Superman, Thor and Phoenix. But it’s beside the point. They all win their share of fights.

Federer has the most grand slam titles. Nadal is untouchable on clay. Djokovic has a winning record against both of them. Federer has the greatest serve in the history of tennis and maybe the greatest forehand too. Djokovic has the greatest return in the history of tennis and maybe the greatest backhand too. Nadal is the greatest fighter ever on a tennis court, and the topspin he hits from both wings is unique.

Which one is the greatest? You can choose the fact that serves your argument. But choose carefully. You want Federer, point to the longevity, the career numbers, the quantity of victories, but understand that he won so many of those before Djokovic became self aware. You want Nadal, point to the fact that on one of the three surfaces, on clay, he is inarguably the best, but understand that on the other two he enters the arena as the underdog. You want Djokovic, point to his superiority over the other two, but understand that he has the relative advantage of youth, and that we will never know what a 24-year-old Federer would do against a 24-year-old Djokovic.

We can and will keep going round and round on this because we long for clarity, a singular answer, the greatest ever.

But it is the three of them, together, who have gone to another place."

 

Eastchop

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Serena with a <1 hr 6-1, 6-1 drubbing of Sharapova. She looked really sharp— better than she has looked in a while
 
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InstaFace

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Matches of note today (other than whatever @ConigliarosPotential is calling online, I guess):

12:00: Osaka - Blinkova (mostly to see how Osaka looks)
3:30: Potapova - Coco Gauff
3:30: Tsonga-Sandgren
9:00: S. Johnson-Kyrgios
9:00: S. Stephens - Kalinskaya

Not a killer lineup out there, but some stuff worth second-screening. And I mean, who knows how many times you'll get to root for a 15yo charm story like Coco Gauff?
 

jon abbey

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You missed Tsitsipas/Rublev, quite the war going on now. Rublev is up 2 sets to 1 and Tsitsipas is somehow cramping even though it's not hot at all.
 

InstaFace

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Gauff getting her butt kicked all around Armstrong Stadium by 18yo Potapova. Was down 1-5* before rallying a bit for a 3-6 first set loss, about to lose her serve to open the 2nd.
 

johnmd20

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Gauff getting her butt kicked all around Armstrong Stadium by 18yo Potapova. Was down 1-5* before rallying a bit for a 3-6 first set loss, about to lose her serve to open the 2nd.
Yeah, she's definitely off today. Hopefully she can turn it around, but time could run out fast.
 

InstaFace

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Gauff's wrist strength and footwork looks like a player much older, but her focus, shot selection, and reading of an opponent just aren't quite up to the level of the stage she's on. First game she aimed for the lines and missed twice by millimeters. She's reacting to Potapova's serve (which is average) and groundstrokes rather than attacking them, and making a lot of errors on over-ambitious shots, or ones where she's in a bad position on the point because she let Potapova stand and dictate to her rather than moving her around.

...and just as I write this, she goes up 0-40 on Potapova's serve, coughs it up back to deuce, gets a lucky netcord on deuce, and gets into a rally and hits a great winner to break back.

I guess who the hell knows with 15-year-olds, right? She can crank a 112 serve on the line one moment and be caught flat-footed by a body shot the next.
 

jon abbey

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Chris Evert just said something interesting, that when she was coming up as a very young player, she felt much more comfortable against tour veterans than against other young players like Potapova.
 

InstaFace

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From 2-2, 0-30 serving, she rattles off 4 straight points and then 4 straight games to take the 2nd in thundering fashion. Then gets broken the first game of the 3rd, looking tentative on her groundstrokes. Then plays incredible defense and breaks right back. And has now won 4 straight games, meaning she's broken Potapova 4 straight times.

Definitely can't judge Coco too quickly, she's very inconsistent but the highs are pretty darn high. She's both the player who won a 2nd-set tiebreak 9-7 with her tournament life on the line in the 3rd round of Wimbledon, and the player who fell apart to start this match. She'll take a few groundstrokes mid-hop, with no feet rooted, despite not running... and then hit some brilliant slices that draw errors. She flashed some decent net play and has had at least two chef's-kiss-worthy drop shots. And there's no denying that she's got that mysterious ability to absolutely hit the cover off the ball while not looking like she's trying that hard - Venus and Kerber and other big hitters look the same. The ball just sounds different coming off her racket.

Right now I'm finding it frustrating to root for her, but once she irons out some of the tactical choices (so she isn't caught off-guard by balls hit behind her, say, or doesn't go for max risk/reward quite so often), she'll have a really fun game, probably not unlike Halep or Stephens.
 

InstaFace

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Serena just cranked a 123mph serve against 17yo McNally. She doesn't have her A-level backhand though, at least not yet. But damn, I guess that shoulder is back to 100%.
 

InstaFace

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Serena righted the ship in the 2nd (started dominating at 1*-2, went up 4-1, could have won it 6-2 but ended 6-3). I stayed up until she was up a break in the 3rd and couldn't keep my eyes open anymore. I see now that she served up a breakstick in the 3rd, 6-1.

McNally must be stoked that she went out there on Arthur fuckin' Ashe in prime-time against Serena fuckin' Williams, and not only held it together but managed to keep her focus enough to take the first set. There are many players who never acquit themselves that well on that sort of stage (and of course, plenty who never get that chance, but among those who do...). Rennae Stubbs kept on comparing her to Coco Vandeweghe, and although McNally doesn't seem to have the same groundstroke power, her style is certainly comparable. If anything, McNally is way more willing to come to the net, to serve-and-volley, etc. She was hitting approach shots on Serena's second serve, and charging the net! How cool is that? Like, when's the last time someone tried to do that to Serena, 2007? After the glory days of Lindsay Davenport, I'm not sure I can recall any.

edit: from the ESPN writeup, this nugget:

Best win % after losing the 1st set in Majors, open era:
Serena Williams .512, 42-40
Chris Evert .500, 28-28
Monica Seles .486 18-19
Steffi Graf .469 23-26

If you take the first set off of Serena at a major... she is still likelier to win than to lose. That's way crazier than in the men's game, where at least you get some margin of error in a best-3-of-5.
 
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jon abbey

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I like her tennis acumen, so impressive for someone so young. She won a ton of points in the third set by hitting mid-court flutterballs, and Babos somehow couldn't deal with them.

Osaka/Coco on Saturday should be fun, wonder if they put that in the night session too.
 

Matty005

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I like her tennis acumen, so impressive for someone so young. She won a ton of points in the third set by hitting mid-court flutterballs, and Babos somehow couldn't deal with them.

Osaka/Coco on Saturday should be fun, wonder if they put that in the night session too.
You have to think they would. I don't see a women's match even close to that that they would put on instead.
 

InstaFace

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Today's lineup, if you want to start the holiday weekend early and procrastinate:

- Kei Nishikori is currently down a set vs Aussie De Minaur
- Federer is on Ashe now against brit Daniel Evans, just started.
- Serena vs unseeded Czech, K. Muchova, at ~2:30 to follow Federer
- Keys vs Kenin starts the evening on Ashe at 7:00 with an all-American matchup
- Djokovic vs Kudla (USA) headlines the 9pm matches
 

johnmd20

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I had Federer on in the background, but basically everytime I looked up, he was ripping a winner somewhere on the court. Three set domination.
 

jon abbey

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In the ongoing three way GOAT battle, winning here would be an incredible accomplishment for Djokovic. Assuming he finishes Kudla, he is into the final 16, where his final four matches looks like Wawrinka (who beat him here in the final in 2016), #5 Medvedev, #3 Federer and #2 Nadal. He should get two in his column if he has to beat those four, especially from #1 already (I will spare you my seeding rant this time).

The good news for us Novak fans is that his shouder issues from round 2 seem to be gone, he is toying with Kudla, up two sets now. He is going to need to be a hundred percent to get through that.
 

jon abbey

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Osaka outplaying Coco so far, she has come out pumped like it's a final and she is up 6-3. 1-0.
 

InstaFace

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Coco went up like a perfume in that second set. Bageled on national TV. Osaka nothing but compliments for her on the set after.

Kyrgios the featured match now. I don't root for Russians in just about anything, but Nick Kyrgios is enough to get me to root for Rublev. Took the first set in a brilliant tiebreak, Rublev did, including some great net play and a fantastic final point.

They just pulled up the Monfils match and announcers said that Monfils was "Kyrgios before Kyrgios". I'm just about offended on behalf of Monfils, who is as sweet and good natured as he is whimsical.
 

BigMike

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Yeah Monfils had his issues, and there were questions on his compete level at times, but he was never a Krygios
 

jon abbey

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Osaka played amazing, hope she can keep that up. Bencic next round for her is tough, Bencic has beaten her twice recently and they are the same age, but if Osaka gets through that, looks like Andreescu is the only one who can keep her from the final. Osaka/Keys would be a fun final, or a Serena rematch of course.
 

BigMike

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Fed just destroyed Goffin.

Keep waiting for the younger players to catch up and yet at times it feels the gap is growing still. I say this as we are getting to round of 16, and for many likely in round of 8 and not even getting remotely competitive matches

Nadal has Cilic next, and likely Zverev after that, and both guys are a disaster right now, and really struggling with their games. Cilic vs Isner yesterday was a nightmare match
 

jon abbey

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#2 Barty goes out easily on the women's side, which is a break for Serena who would have played her next if she wins today.
 

BigMike

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#2 Barty goes out easily on the women's side, which is a break for Serena who would have played her next if she wins today.
Huge break for sure, Barty is one of the few who could play with her if both are playing well

Hard to envision Serena not winning this, she seems to be at her best fitness level in many years
 

jon abbey

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Hard to envision Serena not winning this, she seems to be at her best fitness level in many years
I think it's easy to see someone like Keys or Osaka beating her, but one match at a time.
 

InstaFace

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I think it's easy to see someone like Keys or Osaka beating her, but one match at a time.
Not sure I'd bet on Keys right now.

One of the women who has the power to go stroke for stroke with Serena on a hard court, Pliskova, just went out in 3 to Konta.

Serena has improved this week on off balance hitting, but her movement still leaves a lot to be desired. Watching this second set vs Martic with great interest.
 

jon abbey

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Keys in deep trouble right now, Svitolina is serving like prime-era Fed at Wimbledon, winning 29 of 32 points she gets her first serve in, up 7-5, 3-2 with a break.
 

jon abbey

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Svitolina closes it out, she didn't face a break point all match. Evidently her and Monfils are a couple now, both doing very well here.