Tennis 2019: Plus ça change...

jon abbey

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6-3, 6-2, 6-3.

Novak was 13-0 in service games, 5-8 on Nadal's serve.

Total time was just 2:04, total domination of an alltime great who had won all 18 sets coming in. It doesn't get more impressive than that.
 

jon abbey

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The last 63 Grand Slams have broken down as follows:

Federer 20
Nadal 17
Djokovic 15
Murray 3
Wawrinka 3
Safin 2
Cilic
Del Potro
Gaudio
 

jezza1918

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Those three straight-up canceled a new generation of players
It’s getting to the point where they might cancel two generations of new hopefuls-
Guys like Dmitrov and Raonic have been replaced by the Zverevs and Thiems of the tour. Nothing any of the newest guys have shown me makes me think they can perform at the slams consistently enough to replace the big 3 anytime soon unless they slow down. And I haven’t seen anything from Nadal, Djokovic, or Fed that makes me think they won’t continue to dominate.
 

BigMike

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Congrats to the GOAT, as Rogers finally is able to lock down his 100th career championship
 

ConigliarosPotential

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Fans in Indian Wells definitely got their money's worth yesterday. What a star-making performance by Bianca Andreescu, and Dominic Thiem just overpowered Federer at times. I believe all 19 ATP events this year (including the Australian Open) have been won by different players, which is pretty remarkable.
 

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Hey CP, can you use your platform to advocate for playing best-of-5-set Finals at every tournament, both singles divisions? All the usual excuses - rest periods and TV scheduling - are made moot by the time you're in a Finals, and with only one match on the day (per division anyway), you want fans to get their money's worth even more than usual.
 

ConigliarosPotential

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My platform is miniscule...but I'm not sure I'd use it for this. I remember the days when the Masters finals were best-of-5, and while I do love best-of-5 tennis, I also like the unpredictability of best-of-3 tennis outwith the Slams. The Masters events are basically now the pinnacle of best-of-3 tennis, and I like that Thiem had a bigger chance of winning yesterday than he would have against Federer in a best-of-5 match.

(I can, of course, bring up the topic next week during my Miami commentary without taking sides...) ;)
 

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You're basically saying that best-of-3 gives the better player a lower chance of securing the win, while giving the worse player a better chance (which it does, and I think we agree on that). I'm not sure why that's a good thing for viewers or even the competition in general. Don't we want the better players (on the day / in that moment) to win? To have less-heralded names prove their value and score an upset by outlasting and out-executing?

Taken to the logical conclusion, we should just have a single set. To 4 games. Or just play a set tiebreak and be done with it. Actually let's just have the two players come out and flip a coin, since that gives the worse player an even better chance! I really don't understand why less play would ever be a good thing, unless injury risk or schedule considerations (see: test cricket) place practical limits on it.
 

ConigliarosPotential

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Taken to the logical conclusion, we should just have a single set. To 4 games. Or just play a set tiebreak and be done with it. Actually let's just have the two players come out and flip a coin, since that gives the worse player an even better chance! I really don't understand why less play would ever be a good thing, unless injury risk or schedule considerations (see: test cricket) place practical limits on it.
For one thing, that isn't the logical conclusion. Best-of-3-sets is generally thought to be the optimal length most tennis matches, whereas nobody wold say that about any of the other formats you've mentioned - unless you're a fan of the Tiebreak Tens format, which is not serious tennis. I do kinda like the Next Gen format of best-of-5 sets but first-to-4-games in each set, and I wonder if that might be a way forward in normal ATP Tour events at some point. (Although I'm not ready for no-ad scoring in singles, but that's neither here nor there.)

The other thing is that scheduling issues and injury risk would indeed play into the best-of-5 format issue over the course of a season. At the Slams, everyone normally gets a day of rest between matches - back-to-back matches are uncommon, and even when they happen, everyone has geared themselves up for one of the four biggest events of the season, and their bodies are as ready as possible to handle that sort of workload. On Sunday, Thiem had come off of a three-setter the day before (Federer having gotten a walkover...would it have been fair to subject Thiem to an extra set or two under those circumstances, and would the winner necessarily have been the better player on the day if Federer had rallied against an out-of-gas Thiem in 5?), and both men would be heading for another Masters 1000 event starting less than a week later on the other side of the country. There were rumors that Thiem might skip Miami, and I bet he would have skipped it if he'd had to play more tennis on Sunday, which wouldn't have benefited anyone.

Again, I love best-of-5 tennis, and I can see the arguments for it in Masters 1000-level finals. I can just see the arguments against it equally clearly.
 

BigMike

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Roger wins Miami, career #101. He becomes the first repeat winner either male or female in 2019. Next up for Roger is Madrid, so he will play some of the clay circuit

On a sour not, Isner broke down physically during the match. Got to give him tons of credit to compete to the end, but he could barely move by the end of the second set
 

ConigliarosPotential

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By "repeat winner", you of course mean that Federer is the first person to win a second event this season on either tour, not that he's the first person to defend a title from last year. While Isner may have broken down in the second set, Federer made breaking Isner's serve look startlingly easy in the first set - I wonder how he's going to do on clay this year.
 

BigMike

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By "repeat winner", you of course mean that Federer is the first person to win a second event this season on either tour, not that he's the first person to defend a title from last year. While Isner may have broken down in the second set, Federer made breaking Isner's serve look startlingly easy in the first set - I wonder how he's going to do on clay this year.
Yes he is the first person on either tour to win two events in 2019. Just astounding

The funny thing is Feds game seemed o decline along with Isner's game. Fed was just incredible in the first set while Isner seemed healthy. After Isner got hurt it seemed Fed just lost his edge
 

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Anyone following the French Open? Goffin just took a set off of Nadal, now 2-1 Nadal in the 4th.
 

jon abbey

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The top 10 men are all still in, so we are two rounds away from the following quarterfinals:

Djokovic (1)
Zverev (5)

Thiem (4)
Del Potro (8)

Tsitsipas (6)
Federer (3)

Nishikori (7)
Nadal (2)

Yes, please.

And I say it here during most Grand Slams, but looking at that, how dumb is it that the top half isn't Djokovic/Del Potro and Thiem/Zverev? Man that bugs me.
 

jon abbey

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Osaka loses badly, she struggled in her two previous matches also but didn't have a third comeback in her. She and Serena would have played again if they both made it to the quarters, so that helps Serena a bit.

In sharp contrast to the men, Halep at #3 is the only one of the top six seeds still in it, Serena at #10 is the fourth highest and Sloane Stephens at #7 is the highest seeded player remaining in the entire bottom half of the draw.
 

jon abbey

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I only saw the last part of the second set, but Kenin was impressive. She is a 20 year old former junior champion who is up to #35 in the rankings, Serena missed too many very makeable shots but Kenin looked tough also.
 

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I don't think Anisimova has done much in the regular WTA events, but this is the second consecutive major where she's made a relatively deep run (though I think both times it's come a the expense of Sabalenka).
 

Sam Ray Not

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Rafa beats Argentinian in the 4th round on Court Philippe Chatrier, 6-2, 6-3, 6-3.
Roger beats Argentinian in the 4th round on Court Philippe Chatrier, 6-2, 6-3, 6-3.
 

jon abbey

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The Tsitsipas/Wawrinka match is a blast.

Tsitsipas is a bit of a maniac
Wawrinka is fighting off every challenge, Tsitsipas is 0-7 on break points in the 5th so far, they are tied at 5-5. Federer faces the winner here and this match is up to 4:50 now, so good news for Fed fans.
 

jon abbey

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Nice comeback from Stephens to win the first set 6-4 from Muguruza after starting down 0-2.
 

jon abbey

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Wawrinka gets break points for the first time all set and capitalizes, 8-6 in the 5th. Too bad, I wanted to see Tsitsipas take a shot at Federer. 5:05, longest match of the tournament.
 

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I was out during the day and only caught the end of Wawrinka-Tsitsipas, but I'm really surprised Wawrinka has found this sort of form - I've watched his season pretty closely since I commentated on him at Indian Wells, and although he's had a few decent wins he's also had some pretty poor losses. (I should note that his match I called at Indian Wells, against Marton Fucsovics, was a three-and-a-half hour epic that he won 7-5 in the third...and then he lost in straight sets to Federer in his next match, which is what I fully expect will happen in their quarterfinal at Roland Garros as well.)
 

jon abbey

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I don't think Anisimova has done much in the regular WTA events, but this is the second consecutive major where she's made a relatively deep run (though I think both times it's come a the expense of Sabalenka).
Into the quarters now easily, 6-3, 6-0. She gets the defending champion Halep next, Madison Keys and Sloane Stephens make it three American quarterfinalists.

Six of the top seven men into the quarters, with Del Potro (8) losing to Khachonov (10) currently and Wawrinka taking out #6 Tsitsipas. It's still looking like the Nadal/Djokovic final everyone expected, but Novak will have to go through #5 Zverev and probably #4 Thiem to get there.
 

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I'm going to enjoy watching Wawrinka beg Federer to make it quick and painless. That'll be an 8am ET start on Lenglen. Stephens-Konta starts that time on Chatrier.
 

bosoxsue

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I'm going to enjoy watching Wawrinka beg Federer to make it quick and painless. That'll be an 8am ET start on Lenglen. Stephens-Konta starts that time on Chatrier.
Four more break points saved in this set and here we go with a tiebreak ... how much longer can he keep this up is the question.
 

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Did not see Wawrinka pulling off 5 consecutive holds to take the 2nd there. Almost blew it at the end, too, but he held on.

I wouldn't say Federer is struggling, more than Wawrinka is playing up to his level right now. We'll see if he can sustain that. Fed has hit some absolute soul-crushers out of nowhere these last few minutes.
 

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Play called for incoming thunderstorm at 3-3 in the 4th. Federer won the 3rd set tiebreak so he's edging ahead, but he hasn't been able to convert his break points for love or money.

Meanwhile, Konta having beat Stephens to make the semis (which might be the best thing to happen in British tennis in several years), Nadal was over on Chatrier absolutely savaging Nishikori 6-1, 6-1, 4-2, when play was stopped. Nadal was apparently "apopletic", which adjusted for Tennis mores probably meant he had a slight frown on while talking quietly to the TD.
 

BigMike

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Play called for incoming thunderstorm at 3-3 in the 4th. Federer won the 3rd set tiebreak so he's edging ahead, but he hasn't been able to convert his break points for love or money.

Meanwhile, Konta having beat Stephens to make the semis (which might be the best thing to happen in British tennis in several years), Nadal was over on Chatrier absolutely savaging Nishikori 6-1, 6-1, 4-2, when play was stopped. Nadal was apparently "apopletic", which adjusted for Tennis mores probably meant he had a slight frown on while talking quietly to the TD.
Nadal can show more than a slight frown out there, so I can imagine he showed a bit more than that. He should be comforted by having a charmin soft draw to this point (including Nishikori), and even next match is likely to be a massacre in the semi's. He managed to avoid Zverev, and Thiem either of him would have been a MUCH tougher potential matchup than anyone in his half of the draw. . (obviously he could face one instead of Djoker, but that would be a huge shocker)

Not sure if the delay helps or hurts Roger. .
 

jon abbey

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Nadal finishes off Nishikori and Fed breaks Stan and holds on, 6-4 in the 4th, so they are both through to the semis.
 

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...against each other. What a treat that we thought we'd never see again.

You know that shower-thought-esque line that's been going around recently, that "at some point in your childhood, there was a moment that was the last time you would play together with all of your friends, and none of you knew it at the time"? At some point, there will be a Nadal-Federer (or -Djokovic) match in a grand slam that will be the last time we see them wrestle for those stakes, and none of us will know it at the time. But given the constraints on Federer playing on clay these days, we might well assume this is the last time for them, at least at this tournament.

Thursday morning.
 

BigMike

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...against each other. What a treat that we thought we'd never see again.

You know that shower-thought-esque line that's been going around recently, that "at some point in your childhood, there was a moment that was the last time you would play together with all of your friends, and none of you knew it at the time"? At some point, there will be a Nadal-Federer (or -Djokovic) match in a grand slam that will be the last time we see them wrestle for those stakes, and none of us will know it at the time. But given the constraints on Federer playing on clay these days, we might well assume this is the last time for them, at least at this tournament.

Thursday morning.
Yup, I'm amazed Fed could still make a semi final on clay.. Coming into this tournament he had played 13 sets on clay this year (and the last 3 years), and 24 sets on clay since he lost to Stan 4 years ago in Paris. And he had pulled out of Rome Injured

Although, I guess with the way tennis has evolved. The clay court specialists are largely dead, and this is probably now the easiest major to reach the semi's (depending on your draw)
 

jon abbey

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The whole day today is rained out, two men's quarters and two women's, which has to give a big advantage to the players who finished yesterday, as if Nadal needed even more help.
 

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The rained out quarters are the players who will meet in the semis, so it may not be quite as large an advantage (it won't show up until the final).
 

jon abbey

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The rained out quarters are the players who will meet in the semis, so it may not be quite as large an advantage (it won't show up until the final).
Yeah, the top half will play Thursday and Friday before the Sunday final, assuming there are no more rained out days (they are expecting bad weather again Friday), and Nadal/Federer played their previous matches Tuesday before their Friday semi. Djokovic has to go through Zverev and probably Thiem, two young top 5 players, before Nadal on Sunday, that is an even tougher road than it seemed coming into today.
 

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They did a nice tribute for David Ferrer on Tuesday, as he announced his retirement.

Had a fantastic career, specializing in clay but seeing success all-around. Had a run of 10 grand slams in a row where he made the QFs, including of course the 2013 French where he had the honor of getting blown off the court by Nadal in the Final. Offed Andy Murray at the height of Murray's powers to prevent an all-Big-4 semifinal in RG 2012, and did likewise to (an injured) Nadal in the 2011 Aussie. For a while was ranked #5 in the world, and even ended 2013 ranked #3. A fantastically consistent and healthy player, Ferrer missed only one grand slam from 2003 through 2018. But his best was, like everyone else, simply not good enough when he went up against the living legends. But when not playing those legends, his consistency and defense gave him a great chance to win against anyone else. For example, he reached 7 Masters 1000 finals; of those, 6 were against the Big Four, and Ferrer went 0-6. In the 7th, the 2012 Paris Championships, he was against Jerzy Janowicz and won in straight sets. He also was part of a Spanish team that lifted 3 Davis Cups. So his career was not without glory, but there's a certain kind of sadness you might expect from someone who was so close to the mountaintop, for so long, and could see it there in front of him and knew what it took to get there... and simply could never break through.

Wishing him further health and consistency in his future endeavors.
 

bosox4283

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Yeah, the top half will play Thursday and Friday before the Sunday final, assuming there are no more rained out days (they are expecting bad weather again Friday), and Nadal/Federer played their previous matches Tuesday before their Friday semi. Djokovic has to go through Zverev and probably Thiem, two young top 5 players, before Nadal on Sunday, that is an even tougher road than it seemed coming into today.
And, just like that, it seems that Djokovic will roll Zverev in three sets.
 

BigMike

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They did a nice tribute for David Ferrer on Tuesday, as he announced his retirement.

Had a fantastic career, specializing in clay but seeing success all-around. Had a run of 10 grand slams in a row where he made the QFs, including of course the 2013 French where he had the honor of getting blown off the court by Nadal in the Final. Offed Andy Murray at the height of Murray's powers to prevent an all-Big-4 semifinal in RG 2012, and did likewise to (an injured) Nadal in the 2011 Aussie. For a while was ranked #5 in the world, and even ended 2013 ranked #3. A fantastically consistent and healthy player, Ferrer missed only one grand slam from 2003 through 2018. But his best was, like everyone else, simply not good enough when he went up against the living legends. But when not playing those legends, his consistency and defense gave him a great chance to win against anyone else. For example, he reached 7 Masters 1000 finals; of those, 6 were against the Big Four, and Ferrer went 0-6. In the 7th, the 2012 Paris Championships, he was against Jerzy Janowicz and won in straight sets. He also was part of a Spanish team that lifted 3 Davis Cups. So his career was not without glory, but there's a certain kind of sadness you might expect from someone who was so close to the mountaintop, for so long, and could see it there in front of him and knew what it took to get there... and simply could never break through.

Wishing him further health and consistency in his future endeavors.
Nice to see the French open honor him. He actually retired 4 weeks ago in Madrid, something he had announced a year ago (and there was a huge ceremony at the time) . Absolutely great player. In a different era he may have won 4 or 5 grand slams, certainly a few French Opens.


Novak loos good today. Theim was AWESOME today,