Tennis 2021

jon abbey

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The Australian Open kicked off today, my favorite tournament of the year (ok, top two with the US Open).
 

jon abbey

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5 matches on Rod Laver today, all easy straight wins for the top players (Osaka, Serena, Thiem, Halep, Djokovic).

Sinner/Shapavolov now could be a fun one.
 
This was a fun battle between two young sluggers, I think Sinner probably wins easily if he didn’t play 4 matches in the 3 previous days.
I don't quite understand why the tournament organizers didn't give Sinner a day to recover - don't they usually let players who reach the final of the previous week's tournament get a day (or two) off at the start of a Slam? At the end of the day, I suspect Sinner will ultimately be happier to have won a 500-level tournament and banked all of those ranking points relative to, say, losing a QF in the warm-up event and then reaching the R16 of the Australian Open itself, but today still has to feel like it was a kick in the teeth for him.
 

jon abbey

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The top players for both men and women looking great early on almost across the board, Monfils (10) is the only top 10 player out and almost every match seems to be an easy straight set win.
 

jezza1918

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I don't quite understand why the tournament organizers didn't give Sinner a day to recover - don't they usually let players who reach the final of the previous week's tournament get a day (or two) off at the start of a Slam? At the end of the day, I suspect Sinner will ultimately be happier to have won a 500-level tournament and banked all of those ranking points relative to, say, losing a QF in the warm-up event and then reaching the R16 of the Australian Open itself, but today still has to feel like it was a kick in the teeth for him.
There were two tournaments though right? Meaning four different men played matches the day before the Open started. Point being I feel like it would be tough to schedule all four for day 2. I'm actually more surprised they scheduled him for the last night match, given recent trends in early rounds there meant he probably wouldn't get on at a normal hour (which he didn't). My guess is he would've much preferred a late afternoon/early evening start allowing him to get on a normal rest schedule.
 

jezza1918

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Just kind of getting into draw now, some nice wins for Americans on both sides. Tough on mens side that Opelka & Fritz face off in second round...and even tougher for Tiafoe, who played great in his first round only to see Djoker in second. He has to claw his way back into top 32 to avoid these types of draws in the future.
 
There were two tournaments though right? Meaning four different men played matches the day before the Open started. Point being I feel like it would be tough to schedule all four for day 2. I'm actually more surprised they scheduled him for the last night match, given recent trends in early rounds there meant he probably wouldn't get on at a normal hour (which he didn't). My guess is he would've much preferred a late afternoon/early evening start allowing him to get on a normal rest schedule.
Half of the singles field doesn't play its first matches until day 2 - I think they could have managed it somehow. (I haven't checked, but I *guess* maybe one side of the draw began yesterday and the other side today, and they wanted to each half on schedule? That's the only excuse I can come up with, and even then I would have made an exception.) Mind you, Dan Evans - winner of the other men's event in Melbourne Park last week - looked pretty much out of form today from what I saw of his four-set loss to Cameron Norrie, and he had the extra day to recover.
 

jezza1918

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Half of the singles field doesn't play its first matches until day 2 - I think they could have managed it somehow. (I haven't checked, but I *guess* maybe one side of the draw began yesterday and the other side today, and they wanted to each half on schedule? That's the only excuse I can come up with, and even then I would have made an exception.) Mind you, Dan Evans - winner of the other men's event in Melbourne Park last week - looked pretty much out of form today from what I saw of his four-set loss to Cameron Norrie, and he had the extra day to recover.
Typically at the slams they do break up first couple days by half (the only regular exception is Roland Garros since they now break up the first round into 3 days). The other thing that is odd about this schedule was the lead in tournaments being played up to day before the Open started. From my time working around the tour usually the last warm up events' finals were played on Saturday.
 

jon abbey

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#8 Andreescu out easily today, but not such a big surprise as she is just coming back after 15 months off recovering from a knee injury.
 

jon abbey

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I haven't been watching so closely but Tiafoe is facing Djokovic for the first time ever and giving him all he can handle so far, tied at a set apiece (6-3 to Novak, 7-6 to Tiafoe), third set starting now on ESPN2.
 

shawnrbu

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Venus showing a lot of courage to still compete out there.

Is it a violation of tennis etiquette to try a drop shot when your opponent can barely move?
 
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jon abbey

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Tiafoe gave Djokovic all he could handle, losing a third set tiebreaker and then getting broken at 3-3 after a time violation at deuce, 6-3 in the 4th but a great effort from Tiafoe to battle the whole way.

Osaka is on in an hour or so, looking forward to that.
 

jon abbey

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Wow, Opelka had Fritz on the ropes, up 2 sets to 1 and 5-1 in the tiebreak before Fritz came back with six straight points to send it to a 5th.

The always dangerous Stan Wawrinka is out, falling just short of an 0-2 set comeback and losing in a 5th set tiebreak. He and Djokovic would have met in the round of 16, so that’s a break for Novak.
 

jon abbey

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Amazing comeback by #2 Halep, down 5-2 in the 5th, she won five straight games to steal it.
 

cromulence

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Wow, Opelka had Fritz on the ropes, up 2 sets to 1 and 5-1 in the tiebreak before Fritz came back with six straight points to send it to a 5th.

The always dangerous Stan Wawrinka is out, falling just short of an 0-2 set comeback and losing in a 5th set tiebreak. He and Djokovic would have met in the round of 16, so that’s a break for Novak.
Stan is pretty much washed - Novak was cruising through that match either way.

Someone, anyone, PLEASE step up and beat him. He's the most thoroughly unlikeable all-time great I've ever had to watch.
 

jon abbey

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Kyrgios started his own amazing comeback just as I was falling asleep, I saw him hit a 107 MPH forehand winner without even having much time to set up. He is both insanely talented and actually insane, quite the entertaining watch.
 

jon abbey

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Stan is pretty much washed - Novak was cruising through that match either way.

Someone, anyone, PLEASE step up and beat him. He's the most thoroughly unlikeable all-time great I've ever had to watch.
For me he is probably the single most likeable all-time great, ahead of Fed, Nadal, Sampras, basically anyone else. PLEASE no one step up and beat him. :)
 

jon abbey

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Also Wawrinka is still quite dangerous in big matches, 3 QFs in his previous 5 Grand Slams including knocking out Novak in the 2019 US Open Round of 16, so I stick by my earlier post there.
 

cromulence

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For me he is probably the single most likeable all-time great, ahead of Fed, Nadal, Sampras, basically anyone else. PLEASE no one step up and beat him. :)
This just absolutely blew my mind, and I think you're gonna find yourself on an island here. Care to explain how you could find Novak "Keep that slice of bread away from me" Djokovic is more likeable than FED?!?!
 

jon abbey

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This just absolutely blew my mind, and I think you're gonna find yourself on an island here. Care to explain how you could find Novak "Keep that slice of bread away from me" Djokovic is more likeable than FED?!?!
I'm not sure how you explain something like that, he just is and always has been by far my fave of the three and I have said that here every Grand Slam for at least a decade. I have always found Fed's style dull (too seemingly effortless maybe?) and I think it is one of the most amazing things in recent sports history that Novak seemed hopelessly stuck at 3rd behind two alltime greats for years, but somehow he kept pushing to the point where he has a genuine chance to end up with more GSs than both. He has definitely done some assholish things in recent years but somehow I don't really care.
 

cromulence

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He's always been assholish. I mean, I was a Roddick stan, so he lost me forever when he talked shit in the post-match interview after beating him at the US Open (and got booed by the Ashe crowd and had to wear an FDNY hat when he won to try to win people over again). I hate his stupid post-match "I will now use my arms to push love around the whole stadium" celebration. I hate his god-awful haircut that's never changed his entire career. And I haven't even mentioned the COVID stuff. So, yeah, I have strong feelings on this. Fuck Djokovic forever.

By the way - Fed's style dull? Fed's style is poetry in motion. His movement is beautiful. And he invented the SABR out of nowhere! Come on!
 

jon abbey

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Eh, I like the assholish part of him for the most part, that's probably how I would be if I was a superstar athlete also. (Heh, it's how I am anyway.) I like that he pisses people off and still keeps winning. Fed is just bland to me, no amount of arguments otherwise or David Foster Wallace essays will change my mind, but honestly, who cares? It's sports, root for who you want.
 

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The always dangerous Stan Wawrinka is out, falling just short of an 0-2 set comeback and losing in a 5th set tiebreak. He and Djokovic would have met in the round of 16, so that’s a break for Novak.
Wawrinka had I think three match points in the match tiebreak at 9 - 6 and lost five straight points to lose the match at 11 - 9 in the tiebreak.
 

jezza1918

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He's always been assholish. I mean, I was a Roddick stan, so he lost me forever when he talked shit in the post-match interview after beating him at the US Open (and got booed by the Ashe crowd and had to wear an FDNY hat when he won to try to win people over again). I hate his stupid post-match "I will now use my arms to push love around the whole stadium" celebration. I hate his god-awful haircut that's never changed his entire career. And I haven't even mentioned the COVID stuff. So, yeah, I have strong feelings on this. Fuck Djokovic forever.

By the way - Fed's style dull? Fed's style is poetry in motion. His movement is beautiful. And he invented the SABR out of nowhere! Come on!
I concur on all accounts. I was in the stands when he pulled out in the QFs at Roland Garros against Nadal down two sets to love and he never won back my respect after that ("respect" being relative to guys like Fed and Nadal). As of the 2019 US Open, when he retired vs Stan down two sets to love, Djokovic had withdrawn from 13 tourneys overall & 6 slams. Fed has never retired from a match...and with regards to COVID, Kyrgios has slowly won be over with tweets like these (and being a giant Celtics fan).
View: https://twitter.com/NickKyrgios/status/1351131106993725443?s=20


@NickKyrgios - "Djokovic is a tool. I don’t mind Bernie but his Mrs obviously has no perspective, ridiculous scenes"
 

jon abbey

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Ironically no tennis player since Ilie Nastase has been more of a ‘tool’ than Krygios, but I like him too as he is endlessly entertaining.
 

jezza1918

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Ironically no tennis player since Ilie Nastase has been more of a ‘tool’ than Krygios, but I like him too as he is endlessly entertaining.
Completely agree. His on court antics vs. his (more recent) off court persona/politics don't seem to add up...although it does seem like the latter is having a positive effect on the former last couple of years. If he can get off to a quick start against Thiem he's got a shot. Hopefully I'm awake whenever that one is aired here on the east coast, will be some incredible ball striking.
 

jon abbey

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Medvedev was entertaining on his US Open run, my wife liked him a lot.
 

jon abbey

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Defending champ and #4 seed Kenin is getting stomped by Kanepi, down a set and 5-2 in the second with Kanepi about to serve for the match.
 

cromulence

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Kenin is always a basketcase out there. She's young, so hopefully she just needs to grow up a bit.
 

jon abbey

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Absolutely ridiculous to look this far ahead but Kenin going out means that if Coco Gauff can upset #5 Svitolina later today, she has a reasonably clear path to the semis. The highest seed left in that quarter besides Svitolina is #22 Brady.
 

jon abbey

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Tsitsipas/Kokkinakis just ended, a very fun one. The home crowd was behind the talented and often injured Kokkinakis, who somehow managed to make the match last 4:30 despite never making a dent on Tsitsipas's serve. Tsitsipas won all 26 service games, not only didn't he face a break point, he only lost 27 total points in those 26 games plus two breakers (120 of 147 points won). But he lost both breakers and finally pulled it out 6-4 in the 5th, I like watching him play a lot.

Coco/Svitolina probably starting around 4 EST, go go Coco.
 

jon abbey

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Coco a bit outclassed in the crunch by Svitolina, couldn’t cash in on her break chances and broken once late in each set, 6-4, 6-3. Ah well.
 

jon abbey

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Thiem/Krygios around 3 AM EST, that should be a fun one. They’ve only played once but that was in 2015 on clay and Krygios retired in the first set, so pretty much irrelevant.
 

jon abbey

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Covid lockdown in Victoria as of midnight there tonight, tennis will keep going but no fans for at least five days.
 

jon abbey

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27 year old Russian qualifier Aslan Karatsev absolutely blowing #8 Schwartzman off the court so far, 6-3, 6-3. He won his second round match 0, 1 and 0, dude is in a groove.
 

jon abbey

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Good luck to the ESPN director tonight flipping between matches, this is the schedule for the three courts tonight, all starting around 3 AM EST.

Halep (2) / Kudermetova (32)
Djokovic (1) / Fritz (27)

Shapavolov (11) / Auger-Aliassime (for Canadian bragging rights)
Swiatek (15) / Ferro (Swiatek won the 2020 French if like me you forgot that)

Thiem (3) / Krygios (once the Karatsev match is over)