Tennis 2015

The Australian Open is two weeks away and we are all set to begin another year of tennis. What an unexpected year we had this year, with both Stan Wawrinka and Marin Cilic winning the US Open.

Last year, Brisbane had a high turnout(I think), but this year not too many people will be playing.

Predictions for the year? Will Roger win a Slam this year?

I wrote a similar post yesterday but was unable to submit it for some reason.

I’m going to make the same prediction that failed me last year - I think Roger will win another Slam (Wimbledon is probably his best chance) and then retire by the end of the season. I appreciate this gets less likely as each year goes by, but his form at the ATP Finals was encouraging and I think he’s still got it in him - just needs a bit more luck than he used to require.

Murray seemed to rather burn himself out in order to get to the Finals and therefore didn’t perform well in them, but if he stays fit he should be a contender again this year. I’ll back him to win the US Open.

Par for Djokovic is probably 2 Slams, he’s clearly the man to beat at the moment. The real question is how Nadal’s fitness will be.

What? Did they both win? In all seriousness, do you mean the surprise is Stan emerging as a serious challenger to the top 4, and Cilic winning a Slam?

Ah, I meant that Stan won the Australian. No, it isn’t a huge shock, but I am surprised. Clic? Yeah, very surprising.

Roger just won his 1000th professional match. Can he catch Jimmy Connors at 1253? I rather doubt it at this point, but maybe I’m wrong.

Can he catch him? I am sure he could if he stuck around as long as Jimmy did. And played in as many tournaments.

Connors was a Iorn Man. According to wiki: Connors is the all time leader in tournament wins at 109. Lendl has 94 and Fed is third at 83 wins. 26 behind Connors.

Aussie Open begins this evening for those of us in America.

Draws

Djoker (1) and Wawrinka (4) seeded to play in the Semis
Fed (2) and Rafa (3) seeded to play in the other Semi.

Odds to win according to Paddypower.

Djoker: Evens
Fed: 11/2
Rafa: 7/1
Murray: 10/1 (6th seed)
Wawrinka: 12/1

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Serena (1) / Kvitova (4) and Sharapova (2) / Halep (3) are seeded to play in the semis on the Ladies side.
Odds

Serena 11/4
Maria 4/1
Halep 7/1
Kivota 9/1
Bouchard 12/1

I would have thought Serena would have been a bigger favorite to win than Novak.

Did they change the seeding procedure to require 1-4 and 2-3 semis in singles, or is it just one of those “it’s expected to happen in one major per year” (there’s a 1/4 chance that both men’s and women’s are paired 1-4 and 2-3) things? It used to be (and probably still is - and apparently, definitely still is, in doubles, as both have 1-3 and 2-4 pairings), they would randomly draw one of #3 and #4 to go into the same half of the bracket as #2; the “groupings” for 32 seeds are 3-4, 5-8, 9-12, 13-16, 17-24, and 25-32.

I think it was happenstance that 1 vs 4 and 2 vs 3 happened in both Singles Draws.

Checking Qtr Draws

Djoker is seeded to play 8th seed Raonic…Uh oh is there a trend
Wawrinka is seeded to play 5th seed Nishikori…Yikes…
Nadal (3rd) is seeded to play 7th seed Berdych…OK…the trend stops
and Fed to play Murray (6th seed)…

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On the women side the Qtrs have
1 vs 8
2 vs 7
3 vs 5
4 vs 6.

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Pretty close to NCAA B-Ball seedings!

No one is commenting on the Aussie Open?

Serena is into semi’s playing Madison Keys in a All-American Semifinal. First time in over 10 years I think. The other semi is All Russia. Sharapova vs Makarova
Federer loses in third round to a unseeded Italian, Andreas Seppi in 4 sets
Nadal loses to Berdych in Quarters in 3 sets.

Semis are Djoker vs Wawrinka and Berdych vs Murray.

Bryan Brothers loses in the third round of Mens Doubles.

Blast from the past, Martina Hingis in the semis of Mixed Doubles.

A few upsets so far then - is it fair to say the Aussie Open has more upsets than other Slams? It seems like there would be some obvious reasons if so, but at the moment it’s just a theory searching for the facts.

Murray seems to be almost back to his best, according the some commentators, so the Men’s final should be quite tasty.

Who will win tomorrow? Djokovic or Wawrinka?

Joker… he looks really good… I think he beats Stan and finishes off Murray…

I think Serena beats Maria. its what… 2-16? She needs to win a few in a row before I believe she can …Ironically is their 19th meeting and Serena is shooting for #19

I suspect Serena is going to remember that epic game at 5-1, should they meet again. I liked that Keys didn’t just roll over at that point. That game was fun to watch.

Odds on Stan beating Novak? Is the winner of that match the favorite in the final?

Well, by all accounts that second Men’s semi saw neither player at their best, and Murray is the favourite for the final if both players’ form continues. But then my source is the BBC, so probably a bit biased. No matter - Murray looks in the best shape he has been in for a while, so certainly has a good chance to take his third slam. Perhaps Djokovic is the slight favourite but it’s close to 50-50 I think, all things considered.

The Women’s final is an interesting match-up - I agree that I wouldn’t bet against Serena. I’m sure I’ve said this before, but I admire her achievements even if I don’t particularly like her as a player or person. Plus her on-court noises are slightly less annoying than Sharapova’s.

Martina Hingis won the mixed doubles championship, which was nice to see. And of course, Djokovic won the men’s, very nice for him.

Bit of a strange Men’s final, which for once I watched (almost) in its entirety. The first two sets had some unbelievably good tennis for sustained periods, with very few easy points for either player (the unforced error count was perhaps a little high, but as I have said before, I think at this level many things classed as “unforced errors” should not be). Both of course are the best in the world at making the opponent hit one more shot when they think they have the point won. There really aren’t enough superlatives to described some of the play.

In summary, Murray had good chances to win the first set but didn’t, then bounced back to take the second set tiebreak (having already had a set point - from 0-40 down - before the tiebreak). He took a 2-0 lead in the third and then only won one more game as Djokovic just streaked away. The strange thing was the Djokovic appeared to have a few issues, first with his thumb, then his ankle, and he generally looked a bit tired. According to him, he just had a temporary physical collapse of some kind but managed to get over it in the space of 20 minutes, and was then fine. For Murray’s part, he said he let the injury issues distract him. Very disappointing as I remember thinking at the time that if I were Murray, I wouldn’t want to win the final of a slam in a walkover, but I would certainly work Djokovic all over the court and press my advantage while I could. It seemed Murray failed to do that, in fact if anything he let up the intensity slightly and then couldn’t get it back when Novak miraculously recovered. FTR, I don’t think he was faking - just one of those weird things.

On the other hand, some of the criticism Murray came in for seemed a bit over the top - he played some great tennis (albeit only for two sets) and while the manner of the defeat is indeed disappointing, I feel he is still on the comeback trail after his back operation and we are yet to see the best of him again.

Just saw this tweeted by ESPN tennis

Wildcards? Looks like he is losing edge against younger or journeyman players.

Wonder how long it will be before he is out of the top 10.

I wouldn’t be particularly disappointed if you’re right as I’m not a fan, but I think this is “calling it early” to say the least. He has had various medical issues in the last few months which have clearly left him some way off his normal game (e.g. I believe he recently had appendicitis). Given most of these issues are likely to be temporary, he should bounce back fairly soon, especially in the clay court season. Of course, some of his issues are longer-term and harder to predict. It seems unlikely though that he will still be competing in 6 years’ time at the level Fed is now, though.

Serena is going to play Indian Wells for the first time since the horribleness in 2001, and I don’t think she’ll withdraw like last year. I don’t agree with her decision (fuck them and that tournament is my opinion), but she has no points to defend and that could really solidify her grip on the number one rank. If she plays, I just hope she wins.