Pliskova: ‘I have a good chance to win a Grand Slam’

Karolina Pliskova thinks that she can actually win the title.

At the US Open, she reached the final, and she was very close to knock out Angie Kerber. Unfortunately in the third set, Kerber would not give in, she won her second Slam of the year.

The Czech had never reached the second week. Even though over the past two years, she could crush the ball. Mentally, the panic set in.

When she arrived at the 2016 US Open, she was ready to control herself.

She stunned Venus and Serena Williams — which is rare— and she was so close to winning the title.

Since she helped the Czech Republic win the Fed Cup final — again— and two weeks ago, she won Brisbane.

The 24 year old believes in herself. She blew out Anna Blinkova in the seond round at the Aussie Open on Thursday. On Saturday, she will face Jelena Ostapenko in the third round, another young player who lives in Latvia.

This Pliskova is so confident that she can go for the lines. The Czech knows that many people think that this time, she won’t back off and win it at the Aussie Open.

“I will try,” Pliskova said. “I’m feeling pretty good on the court, confident. I have some matches already what I won this year. I didn’t lose yet, which is also good thing. Even the opponents were not that high level, but still, I felt pretty good out there. Third round is going to definitely more tough than the first two. Also people are talking I have a good chance to win a Grand Slam.”

Kyrgios says he can win Aussie; beat the best

Nick Kygrios’ tweet apologizing for roundly criticized, on-court remarks that Thanasi Kokkinakis had a relationship with Donna Vekic, Stan Wawrinka’ girlfriend.

Nick Krygios actually said that he can win the Australian Open.

Kyrgios knows that he is very good, but has he ever won the big show, knocking out the legends, those who have reached the finals at the Slams? The finals? No. The semifinals? No. He is a huge hitter, but not everyday. That is for sure.

But maybe its time now.

The 21-year-old Kyrgios, who crushed Gastao Elias in the first round of the Aussie Open, said that he can win the tournament.

Already?

“Well, if I didn’t think I’d win it, why would I play? I think I can win it. I’ve beaten pretty much everyone in the draw before,” he said. “So I think so.”

Kyrgios said that Roger Federer is the best ever, even though the Swiss said that the Aussie will not win the event.

The No. 13 Kyrgios won three events last year: Marseille, Atlanta and Tokyo, but he is mentally up and down. He’d play great tennis, like upsetting top-10ers Tomas Berdych, Marin Cilic and Milos Raonic. Also, he was injured and lost to against a few outside of the top 100 players.

Federer said he didn’t think that Kyrgios is not ready to win the Australian Open.

“I’m not going to, like, say anything back to him about it. Obviously it’s his opinion,” Kyrgios said. “We’ll see. I’ve done everything I can so far. What can I say? It’s Roger. I can’t really say anything to him.  … He’s the greatest of all time. I know I just want to do my own thing. I played him once, I beat him once.”

Kyrgios beat Federer 6-7, 7-6, 7-6(12) in 2015 in Madrid. That’s just one match. Kyrgios hasn’t won a major yet, while Federer has won 17 Grand Slams.

Kyrgios faces Andreas Seppi on Wednesday night. The Aussie should win in both the second and third rounds, but after that, here comes a huge challenge. He could face Wawrinka/Cilic/Tomic/Jack Sock/Jo-Wilfred Tsonga. And perhaps the No. 1, Andy Murray.  That, people, is serious pressure.

Venus: ‘I just want to feel more rhythm’

Imagine Venus Williams, who in 1997 — almost 20 years ago — in Oakland, she was super fast, her two-handed backhand was already phenomenal, and she wasn’t scared at all.

Flash ahead, it’s 2017 and Venus is still playing. The 36-year-old is still very good, but she is a little slower and while she is very smart, her body is wearing down. She hasn’t won a major since 2008, when she grabbed Wimbledon.

Can she win a Slam for the last time? Maybe, but at the Aussie Open? She hasn’t done it yet.

But at least she continues to try.

“I like to control the match. I think eventually the momentum was shifting and I could control the match, and I haven’t really played in a while,” said Venus, who beat Kozlova in the first round 7-5, 7-6. “So it was kind of hard to go out there and think, oh, it’s going to be perfect rhythm. But after the first set I felt more rhythm. Hopefully going through the tournament, I will just feel more and more rhythm.”

Venus has said that Rafa Nadal is brilliant, which is true, but the Spaniard hasn’t won a Slam since 2014. So maybe both of them will come close, but winning again? Well, one more time.

“Every player who is here wants to be here. Each player in the draw has an unbelievable ability to play tennis,” Venus said. “ There are some that have won more champions than others, but it’s because we know how to play this game, and it’s pretty serious stuff for us.”

At 35, will Melzer deny Federer’s return?

Jurgen Melzer is peaking past the age of 30. Photo: Mark Lyons

Roger Federer and Jurgen Melzer will face off on Monday night. Both have played for a very long time, with Fed and Jurgen now 35 years old.  They have played four times, but only in 2010 and 2011. In 2010, Fed beat him at Wimbledon, US Open and Paris.

But in 2011, the Austrian upset Fed at Monte Carlo.

Does Melzer have a real chance when he’s now ranked No. 300?

Perhaps, given that Melzer was ranked No. 8 in 2011, showing that he could really play. But in 2015 and 2016, he was hurt, badly, and he couldn’t play a lot. Now, it’s his last chance to have glory. But not against Federer, who is super fresh and eager to go far again at the Australian Open.

Djokovic has edge over No. 1 Murray

Clearly during the summer/fall, Djokovic really struggled, but everyone has at one time or another. However the Serb just knocked out No. 1 Andy Murray in Doha. Novak has been phenomenal at the AO, winning 2016, 2015, 2013, 2012, 2011 & 2008. Will the No. 2 be the favorite next week at the Aussie? Sure he will, but Murray is extremely confident, having shocked Djokovic in the ATP Final. At the 2017 AO, if they reach the final again, who ever wins, it should go for hours. Delicious.

The men’s grade, from AO: Djokovic was way up, Rafa way down

Nishikori IW 15 TR MALT2903

The 2006 Australian Open

A-plus

Novak Djokovic

The No. 1 came in as a heavy favorite at the AO and with the exception against Gilles Simon in the fourth round, when he needed to push in the fifth set, he absolutely nailed against three fine folks: Kei Nishikori, Roger Federer and Andy Murray. There are no holes. He is relentless, he can smack side-to-side and the minute he can go forward, he puts it away.

He owns 11 Grand Slams now, and given that he has won four out of the last five majors, in 2016, he will be seriously driven to win his first crown at Roland Garros. If he manages that, he will have a legitimate shot to win all four Slams. If he does, he’d be tied with Pete Sampras with 14 Slams. Wow!


A

Milos Raonic

The Canadian has improved so much in the past month: his backhand, his return, his aggression and his volley. Given that his huge serve and massive forehands, he was very close of reaching the final. He out-punched Stan Wawrinka, he smoked Gael Monfils and in the semis against Andy Murray, he was up two sets to one, but he hurt himself and then he dropped significantly, losing in five sets. Before the year started the 25-year-old said he will win a major this year. I bet he is right.


B-plus

Andy Murray

Even though Murray has lost four times against Djokovic in the Aussie Open finals, still, he fought hard and there were times when he looked pretty close. Still, his serve has improved a little bit and he is very comfortable at the net. He can use tactics to his advantage and he understands what he has to do. However, Djokovic is flat-out better than he is, especially with his forehand and maybe his famous backhand, too. Murray has to realize that.

Roger Federer

The all-time great (well, very close, at least) played beautiful tennis until he faced Djokovic, who destroyed him for the first two sets, battled in the third set, and in the fourth set he couldn’t figure it out. In some ways the 34-year-old has improved in the last couple of years, but otherwise he is declining physical. It happens to every one eventually.

Gilles Simon

When the Frenchman is locked in, he is incredibly consistent and smart, dragging Djokovic into their fifth set. He played terrific, until the end, when he backed off.


B

Tomas Berdych

The Czech scored two significant wins over Nick Kyrgios and Robert Bautista Agut and he looked very driven, but against Federer, he didn’t know which way to go. If he is ever going to reach a Grand Slam final again, he must find some more strengths and reduced mistakes.

Kei Nishikori

Yes, Nishikori played fairly well until he reached quarters, smacking Jo Tsonga. But, against Djokovic, it was very clear that he has a lot of work to do if he ever is going to wins a major title some day.

Bernard Tomic

The Aussie was very controlled in the first three matches, and he was somewhat close against Murray, but he lost in three sets. He has always played pretty well in Australia, but for the rest of the year? Hmmm. He has to prove it.

David Goffin

The Belgian danced around when he bested the rising Dominic Thiem in four sets. However, Federer tore him apart.

Robert Bautista Agut

Nice to see the veteran Spaniard to reach the fourth round for the first time. Does he actually like the hard courts now?

Jo Tsonga

Jo appears ready to go once again as he was hurt during the fall. He reached the fourth round before Nishikori dusted him, but at least he can reach the top 5 again. However, the clock is ticking.

Gael Monfils

Like Tsonga, he is always hurt, but at least he reached the quarters, beating the Russian Andrey Kuznetov before Raonic hit the heck out of him.

David Ferrer

Good for the Spaniard, who reached the quarter once again, needing three hours before he fell against Murray. He always tries, but maybe the 33-year-old can serve and http://www.cialispharmaciefr24.com/prix-vrai-cialis/ volley once in a while?


B-minus

Stan Wawrinka

Coming in, it was Stan the Man who had a legitimate chance to win the tournament again. However, he was a bit sick and, against Raonic, he was a little off. Next year.

Nick Kyrgios

The 20-year-old won a couple matches and, at times, he was very flashy and skillful when he fell in four sets versus Berdych. Give him more time.

Grigor Dimitrov

Some think that the Bulgarian didn’t play well in Australia, but that is wrong as he almost won Sydney. But, he lost in Brisbane and the AO against Federer, in two fairly tight matches. Good enough for now.

John Isner

Big John scored a huge win over Feliciano Lopez who has always gave him a lot of trouble, but he could not figure out what to do when he faced Ferrer in the fourth round. Ranked No. 11, he has to continue to improve significantly if he is ever going to reach the top 5.


C-plus

Steve Johnson

The USC standout has improved every year and reached the third round, so maybe soon he can reach the second week this season.


C

Fernando Verdasco

There is no doubt that Verdasco played amazingly well to upset Rafa Nadal in five sets in the first round. However, he lost in the next round, which mean he was unable to go deep at all.

Jack Sock

The rising Sock came through in the first round against the very good 18-year-old Taylor Fritz in five sets, but then he went down against Lukas Rosol in the second round. Yes, he had been sick, but he had a really chance to go deep. Next time?

C-minus

Marin Cilic

The 2014 US Open champion have said that he can reach the top 5 in 2016. He didn’t reach in the second week. I am waiting …


D

Rafael Nadal

It is impossible to know why he lost in the first round against Verdasco, given since October he had beat everyone with the exception of Djokovic. He wasn’t aggressive enough. He simply cannot do that anymore or he will never win another Slam.

Benoit Paire

The Frenchman had a fine 2015, but then he was totally shocked against the young American Noah Rubin.

The women grades, A-F from Aussie Open: Kerber A-plus, but Caro way down

kerber_jimmie48_fist_wta_finals_15_400

A-plus

Angie Kerber

For the first time ever, the German finally played as well as she could at a major, crushing her forehand and backhand and she didn’t back off all. The lefty is so fast, strong and just so lethal. She beat both the former No. 1 Vika Azarenka and the current No. 1 Serena Williams to win the Australian Open. Who else has managed to do that? No one, that’s who.


A

Johanna Konta

The Britain has improved a tremendous amount over the past six months, coming from nowhere to somewhere. Her depth is now incredible and she also appears very patient, which is why she reached the major semi for the first time.


A-minus

Serena Williams

The famous Serena played excellent ball all the way until the final, when she was a bit erratic against Kerber and her volleys were out of control. But still, you can’t win every time and, at the Australian Open, she was pretty darn good, just not perfect.

Shuai Zhang

The Chinese has almost retired for good because she couldn’t win a match for months and, at the Australian Open, she qualified and reached the quarters. A true stunner.


B-plus

Aga Radwanska

The Pole looked like she had a real shot to win a Grand Slam for the first time and she reached the semis again, but Serena played fantastic. Once again, Aga didn’t serve or return well enough. Some day …

Belinda Bencic

The 18-year-old was very close to upsetting Maria Sharapova, losing 7-5 7-5, which was very good considering that the Russian served as well acheter cialis forum as she has in years. The Swiss is so close

Daria Gavrilova

Some players can’t stand the pressure at the Slams, others thrive. The Aussie had a terrific week until the fourth round, when she was ousted by Carla Suarez Navarro.

Anna-Lena Friedsam

The young German shocked Roberta Vinci and had it against Radwanska, up 5-2 in the third before she cramped and lost. Still, at least she rose up for the first time.


B

Maria Sharapova

The five-time Grand Slam champion looked better and better until she faced Serena in the quarters, when once again, she wasn’t patient enough. Plus, she has to improve her returns against Williams.

Carla Suarez Navarro

At least the nervous foe reached the quarters, which is very good because she is working on her mental game, but she still has a long way to go at the majors.

Margarita Gasparyan

The young Russian reached the fourth round, upsetting Sara Errani. It looks like the powerful Gasparyan is becoming more thoughtful.

Vika Azarenka

The former No. 1 looked so good and she was ready to reach the final, but then Kerber stunned her as she just beaten the German two weeks prior. She is not quite ready to regain the top spot.

Barbora Strycova

You never know how good the veteran Czech will be, playing outstanding ball against Garbine Muguruza and then she was a little flat against Azarenka.


B minus

Annika Beck

So many of the young Germans had a good tournament, including Beck who reached the fourth round-up out-stroking Timea Bacsinszky.


C-plus

Madison Keys

The good news is that Keys fought incredibly hard to overcome Ana Ivanovic in the third round, the bad news is that Keys got hurt once again, losing against Zhang.

Ekaterina Makarova

It was good to see the veteran Russian, who had been injured since the 2015 US Open, getting back on court. She did lose to Konta in the fourth round, 8-6 in the third, but at least she showed that she finally looks like she is healthy again.


C

Svetlana Kuznetsova

The Russian should have gone deep at the Aussie Open considering that she had just won Sydney, but as she says, some days you don’t know whether you will hit the ball correctly. Her age is affecting her consistency.

Ana Ivanovic

Given that the former No. 1 hasn’t gone deep in months, at least she reached the third round and almost knocked off Keys. But she has to be better than that.


C-minus

Garbine Muguruza

There is no doubt that the Spaniard had a chance to reach the final and then, against Strycova in the third round, she looked very shaky. She needs to take a deep breath.

Timea Bacsinszky

The Swiss looked so good at the 2015 Roland Garros and now she is slumping, losing in the second round.

Karolina Pliskova

The Czech had a fine 2015, but in the Slams, she flailed, just like when she lost in straight sets in the third round versus Makarova.


D

Simona Halen

The Romanian is impossible to understand what she is doing right now. She looked fairly good in Sydney, and then she was totally stunned against Zhang, not even going for her shots.

Venus Williams

The seven-time Grand Slam champion looked totally out of it against Konda in the first round. Maybe she should have charged the net more, because she volleys as good as anyone. But not that day.

Sam Stosur

The reality is that she doesn’t play well at all in Australia. If she did, she could actually go deep at the AO, because outside of her country, she has been outstanding (winning the 2011 US Open and reach the 2010 Roland Garros final), and here she hasn’t even come close.

Sloane Stephens

How can she win Auckland and then, in the first round, she falls against an unknown? She is a fine player, but mentally she can disappear.


F

Caroline Wozniacki

At this point, it is impossible to know where the former No. 1 is going. She lost in the first round and she hasn’t competed well at all since last April. Time to add a new coach.

Murray has to find new way to upset Djokovic at Aussie Open final

Murray IW 13 TR MALT7820

 

1-NOVAK DJOKOVIC VS. 2-ANDY MURRAY

Over the past two years, Novak Djokovic has beaten Andy Murray so many times that it is very difficult to figure out how the Brit can stun him. Without a doubt, Murray has been somewhat close at times, but last year, Djokovic was stronger, faster and overpowered him.

In 2014, Djokovic beat Murray in four contests, including the US Open quarters, when he pushed him back in four sets. Yes, in the fall in 2013, Murray was hurt and it took him a while to come back. So, in a sense, you can toss 2014 out the window.

In 2015, Murray felt much better physically and he was ready to go. However, when he walked on court, Murray knew he had to show something different, meaning he had to wear him down clubbing his forehands and backhands very deep, he had to nail his first serves, and he had to come into the net and put thenaway when Djokovic was way back of the court. But he could not.

Yes, Murray would win a few sets, but the longer it went, it was harder and harder to be super accurate. That is why Murray lost six out of seven matches in 2015, losing the Australia Open in the final 7-6(5) 6-7(4) 6-3 6-0, and in the semi at Roland Garros, he went down 6-3 6-3 5-7 5-7 6-1. Was it really close at the majors? Not really, because he wasn’t on the finish line.

Djokovic played nearly perfectly to beat Roger Federer in the semis. He knows that if he is accurate and can go side to side, he will win the majority of his shots. The Serbian has a cialis generique better forehand, his serves and his returns, even though Murray has an incredible return, too. They are even with their famous backhand, and perhaps Murray is more comfortable at the net.

On Saturday, Angie Kerber shocked the great Serena Williams to win the title. Without a doubt, Murray can stun Djokovic, as in the 2012 US Open final, the Brit ran the Serbian down and won in five glorious sets. But that was a long time ago and Djokovic knows how to play. Novak will win his sixth Australian Open in five fun sets.

The Aussie women final: Does Kerber have a chance vs Serena?

kerber_jimmie48_low_wta_finals_15_590x375

THE AUSTRALIAN OPEN FINAL

1-SERENA WILLIAMS VS. 7-ANGIE KERBER

Let’s think of some positives of Angie Kerber, even though she is a serious underdog against Serena Williams in the final at the Australian Open. While the German has only beaten her once, back in 2012 Cincinnati, she wasn’t afraid, she went for it and Serena was a little out of it.

Head to head, Serena is 5-1 versus Kerber, but the last time they played in the final at 2014 Stanford, it was pretty close, with Serena winning 7-6 6-3. Kerber has become extremely nervous at the majors, but at the other tournaments, she can dig in and go side to side until she cracks them.

Kerber has never reached the Grand Slam final before, so when she walks on court, her head could start swimming around. She says that she knows that she is the underdog and she knows that, so she needs to start very quickly and rapidly. She realizes that Serena is far better when she is crushing her first serve, so anytime Williams needs to make a second serve, Kerber has to swing as hard as she can and levitra cost cvs nail it very deep.

On the baseline and between their strokes, they are pretty close, but even though the German is very strong, she isn’t quite as powerful with her forehand. The second that Serena sees the ball is coming up short, she will pounce on it. Sure, Kerber can play forever, and she loves to engage long rallies, but Serena isn’t going to want to wait from way behind the back. Once Serena has an opportunity to strike, she will judge on it.

Kerber can hit down the line and go crosscourt very smartly. She might be a little faster, but so what? Kerber has to nail big serves and returns, but against the American, she will overpowering her.

Let us hope that Kerber plays fantastic so the match will be thrilling, but Serena is flat out better and she has been playing well during the entire fortnight. Serena will win in her 22nd major, tying the great Steffi Graf. Serena is also great, too

 

The semis, Pick-em: Raonic has a real shot versus Murray

milos-raonic

THE FINAL FOUR, FRIDAY, JAN.29, AUSSIE OPEN

2-ANDY MURRAY VS. 13-MILOS RAONIC

As the Canadian said, this is an entirely new look. They did play last spring in May on Madrid, but Raonic was already hurt and he couldn’t move around as fast as he normally could. When Murray was able to yank him around, the 25-year-old Raonic was unable to smack the balls very hard or deep. He went down in straight sets and then he was gone, undergoing his surgery and even when he returned into the grass, he was flat and unsure of himself.

But during the past three weeks, he has been incredibly confident. Before he even started in Brisbane, Raonic said he could win a major for the first time this year. That was surprising, because he had only reached at a Grand Slam semifinal at 2014 Wimbledon, and while he has won a couple big ATP tournaments, he hadn’t shown that he could consistently knock off the big boys.

But in Brisbane, he took down Roger Federer in the final, crushing his serve, coming into the net, and nailing his forehand.

Here in Melbourne, he did much the same thing, being ultra-aggressive against Stan Wawrinka and not allowing the Swiss to mix it up or disturb him. Raonic was under control.

But now, Raonic has to be a little patient and not go crazy if Murray keeps pushing him backwards. Without a doubt, the Brit has a substantially better backhand and can put it anywhere he wants. Raonic’s forehand is bigger, but that doesn’t mean that Murray can return pretty deep and overcook him. The Canadian must come into the net as often as possible, but he has to fool him rather than telling him where he is going because Murray is extremely smart and he knows that if he can hit the balls low and try to touch his toes, then Raonic will be frustrated when trying to dig out the passing shots.

What we do know is that Murray manages to return deep shots even though his opponents are crushing their first serves and he isn’t effected by it. The 28-year-old Murray loves playing tennis, watching it, paying attention to it and reading it. He has won two Grand Slams (the 2012 US Open and the 2013 Wimbledon) and the 2012 Olympic Gold, and he has reached his 18th Grand Slam semis, which mean that he is always right there. He has reached the Australian Open six times in the semis, beating Marin Cilic, David Ferrer, Federer and Tomas Berdych. Unfortunately, he has yet to win the final at the Aussie Open, but this is only the semi so mentally, he won’t be afraid at all.

However, it’s time for Raonic to truly realize his potential. Murray will try a million tricks, but in the end, Raonic will out him and win in five dramatic sets.