Nadal vs Federer again, in Aussie Open final


Roger Federer is in the Australian Open final.

Yes, for many, many years, he stood tall, winning 17 Grand Slams, beginning 2003, when he won Wimbledon.

Nearly 14 years later, he is still there, having a great time.Either way, he will face his good friend, Rafa Nadal, who overcame Grigor Dimitrov  in nearly five hours.

In 2009, they played each other in a final, when the Spaniard took him in five classic sets.
Will it be another amazing match?

That’s possible, but as Nadal said, things have changed. That are older and wiser.
said Nadal, who has won 14 Slams.

In July last year, both men were hurt. Federer stopped playing the rest of the year. Nadal stopped in the fall.

Now Federer is pretty healthy and raring to go.

Nadal will recover on Sunday night as he will have 43 hours to rest before he will walk on court.
Federer beat two top 6 guys,  Kei Nishikori and Stan Wawrinka, in five sets. Apparently, his legs are strong.

“You can only do so much treatment to feel decent. What I’ve just come to realize is when you don’t feel well, you have too many problems going on, you just won’t beat top-10 players,” Federer said. “
At some point you reach a limit, and you just can’t go beyond that. You can play them tight. You might win one of them. You just can’t win back-to-back. Just not feeling free enough, in your mind, in your body.

“That’s where both, I guess, Rafa [Nadal] and myself said, ‘Okay, enough of this already. Let’s get back to 100%, enjoy tennis again, enjoy the practice. Not just practice, treatment, practice, treatment, match, treatment. All the time all you’re doing is fighting the fire.’

“From that standpoint, the six months definitely gave me something in return. I didn’t go into a direction where I felt like I had to reorganize my life or reorganize my tennis in any way. I just wanted to get healthy again. … I am super happy I was able to win another five-setter in a Grand Slam. I don’t know how many times I won two five-setters in a Grand Slam. Maybe never before. So this is big.”

Late at night on Friday/Saturday, Nadal was tired, very tired. Those two have played many times, but things have changed, or that’s what Nadal says.

“I think this match is completely different than what happened before,” Nadal said. “Is special. We have not been there in that situation for a while, so that makes the match different. I really don’t think about what happened in the past. I think the player who play better is going to be the winner.”

Venus and Serena will face off at the 2017 Australian Open

Venus Williams and Serena Williams will face off in the 2017 Australian Open final, as Venus overcame CoCo Vandeweghe 6-7 (3) 6-2 6-3, and Serena crushed Mirjana Lucic-Baroni  6-2 6-1.

The famous sisters have been playing for a very long time: Serena won her first major in 1999, while Venus grabbed it in 2000. They’ve faced off 27times over the years, with Serena 16-11 versus Venus. Clearly, Serena is better, winning 22 Grand Slams, and Venus winning seven majors. During the last four times at the Grand Slams, Serena beat Venus at the US Open and Wimbledon, twice. But, in 2008 in the Wimbledon final, Venus took Serena down. It seemed like Venus would win majors year after year, but she didn’t. Serena did, having racked up numerous majors in the last few years.

Now, one of them will win on Saturday. Combined, they will be 30 Grand Slams.

“She’s my toughest opponent. No one has ever beaten me as much as Venus has,” said Serena. “I just feel like no matter what’s happened we’ve both won. … A Williams is going to win this tournament.”

Venus said: “Everyone has their moment in the sun. Maybe mine has gone on a while but I’d like to keep that going. I got nothing else to do. Let’s keep it going.”


Here is the story at 2008 Wimbledon between the sisters. On Friday, another piece of the sisters, the 2003 final at at the Australian Open.

WIMBLEDON – Venus Williams said it all with a shy smile.

She had just won her fifth Wimbledon championship. Inside, she was bubbling with joy, but on the outside, there was no in-your-face, wild celebration.

No, not with her little sister Serena standing a few feet away, visibly upset after Venus handed her a 7-5, 6-4 defeat in a final where Serena clearly looked like the younger sibling who couldn’t find the golden key to unlock Venus’ treasure chest of All England Club secrets.

Just how could Venus defend one break point after another, come up with untouchable serves, sure-handed volleys and blitzing groundstrokes whenever Serena seemed prepared to seize control of the match and win her third title?
Why does Venus play so much better on the sleek green lawns, when outside of the historic club, she has looked oh-so-vulnerable since ’01, failing to win another major on hard or clay courts, while Serena has proved herself to be a better all-around player, winning majors on every surface?

Simply because Venus is a better athlete and more knowledgeable player on grass and when she plays her best, like she did in the final, she’ll beat Serena time and time again on the turf. “I love winning and realize one has to win and one has to lose and I’ve been at the losing end of the Slams many times, so I guess it was my time to win,” said Venus, who handcuffed Serena with twisting serves to her body. “But I was pretty excited about that win because it was so close. Of course the celebration isn’t as exciting because my sister just lost.”

Added the girls’ older sister, Lyndrea:” Either way it was going to be sad.”

As terrific a server and returner as Serena is, Venus trusts her heater and slice serve more, especially with her second serve. She is a more accurate and intelligent returner, swarms the net with more confidence and can hold her own from the baseline against her sister’s clean, deep and mostly accurate strokes.

Every other elite player should play close attention to how Venus intelligently approaches the lawns. No. 1 Ana Ivanovic was low balled out early by China’s promising Jie Zheng, ’04 champ Maria Sharapova was bullied by cocky Russian Alla Kudryavtseva, No. 2 Jelena Jankovic was roughed up by 31-year-old Thai Tammy Tanasugarn and No. 4 Svetlana Kuznetsova was tripped up by Polish teen Agnieska Radwanska.

But Venus and Serena, who held Wimbledon six combined titles entering the finals, never faltered. In the semis,   Venus outlegged Elena Dementieva in and Serena aced her way past Zheng.
Serena had jokingly said before the final that she would eat Venus’  breakfast, but all she ended up doing was crying over spilled milk.
Venus got in trouble early in the first set and went down a break, but then smartly stepped in closer on her returns, cutting off Serena’s angles. Serena held 13 break points in the match but was only able to convert two. She lost a remarkable 17 of her 22 second serve points, which put her under tremendous pressure every time her swerving wide serves or bombs down the tee didn’t find the box.

Serving at 5-6 in the first set, the eight-time Grand Slam champion fought off a set point with a searing backhand crosscourt winner, but on the next one, Serena dumped a backhand to the net and smacked her racket to the ground after handing her sister the set at 7-5. The crisis hadn’t been averted. It was full on.

“She lifted the level of her game and I should have lifted mine, but instead mine went down,” Serena said.
Serena sealed her own fate in the fourth game of the second set. After finally breaking Venus on her seventh break point with a forehand winner to go up 2-1, Serena failed to consolidate and was broken back when she erred on a forehand.

Then the clock began to tick more quickly, as Serena strained to contain her groundstrokes and to figure out just how she would continue to hold while Venus was sprinting around and playing more freely. No such solutions would come into her head.
Venus gained a match point at 5-4 after a beautiful defense-to-offense rally. Serena scalded a service winner on the first one, but on the second one, she was pushed onto her back foot and flew a backhand well wide.

“I’m thinking, ‘Oh, my God, it’s five. Wow,'” Venus said of the moment of victory.

Venus secured her seventh Grand Slam title overall, tying her with just-retired Justine Henin and putting her just one behind Serena. She became just the third player in the Open Era to win five or more titles. She’s four crowns behind all-time leader Martina Navratilova and two behind Steffi Graf, who are widely considered the two finest all-around players ever. That’s some kind of company to be in.

“Definitely winning this tournament so many times puts you in the stratosphere, just because of what this tournament means,” Venus said. “Had I had this achievement at any other tournament it would have been awesome, but not nearly the same meaning at Wimbledon.”

What the rest of the Williams family would really like is for the two sisters to face off in more Slam finals, but if history proves to be an indicator, there aren’t many opportunities left. The ’08 Wimbledon final was the first time that that they’ve faced other in the finale of a major in five years, and given that the 28-year-old Venus hasn’t reached the final of a hard court major since ’03, it might not be until Wimbledon ’09 when the siblings are staring at each again with all the major chips on the line.
If that’s the case, it will be too bad for the sport. The ’08 final was played at the highest level of any of the 16 career contests between the sisters.

“Some of those rallies today I don’t think anyone could’ve got,” said their mother, Oracene Price. “That was amazing.”
Venus, who nailed a Wimbledon record 129-mph serve, added, “The level of play was really high. A lot of the times one of us was overpowering the other. So I hit a hard ball on the line, she can’t get it back. Or I tried to go for too much because I’m anticipating that she’s going to run my shot down. Or I hit a huge serve, she hits one I can’t return.”

The sisters, like the rest of the elite players, have a heavy summer schedule ahead. Along with Aussie Open champ Sharapova and French Open victor  Ivanovic, they will contest the Olympics (Venus was the 2000 gold medalist) and the U.S. Open, which starts a couple of days after the curtains are drawn in Beijing. It’s possible that in New York, the sisters will be placed on opposite sides of the draw, and if they play as well as they did in England, they may be able to stop the European title streak there – now running at five straight years.

While fans on Centre Court politely clapped during their delightful clash, U.S. fans are sure to be more emotionally involved watching their countrywomen write another chapter in the rare spectacle.

“I would love that,” Venus said.

Pavlyuchenkova to face Venus: ‘I want to do even better’

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in 2009. Photo: Mark Lyons

Australian Open, Jan 22 ­– Svetlana Kuznetsova has been there before, losing early, or winning a whole thing. She won a spectacular victory, overcoming the intense Jelena Jankovic. But on Sunday, she froze, and lost against another veteran, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

“I was very tired, but I was really tight. Definitely I was not the freshest, but still, I was okay,” Kuznetsova said. “I know I still have to improve on a lot of different things in the game to get decent level, and I was a little bit too tight.”

More than a few years ago, the Russian Pavlyuchenkova looked like she was going to win a major, someday. Since then, she has looked very decent, but not great. The good thing is that she has managed to reach the quarterfinals, but she has yet to reach the semis. Good, but not fantastic.

“I have a lot of memories, because won it twice in juniors and was showing some good tennis, also in the pros, but never achieved something, like, big here. It’s one of my favorite Grand Slams. I’m super excited.  I want to do even better.”

Pavlyuchenkova has played nine years at the WTA Tour. The 25-year-old reached No. 13 back in 2011. She can be aggressive, but she is a little slow.

In 2013, she felt great. In the off season in November and December 2012, she worked out with Serena Williams. She really likes Serena, and in Brisbane to start the new season in 2013, and they played each other in the final (Serena won).

Then at the AO, all hell broke loose.

“I was super frustrated. We have played finals in Brisbane against each other. I was in such good form,” Pavlyuchenkova said. “So I was looking forward for Australian Open, and then I arrived here and I was so strong, and I lost to the girl (Lesia Tsurenko 7-5 in the third).. That was super frustrating for me. I think I didn’t handle it. I was really down. The next couple of tournaments and couple of months didn’t go so well, because mentally I was just not there.

“That was pretty much my mistake before. I think I could kill myself after one or two matches, and then just kind of skip the rest of the tournaments, the next ones, where now I’m trying to work hard, show good tennis, enjoy, and don’t take it so, so serious. Maybe that’s the key.”

The key is that she will have to be super patient against the 36-year-old Venus Williams in the quarterfinals. They have played five times, three wins by Williams and two by Pavlyuchenkova. It’s been pretty close.

Maybe the tide will turn for the Russian.

“I can’t compare myself to Venus and Serena. I remember I was a little girl holding the racquet was bigger than me, and they were ready to play in finals of a Grand Slam. I can’t compare myself to them, but at the same time I kind of also feel experienced. We have had some matches with Venus before. I played her before, so I know how it feels to play against her, but they are still playing. Let’s see who’s gonna win.”

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.”

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

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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?

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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

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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.

Here we go again: Can Federer stop Djokovic at Aussie Open?

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THE FINAL FOUR, THURSDAY NIGHT, JAN 28

1-NOVAK DJOKOVIC VS. 3-ROGER FEDERER

Novak Djokovic is the world’s best player everywhere he goes, so despite the fact that the 17-time Grand Slam Roger Federer can beat anyone on a great day, that does not mean that he has been able to stop the Serbian on the hard courts at a Slam since 2009. Yes, since that time, Federer has beaten Djokovic numerous times at various tournaments in two-out-of-three on the hard courts, but that is not the same of three-out-of-five sets.

At the 2009 US Open semifinal at the Arthur Ashe Stadium, when Djokovic was still learning to play, Federer raced around on the somewhat slick surface and won 7-6 7-5 7-5. But in 2010, Djokovic knocked him out in a classic semifinal at the US Open, fighting back a match point with a huge forehand to win 7-5 in the fifth. At the 2011 Australian Open on the hard courts once again, Djokovic out-schooled him 7-6 7-5 6-4. At the 2011 US Open, they did the exactly same thing, running past Federer 7-5 in the fifth. The Swiss was fairly upset, to say the least.

After that, they faced off plenty of times, on the clay, on the grass and on the hard courts, but it wasn’t until the 2016 US Open final, when they finally would clash on the beloved hard courts. Federer had just beaten Djokovic in the Cincinnati final in the two-out-of-three. In New York, Federer was ready to dance, but oops, he went down again, this time in four sets. In three-out-of-five, you cannot hide.

It is raining outside, which means on Thursday night, the roof will be closed and the court will be a bit slower – unless the sun come out and the roof will be opened up. Is Djokovic a little faster? Yes, the 28-year-old is a little quicker than the 34-year-old, so when he’s stretched way out, he still manages to dig it out and find with lines, even when Federer has already attacked the net. Djokovic has significantly improved his forehand and serve over the years, but Federer has improved, too, and he certainly can out-hit him forehand to forehand. But then again, the two-hand backhand Serbian can blow him apart corner to corner.

On the serve, both of them can dominate the box, going wide, into the chest, or on the T. Federer has so many different types of shots: he can chop his backhand, he can roll it over, and he can flat it out. While Djokovic is steadier with his forehand and his backhand, he can twist it around: he can spin heavily, he can move forward like lightning, and he doesn’t mind to chuck in a few drop shots.

Without a doubt, many people are thinking that if Federer goes into the net, that he can unearth Djokovic. But in the 2015 US Open final, the Swiss was unable to go to the net all the time and bother him. Djokovic knew that he was coming and he passed time and time again. It was a fine idea from Federer, but he could trouble him.

That is what will occur tonight on Thursday on Rod Laver. Yes, Federer has played extremely well in the last 10 days, but this is an entire different match up. They have played each other 44 times, which is incredible, and they are locked 22-22. The No.1 Djokovic was pretty shaky to over come Gilles Simon in five sets. He was not perfect in defeating Kei Nishikori, but he was very smart and he did. Now, he is ready to jump on Federer. While Federer will change his tactics a little bit, it is not going to radically change on a hard court it the Australian Open. Djokovic believes he is in control and he will win in four sets.

Top men still winning, Nishikori to face Tsonga in classic match

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AUSTRALIAN OPEN, JAN. 23, 2016 – In a flash amongst the men, most of the young males were gone. At the WTA, a number of top competitors left quickly, but on Friday, the elder ATP folks look very good, and very intelligent.

The somewhat unbeatable Novak Djokovic dusted Andreas Seppi. 6-1 7-5 7-6(6) and he will face the savvy Gilles Simon who crushed Federico Delbonis 6-3 6-2 6-1. These two have faced off 10 times, with the Frenchman winning the first time they played, in 2008 Marseille, but after that, the Serbian got better and better and gained experience. Simon can be fast, he can be powerful and he can cagey, but is he strong enough to out-him? That is doubtful, given that the No. 1 may not be having a great day, and still, he’s winning just about every single set.

“You try to keep it very simple. When the tough gets going, you try to dig out what’s in you,” Djokovic said.

It looked like Kei Nishikori was hurt again – and really, he gets hurt all the time – but he turned it around. He didn’t think his sore wrist was bothering him and he looked terrific to win it 7-5 2-6 6-3 6-4 over Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. Now he has to face Jo-Wilfried Tsonga,who beat Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-4 7-6(7) 7-6(4). That will be a huge match, considering that Tsonga overcame Nishikori in five sets in the quarters at the 2015 Roland Garros. The Japanese journos are still talking about it because Kei was right there. He freezed up. Now he has another gigantic chance. If he doesn’t immediately attack, then the Frenchman will climb on top and beat him down. It’s time for the 25-year-old to step up and not hesitate.

In a sense it was too bad that Grigor Dimitrov couldn’t manage to claw into the fifth sildenafil 100 mg set against the great Roger Federer. But it wasn’t to be. Over the past three weeks, Dimitrov has played a little better, but not enough, as the Swiss is much more consistent, his serve is superior and on court he is smarter, too. Federer took it 6-4 3-6 6-1 6-4 and later said that the younger players aren’t patient enough. Dimitrov is 24 years old now so his time is now, but as Federer said, the teenagers have a long way to go.

“Talent takes you only so far. But the rest of it is you have to teach it to yourself and learn it, get it right,” Federer said. “You got to be patient. Can’t expect to win Slams at 16, 17, 18 any more these days, skyrocket through the rankings, unless you’re out of this world.”

Federer will go up against David Goffin, who skipped around and bested Dominic Thiem in four sets. Goffin will have a great time running around and try to mix up his attack, but he isn’t strong enough to topple the creative Federer.

It sure looks like Federer will reach to the semis, assuming he’s shocked by the Belgium, but it’s likely that he will go up against the well-known Tomas Berdych. The tall Czech played very well and he was composed to beat Nick Kyrgios 6-3 6-4 1-6 6-4. The 20-year-old was disappointing because he really thought he was ready to go far at the Slam, but he didn’t. Kyrgios is tall, athletic and he is reasonably intelligent, but he still has to be more on top of the ball. He can belt his first serves, but his second serve can be so-so and his return can be spotty. But if he continues to work Kyrgios will get better and better. Look at the 30-year-old Berdych now: he is not just blasting away, but he will be patient until he can set up the right way and then blast it. That is exactly what the Aussie needs to do.

Berdych didn’t have a terrific 2015, but maybe he is ready to finally win a major. He will face the red-hot Roberto Bautista Agut, who upset Marin Cilic 6-4 7-6(5) 7-5.

On Saturday in the bottom half, all the bigger seeds won, including Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka, David Ferrer, John Isner, Milos Raonic and Gael Monfils. Wawrinka will face Raonic, with the Swiss having beaten him all four times they have played. Ferrer has beaten Isner six out of seven times. Clearly, they are both the underdogs, but at this point they need to win right now. Ferrer has been around forever as he is still very good and never backs off. Wawrinka, who has now won two Slams, has been substantially better over the past three years. If either Isner or Raonic don’t change it up, they will lose. If they give them a few tricks, then maybe they can unearth them.

Monfils has been out hurt seemingly forever, but now the Frenchman is back and when he is happy and feeling good. When healthy, he can be phenomenal. He will face the Russian Andrey Kuznetsov, who looked driven and beat Dudi Sela 7-5 3-6 6-1 7-6(4).

Federer says Big 4 still there; admires Lleyton Hewitt

 

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AUSTRALIAN OPEN, January 20, 2016 – Admittedly, Novak Djokovic had a tremendous year in 2015. He won 11 titles, including three majors, grabbing the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. He beat the rest of the so-called Big Boy-plus 1: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka.

Federer has won 17 Grand Slams and Nadal has won 14 majors. Djokovic ‘only’ has won 10 Grand Slams. Both Murray and Wawrinka have won two Grand Slams, which is pretty good, too. Some think that the Big 4 plus 1 might have begun to disappear because in 2015, no one could handle Djokovic for the most part.

However, Federer said that for sure Djokovic had a tremendous year, but that doesn’t mean that the other elite competitors are getting blown out all of the time. Recall that in 2004, Federer won three Slams. In 2010, Nadal won three majors that year, too. Neither of then went undefeated. So while everyone is bowing down for Djokovic, he did lose a few contests

“If you’re looking at his season, he was the most dominant player by far last year,” said Federer, who took out Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-3 7-5 6-1 in the second round. “Then, if you look at just who won the Slams and the Masters 1000s, doesn’t hold truth, because Stan won the French [he beat Djokovic in the final]. Nobody else won a Slam other than him and Novak. So it completely depends on how you look at it. Who’s had the most success? The top five guys really, with Stan, Murray, myself, Novak and Rafa.

“Now the rankings are back to more normal again after Rafa’s worked his way back up. I don’t think Rafa, myself, we personally look at the rankings very much, check it out all the time, care too much, to be quite honest, after being world No. 1. I understand some people do. It’s helpful in the seedings at times. But for us to lose quarter, semis, finals, it doesn’t matter, it’s still a loss, because we’re looking at higher goals, Rafa and myself. Same as Novak. I still think the same guys are playing very well. But Novak deserves like a little star next to his name right now because he’s been doing extremely well. Same for Stan really. Hasn’t been said, he’s won Slams the last couple seasons [he won the 2014 Australian Open and the 2015 French Open] and he’s going into a third season where he’s maybe going to win a Slam.”

Federer is now 34 years old, just like the Aussie Lleyton Hewitt, who will retire after the tournament is over. They began playing each other in 1998, when they were still juniors. Within a flash, Hewitt was given a wild card in his own town, Adelaide, and he won the title. Federer and Hewitt were supposed to play doubles in the juniors at the Australian Open, but instead, Hewitt was given another wild card, this time in the pros.

“He dumped me,” Federer said with a laugh.

For the next five years, Hewitt pretty much had him, winning seven contests and losing two matches. The small yet feisty Aussie beat Federer on carpet, grass and hard courts. But, by 2004, Federer had risen. He had finally figured him out. They had yet to face off in the majors, but this time, Federer and Hewitt went at each other in the Australian Open and Wimbledon. Federer was completely in control. He understood exactly how he should play Hewitt. The Swiss beat the Aussie 15 matches in a row, until 2010, when Hewitt finally upset him on grass in Halle. In 2014, Hewitt was absolutely thrilled, upending Federer in the final in Brisbane. The only time they had played against each other in Australia was in the Davis Cup in 2003, when the two-time Grand Slam champion Hewitt came back down two sets on grass. Both of them still clearly recalls what occurred.

It would be stunning if they can meet in the http://www.cialisgeneriquefr24.com/acheter-cialis-forum/ final of the 2016 Australian Open. They are in opposite draws and Hewitt hasn’t played the singles since the US Open.

But both have said they will watch each other’s matches during the tournament. They admire each other quite well.

“We always got along well. It was sometimes feisty on the court, but it was always respectful,” Federer said. “I always admired his work ethic, his on-court fighting spirit, even though it annoyed me sometimes because in the beginning it was more crazy than now. Until I found myself as well on the court, took me a while, but it was more because of me, not because of him, I’d say. Lleyton made me figure out my game and made me definitely a better player. I enjoyed the battles with him. I wish him well here.”

NOTES

Hewitt will face David Ferrer in the second round on Rod Laver. The Aussie is the underdog, but if he is healthy, they can exchange long rallies all night long.

Federer will go up against Grigor Dimitrov in the third round. The two just played in Brisbane, with Federer playing a little smart and he won it in three tight sets. The only way that Dimitrov can win is to move forward, takes some risks and he cannot back off. The Bulgarian looks a little bit better after a tough year. Last week in Sydney, he reached the final, he held a match point versus Victor Troicki, he came up the net, he had an easy forehand down the line and he dumped it. He lost and he was crushed. Can he stun Federer? Possibly, but if he has a match-point, he cannot hesitate.

Here are two excellent third-round matches: Tomas Berdych vs. Nick Kyrgios and David Goffin vs. Dominic Thiem.