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Australian Open 2023


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There's been a curious bromance going on between two prominent men's players. Talk of teaming up for doubles, other random stuff. Neither is shy of chasing clicks.

An exhibition match has been scheduled for tonight at the Rod Laver Arena in advance of the start of the AO on Monday. The match between Nick Kyrgios and Novak Đoković was announced earlier this week and tickets, for $20, sold out in 58 minutes.

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18 hours ago, mike carey said:

Rafa has won the first set so hopefully on track.

But in breaking news, at 1600 AEDT Nick Kyrgios has withdrawn from the tounament citing a knee injury. So no Nick and no Special Ks.

Unfortunately, Nick has been injured for a while.  He was desperately rehabbing, hoping to play singles, but the injury (a cyst caused a small meniscus tear) just got worse.  He never planned on playing the dubs.  I feel bad for him.  He was obviously gutted over missing his home Slam.

The good news is that the injury sounds relatively minor.  He'll surely miss the Sunshine Double and never plays clay anyway.  Fingers crossed that Nick will be 100% for the grass.

Correction:  he will go under the knife this week and hopes to be back by Indian Wells.  Wow, that would be a very quick recovery!

Edited by BSR
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I'm a die-hard Novak fanboy because I just love the way he plays -- the insane defense, the sliding on hardcourt, the open-stance backhands.  But I must confess, my other favorites, I root for mostly because of the esthetics.  Unfortunately, my two favorite beauties both lost yesterday:  Borna Coric and Lorenzo Musetti *heavysigh*

Well, as long as Novak is playing, I shall be riveted to the proceedings.

By the way, Novak was a heavy favorite in the betting odds before the tournament.  Before the draw came out, Novak was +100, meaning that you won $100 if you bet $100 on Novak to win the trophy.  After the draw came out, once Novak got a total cupcake draw, he went down to -125, meaning you have to bet $125 for Novak to win 7 matches in order to win $100.  That's insane.

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20 minutes ago, BSR said:

I'm a die-hard Novak fanboy because I just love the way he plays -- the insane defense, the sliding on hardcourt, the open-stance backhands.  But I must confess, my other favorites, I root for mostly because of the esthetics.  Unfortunately, my two favorite beauties both lost yesterday:  Borna Coric and Lorenzo Musetti *heavysigh*

Well, as long as Novak is playing, I shall be riveted to the proceedings.

By the way, Novak was a heavy favorite in the betting odds before the tournament.  Before the draw came out, Novak was +100, meaning that you won $100 if you bet $100 on Novak to win the trophy.  After the draw came out, once Novak got a total cupcake draw, he went down to -125, meaning you have to bet $125 for Novak to win 7 matches in order to win $100.  That's insane.

Coric lost in straight sets 6 3 across the board.  Not much of a showing against an unseeded player

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17 minutes ago, purplekow said:

Coric lost in straight sets 6 3 across the board.  Not much of a showing against an unseeded player

Yes, a very disappointing result.  I had high hopes for Borna because he trained super-hard in the off-season after admitting that he kinda half-assed it from 2015 until his shoulder injury in 2021.  Maybe Borna's early success (at 17yo he beat Rafa and at 16yo he beat Andy Murray) made him complacent.  Oh well, back to the grindstone.

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1 hour ago, purplekow said:

5 sets in the opening round does not speak well for someone who may need to play 7 matches

 

It was actually 4 sets against Draper, but yeah, Rafa's form was awfully unconvincing.  Rafa should have an easier match next up against Mackie McDonald, who had to fight tooth & nail for 4h6m in his first match.  If Rafa struggles against McDonald, uh oh.

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17 hours ago, BSR said:

It was actually 4 sets against Draper, but yeah, Rafa's form was awfully unconvincing.  Rafa should have an easier match next up against Mackie McDonald, who had to fight tooth & nail for 4h6m in his first match.  If Rafa struggles against McDonald, uh oh.

Yes 4 sets but still, Rafa has a long way to go before fully recovering. I read what he said after the game and he is aware of the steep challenges he is facing after being plagued by injuries last year. It’s a miracle he’s already playing. Let’s see how he evolves. I just don’t like Djokovic as a person, even more so after the whole scandal last year when he refused to get vaccinated against COVID. I’d prefer that Rafa keeps the record of most Gran Slam titles for himself. Time will tell. 

Edited by musclestuduws
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Rafa goes out in the 2nd round!  Yes, he got injured (hip flexor?), but Mackie McDonald was beating Rafa for a set and a half even before the injury.  McDonald used an interesting strategy, one that no one had ever tried against Rafa:  pounding the ball hard to Rafa's forehand because he makes more errors on that side.  Mind you, that strategy will work only on a fast, low-bouncing court.  The fast court speed rushes Rafa, thereby drawing more errors, and the low bounce robs Rafa of one his big weapons, the crazy-high bounce on his own forehand.  It also helps that McDonald is lightning-quick because Rafa will hit a few booming forehands before you get an error out of him.

Honestly, I don't think this upset changes the draw that much.  Given Rafa's poor play leading up to the AO, I never thought Rafa would beat Medvedev in the quarters and Tsitsipas in the semis.

@musclestuduws, you better root for Medvedev to get to the final because he's lost to Novak only 4 matches in a row whereas Tsitsipas, the highest seed left in the top half, has lost the last 9 straight matches to Novak.  I think the best bet to stop Novak is in the bottom half, Holgar Rune in the QF.  Rune beat Novak pretty convincingly in the Paris Masters final just 2 months ago, and at 19yo Rune's playing with nothing to lose.

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Novak doesn't have many players left in his draw who are likely to stop him. I think he will probably finally tie Rafa with his 22nd major. And Rafa is not looking like he is going to be winning many more in the future (of course, most commentators said that at the beginning of last year, and he ended up winning half the majors last year).

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5 hours ago, Charlie said:

Novak doesn't have many players left in his draw who are likely to stop him. I think he will probably finally tie Rafa with his 22nd major. And Rafa is not looking like he is going to be winning many more in the future (of course, most commentators said that at the beginning of last year, and he ended up winning half the majors last year).

Novak's biggest "opponent" might be his injured hamstring.  He had been dealing with it for a while before it flared up in the Adelaide 1 (there were 2 warmup tournaments in Adelaide in consecutive weeks before the AO) semifinal against Medvedev.  Because the hamstring looked fine in the final and because Novak had a whole week of rest before the AO, I thought for sure it would be 100% in Melbourne, but it flared up again in his match against Couacaud.

On one hand, I'm worried because hamstrings are notoriously slow to heal, but on the other, Novak was able to win the 2021 AO with a torn oblique, including winning his match against Taylor Fritz without being able to hit a groundstroke for 2 sets.  The torn oblique looked much improved by his next round match in 2021 whereas this hamstring injury seems far more stubborn.  Wait & see, I guess.

Rafa said his hip injury had been ongoing as well.  It just got a whole lot worse at 4-3 in the 2nd against McDonald.  Despite this particular injury as well as the cumulative injuries (rib, foot, abdominal), I am still picking Rafa as the favorite at Roland Garros as long as he is entered because he's won the title 14 times, often suffering some ailment or the other.  I do agree, however, that the likelihood of Rafa winning either Wimbledon or the US Open is slim bordering on zero.

I have to say something about Taylor Fritz, 1 of only 2 Americans who lost in the 2nd round.  Losing must feel bad enough.  Watching 8 other American guys get through to the 3rd round while you, the highest ranked of the bunch, are flying home must feel 10 times worse. 

Correction:  Fritz was 1 of 5 American men to lose in the 2nd round, but still, he was the highest ranked (by far) to go out while all his friends (Tiafoe, Paul) are still in it.

Edited by BSR
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I just tuned in and see that Fucsovics has won his first two sets against Sinner! Maybe he got stirred up by your comments elsewhere.

Well, that spurt of energy from Fucsovics certainly didn't last--Sinner lost only 3 games in the next 3 sets.

Edited by Charlie
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6 hours ago, Charlie said:

I just tuned in and see that Fucsovics has won his first two sets against Sinner! Maybe he got stirred up by your comments elsewhere.

Well, that spurt of energy from Fucsovics certainly didn't last--Sinner lost only 3 games in the next 3 sets.

I was watching the Sinner-Fucsovics match as well, kinda getting my hopes up after seeing he had won the first 2 sets.  Then I saw a point where he hit a sharply angled forehand that pulled Sinner way off court, followed by a slice backhand to the opposite corner.  Any topspin backhand would have won Marton the point, but the inexplicable shot selection of a slow slice gave Sinner plenty of time to get back into the rally, which Sinner eventually won *groan*  No wonder Fucsovics's ranking has dropped so much.

Too bad Marton doesn't win more often, because his victory celebrations are hella entertaining ...

 

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On 1/16/2023 at 4:41 PM, purplekow said:

Coric lost in straight sets 6 3 across the board.  Not much of a showing against an unseeded player

Hard to put any positive spin on getting routined 63 63 63, but Borna's 1st round loss against Lehecka is at least an eensy bit less embarrassing now that Lehecka went on to beat #11 seed Cam Norrie.  Norrie's game ain't pretty, but the guy knows how to win.  Never thought Lehecka had a chance, and whaddya know.

While watching Lehecka in the final of the Next Gen Finals, I remember thinking that the guy would be pretty good in a couple of years, but I never expected him to be this good in just a couple of months.

Let's see how Lehecka pulls up in his next match against Felix.  Young players tend to bounce back poorly after 5-setters, mostly because they never played a 5-setter in juniors, Futures, or Challengers, but I hate to underestimate the guy again.

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On 1/20/2023 at 3:25 AM, BSR said:

I was watching the Sinner-Fucsovics match as well, kinda getting my hopes up after seeing he had won the first 2 sets.  Then I saw a point where he hit a sharply angled forehand that pulled Sinner way off court, followed by a slice backhand to the opposite corner.  Any topspin backhand would have won Marton the point, but the inexplicable shot selection of a slow slice gave Sinner plenty of time to get back into the rally, which Sinner eventually won *groan*  No wonder Fucsovics's ranking has dropped so much.

Too bad Marton doesn't win more often, because his victory celebrations are hella entertaining ...

 

Let’s hope he keeps winning and celebrating shirtless! 

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On 1/18/2023 at 10:39 PM, BSR said:

Rafa goes out in the 2nd round!  Yes, he got injured (hip flexor?), but Mackie McDonald was beating Rafa for a set and a half even before the injury.  McDonald used an interesting strategy, one that no one had ever tried against Rafa:  pounding the ball hard to Rafa's forehand because he makes more errors on that side.  Mind you, that strategy will work only on a fast, low-bouncing court.  The fast court speed rushes Rafa, thereby drawing more errors, and the low bounce robs Rafa of one his big weapons, the crazy-high bounce on his own forehand.  It also helps that McDonald is lightning-quick because Rafa will hit a few booming forehands before you get an error out of him.

Honestly, I don't think this upset changes the draw that much.  Given Rafa's poor play leading up to the AO, I never thought Rafa would beat Medvedev in the quarters and Tsitsipas in the semis.

@musclestuduws, you better root for Medvedev to get to the final because he's lost to Novak only 4 matches in a row whereas Tsitsipas, the highest seed left in the top half, has lost the last 9 straight matches to Novak.  I think the best bet to stop Novak is in the bottom half, Holgar Rune in the QF.  Rune beat Novak pretty convincingly in the Paris Masters final just 2 months ago, and at 19yo Rune's playing with nothing to lose.

Well, Medvedev is out. I so wish Alcaraz were in the mix. Especially after seeing his Calvin Klein underwear ads. 😍

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18 hours ago, BuffaloKyle said:

Can Jessica Pegula win this thing!? She's the top seed remaining, I love her chances. She's been looking great! Buffalo wants a win for her! 🏆

I'm rooting for Pegula too, love her attitude.  I'm worried about Rybakina, though, who looked really strong beating Swiatek.

Jon Wertheim's stat of the day today was particularly interesting.  Before today's R16 matches, Novak's career prize was $164.8 million while the career prize money of the other 11 remaining players combined was $87.4 million.  It's good to be king.

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