Wow. A lot of tennis and I’ve been too busy to see much of it at all. Looking forward to tonight’s Federer v Dimitrov, Thiem v Goffin, and I’m interested in Tsonga’s form. Of course, if Kei straight-sets Garcia-Lopez, that’s better than nothing.
I have seen Federer and Djokovic play on replay and both look strong. The caveat to that statement is Federer was playing Dolgopolov, who, despite some rare streaks of efficient tennis, is not much of a test while Djokovic looked sensational playing a young Frenchman, Halys, who seems to have heart and a big game to boot. Roger probably won’t be able to run around that BH later in the tournament, but he looked quite good doing so. The FH and serve look really sharp. He needs easy points, no errors on that FH and play it safe and solid with that BH. Roger is alive and breathing, for sure.
Djokovic’s backhand is simply unreal. This is what separates him, truly. His service return and his baseline BH are probably the best ever. I simply marvel at how smooth and consistently deep (fluent) he is with that stroke. He would need a big off-day for anyone to have a chance though Federer, Tsonga, maybe a Kyrgios if he finds flight v Berdych could all be tough. But those opponents have to be incredibly inspired and Djokovic has to become distracted, error-prone. . . perhaps by this terrible rumor of match fixing. Talk about unreal.
We know that stuff happens on the regular (players tanking games, sets, even matches) though the idea that this is tied to organized crime makes this pretty unnerving. There was an article recently about how a young player had to decide whether to play deep into his pre-AO Challenger tournament and miss qualifying for the AO. The article weighed which tournament (the Challenger or the AO) would be more beneficial to the player, a struggling pro. He would receive more points if he were to advance and win the Challenger, but the possibility of winning a match or two in the AO would mean a lot more money. So there’s that kind of tanking/fixing on the regular, among other examples. Whatever the case may be, hopefully the authorities can eradicate this kind of big time gambling and integrity-destroying activity.
I see Federer beating Dimitrov and winner of Thiem/Goffin. Indeed, I did not see the bracket as troubling as some. The big test will be the QF, winner of Kyrgios/Berdych/Cilic. Roger, if he survives, gets only one of those. Roger should find the QF. His opponent is the mystery we need to solve!
No one is touching Djokovic, imho, with his form.
Elsewhere, Murray seems to be in great shape though the winner of Raonic v Wawrinka should make Murray curse and toss his equipment around.
Did anyone see the Lopez v Pella match? That was very entertaining. Lopez’s old-school style of smooth and athletic S&V is a great watch and this Pella fought valiantly. Four TBs. Pretty suspenseful, and a good win for the Spaniard.
American Stevie Johnson looks quite good. He is perhaps the greatest U.S. collegiate player of all time. He had a remarkable career at USC. He’s been pretty mediocre on tour, but he looks fit, his serve and FH are really strong and he’s still alive in that odd-ball half of the draw.
In the aftermath of Nadal’s 1R exit, did you hear people say that Verdasco is that good? I did. Really? The apologists are like locust. He should beat a 32 year-old Verdasco in 1R.
And this 5’9″ Sela does not seem very imposing. I saw the end of that match and witnessed some awful tennis. Verdasco had a let down? Sure. I guess.
Monfils looks to benefit in that part of the draw. By the way, the Troiki/Raonic match should be good. Troiki is playing well and I just remember that Raonic won Brisbane with less than stellar form. Certainly, Roger was not the man he used to be. 😉 Don’t overlook that match.
Tournament is looking to stay on form, in the big picture. Top four guys still alive and looking good to make it deep into this tournament.