An interesting couple of days, which is really par for the course. Some upsets (on paper) and a few guys seemingly finding some form for the second week of tennis in Melbourne.
Top-down, we have Nadal facing the ever resilient Schwartzman in R16. I have made clear my cynicism about Nadal’s little Australian summer vacation; nice to see a more mainstream voice share the concern:
Do the math. That’s ridiculous. I saw a fangirl say something to the affect that it’s not Nadal’s fault that the higher seeds in his draw lose before he can play them.
There’s a real contradiction involved in being a fanatic; all of that precious passion and parochial insight often precludes rationality, levelheadedness. Fans are drunk on the blood, sweat and tears of their fetish.
Nadal will play Cilic or Carreno Busta in that QF. Cilic beating Harrison in three is a good sign as the American had been playing well, going back to Brisbane. But don’t hold your breath. An all-Spanish QF could manifest and litter the court as a completely meaningless match. If Cilic can rise and punish the ball, he has his health, doesn’t play a four-hour R16 match, maybe the Croatian can at least fashion a representation.
Schwartzman has been relevant for months now. You want my real interest, Diego? Grab a set from Nadal. But #1 probably continues to roll through this cream cheese draw.
The big R16 match is in the next quarter: what we’ve all been waiting for. If Kyrgios prevails, I like his chances against Nadal. His win over Tsonga was brilliant and full of optimism for this massive talent.
If Dimitrov wins, I still don’t trust him. He did beat Rublev, but that was not very convincing at all. Rublev’s serve is a huge vulnerability. You know the story on the DFs in this match. There were 26 between them. When Grigor’s serve isn’t just waste, his FS is quite strong, hitting 130 mph. But the serve eluded him in this match. He and the Russian teen split the 26, I believe.
Yet Dimitrov has an even more treacherous Achilles’ heal: his slice BH. This he dumped into the net or wide early and often in this match when Rublev was in full control. Dimitrov has to shore-up these shots to have much of a chance against a confident Kyrgios. Even more, Dimitrov showed that mental fragility, as well. If you saw the match, or much of the Bulgarian’s tennis in the past, you know of what I speak. I like his game a ton, but if we’re calling advantages here, I like Nick big-time.
None the less, big win for Dimitrov to avenge the USO loss to Andrey and keep himself alive in this tournament. A win is a win. If he beats Nick, I’ll be the first to applaud.
But I don’t see that happening, nor do I think the 3-seed is out-of-the-woods on this big-match anxiety. Rublev, on the other hand, like a few of these youngsters, appears to have a big bag of panache. Nothing builds confidence like a solid game, so hopefully for Dimitrov his serve shows-up and he can more consistently finish that BH, not make that such an easy target for the Kyrgios ground-strokes and heat-seeking missile serve.
The Dimitrov v Kyrgios winner gets the winner of Edmund v Seppi. Some good tennis coming from these latter two, but “Dimitrios” should find his way to the SF to face Nadal (unless Schwartzman or Cilic can shut me up — good luck with that!).
Thiem, looking good beating the clever and sometimes difficult Mannarino, gets the lone American with the sport’s GOAT name: Tennys. The Austrian should get through that (living up-to his 5-seed) and face Djokovic.
So both Federer and Djokovic seem to have gotten a little lighter load on their route to the QF and SF. Djokovic won’t have to play Zverev, but we’re now wondering what’s the matter with this kid. I have always peppered my commentary of the young German with concern about his height. Is that his problem? Probably not exactly, but the word is out on his Bo5 wherewithal. He’s been very mediocre in the majors. For me, Del Potro has been an exception of height. If you see the Argentine move, he doesn’t have the awkwardness of a Raonic or even a Cilic (who aside from the 2014 masterpiece has been pretty middle-of-the-road, to be fair). Zverev needs to represent at the majors, for sure.
Seemed like he would face some resistance from the South Korean, but the Next Gen star (beat Rublev in that youngers 2017 ATP Final) absolutely took control of that match, AND Zverev really let down, somehow. His ground strokes were weak, sitting-up and Hyeon just bullied him. No attack on the Zverev FH or BH as that match wore-on.
I saw another Tweet quoting the S. Korean saying he’s just honored to share the court with Novak. So you can imagine how that’s going to go.
And in that last quarter you have Federer with a winnable match to then face, seemingly, Berdych, who absolutely smashed Del Potro.
We know the kind of tennis that Tomas is capable of, with a history of top-10 and better results. He hits the ball huge. His ROS and/or Juan’s MIA dangerous serve looked to have played a big factor. Too bad, only in that I was looking forward to a Federer v Del Potro QF; but let’s see what Tomas can do. He came-up short in their WB SF, though he and Federer did share a couple of tight TBs; but even more interesting was that 2017 Miami QF, where he held MP on the world #2.
Certainly looking forward to seeing how these QFs come together.
8 thoughts on “AO R16”
Happy new tennis season Matt! Catching up with the blog – loved your rant about Nadal’s draw. And this is a sound analysis. Yeah Schwartzman is a gritty competitor but doesn’t have the weapons to hurt Rafa. Cilic has, if he turns up in the right mood; but that’s a huge if. And I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see the Croatian eliminated by Rafa’s fellow Spaniard. I agree that Kyrgios represents a real threat. I feel the book has been written on Dimitrov. He can beat Nick but I would then expect him to roll over for Rafa. That’s who he is until he proves otherwise.
In the bottom of the draw Chung has impressed. He doesn’t allow many easy points. I was thinking if Novak is less than 100% he could have his hands full there. But I hate that quote. It’s not encouraging. ‘Honored to share the court’. Fuck that shit. Beat him and then say what an honour it was.
Kyrgios and Dimitrov are two sides of the same coin though Kyrgios is four years younger. Last night was a bad showing from the volatile Aussie. And yes this is redundant. Dimitrov did exactly what he needed to do. Going to write a quick post about the match.
Agree about Chung; he does look solid in terms of tracking and putting a little interest on his ground strokes, but Novak should be able to leverage all of that experience and class. Would be a huge upset if Djokovic doesn’t advance.
To me it seems that whoever is ranked nr. 1 always gets the favorable draw in slams. Kyrgios vs Dimitrov was a great battle that shows what top end men’s tennis is all about!
Can’t wait for the quarters!
Caligula and his sarcasm. 😉
There’s favorable and then there’s child’s play.
Still having trouble posting, hence the haiku-like comments?
You see through me my good champion!
When you are a tyrant and Nr. 1 you always get the djoke draw! 😛
I am just getting warmed up, and I have been Struck by the flue…
Even demi-gods can get sick from time to time…
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