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Discussion in 'Tennis' started by Claimjumper, Jan 14, 2018.
Great opening day as Sloane Stephens and Venus Williams are out on day 1
Nadal is the number one seed and is again the top ranked player in the world. Djokovic is returning after being off for six months with an elbow injury. Federer missed a similar amount of time last year with an injury so hopefully Novak comes back rejuvenated like Roger was.
Well, there won't be a Nadal - Federer final. Nadal retired in the fifth against Cilic. Cilic takes on the unseeded Kyle Edmunds from Britain in the semis. Federer meets Tomas Berdych later on, after midnight sometime. Winner takes a Korean who is on a roll, H. Chung. He knocked off #4 seed Alexander Zverev, Djokovic and just won the quarter-final against Sandgren.
Astonishing the lack of American talent in professional tennis these days. A country of well over 300 million and nearly devoid of any serious contenders. It used to be flush in talent, both male and female. Too busy modeling skinny jeans or trying on p*ssy hats, I guess.
It's interesting how the popularity of tennis has waned in the U.S. over the years. The only promotion of the sport is through the Williams sisters, and that's aimed at the upsider community that doesn't care for the sport for the most part.
When I was younger, recreational tennis was a big thing, lots of courts open with lights. Now, it's tough to find anything outside of a saggy net in a local park. Lots of high-profile racket innovation with the new "big head" rackets being introduced (Prince pioneering this). Now nothing.
Yep, it was big too where I was as well back then. You'd commonly see people playing on well-maintained courts in various city parks. I played it quite a bit and was in a league for one summer and finished second. Now I rarely see people playing on them and many are them have become dilapidated. There's one a few miles away that if I took a picture of it would explain it in a thousand words. I think it's just symbolic of the decline of White Western civilization itself overall.
FASCINATING women's final coming up. Not having the Tennis Channel anymore has limited some viewing but I try and catch as much as I can on ESPN2,s evening coverage. The time difference in Australia makes it virtually impossible to watch say Federer because his matches are mostly on at 3:30 AM EST.
Back to the women. This will be one of the most nerve rattling finals to come down the pike in a while. Both Caroline Wozniacki and Simona Halep carry with regrets. Often you hear the commentators talk about the relevance of being number one which Halep currently is ( Woz is at number two) but to me like in golf it all comes down to the Majors. Being ranked number one means very little compared to winning a grand slam event and everybody knows it.
Wozniacki was number one for a long time back when but she could never finish the deal. She lost to Kim Clijsters at the US Open Finals in 2009 and then to her pal Serena in 2014 where she played dead. Too damn deferential to Serena who she worships. The other annoying trait she has shown is her public distaste for Sharapova. Sounding like a jealous baby she complained bitterly about Maria getting slotted into tournaments post suspension. But what she is most known for is choking in the clutch. For a player that has been number one for so long to have only reached two Major finals is quite underwhelming.
Halep has her own share of problems. Her unexpected rise started in 2014 where she met Maria in the French Open Finals. She was game and lost a hard fought battle. Most predicted more finals. But like Caroline Halep would get tripped up in Majors sometimes exiting shockingly early. But everything seemed in place for last year's French Open Final. Seemingly in control she once again lost her nerve and let a newcomer steal the trophy.
While Halep at 26 is still considered to be in her prime Wozniacki, who has dated the jet set through the years, has wobbled before resetting her fortunes. Both of them have relied too heavily on defense and neither one packs a knock out punch which forces them to get into scrapes with even low rated players. In this tournament alone Wozniacki was down 5-1 in the third set in an early round only to rally to win. Halep won a marathon match early this morning against two time major champ Kerber. She had a similar long grueling match a couple of rounds ago. But I have noticed that both players have been turning up the aggression on offense which I am very pleased about.
The fact that these two and their troubled histories are squaring off for the title is going to be fraught with anxiety. The winner finally gets the monkey off their back. The loser will be pitched into the depths of despair.
I will be rooting for scrappy Halep but this is one of those terrific ANTI-Caste Finals. Both of these women are SUPERB athletes. Wozniacki has even competed in marathons to give you an idea of her all around athletic ability. Both are sensational movers who have been let down time and again with their lack of firepower and deadly serves.
Tennis is probably the most MERCILESS sport out there. You have no where to hide and the mental pressure on players is astronomic.
You not only have to be in top notch physical shape (tennis players are generally regarded right up there as the greatest athletes in the world) you have to constantly rely on your mental fortitude to win big matches.
Whoever loses this match you have to feel sorry for them. This match will demonstrate the thin line between the AGONY and the ECSTASY!
See below nice piece on this historic set up.
I watched a good bit of the Halep-Kerber semi last night and it was terrific tennis. Both girls fought off multiple match points. Halep looked like she was going to fall just short again but summoned her best stuff and finally wore down Kerber with a series of winners. One of the best women's matches I've seen in a long time.
I'll be rooting for Halep to get over the hump. I think she has a better chance than Caroline of staying on top. The top women have been so maddeningly inconsistent in the prolonged era of the Hulking Linebacker, winning a major then playing like crap, up and down like a yo-yo. I'd like to see two or three stay on top and develop the kind of anticipated match-ups and rivalries the men's game has been blessed with for so long now.
It was a great finals match. I managed to see the first part and last set. There was something refreshing about this match. Two hard luck losers finally having a chance at REAL glory. Very compelling on many levels.
Will Simona Halep end up like the Bills and team I rooted hard for in four straight Super Bowl losses?
One minor detour. When Halep took control of the match in the third set Wozniacki took a timeout. They put a big fat band aid below her knee. That was for some sort of "muscular" issue? My ass but we all know there are all sorts of head games going on in tennis. The timeout FORCED Halep to think about things and that was the LAST thing she needed. But I am not going to blame her loss on it. To be honest Wozniacki looked like the better player and deserved to win despite the nice fight from Halep.
What concerns me about Simona is for a smallish player she need MORE variety. To her credit she was offensively more aggressive throughout this tournament and her wicked bratty behavior and yelling at her coach analyst Cahill was toned down measurably here. But they need her to mix things up more. Develop a drop shot and lobs and while she will never be a net rusher she needs to at least cause damage there when the occasion arises. It would have helped her here to keep the defensive minded Wozniacki off balance. Halep has yet to learn how to switch things up on her opponent. She is TOO predictable. And often makes things tough on herself.
Wozniacki has incredible stamina (she runs marathons) and at the end she was fresh enough to finish off a brilliant rally setting up championship point. Both of these women displayed extraordinary movement and guts and to me this Aussie on the woman's side gets an A for riveting play. Both Halep and Wozniacki had to dig deep to even make it to the finals.
We knew going in this would be very painful for the loser. Halep played valiantly but fell just a whisker short. Unlike the French Open where her nerves took over she remained poised enough to win. But Wozniacki proved too formidable. Will Caroline hide back in the shadows once Serena returns or will she build on this huge .Same with Halep. It seems like perhaps now the time is ripe for the Serena era to come to a close.
Halep isn't gorgeous like Maria but she is cute . And despite a very athletic build she is sexy and feminine too. But they need to sign her to a trendy fashion house for her clothes. She should be wearing prettier outfits. I think that will be rectified.
That said there is a silver lining. She will have a lot of sympathy on her side and even though Wozniacki is popular Simona had a steady throng of loud fans during this match. Anyone with a heart will be rooting for her to win her first major. She may never win one. She still needs to improve her game and show more variety and the big hitters are always lurking. But if she is able to come through at last the win will be all the sweeter. I and many others will be there rooting hard for her.
See below a nice review of the match.
Even though I was pulling for Halep, the match was a plus for women's tennis. Entertaining, close and nice looking ladies competing at a high level.
What an amazing achievement for Roger Federer!! He beats Cilic in the 5th set to claim the Australian Open, his 6th title down under and his 20th overall, making him the first male tennis player to reach 20 Grand Slam Titles. I think at this point, Federer is the greatest tennis player ever. Him playing at such a high level at his age is astounding! Congratulations to Federer on another Grand Slam title!!
I was planning to watch later without knowing the outcome but Drudge has a headline I just saw to spoil it for me. But really glad for Roger and will still watch it later tonight if possible. Would be great if he can end with more Grand Slam titles than Brutus, who unfortunately is returning shortly. The contrast in styles between the two couldn't be more striking.
Also watched a replay of the women's final and it was very enjoyable, top quality tennis with Caroline winning in a battle of wills rather than Simona losing. I find Halep to be very likable and hope she breaks through at one of the other Slam events this year.
I hope to catch up on the entire Federer match soon (seen parts of it) but without the Tennis Channel not sure I will be able to. Last year ESPN repeated the stellar Nadal-Federer final several times so maybe they will replay his 20th Major this go around too.
Hold on. 20? We are moving past greatness into the realm of ABSURD. Just read a column that brought up Dorian Gray. Ha
I am going with another theory. As most know Superman is considered an alien because he was not born on earth. So that must be it. Ole Roger wasn't born in Switzerland as has been reported. He was born in another galaxy. Now it all makes sense.
His win lets some much needed sunshine into the proceedings and while the men's side lacked the overall drama of the women's side this year the outcomes here for me are a big improvement over the US OPEN last fall.
As for Halep the poor thing. I like her too. I think she fought bravely and I sense that she will become the fan's next tennis darling as they try and push her over the final hurdle. It will be one of the big story lines going forward.
Wozniacki is a true champ now. So it is time for her to act like one which means no more cowering in the corner when Serena comes back. Based on her more offensive approach here and if she can maintain her focus I see no reason why she can't bag some more Grand Slams. She was deadly here and even though she has been around a long time she is still only 27.
I've run out of things to say about Federer. I too had planned to watch a replay of the match but couldn't avoid seeing the outcome. I did watch a 17-minute long recap of the match on youtube. Interestingly Sebastian Korda, son Petr Korda, won the juniors title. Petr Korda won the Australian Open 20 years ago and had some flash.
Was able to watch the entire men's final last night on ESPN NEWS. While a tight match it wasn't what I would call great but it had it's moments. Federer started off very strong but each player tended to drift giving their opponent some openings. In the past against heavy hitters like Cilic Roger has sometimes blown 2-1 set leads (Del Portro US OPEN) but after Cilic knotted it up at 2-2 Federer fought off several break points in the first game in the 5th set and quickly broke Cilic who either from nerves, exhaustion or both blew a tire after that as Roger sailed across the victory line winning the set 6-1 to grab his historic 20th GS. Federer rediscovered his deadly serve in that crucial 5th set.
No one can say Halep didn't give her all against Wozniacki in their classic finals battle. See below a picture of her in the hospital after the grueling match.