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  • Jimski
    replied
    I just read an interesting stat - there have been 19 completed tournaments on the ATP tour in 2019 so far, with 19 different winners, an ATP record for the start of a season. On the WTA tour there have been 13 tournaments, with 13 different winners. (No idea if the latter is a record.)

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  • Janik
    replied
    Kvitova got less of a good result in a more mundane court, beaten in three by Ash Barty. That was Barty's first win over Kvitova after a number of losses, but it was something that Nigel Sears sort of predicted pre-match due to the relatively slow speed of the courts in Miami. Barty next plays the player Sears currently coaches in the Semi, Anett Kontaveit. She recovered from 4-0 and 5-1 down in the final set to beat Hsieh Su-wei, which is a pity as Hsieh is a brilliant player to watch, who relies on guile and ball manipulation rather than power to get her points. She had also beaten Osaka and Wozniacki in consecutive rounds to each the last eight. Kontaveit also had a notable scalp in R4 as she beat Woman-of-the-Moment Bianca Andreescu. As suggested up thread Kontaveit did try and blast Andreescu off court, and Andreescu also got fatigued, retiring with a shoulder injury at the start of the second set.

    If that was a disappointment for Canadian fans, the Men's draw has made up for it as the QF line-up includes two Canadians. Denis Shapovalov downed Stefanos Tsitsipas in three sets in R4 in a battle of the young guns, and the even younger gun, Felix Auger-Aliassime, became the only non-seed in the last eight when he beat Nikoloz Basilashvili. Shapovalov plays Frances Tiafoe in the QFs (Tiafoe recovered from a set down to beat Ferrer in R3 then took out David Goffin in R4), whilst Auger-Aliassime will face Borna Coric.

    The big news in the Men's draw however was Novak Djokovic losing from a set up against Roberto Bautista Agut. That was Bautista Agut's second win in a row over Djokovic, having previously only beaten him once in eight meetings. After the early loss in Indian Wells, it would appear Novak isn't on it at the moment. Bautista Agut next plays John Isner, who beat Kyle Edmund in R4 via two tie-breaks. The second of these ended in controversial fashion when, at 3-5 down, Edmund stopped mid-point after a spectator shouted out mid-rally and Edmund assumed it was a line-call. Kyle was very unhappy as that was ruled stopping for no good reason and therefore point to Isner. He hasn't been the only player undermined by shouts from the crowd when facing an American in this event. It seems playing the matches in an American Football stadium (literally, there are temporary stands around the court and you can see the bigger normal ones looming overhead) is encouraging people to behave in a way more typical of attending that sport.

    Rain has affected the tournament a bit, which means it's behind schedule. The Barty-Kvitova match was repeatedly interrupted and one of the Men's R4 matches, Federer vs Medvedev, didn't happen at all. Whoever wins this plays Kevin Anderson. Also yet to get underway are the QFs in the bottom half of the Women's. These are an all-Czech affair, Karolina Pliskova vs Marketa Vondrousova (the later in her second straight Prem Mandatory QF) and Wang Qiang vs Simona Halep. Following Kvitova's loss, Halep just needs to make the final to return to being World No.1.

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  • Janik
    replied
    Kvitova's attacker, Radim Zondra, jailed for 8 years. In reading about it, I happened across a photo of her injuries. That demonstrated how serious they were, well, graphically. Her thumb was cut halfway through and the top joint of her index finger was nearly sliced completely off. There were deep gouges in her other fingers as well. Bleergh.
    Zondra denies it was him but Petra seems absolutely sure of it, so I'm pretty comfortable that Czech justice is working properly here.

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  • multipleman78
    replied
    I didn't think he kicked on after the Aussie Open and was even defeated by Murray in one event where he looked dreadful. I forgot about his late blooming but the start of 2019 felt like the same story as the summer and autumn of last year.

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  • Janik
    replied
    ?
    2018 was great for Edmund. He made the Aussie semis at the start of it, and won his first ever tour title in Antwerp at the back end of the season. He had a less successful time during the grass season (which will never be his surface) and the US summer hardcourt swing, particularly losing in R1 of the Open, but he ended the year in decent form with a Semi in the ATP500 in Bejing, a Masters Series QF in Shanghai and then the Antwerp crown.
    Early 2019 was where he really struggled, losing his first matches in both Brisbane and Melbourne. He then took over two months off before returning to play a Challenger event in Indian Wells prior to the Masters Series there. He won that (b Rublev in the final), and appears back in the groove now.


    As for yesterday, a few stories stand out. One is, as per usual this year, about a young Canadian sensation. The male version this time, Felix Auger-Aliassime. He came through qualifying for the event, but having achieved that has now beaten a fellow qualifier in Casper Ruud, #29 Marton Fucsovic and Herbert Hurkacz to set up a R4 meeting with #17 Nikoloz Basilashvili. Hurkacz, the world no.54, had beaten Indian Wells champion Dominici Thiem in the previous round.
    Thiem's loss shows how tough it is to go again in a two week tournament immediately after a deep run; any players who succeed in Indian Wells and Miami back-to-back are really exceptional. And then there is Novak Djokovic, who has done the Sunshine Double four times. That included three-in-a-row between 2014-6, which is more than any other player has managed in their entire careers. Roger Federer and Steffi Graf are the only other players to manage the double more than once, each with two ('94 & '95 and '05 & '06 respectively). Andre Agassi was very strong in these tournaments, he won Miami six times and played Indian Wells a record 18 times, but he only doubled-up once (2001). The last time the pair was completed was 2016, when Djokovic made it four and Vika Azarenka became the first women to do so since Kim Clijsters in 2005. Bianca Andreescu could be on course to join some absolutely glittering company here...
    Andreescu's brilliance continues to overshadow Marketa Vondrousova, but she is rolling again as well, beating Jelena Ostapenko and Elise Mertens in successive rounds to back up her Indian Wells QF run with at least R4 in Florida.

    Returning to the Brits, all the doubles pairs are now out as J.Murray/Soares lost in R2 to Koolhof/Tsitsipas and Salisbury/Ram lost at the same stage to Isner/Querrey. Edmund is therefore the only Brit standing.

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  • multipleman78
    replied
    After a poor run in 2018 it looks like Edmund is starting to find some form this season.

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  • Janik
    replied
    Edmund beat Raonic 4&4. Plays Isner next. And Halep recovered from a set down to beat Hercog. She faces Venus in the next round.

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  • Janik
    replied
    Miami continues. Let’s start with the general stuff this time, then go on to the Brits.

    On the Men’s side there will be no repeat of last week’s Federer-Wawrinka match up as Stan lost in R2 to Filip Krajinovic. Also out at this stage was Sascha Zverev, who is struggling at the moment. He was apparently another struck down with the bug in Indian Wells, but I’ve not heard anything similar about his R2 loss here. And anyway, the most notable thing was the bloke on the other side of the net; David Ferrer on his farewell tour.
    Ferrer announced late last year that he will retire at the Madrid event in a couple of months time. Which makes sense as a swansong. His ranking is outside the top 150 these days, so he needed a wild card for Miami, but he has still taken two big scalps here; Sam Querrey (no longer amongst the seeds) rather comfortably in R1 and then Zverev in a three setter in R2. Next up is Frances Tiafoe, and it remains to be seen how fit Ferrer is for that as not being able to go back-to-back was a stated reason for his impending departure.

    Also stuff happening on the Women’s side. Mostly around Bianca Andreescu again. Having survived in R1 against Begu, who she also beat at the same stage in Indian Wells, Andreescu then beat #32 Kenin to set up another tilt at Angelique Kerber. Yet again, it was the young Canadian who won. She plays #22 Anett Kontaveit next, who will be furiously doing her homework [suggested notes: Andreescu has a lovely varied game, appears to know when to play particular shots, and is massively confident at the moment. She does pretty well everything well, and is currently executing her strategies at an exceptional level. Try to blast her off the court, and if that doesn’t work cross your fingers that she gets fatigued]
    Elsewhere, Naomi Osaka was a set and 5-3 up in Hsieh Su-wei in R3 but didn’t see it out, and then got caught in Hsieh’s web (to be fair, that is very sticky). Osaka’s defeat means she will be dethroned from the top ranking if either Simona Halep or Petra Kvitova reach the final. Kvitova is into R4 after beating Maria Sakkari and a toughie against Donna Vekic, Halep is on the other side of the draw and is a round behind – she plays Polona Hercog (a lucky loser) after beating Taylor Townsend in R2.

    The final general note segues nicely to the Brits, as Serena Williams withdrew from her R3 match with a knee injury, i.e. not the same thing as Indian Wells. What was it that Ferrer was saying about 35 year-old bodies not standing up to the rigours again? Anyway, this means Jo Konta really missed an opportunity in her R2 defeat against Wang Qiang. It looks comprehensive, 4&0, but annoyingly Jo was much the better player for the first half hour, and should really have won the first set comfortably. But she blew many break point chances, and then tightened up on her own serve at 4-2 and 4-5. She also threw away a 0-40 chance to break back at 0-1 down in the second, failing to get a return into play on any of the points. This was a really self-inflicted defeat.

    On the Men’s side, Dan Evans pushed #20 Denis Shapovalov to three sets in their R2 match, but eventually lost. Better news for Kyle Edmund (seeded #19) – he beat Ivashka comfortably in R2 and is currently a set up on Milos Raonic (#12 these days) in R3. It’s currently on serve towards the end of the second set.

    And finally, the doubles. J.Murray/Soares (seeded #2) and Salisbury/Ram are through to R2 on the Men’s side, Salisbury/Ram taking a major scalp in beating a Slam champion pairing of Kontinen/Peers. N.Skupski/McLachan and Inglot/Haase lost in R1 though. In the Women’s draw, Watson/Arruabarrena beat #7 Klepac/Martinez Sanchez in R1 but lost to Jurak/Olaru in R2.

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  • Janik
    replied
    Evans and Konta won, though. Comfortably, in each case. As noted above, that now means they play Shapovalov and Wang respectively. Konta's match is today as is Edmund vs Ivashka.

    In other (i.e. Canadian) news, Andreescu trailed Begu by a set and 1-5, but came through to win in three to set up a meeting with #32 Kenin. And on the Men's side Auger-Aliassime qualified, beat a fellow young qualifier in Ruud in R1 and will now play #29 Fucsovics.
    Last edited by Janik; 22-03-2019, 12:45.

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  • Janik
    replied
    Norrie went on to lose the match.

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  • Janik
    replied
    Norrie loses the breaker 7-5, so finds himself all square rather than back in the locker room. The joys/pain of Tennis scoring in a nutshell, there.

    Bianca Andreescu is unseeded again, btw as seedings lag the rankings by a week (draws are generally announced on weekends, the rankings update on Mondays, i.e. too late). I'm not expecting awfully much from her, as she must be exhausted after going through all those matches last week. She plays Irina-Camelia Begu in R1, with #32 Sofia Kenin and a rematch against Kerber (#8 this week) the path ahead. Kerber could become World No.1 again with the right set of results this week. Halep, Kvitova and Svitolina could also reach (or re-reach) the summit. But most likely is Osaka retains top spot.

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  • Janik
    replied
    Did we ever say that Thiem beat Federer in the Indian Wells final? No? Well, Thiem beat Federer, 7-5 in the third. It was his first Masters Series title, and took him above his opponent in the World Rankings.
    Oh, and in British terms, I think Inglot/Skugor’s R2 win over the Bryans got overlooked. They lost at the next stage though. One wrinkle from the Men’s Doubles was Djokovic played in it (w/ Fognini) and got through all the way to the Semis. I’ll bet it’s over a decade since he got further in a Tour level doubles competition when he was also entered in the singles!

    A change of coasts this week as the whole shebang shifts over to Miami. Qualifying is completed, and no Brits made it through by their own efforts, though Dan Evans has landed a lucky loser spot. Evans was seeded #13 in the q-draw, beat Ito in the first round but lost his final qualifier to Bublik. Also bowing out at that stage was Jay Clarke, who was handed a wild card, and justified it by beating #20 Kovalik before losing to #12 Gunneswaran.
    Less good news from the Women’s side, as all three Brits involved lost in q1. Katie Boulter was the highest ranked, seeded #6 for the qualies, but suffered the heaviest loss, straight sets to Bouzkova. Heather Watson went down in three to #17 Brengle (having won the first set) and Harriet Dart, who was in on a wild card like Clarke, only lost to #18 Barthel in a deciding break (and 7-5 in that).

    As for the main draws, Evans second chance pits him against Malek Jaziri for the right to play Dennis Shapovalov, Cameron Norrie is on court right now against Jordan Thompson and at a key moment as a second set tie-break will either give victory or leave him all square and Kyle Edmund (seeded 19) awaits the winner of a held-over match between Thomas Fabbiano and Ilya Ivashka.
    On the Women’s side, Jo Konta plays a qualifier, Jessica Pegula, in R1 for a chance to take on Wang Qiang in R2. I would say Konta knows and likes these courts, but the Miami Open has finally moved away from the public courts at Crandon Park to a venue associated with Miami’s American Football stadium.

    The following pairs will play doubles: J.Murray/Soares (seeded #2), N.Skupski/McLachan, Inglot/Haase and Salisbury/Ram in the Men’s, Watson/Arruabarrena in the Women’s.

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  • Janik
    replied
    That is also the 'poetic' explanation for why some (many) regard him as the GOAT. It's something of the Muhammad Ali thing. It's not just winning lots that makes some The Greatest, it's the way they do it as well. Given this is an emotional argument all the statistical analysis in the world, the eventual number of Slam titles (Djokovic is going to end up in the lead, I reckon), the lack of Big Four competition for x many Slams at the start of his career, the losing h2h records, the heaviness of that French Open final defeat, the poor break conversion ratio in big matches, the relative weakness on the high backhand, an unforced ratio that the other three would never have accepted of themselves, will not convince those making this argument that it is flawed. Because the choice wasn't based on such dry things in the first place.

    It's also the counter to those who point out that Nadal has missed a number of Slams due to injury, and if he hadn't done so would surely have won more than the 17 already in his possession. The response is that is an "If my aunt had balls..." argument. A major part of the reason why Nadal has won slams is he drives his body to the point of failure. For him to have avoided these kind of overuse injuries, well, then he wouldn't have won anything like as much.


    Andreescu won the Women's title in Indian Wells, btw. That is a huge deal. It's basically the fifth slam. She is 18, it is her first Tour title, and a wild card has never won Indian Wells before. Last year Naomi Osaka won the title here, which was the springboard for exceptional things for her. We may have a potential absolute superstar on our hands in Andreescu...
    Last edited by Janik; 17-03-2019, 23:26.

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  • San Bernardhinault
    replied
    I don't watch as much tennis as others on this thread, and certainly understand it less, but I think Janik's point really comes as no surprise. All along with the big four, Nadal and Murray in particular (and to a lesser extend Djokovi) looked like they were working their bodies to the absolute limits either, in Nadal's case those massive torso-twisting baseline shots or in Murray's the mad, mad sprinting to never give up on a ball and the hard turn to get the next one. For Federer it always looked kind of easy and natural - it was about the flowing tennis rather than the physical extremes. It really is no surprise that his style of tennis is more sustainable over 2 decades.

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  • Janik
    replied
    Apparently Nadal has only completed three of something like the last 18 hard court events he has entered. Of the rest, he has withdrawn injured during the event in three of them, and simply scratched from the rest. He has already pulled out of Miami next week.
    With Murray basically gone (though still talking about playing on, I note) it really is feeling like the end of that golden era. It's not a complete surprise that Federer is still standing whilst others fall by the wayside, they were always pushing their bodies harder to match the standards Roger had set.

    I guess Rafa could still get to 20 slams by winning in Paris alone. His clay court game is certainly good enough for three more titles there even with a body that is failing him. It might make sense if he did a mirror image of Federer and reverted to nearly clay only, just playing the Aussie and US out of obligation and selected warm-ups for these to prepare.


    As for Andreescu, the most remarkable thing is the speed of her rise. It's a certain bet she will be seeded in all the Slams for the rest of the season. And that is from being outside the top 100 at the start of the year so having to qualify in Melbourne and Auckland, and still being so 6 weeks ago therefore needing a wild card to get into this event!
    Last edited by Janik; 17-03-2019, 18:03.

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  • ad hoc
    replied
    Sadly Nadal drops out with injury before the semi giving Federer a day off and a final place

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  • ad hoc
    replied
    Andreescu in the final now after beating Svitolina. She'll play Kerber

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  • Janik
    replied
    It was similar before the Aussie Open. IIRC nine players went into that event with the chance to exit it as World No.1.

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  • Evariste Euler Gauss
    replied
    Following Kerber's QF win in Indian Wells, if the "live" tennis rankings website has its numbers right, then whatever the remaining IW results, the official women's singles rankings next Monday will show that the top 8 women are separated by fewer than 1,000 points, from Osaka in 1st place on 5991 points to Bertens in 8th place on 4,995 points. That must surely be the most compressed a top 8 singles rankings list has ever been.

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  • multipleman78
    replied
    Anne Keothavong on commentary has been tipping Kerber for most of the tournament.

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  • Janik
    replied
    Well, Federer won that. The Men's QF line-up was #18 Monfils vs #7 Thiem, #13 Raonic vs LL Kecmanovic (yes, that is a Lucky Loser in the Indian Wells QFs), Hurkacz vs #4 Federer and #12 Khachanov vs #2 Nadal.
    Was because Milos Raonic has already beaten Miomir Kecmanovic, who lost in final q toMarcos Giron, an local wild card into qualifying. Kecmanovic got into the main draw as the second Lucky Loser (which is particularly fortunate for the #24 seed in qualifying) replacing Pablo Carreno Busta in the draw. That meant a R2 start, as all the seeds had R1 byes, and that set included Carreno Busta. Kecmanovic then beat Marterer, #30 Djere and Nishioka, the later via retirement. That was a back injury, and not another victim of the bug that did for Serena and Zverev and is clearly doing the rounds of the locker room. This is properly lucky stuff, as a run to a Masters QF is usually rather more taxing than that. Hence the $182,000 prize money and the 180 ranking points. Prior to this Kecmanovic had 450 ranking points, YTD earnings of $75,000 and a Tour level win-loss of 1-2. Indeed his career earnings and win-loss were only $257,995 (combined singles and doubles) and 1-4. But then he is only 19.

    Over on the Women's side, varied fortunes for the two young guns in the QFs. Vondrousova pushed Svitolina hard but eventually lost 6-4 4-6 4-6. Andreescu, however, absolutely destroyed Muguruza 6-0 6-1! The two winners now play each other. Be afraid, Elena. Be very, very afraid. Did I say two young guns? In fact there are three, as the other confirmed Semi-Finalist is only 22. It's easy to forget Belinda Bencic's youth, seeing as she broke through in her teens. But her 22nd birthday was less than a week ago. She beat Ka.Pliskova in three and now plays the winner of Venus vs Kerber in the Semis.

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  • Janik
    replied
    Originally posted by ad hoc View Post
    Halep to Vondrousova (who?)
    Halep's defeat means the end of Romanian interest, except it doesn't as Canada's 18year old Bianca Andreescu has Romanian parents. She faces Muguruza in the QF
    Marketa Vondrousova is a 19 year-old former Junior No.1. She has been ripping it up all tournament - Halep is the third seed she has beaten, a run that started with thrashing Kasatkina 2&1. Kasatkina was the runner-up here last year. Vondrousova has been talked off as a future next big thing for a few years, which she is beginning to live up to here. But her development has been behind Andreescu, say; the Canadian has won a lot and lost hardly any so far in 2019. With her, Shapovalov, Auger-Aliasime and a few others, Canada has a whole bunch of exciting young players at the moment.
    Andreescu's previous results this season are runner-up in Auckland having qualified (scalps here included Wozniacki and Venus), SF in Acapulco (biggest name beaten was Buzarnescu) and R2 in the Aussie Open (again after qualifying). She also won the title in Newport Beach in the only second tier tourney she has played (she thrashed Bouchard along the way). If one includes qualfying and Fed Cup (two wins from two vs Netherlands in World Group 2) then Andreescu's win-loss to date is 25-3.

    Edmund-Federer is a R4 match-up. The Men are a round behind the Women now.
    Last edited by Janik; 13-03-2019, 07:14.

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  • ad hoc
    replied
    Some big seeds going out in Indian Wells. Number 1 and 2 on the women's side. Osaka to Bencic, Halep to Vondrousova (who?), and no.1 Djokovic to Kohlschreiber on the men's side.

    Edmund is through to face Federer in the QF
    Halep's defeat means the end of Romanian interest, except it doesn't as Canada's 18year old Bianca Andreescu has Romanian parents. She faces Muguruza in the QF

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  • Janik
    replied
    And then there was one, Jo Konta losing a tough two-setter yesterday to Kiki Bertens but Kyle Edmund beating Nicolas Jarry extremely comfortably (2&0) to make R3 of the Men's. Konta really went toe-to-toe with Bertens, the first set ending in a 12-10 tie-breaker to the Dutch woman and the second being 6-4 but only after Bertens broke Konta in a marathon ninth game and then saved break points in the tenth. Konta was rather unfortunate when on game point near the end of that ninth game when a completely mishit return from Bertens crawled over the net and left her out of position. Sadly, the next two points were a capitulation with a "drop shot cum lob" as described by the commentators (Jo had had lots of success with drops earlier on in the match, but not here) then a double fault.

    As for Edmund, he plays Radu Albot next who has come through qualifying and then beat #16 Fabio Fognini in R2. If Edmund gets through he will play the winner of the match of the round in the Men's draw - Wawrinka vs Federer.

    Other stories from Indian Wells are Sascha Zverev losing heavily to Jan-Lennard Struff in R3 (the second round Zverev vs Zverev match didn't happen as Mischa lost in R1 to Klizan), Novak Djokovic vs Nick Kyrgios also being off the table as Kyrgios lost in R2 to Philipp Kohlschreiber, Felix Auger-Aliassime backing up his R1 win over Cameron Norrie with an equally comprehensive win over Stefanos Tsitsipas in R2, fellow Canadian wild card Bianca Andreescu getting through to R4 after beating Stefanie Voegele (and Cibulkova in an earlier round) and varied fortunes for the Williams sisters in a pair of big matches; Venus came back from a set down to beat Petra Kivtova in two, but Serena is out after retiring looking rather peaky against Garbine Muguruza.
    Oh, and an off court victory - Djokovic beats Kermode, which may threaten the future of the Tour Finals being at the London O2. Boooo!


    In doubles, the only British or half-British pair left standing is Inglot/Skugor as Edmund/N.Skupski, Salisbury/Ram and J.Murray/Soares all followed Watson/Arruabarrena in losing in R1. Particularly disappointing in Murray/Soares' case as they were the #2 seeds for the event. Inglot/Skugor play #4 Bryan/Bryan in R2.

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  • Jimski
    replied
    I dunno, not sure I can believe that Evans has changed much given his recent stupid remarks about doubles players: "people who didn't have the attitude to work hard enough to make it in the singles game". I hope at least he realised the irony anyway, even if he is starting to work harder these days. But he's always come across as a bit of a dick tbh.

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