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    #76
    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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      #77
      Andreescu in the final now after beating Svitolina. She'll play Kerber

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        #78
        Sadly Nadal drops out with injury before the semi giving Federer a day off and a final place

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          #79
          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 Of the rest, he has withdrawn injured during the event in three of them, and simply scratched from the rest.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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            #80
            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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              #81
              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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                #82
                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/Skugorís R2 win over the Bryans got overlooked. They lost at the next stage though. One wrinkle from the Menís Doubles was Djokovic played in it (w/ Fognini) and got through all the way to the Semis. Iíll bet itís 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 Womenís 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 Womenís 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 Miamiís American Football stadium.

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

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                  #83
                  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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                    #84
                    Norrie went on to lose the match.

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                      #85
                      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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                        #86
                        Miami continues. Letís start with the general stuff this time, then go on to the Brits.

                        On the Menís side there will be no repeat of last weekís 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 Iíve 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 Womenís 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 doesnít 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 didnít see it out, and then got caught in Hsiehís web (to be fair, that is very sticky). Osakaís 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 Ė 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 Menís side, Dan Evans pushed #20 Denis Shapovalov to three sets in their R2 match, but eventually lost. Better news for Kyle Edmund (seeded #19) Ė he beat Ivashka comfortably in R2 and is currently a set up on Milos Raonic (#12 these days) in R3. Itís 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 Menís 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 Womenís draw, Watson/Arruabarrena beat #7 Klepac/Martinez Sanchez in R1 but lost to Jurak/Olaru in R2.

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                          #87
                          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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                            #88
                            After a poor run in 2018 it looks like Edmund is starting to find some form this season.

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                              #89
                              ?
                              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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                                #90
                                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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                                  #91
                                  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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                                    #92
                                    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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                                      #93
                                      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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                                        #94
                                        50% chance of that being added to in the Women's draw, and 75% chance in the Men's. That is because the Women's final is Karolina Pliskova vs Ash Barty and the Men's Semis are John Isner vs Felix Auger Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov vs Roger Federer. Pliskova and Federer are the two within that who have won a previous title this season.

                                        Pliskova beat Halep in yesterday's Semi, a result that kept Naomi Osaka at no.1 for another week and Halep not quite back on top. It takes Plsikova back to a Premier Mandatory final for the first time since 2016. Her opponent, Barty, is in her first ever final of this magnitude after beating Anett Kontaveit in the other Semi. Barty only has three career tournament wins, with the most prestiguos previously being the WTA Elite Trophy (which is the season-ending event for players roughly 10-20, no equivalent on the Men's side).

                                        On the Men's side, Auger-Aliassime shocked Bornja Coric in straight sets to set up his SF against defending champion Isner. Isner's tournament so far has been remarkable for just how yawn inducing it has been, but also for his focus in tie-breaks. I'm not sure how many breaks of serve it has incorporated, not many is the best guess. What is certain is that Isner hasn't drop a set, despite only having one of the eight he has played not end in a tie-break. And that was 7-5 (first set in R3 against Ramos Vinolas). His latest 7-6 7-6 win was courtesy of 7-1 and 7-5 breakers against Bautista Agut, who therefore didn't back up his big win over Djokovic. In the other half of the draw, Federer was too good for Anderson, winning 0&4 (big Kevin is exactly the sort of opponent Roger eats up) and Shapovalov won a battle of the young guns, 6-7(5) 6-4 6-2 against Frances Tiafoe.
                                        But the main young story this week is Auger-Aliassime. He is the youngest Semi-Finalist in Miami Open history, and the first teenaged one since Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray played each other in the last four in 2007. Djoker thrashed Murray 1&0 and then beat Canas in the final for his first Masters Series title. That is illustrious company.


                                        On a general note, are any of our Canadian posters reading this thread? If they are, how are recent weeks going down over there? It's been absolutely remarkable for what has never really been a hugely strong Tennis country. In addition to the two Semi-Finalists today, and to Andreescu's out-of-the-blue title in Indian Wells (well actually not, but still rather a shock), Milos Raonic also made the Semis in California. Has the media suddenly become Tennis obsessed, or is it still a minority interest even with all this going on?

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                                          #95
                                          No joy for Canada yesterday, though. Not even a set. Federer beat Shapovalov 6-2 6-4 and Isner beat Auger-Aliassime 7-3 7-4.

                                          9 tie-breaks won and none lost in this tournament alone by Big John. Surely that is some kind of record? As, I would assume is seven straight sets going to breakers and winning them all. Clearly, I now want Isner to win the final 7-6 7-6!

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                                            #96
                                            The results in full:-

                                            R2: bt Sonego 7-62 7-67
                                            R3: bt Ramos Vinolas 7-5 7-66
                                            R4: bt Edmund 7-65 7-63
                                            QF: bt Bautista Agut 7-65 7-61
                                            SF: bt Auger-Aliassime 7-63 7-64

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                                              #97
                                              Felix was up 5-2 in the second set yesterday. I was about to post that it was unlikely to be another tie-breaker, but decided to wait and see first. Good thing I did!

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                                                #98
                                                He choked a bit, sadly. Served for the first set at 5-4 and threw in three double faults, having served none previously in the match. That heaped extra pressure on closing out set two. 5-2 was only one break, Auger Aliassime's chance on serve came at 5-3, but the set one daemons...

                                                14 unique tournament winners now on the Women's side after Ash Barty beat Karolina Pliskova in straight sets. Barty's win is part of an interesting stylistic trend on the WTA, more on which when I can access a proper keyboard!

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                                                  #99
                                                  And the first player to win two Tour level titles in 2019 is... Roger Federer. Plus Áa change, plus c'est la mÍme chose.

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                                                    Of the 16 women singles QF-ists in the two Tour-level events this week (Charleston and Monterrey), only one (Bencic) has a Tour singles title to her name so far this year, so unless Bencic wins her next 3 matches we will have 16 different champions in the first 16 events.

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