Australian Tennis Open

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wire chief

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When the new year begins, the AO fast approaches.
Among the heavies it is announced that Juan del Potro will not play.
For the first time ever Serena was across the net from Roger Federer in a Hopman Cup mixed doubles match,
which Roger's team won. Roger had some trouble with Serena's serve though, pronouncing it "unreadable".
Warm up tournaments are now in session in Australia and New Zealand.
Venus is in NZ and just completed a win vs Victoria Azaranka.

Before this Venus and Serena played an exhibition in Abu Dhabi, and if you'd like to see what their games look like
after this tennis lay off time, here are highlights.
abu dhabi venus vs serena - Bing video
 
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- Approaching 40 and the Williams sisters are still the faces of American tennis. Over the years there have been many detractors questioning their commitment to the game. Yet others have come and gone and the sisters remain. American tennis on the women's side is quite strong right now and getting stronger. Great to see.
- Natalie Osaka grew up in the US, but made the prudent move capitalizing on her Japanese heritage. Losing/choking to Keys a couple of years ago has made her a tough out moving forward. Reminds one of an all time great UConn player.
- Always a treat seeing great players play doubles. With today's money, it is an even rarer treat. And it has extended the playing career of Martina Hingis.
- It is hoped that Serena figures out a way to graciously apologize for the US Open. Being Serena, she might have mounted a turnaround. Still, she took an awesome career setting moment away from an up and coming star. That said, the chair umpire probably should have backed away. One can only hope that his career has not been hampered. He was not necessarily wrong, but there was a better way to handle it.
- Marina Alves has been seen in the chair since 2004, but never at high profile matches. I cannot feel sorry for her. Her call/override was one of the worst in tennis history. That particular match was very poorly called overall from the linespersons on up. The good thing is that the challenge system came into existence.
 
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- Approaching 40 and the Williams sisters are still the faces of American tennis. Over the years there have been many detractors questioning their commitment to the game. Yet others have come and gone and the sisters remain. American tennis on the women's side is quite strong right now and getting stronger. Great to see.
- Natalie Osaka grew up in the US, but made the prudent move capitalizing on her Japanese heritage. Losing/choking to Keys a couple of years ago has made her a tough out moving forward. Reminds one of an all time great UConn player.
- Always a treat seeing great players play doubles. With today's money, it is an even rarer treat. And it has extended the playing career of Martina Hingis.
- It is hoped that Serena figures out a way to graciously apologize for the US Open. Being Serena, she might have mounted a turnaround. Still, she took an awesome career setting moment away from an up and coming star. That said, the chair umpire probably should have backed away. One can only hope that his career has not been hampered. He was not necessarily wrong, but there was a better way to handle it.
- Marina Alves has been seen in the chair since 2004, but never at high profile matches. I cannot feel sorry for her. Her call/override was one of the worst in tennis history. That particular match was very poorly called overall from the linespersons on up. The good thing is that the challenge system came into existence.
That 2004 quarterfinal between Serena and Capriati is still something I watch now and then. Some of those calls were just unbelievably awful and the announcers were absolutely incredulous. Like you said, that is THE match that hastened the use of Hawkeye.
 
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That 2004 quarterfinal between Serena and Capriati is still something I watch now and then. Some of those calls were just unbelievably awful and the announcers were absolutely incredulous. Like you said, that is THE match that hastened the use of Hawkeye.
There was one call in particular, the single worst call I have ever seen in an officiated match. Serena hit a ball that was *inside* the sideline, didn't even touch the line. Line judge called it in, and no audible overrule was heard. The chair umpire then called the apparently wrong score on the next point, and when Serena questioned it, the chair apparently said she had overruled (inaudibly) the previous line call.

 

wire chief

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Rafa has pulled out of the Brisbane Tournament, citing unhealed injury. Still hopes to play AO.

Starting this year the AO will adopt a deciding set tie-breaker, like that used in US Open,
first to 10 points, leading by 2. Thank Goodness, since Isner still competes.

Little off-the-beaten-track New Zealand was to offer fans a big time contest between Caroline Wozniacki and Venus in a 3rd round Auckland match. Is was not to be, as a low-ranked Canadian teen knocked the Woz out in round 2. So Venus gets that teen next.
Will this damage the Woz's chances to repeat as AO champ?

Meanwhile Serena forges ahead, through the 3rd round in Perth's Hopman Cup.
 

msf22b

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[QUOTE="wire chief, post: 2978811, member: 1411"AO.

Little off-the-beaten-track New Zealand [/QUOTE]

Excuse me!

NZed is one of the most wonderful, democratic, egalitarian countries to live in in the whole world.

I was fortunate to be employed two years there with the National Orchestra and those years were unforgettable; not to mention the gorgeous countryside, the wonderful lifestyle and people with their heads screwed on the Right way.

Little, off-the-beaten track indeed.
 

wire chief

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He'll test his hip at the AO but seemingly without high confidence, for Andy Murray has just lost in these warm ups, and he reveals that his problem hip is still affecting his game.
And Marin Cilic pulled out of an Indian tournament with knee pain, but he still plans on the Open.

Another question mark is directed at Maria Sharapova, retiring in a quarter with an injury.

Each Major directs our wondering about new names. After dispatching the Woz, now 18 year old Bianca Andreescu of Canada has also knocked out Venus. Fans will look for what consistency she brings to the AO.
She played well, despite being in that off-the-beaten-path in NZ:D.

The top seeded women--the Woz, Kerber, Halep, Svitolina & US Open champ Osaka--are all healthy and ready to go. Add Serena, who is still alive in Perth.
 

wire chief

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Naomi Osaka, citing a childish attitude, lost in the Brisbane semis. She then pulled out of the final warm-up in Sydney.
And Bianca continues to roll, making the finals in NZ. She will take on defending champ Julia Georges, who ousted Bouchard. One Canadian exits, while another moves on.

Is anyone on the tour older than Venus.? Well, yes, on the men's side Croatian Ivo Karlovic, turning 40 in 2 months, is alive & stroking in Pune, India. He's in the finals vs Kevin Anderson.

Finally, in the Doha warm up, Novak is taken out by Roberto Agut in the semis. Novak states he is not concerned, for he's simply not fresh yet.
 
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Naomi Osaka, citing a childish attitude, lost in the Brisbane semis. She then pulled out of the final warm-up in Sydney.
And Bianca continues to roll, making the finals in NZ. She will take on defending champ Julia Georges, who ousted Bouchard. One Canadian exits, while another moves on.

Is anyone on the tour older than Venus.? Well, yes, on the men's side Croatian Ivo Karlovic, turning 40 in 2 months, is alive & stroking in Pune, India. He's in the finals vs Kevin Anderson.

Finally, in the Doha warm up, Novak is taken out by Roberto Agut in the semis. Novak states he is not concerned, for he's simply not fresh yet.
Sports is such a mental game. It is so weird that Osaka could be so mentally tough in her Open run but then
she seems she now feels so mentally fragile.

Brisbane International: Naomi Osaka says she had 'worst attitude' in loss

I hope she rebounds for the AO. Same with Wozniacki, one of my favorite players.
 

wire chief

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The Canadian teen falls back to earth. Veteran Julia Georges is the champ, but it took 3 sets.
Bianca's offbeat style flummoxed the now 2-time winner through set 1, but Bianca eventually ran out of gas, while Julia upped her game.

And no, old man Ivo didn't take the crown, but, hey, to make the semis at his age tickles us geezers.

Peruse Peter Bodo's column on the state of tennis, including the refrain (as our ladies just discovered)
SIZE MATTERS. And he thinks the "big 4" are really no more.

Big Four may now be one (Djokovic) and done (Murray, Nadal and Federer)
 

Bama fan

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[QUOTE="wire chief, post: 2978811, member: 1411"AO.

Little off-the-beaten-track New Zealand
Excuse me!

NZed is one of the most wonderful, democratic, egalitarian countries to live in in the whole world.

I was fortunate to be employed two years there with the National Orchestra and those years were unforgettable; not to mention the gorgeous countryside, the wonderful lifestyle and people with their heads screwed on the Right way.

Little, off-the-beaten track indeed.[/QUOTE]
My sister and her family lived largely overseas for over twenty five years. They did tours in Kenya, Ghana, Mexico, Brazil, the Philippines, and New Zealand. They spent the greatest amount of time in Christchurch. They loved it. Kenya and New Zealand were their favorites. Her kids are some of the most well traveled people ,and their cosmopolitan attitude is amazing. They liked New Zealand a lot, and went to the equivalent of high school there. All of them spoke fondly of the amazing scenery and the friendly people. Maybe off the beaten track is the way to go! :D
 

wire chief

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One week away now, and the Qualies have begun for those hoping to be involved.
The draw will be announced on Thursday, around 3am, if you're up.
Final warm-ups are occurring now in Hobart and Sydney.
 

Hope

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My favorite female tennis player. Hope she wins the AO.

1546913125610.png
 

wire chief

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Our Coco Vanderweghe is a scratch in the AO with a foot problem. Unfortunately for her also is that her ranking has been slipping. In her heyday she made the semis here.

The Aussies are presumably stoked, for their #1 Ashleigh Barty has just taken out Simona Halep at the Sydney warm-up.
Also at Sydney Sloane is blanked in set #1 but wins her match with 2 tiebreakers thereafter.
 
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Ever since the dustup over her alleged lack of fitness a number of years ago, I have been rooting for Taylor Townsend to display the promise and potential that propelled her junior tennis career. Alas, she has languished while other young stars have emerged. Ms Townsend is not likely to jump over any nets in the Australian Open either. Her first round opponent - Sloan Stephens.

Madison Keys cannot lose early enough. This despite a years long desire to see a reemergence of American dominance of which Ms Keys has been instrumental.

I will be happy to see any of the Williams sisters, Sloan, or Osaka emerge victorious on the women's side.

My favorite Australian Open had to be 2007 when Serena won despite all the criticism leveled at her being out of shape.
 
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Sad status of Andy Murray. His chronic injuries are forcing him to retire. He hopes to make it to wimbleton as his last tournament. :(
 

wire chief

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And Andy says he may make this AO his last, if he does poorly here.

Here is an analysis of the men's draw. What got a chuckle out of me concerns a 1st round match between 6'10" John Isner and 7-foot Reilly Opelka, billed as the tallest match in tennis history.

http://www.tennis.com/pro-game/2019/01/australian-open-mens-draw-straightforward-it-looks/78727/

And here experts take a look at the women. Earlier I mentioned that the Majors are often where dark horses emerge. Several are mentioned in this article who are not known to the casual fan yet.

2019 Australian Open Expert Picks: The Women
 

wire chief

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Catch up on unfamiliar names at the Aussie. The 2nd most recognizable Belarus player (after Victoria Azaranka) is seeded #11, and this writer is real high on her.
http://www.tennis.com/pro-game/2019/01/aryna-sabalenka-poised-do-some-serious-damage-2019/78677/

And here's a NY Times article on the wacky distinctions historically on tie breaking, including the differences among the 4 Majors. And the Majors can't agree on the brands of tennis balls either.
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/12/sports/tennis/how-are-ties-broken-in-tennis-that-depends.html
 

wire chief

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This is the shortest Sunday you've ever spent. At least it is, if your head is getting into Melbourne, where it's after midnight on Monday. It's tricky to keep in mind, I know. VAUC knows. Sixteen hours ahead.
There's no late news about scratches or recent injuries.
ESPN2 gets thing underway at 7 tonight EST
Meanwhile, USA Today gives you a short rundown of the top women.

AUSTRALIAN OPEN '19: Halep No. 1; Williams seeks 24th major
 
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The headphones that the announcers are using on set are awful. The are so obtrusive. If I were Chris Everett, I would sue.

What is wrong with the standard clip on mikes. :confused:
 
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Catching Andy Murray match against a #22 ranked player

Down 6-4 6-4 2-1 (break down).


edit: Just broke back to 2-2. :)
 
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wire chief

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Speaking of Andy, my eyes opened at 6 am, and (VAUC will be impressed with this) I knew immediately that it was 10pm in Melbourne, so I hit the tv control. Andy is serving at 4-5 to stay alive, so I delayed tooth brushing and left my newspaper in the driveway. He manages to even the sets at 2-2, but petrol becomes only fumes for him in set 5. The Aussies say goodbye for the very last time, and we will await his decision about Wimbledon. Simultaneously Roger is into round 2 in straight sets.
Last night ESPN2 starts off with Maria S, who did not let her Brit opponent take a single game.
Also the Woz and Kvitová among the heavyweights are through to round 2. No upsets, men or women.

You can see additional matches on the Tennis channel.

Tonight ESPN2 only opens broadcast at 9, and that will be 2 hours later than the 11am Aussie time
matches.
 
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