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2021 Australian Open: What to Watch on Tuesday Night
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Rod Laver Arena | 11 p.m. TuesdayAndrey Rublev vs. Daniil MedvedevAndrey Rubley and Daniil Medvedev secured the ATP Cup for Russia earlier this month, with neither player losing a singles match throughout. In their three meetings on the ATP Tour, Medvedev has come out on top each time, including in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open in September.This may be Rublev’s chance to finally overcome his friendly rival. He has looked particularly dominant, not dropping a set throughout the tournament. His match against Casper Ruud ended after only two sets when the Norwegian withdrew with an injury. Going into the quarterfinals, Rublev has led the field in both percentage of first service points won and second service points won, a sign of how hard it has been for opponents to break his serve.Medvedev has also been playing well, aside from a chaotic, disorganized third round match against Filip Krajinovic. He has now won 18 matches in a row, with his last loss coming in October at a tournament in Vienna. Although the fast surface fits Medvedev’s flat baseline shots, Rublev’s open stance is well suited in defense, and we’re sure to see many dynamic, aggressive point.Rod Laver Arena | 3:30 a.m. WednesdayRafael Nadal vs. Stefanos TsitsipasRafael Nadal, the No. 2 seed, has moved smoothly through the first four rounds, no surprise for a player with 20 Grand Slam titles. Although Nadal won his only Australian Open title over a decade ago, he has reached the finals on four other occasions since, and is a clear favorite in his half of the draw to do so again. Nadal’s powerful topspin shots are well-suited to clay courts where he can drag opponents around with tightly angled shots. Nadal’s ability to exploit his opponent’s weaknesses with relentless pressure can break most players on their best days.Stefanos Tsitsipas, the ATP finals winner in 2019, is a study in unpredictability. The fifth seed has a capable all-court game, but lacks the consistency to execute match after match. The 22-year-old has worked to improve this aspect of his game, but needed five sets to push back unseeded Thanasi Kokkinakis in the second round. After receiving a walkover in the round of 16, Tsitsipas will be well rested and hoping for an advantage against one of the most mentally tough players on tour.
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Daniil Medvedev Finds Another Way of Playing Professional Tennis
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At 23, Rublev is two years younger than Medvedev and grew up playing junior tournaments against him in Russia. For a long time Rublev, seeded No. 8, and Karen Khachanov, 24, the third member of Russia’s latest golden generation, were better than Medvedev. The rise for Medvedev came in 2018 and 2019, when he nearly beat Rafael Nadal in the 2019 United States Open final.“He reads the game really well,” Rublev said of Medvedev. “It’s amazing, the patience he has to stay so long in the rallies, to not rush, to take the time, because in the end these little details, they make him who he is.”Russia is the only country with two players in the top 10. Khachanov gives it three in the top 20. Aslan Karatsev, 27, another Russian ranked No. 114, came out of nowhere to make the quarterfinals here in his first Grand Slam tournament.Medvedev comes into the quarterfinal on perhaps the best roll of his career. He has won 18 consecutive singles matches. He won the ATP Tour finals in London in November, pulling off the nifty trick of beating the world’s top three players — Novak Djokovic, Nadal and Dominic Thiem — in a single tournament. For Russia at the ATP Cup, he beat Alexander Zverev of Germany, a 2020 U.S. Open finalist, in a tight, three-set match in the semifinal round.Medvedev spent his early childhood in Moscow and played few sports other than tennis growing up. He worshiped Russia’s last golden generation, which included Marat Safin and Yevgeny Kafelnikov, who were in their prime when he was a young child. He moved to France to train as a teenager and became fluent in English and French.Medvedev could be heard screaming at his coach, Gilles Cervara of France, in French during his third-round match against Filip Krajinovic of Serbia, as he frittered away a two-set lead before recovering to win the final set, 6-0.
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Aslan Karatsev of Russia Continues an Unlikely Run at Australian Open
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MELBOURNE, Australia — He is the mystery man who few in the sport had heard of just days ago. But Aslan Karatsev of Russia has landed in the semifinals of the Australian Open.In one of the most unlikely runs in the history of modern tennis, Karatsev on Tuesday became one of the few players to make the final four of a Grand Slam after surviving the qualifying tournament when he beat an ailing Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria in four sets 2-6, 6-4, 6-1, 6-2.Karatsev, 27, who was born in Russia, moved to Israel as a child, then returned to Russia as a teenager to pursue better tennis training, according to The Times of Israel. He had been playing in the tennis hinterlands for several years with little success. He had never qualified for a Grand Slam before this tournament. He won three straight matches at the Australian Open qualifying event in Doha to win a spot in the main event and came in ranked No. 114 in the world. He has never been ranked higher than No. 111.Dimitrov appeared to have the match under control after the first set but suffered what looked to be back spasms in the third set and appeared to be on the edge of retiring for the rest of the match.Just four other players have made the semifinals of a Grand Slam after getting through the qualifying event.Ahead of the Australian Open, he played doubles for Team Russia in the ATP Cup, a team event in which players represent their countries. Russia won the competition, but not because of Karatsev, who lost all three matches in which he played with two different partners.His teammates noticed that he was playing as well as they had ever seen, and yet none of them would have predicted anything like this.“We felt like he could do something amazing,” Daniil Medvedev, Russia’s top player and the No. 4 seed in the Australian Open. “To be honest, being in your first Grand Slam main draw? Making quarters is something exceptional. He’s not over yet.”He certainly is not.Karatsev will take on the winner of the match between Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev, which is scheduled for Tuesday night.
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Xi Su-wei เผชิญหน้ากับ Naomi Osaka ที่ Australian Open
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เมลเบิร์นออสเตรเลีย - สนามเทนนิสกลายเป็นกระจกบ้านที่สนุกสนานเมื่อ Hessie Su-Wei ราชินีแห่ง Udis Drop Shots สามารถตีคู่ต่อสู้ของเธอด้วยการหมุนที่รุนแรงมุมที่ชาญฉลาดและการยิงทั้งสองมือข้ามตาข่าย นาโอมิโอซาก้าแชมป์แกรนด์สแลมสามสมัยถอนหายใจเมื่อเธอรู้ว่ารางวัลสำหรับการทำคะแนนสองแต้มกับการ์บีนมูกูรูซ่าในวันอาทิตย์คือการพบกับเฮสซีย์ นั่นคือปัญหาสำหรับโอซาก้า Muguruza ที่คว้าตำแหน่งของเขาในรอบรองชนะเลิศ "เธอเป็นหนึ่งในผู้เล่นเหล่านั้นถ้าเป็นวิดีโอเกมสำหรับฉันฉันแค่อยากเลือกตัวละครของเธอให้เล่นเธอ" แชมป์ปี 2019 โอซาก้ากล่าว โอซาก้าวัย 23 ปีกล่าวว่า“ มันไม่ใช่เรื่องสนุกที่จะเล่นกับเธอ แต่มันสนุกมากที่ได้ดู” เฮสซีย์วัย 35 ปีเก่งที่สุดในการแข่งขันประเภทคู่ผสม ซึ่งเธอและคู่หูของเธอ Barbora Strykova มาถึง Melbourne Gardens ในฐานะเมล็ดพันธุ์อันดับต้น ๆ และออกจากรอบที่สอง Haseeh แชมป์แกรนด์สแลม 3 สมัยยังไม่ถึงรอบรองชนะเลิศใน 37 รายการเดี่ยวแกรนด์สแลมมาก่อน "ฉันพยายามทำเกมทำหน้าที่ของฉันดูว่าจะเกิดอะไรขึ้น" เฮสซีย์มีใบหน้าที่มีความสุข แต่มีคู่แข่งที่แข็งแกร่งอยู่เบื้องหลังรอยยิ้ม เธอเล่นให้กับโอซาก้าห้าครั้งและไปสี่เซตในสี่นัดรวมถึงการชนะเดี่ยวของ Hessie ในรอบที่สามเมื่อโอซาก้าเป็นอันดับสามของโลกในรอบที่สามที่ไมอามีในปี 2019 , "คุณเคยเห็นเธอเล่น?" เธอยิ้ม. "มันเหมือน 'อะไร? "ชอบ." ฉันรู้ว่าฉันควรจะคาดหวังทุกอย่างทุกครั้งที่เล่นเพื่อเธอ “ ความขัดแย้งระหว่างเฮซีในไต้หวันและโอซาก้าในญี่ปุ่นเป็นการศึกษาที่แตกต่างกันอย่างสิ้นเชิง โอซาก้าสร้างความเร็วและ Xi เปลี่ยนเส้นทาง โอซาก้าเป็นแม่เหล็กทางการตลาดที่เพิ่ม Louis Vuitton, Tag Hear และ Working Day ลงในพอร์ตโฟลิโอที่ได้รับอนุมัติของเธอก่อนการแข่งขัน Australian Open เฮสซีย์ไม่มีสปอนเซอร์และส่วนหนึ่งมาจากการออกแบบ "ฉันเรียบง่าย" เฮสซีย์กล่าว นิสัยชอบซื้อชุดเทนนิสลดราคาได้รับแรงหนุนจากการปิดกั้นทั่วประเทศที่เริ่มขึ้นเมื่อสัปดาห์ที่แล้ว เกมพลังที่เป็นตัวเป็นตนโดยโอซาก้าเป็นที่นิยม แต่รูปแบบที่ประณีตที่สุดของกังไสจะไม่มีวันล้าสมัย เธอเป็นศิลปินที่สร้างรูปร่างให้กับสนามด้วยวิสัยทัศน์ที่ไม่ธรรมดาโดยเปลี่ยนรูปทรงที่มีการเทปากกาสีลงไป “ ฉันคิดว่าเธอมีมือที่น่าทึ่งและดวงตาที่น่าทึ่ง” โค้ชเซเรน่าวิลเลียมส์แพทริคโมราโตโกลกล่าว "เธอเห็นบอลเร็วมากมองเห็นและคาดหวังมาก" ดังนั้นเธอจึงมีเศรษฐกิจที่ไม่หยุดนิ่งและเหตุใดเธอจึงเล่นได้ยากมาก” เขากล่าวเสริม ในช่วงสามสัปดาห์ที่ผ่านมาแอนดรูว์วิททิงตันซึ่งอยู่ใน 200 อันดับแรกในการแข่งขันรอบชิงชนะเลิศประเภทชายเดี่ยวในรายการออสเตรเลียนโอเพ่น 2017 ได้ตกเป็นเหยื่อการแข่งขันของเธอ ในศาลเมื่อวันจันทร์ที่ 17 ที่ผ่านมา Whittington ใช้เวลาเกือบหนึ่งชั่วโมงในการบำรุงรักษาการให้บริการที่มั่นคงและแบนราบอันเป็นเอกลักษณ์ของโอซาก้าเทียบกับรถรางที่ East Terminal Paul McNammy โค้ชของ Hessey แนะนำ Whitting ว่าอย่าหลีกเลี่ยงสิ่งใด หลังจากที่กังไสไล่บอลไม่ได้แม็คนามิก็ไปหาเฮซีและบอกว่าเขาจะได้เห็นโอซาก้าทำหน้าที่ได้มากมาย วินาทีต่อมาเธอหยิบลูกบอลขึ้นมาจากสนามด้วยไม้ของเธอพลิกกลับไปที่ตาข่ายแล้วส่งสายรุ้งที่มองไม่เห็นกลับไปให้วิททิงตันซึ่งสามารถยิ้มได้ ฉันไม่อยากติดกับดักวิญญาณนั้น McNammy กล่าวเสริมว่า "ฉันเรียนรู้ความสุขของความเงียบจากการทำงานกับ Su-Wee" ในช่วงสองสามนาทีสุดท้ายของการฝึกอบรมหนึ่งชั่วโมงเฮสซีย์ทำงานจาก Whitington Field รวมถึงการแอบทำด้วย เขาเตรียมพร้อมสำหรับเรื่องนี้มากกว่าคำถามที่เขาถามในตอนท้ายของการฝึกซ้อม “ บริการของฉันช้าขนาดนี้เลยเหรอ” นี่เป็นช่วงเวลาที่เธอไม่ได้พูดเล่น เมื่อตระหนักว่าสีจิ้นไม่ปลอดภัยวิททิงตันจึงมั่นใจได้อย่างรวดเร็วว่าการบริการของเธอนั้นดี เช่นเดียวกับลูกศรอื่น ๆ ในลูกศรของเธอมันคมอย่างหลอกลวง เฮสซีย์ทุ่มเท 71 เปอร์เซ็นต์ในอาชีพแรกของเธอให้กับทัวร์นาเมนต์ "นั่นคือสิ่งที่ทำให้ฮีเป็นของแท้หลอกลวงของเธอมีเอกลักษณ์และยิ่งใหญ่พอที่จะทำงานด้วย" วิททิงตันกล่าว , มักจะเดินทางด้วย. ด้วยความเป็นทางการมากจนลูกบอลพบจุดที่น่าสนใจในไม้ของเธอ McNami อธิบายว่าสามปีผ่านไปโดยที่ Hessie ไม่ทำลายด้าย “ ฉันคิดว่าฉันแค่สนุกและพยายามมองโลกในแง่ดี” เธอกล่าว "ถ้าฉันไม่ชนะฉันหวังว่าการกักกันจะสิ้นสุดลงในไม่ช้าฉันก็จะได้ออกไปสนุกกัน" แม้ว่าโอซาก้าจะมาพร้อมกับชัยชนะ แต่เธอก็สงสัยว่ามันจะเป็นเรื่องน่ายินดี โอซาก้าเอาชนะ Xih 5-7, 6-4, 6-1 ในรอบสามของ Australian Open 2019 มันไม่ใช่ความทรงจำที่น่ารื่นรมย์ ฉันไม่สามารถควบคุมได้เมื่อเล่นกับเธอ” โอซาก้ากล่าว นั่นคือจุดแข็งที่สุดของเฮสซีย์ เธอรู้สึกหมดหนทางสำหรับผู้เล่นที่ดีที่สุดและทรงพลังที่สุด
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Nadal gathers strength as injuries strike rivals
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Photo from Australian Open (@AustralianOpen) Twitter account MELBOURNE – For a player who was all doom and gloom about his fitness on the eve of the Australian Open, Rafa Nadal emerged as an unlikely pillar of strength on day eight as injuries cut a swathe through the men’s draw on Monday. Nadal’s bid for a record 21st Grand Slam crown gathered pace with a 6-3 6-4 6-2 demolition of Fabio Fognini that pushed the Spaniard into his 13th quarterfinal at Melbourne Park. Sealed with an ace 💥@RafaelNadal advances to the #AusOpen quarterfinals for the 1️⃣3️⃣th time.#AO2021 pic.twitter.com/JoH9B67n8S — #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) February 15, 2021 The lower back strain that forced Nadal to miss the ATP Cup is now disappearing in the rear-view mirror and he heads into his next clash against fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas without having dropped a set. “The first set without a doubt has been my best level in the tournament,” Nadal told reporters after routing 16th seed Fognini on a sun-bathed afternoon at Rod Laver Arena. “It’s normal, too, because I was able to practice for two days in a row. “I’m excited about playing that quarterfinals match. “If we compare how I was five days ago and how I am today’s situation, it’s different, and my perspective and excitement is completely different, too.” While Nadal booked his 43rd Grand Slam quarterfinal with two hours and 16 minutes of work against Fognini, Tsitsipas did not lift a racket against ninth seed Matteo Berrettini, who pulled out with an abdominal strain. Norwegian Casper Ruud’s hopes of a maiden Grand Slam quarterfinal were also undone by an abdominal injury as he retired two sets in against Russian Andrey Rublev. Players’ fitness at the Grand Slam has been under the microscope after they spent two weeks in mandatory hotel quarantine, with some blaming their exits on limited preparations. Defending champion Novak Djokovic, who said he had torn an abdominal muscle against Taylor Fritz, has soldiered on and was able to dispatch Milos Raonic on Sunday to book a quarterfinal against Alexander Zverev. Djokovic was cagey about his injury when probed about it after the Raonic match, saying he did not want to “speculate” and that it was a “gamble” to play on. Having had his fair share of injuries over the years, Nadal felt there was little point in trying to conceal their true nature. “Well, it’s difficult to hide things,” he said. “I think it’s not healthy to hide a lot of things because it’s difficult. “Even if you want to hide, at some point you’re going to have questions to answer. “I don’t want to play that game, honestly.” Although speculation over Djokovic’s fitness will continue to fill the vacuum, Nadal was adamant that no player could grit their teeth and win a Grand Slam if properly injured. “If you really have physical problems, you will not win,” said the 34-year-old. “If you have some pain and it’s not putting you in a situation that limits you, the movements, maybe you can find a way. “But when you really, really have an injury, it’s impossible to win a tournament like this.” Read Next Don't miss out on the latest news and information. Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000. For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.
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Injured Djokovic ‘gambles’ to play on at Australian Open
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FILE – Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 10, 2021 Serbia’s Novak Djokovic celebrates after winning his second round match against Frances Tiafoe of the U.S. REUTERS/Jaimi Joy Novak Djokovic says it’s a “gamble” to keep playing the Australian Open and his abdominal injury could have an impact on the rest of his season, but the world number one is prepared to take the risk. The Serbian eight-time champion sustained a “muscle tear” during a thrilling five-setter against Taylor Fritz on Friday. He didn’t train the following day but took to Rod Laver Arena Sunday evening dosed up on painkillers to see off the threat posed by big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic over four sets and make the quarterfinals. Djokovic said the pain was “bearable” and he “somehow managed to find a way and win”. But he is not planning to train again on Monday, instead working on his recovery ahead of his last-eight clash with sixth seed Alexander Zverev. “I mean, it’s kind of a gamble, that’s what the medical team told me. It’s really unpredictable, you can’t know what’s going to happen with you once you’re on the court,” he said. “You’re not gonna save yourself or think about going for that point or this shot or that shot. It just pulls you. It’s normal. Playing at this level, you just want to give it your all. “It could cause much more damage than it is at the moment, but also could go in a good direction.” The 33-year-old refused to say what exactly the problem was, although his abdomen was strapped against Raonic and he said after the Fritz clash that was it “a tear of the muscle”. ‘There is always a risk’ “I know what it is, but I don’t want to talk about it now. I’m still in the tournament,” he said, conscious that he does not want to give Zverev any extra ammunition to target him. “I hope you guys understand that. I don’t want to speculate too much about it.” Djokovic’s win against Raonic was his 300th at a Slam, only the second player in history to reach the mark after Roger Federer, who has 362. It kept him on track for an 18th Grand Slam title in his bid to close in on the 20 held by the Swiss great and Rafael Nadal. His drive for more Slam crowns is the reason he hasn’t pulled out, making clear that if it was any tournament other than a Grand Slam he would have withdrawn. But playing on could mean he faces a period on the sidelines after Melbourne to recover. “I have talked a lot with my own medical team and also the medical team of Tennis Australia — Australian Open,” he said. “They all share the opinion that there is a slight, very slight, slim chance that I will make a significant damage that would take me out of the tour for whatever, some extended period of time. “So, yes, there is always a risk that the injury will get worse, but they don’t think it’s going to be very significantly worse that it’s going to jeopardize my entire season. “So it will jeopardize, depending on how I go here, certain tournaments that are coming after Australian Open that I was maybe thinking to play.” Read Next Don't miss out on the latest news and information. Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000. For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.
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Brilliant Barty sweeps into Australian Open quarterfinals
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Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 15, 2021 Australia’s Ashleigh Barty celebrates winning her fourth round match against Shelby Rogers of the U.S. REUTERS/Kelly Defina MELBOURNE – Ash Barty made light of the challenge of unseeded American Shelby Rogers with a commanding 6-3 6-4 victory to reach the quarterfinals of the Australian Open for the third year in a row on Monday. The world number one has tried to deflect talk that she might end Australia’s 43-year wait for a homegrown champion next Saturday but she looked every bit the title contender as she swept into the last eight without dropping a set. The quest for a home Grand Slam title continues ✨@ashbarty is into her third consecutive #AusOpen quarterfinal.#AO2021 pic.twitter.com/CUIVUeg2XE — #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) February 15, 2021 Rogers has played quarterfinals at two Grand Slams and made a habit of upsetting highly-ranked players but she was unable to get enough of a handle on Barty’s serve to make her high-quality returns a factor. Barty faltered for the first time with victory in sight, allowing Rogers to take back one of the two breaks of serve she had given up in the second set, but the top seed fixed a quarterfinal date with Czech Karolina Muchova two games later. Read Next Don't miss out on the latest news and information. Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000. For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.
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Speed of Courts at Issue in Australian Open
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MELBOURNE, Australia — The chatter about the speed of the tennis courts at the Australian Open this year started innocently enough.It was just before the ATP Cup, the team competition at Melbourne Park that preceded the Australian Open, the year’s first Grand Slam event. Dominic Thiem of Austria, the winner of last year’s United States Open, mentioned he had been practicing at John Cain Arena, and the ball seemed to be coming off the blue hardcourt pretty darn fast.Days later, Novak Djokovic, the world No. 1 and eight-time champion of the Australian Open, said the court at Rod Laver Arena, which he refers to as his second backyard, felt strikingly fast. Then, after his second-round defeat of Frances Tiafoe of the United States, Djokovic said it was playing faster than at any other time since he began playing here 15 years ago, which is not a bad thing for perhaps the game’s most precise and effective ball striker. He said it again after beating Milos Raonic in the fourth round Sunday night. On Friday night, Thiem, the No. 3 seed, came back from two sets down to beat the fan favorite Nick Kyrgios of Australia in the third round, and spoke of all the challenges he had faced — a hostile crowd, Kyrgios’s booming serve and “the fastest Grand Slam Court I have ever played on.”Few players have disagreed.Their comments have caught Tennis Australia, the organizer of the Australian Open and the keeper of the courts at Melbourne Park, a bit off guard. Last year at the Australian Open, some players complained the courts were too slow.Machar Reid, the head of innovation for Tennis Australia, knows the most about the condition of the courts. He said pretournament tests produced results similar to last year, the first year the Australian Open contracted with GreenSet, which supplies the acrylic coating of the courts, essentially the paint.“What we aim for is consistency, year after year, not just here but for all the facilities in the country, so the players are playing on a similar surface no matter where they are,” Reid said in an interview last week. “All our indications are that the courts are the same.”Without getting overly technical in evaluating the tests against the experiences of multimillionaire athletes who have hit countless shots on countless courts and are sensitive to the tiniest changes in conditions, it is worth noting that tennis players consistently suffer from the Goldilocks syndrome.Tennis courts are always either too fast or too slow, too slick or too sticky. Players can shift their opinion midway through a match if the weather changes. They are not an easy lot to please.Men seem to obsess and complain about the speed more than women, perhaps because they hit harder. A serve traveling at 130 miles per hour is plenty difficult to return on a normal court. On a too-fast court it is tough to get the racket on it.The International Tennis Federation, the sport’s world governing body, classifies tennis courts into one of five categories for its Court Pace Rating: slow, medium-slow, medium, medium-fast and fast. A surface receives its classification after various tests that include measuring how high a ball bounces when it hits the surface at different speeds and how easily it slides when it is dragged across it, as well as other factors.The red clay of the French Open is the slowest Grand Slam surface. Playing on the grass of Wimbledon in certain conditions can feel like playing on an ice rink, with the ball skidding and barely rising above a player’s shins. The slightly cushioned hardcourts at the United States Open and the Australian Open are plenty fast, but the ball generally pops up. The speed can be adjusted from year to year depending on the grittiness of the acrylic coating — think of it as adding sand to paint.All the courts at Melbourne Park were polished and given a fresh coat of the GreenSet acrylic before this year’s tournament. Reid said Tennis Australia aims to provide a court that lands right in the middle of the I.T.F. classification scale because the organization believes that kind of court produces the best tennis.A court rated in the fastest category would too heavily favor the big servers and prevent points from developing. A slow court would encourage players to stay back and turn each point into a defensive chess match. A medium court allows tennis to hit that delicate balance between athleticism and strategy.The problem is tennis tournaments don’t take place in a static environment. No matter what the numbers say, how “fast” a tennis court plays is the result of an incalculable and ever-changing interaction of the ball, the surface of the court and the climate.Changes in the weather can have a drastic effect on how a ball moves. Cooler weather can make a tennis ball feel like a rock on the racket and lessen its bounce. When the temperature rises, the ball becomes livelier. There have been a few hot days in the past month, but the weather has been rather cool for the Melbourne summer.Then again, racket and string technologies are always improving, allowing players to hit harder, with more topspin than ever. Also, courts generally speed up with increased play, and the courts at Melbourne Park have experienced significantly more play than normal this year. Players began practicing on the courts three weeks before the Australian Open. Five separate competitions took place the week before the tournament started.And yet it’s a mystery whether the courts are truly faster and how big a factor that will play in the outcome of the tournament.Fifth-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, whose game is laced with power, described the court at Rod Laver Arena as one of the slowest at Melbourne Park and not that different from the courts at other Grand Slam events.But Diego Schwartzman of Argentina, one of the game’s great baseline defenders, described the courts as “really, really quick.” Schwartzman, the No. 8 seed, lost in the third round to Aslin Karatsev, a hard-hitting Russian ranked 114th in the world and playing in his first Grand Slam singles tournament. Karatsev dispatched Schwartzman in three sets.“He’s a guy who was doing very powerful shots every single time, and the court was not helping,” Schwartzman said. “I prefer it a little bit slower, to have better conditions so you can think a little bit more in the match and you can have choices, different choices, different shots.”In the fourth round, Karatsev came back from two sets down to defeat Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada, the No. 20 seed.“I played here before, and it was slower,” Karatsev said. “But for me, it’s good. I think the fast surface for me, it’s always good.”On Sunday, Thiem, the big hitter who started all this chatter, lost badly to Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria at Rod Laver Arena, 6-4, 6-4, 6-0.“It was very, very fast, probably the fastest Grand Slam I’ve played so far,” Thiem said. “But that wasn’t the issue.”After the tournament, Reid said, he will evaluate the reams of data produced by the Hawk-Eye system, which takes hundreds of measurements per second of the ball and the court position of each player. It should provide some insight into whether the courts were faster this year. Or maybe it won’t.
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Pegula sets up all-American quarterfinal at Australian Open
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Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 15, 2021 Jessica Pegula of the U.S. celebrates winning her fourth round match against Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina REUTERS/Kelly Defina MELBOURNE – Jessica Pegula continued her dream run at the Australian Open on Monday with a 6-4 3-6 6-3 win over fifth seed Elina Svitolina to set up an all-American quarterfinal against Jennifer Brady, who beat Croatia’s Donna Vekic in straight sets. Pegula struggled badly in the second set at Rod Laver Arena but regrouped in the decider, breaking former Wimbledon and U.S. Open semifinalist Svitolina in the fourth game before locking down her first win over a top 10 opponent. Matching Svitolina’s power off the baseline, Pegula rushed the net to knock her opponent off her stride and sealed the win on the first match point when the Ukrainian netted a return. Pegula, who considered giving up tennis after being sidelined for long spells due to knee and hip injuries earlier in her career, will play her good friend Brady for a place in the semis after the 25-year-old beat Vekic 6-1 7-5. “Jen is an awesome person,” Pegula told a news conference. “She was texting me, ‘I’m so happy, I’m so proud. This is awesome’. “We’ve all been pushing each other. Why not push each other into a quarter-final, then one of us be in the semis?” Vekic was hampered by an injury to her right leg and took a medical timeout at the start of the second set after being blitzed by Brady in the opener. She emerged with fresh strapping above and below her knee and though she managed to take the fight to Brady in the second set the Croatian was barely moving in the final two games. With the score tied at 5-5 Vekic surrendered her serve to love, a double fault handing Brady the chance to serve for the match. The American made no mistake, sealing victory when her opponent fluffed a forehand. Read Next Don't miss out on the latest news and information. Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000. For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.
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Rublev to face Medvedev as Russians make history at Australian Open
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Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 15, 2021 Russia’s Daniil Medvedev in action during his fourth round match against Mackenzie McDonald of the U.S. REUTERS/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake Andrey Rublev ensured Grand Slam history will be made for Russia after setting up an Australian Open quarterfinal against compatriot Daniil Medvedev on Monday. With qualifier Aslan Karatsev already through to face Grigor Dimitrov in the top half of the draw, it means there will be three Russian men in the last eight of a Slam for the first time since the Open era began in 1968. Fourth seed Medvedev extended his win streak to 18 matches Monday when he took just 89 minutes to blow away Mackenzie McDonald 6-4, 6-2, 6-3 and reach the quarter-finals of the Australian Open. World number eight Rublev followed Medvedev onto Margaret Court Arena and was back in the locker room even quicker, as Norway’s Casper Ruud retired with the scores at 6-2, 7-6 (7/3). “At least one of us will be in the semi-finals. So it’s good news but yeah, it’s going to be a tough match,” said Rublev after his short workout against the 24th seed, who had received treatment for an injury midway through the second set. “Last time he beat me in the quarters in the US Open. So now we’re in the quarters in the Australian Open, so we’ll see what’s going to happen.” Rublev also reached the quarterfinals at Roland Garros last year in a breakthrough season that saw him win five ATP Tour titles, more than any other player. He won 41 matches, equal with world number one Novak Djokovic as the best in 2020, and started 2021 on an eight-match streak after winning all four of his singles to help Russia win the ATP Cup, alongside Medvedev. Fourth seed Medvedev’s best Grand Slam performance to date was reaching the final at the 2019 US Open. His unbeaten run dates back to November and includes titles at the Paris 1000, the ATP Finals in London and the ATP Cup. But Medvedev said the Russian pair, both in maiden Australian Open quarter-finals, would push their friendship aside on Wednesday when they aim for the last four. “It’s our job — of course during the match we’re going to try to win, fight for our best,” said Medvedev. “You never know. Sometimes you can maybe… argue on the court or something because we’re competitors. “After the match we are great friends.” The last Russian man to win a Grand Slam was Marat Safin at Melbourne Park in 2005. Read Next Don't miss out on the latest news and information. Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000. For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.
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