Things We Learned on Day 10 of the 2015 Australian Open


1. That was a pretty unwatchable three-set quarterfinal between Madison Keys and Venus Williams, but I am so delighted for Keys making her first career Slam semifinal. I get the feeling there will be many more of those for her to look forward to. I am prepared to boldly predict that she’s a future multiple Grand Slam champion. (Before our readers excoriate me for encouraging Sloane-esque hype, I’ll have you know that I never would’ve considered making the same prediction about her.)

The Australian Open’s scheduling of having half the women’s quarterfinalists play their semifinal the next day really sucks in this situation, as Keys was severely hampered by a leg injury during the match, and I’m not sure how well she’ll be able to play with only a night’s rest. Then again, although she demolished Dominika Cibulkova, Serena Williams sounded really sick tonight with a cough, so it’s possible there will be an opportunity for Keys if Serena’s not at her best. Either way, I hope it’s a competitive match.

2. As for Cibulkova, she got crushed by Serena, but that was to be expected. It was a decent run for her making the quarterfinals. It was always going to be nearly impossible for her to defend those points she earned for making the final last year. She’ll drop down in the rankings to No. 18, which is probably a pretty accurate rating of her current level. I hope she can string together a better overall year than last, which started so promising but ended with some really atrocious tennis.

3. Stan Wawrinka plays the most beautifully violent tennis. I didn’t get to watch the whole match, but for stretches of his win over Kei Nishikori, he was hitting maybe as well as any tennis player I’ve ever watched, similarly to how he played in his win over Novak Djokovic last year and for the first set of the final against Rafael Nadal. Stan has truly cemented his status as a top player now.

4. I cannot wait for Stan vs. Djokovic. I’ve been rooting so hard for that match to happen since the draw came out. Bring it on!


1. You know what’s fun? Watching Madison Keys play tennis when she’s zoning. Venus was erratic and didn’t give Keys much chance to find a rhythm, but the moments that she did? Holy hell.

I wrote about her special run in Melbourne and her special game for Sports on Earth.

2. It’s weird to look at a past-her-prime 34-year-old and say that this Australian Open is something that she can build on–and it also sounds patronizing to say that about a seven-time major champion–but it’s still how I feel about Venus right now.

It was a good fortnight, and she should be back into the top 10 by the French Open if she stays healthy.

3. I didn’t see the Milos/Nole match, but it doesn’t look like it was much of one. But Milos should cheer up, because he’s clearly headed in the right direction:

4. Holy hell, Stanislas Wawrinka. What a display of bad-ass tennis. Bring that against Nole, please. And for the rest of the year.

5. I present your fans of the day:

6. I don’t want to get into an existential debate about a dropshot, you guys. But I will say: NIGHTMARES.

7. If your read only one thing today–besides everything I write and everything on The Changeover, that is–please make it this piece by Louisa Thomas on Nadal and Berdych and fishermen and life.

A boat, anyway, is not such a bad way to think of Berdych. He has a boat’s craftsmanship, efficiency, soundness, smooth lines. He also has, historically, the problems that a boat suggests: the exposure to strong forces and the vast sea, the vulnerability to hidden rocks. He has a new coach now, a new fiancée — perhaps these are helping him read the weather, or perhaps these are anchors. Besides, boats are people too. Just like a fisherman.

8. Look, we’ve bitched about conflicts of interest in tennis until we’ve all turned blue in the face, and I’ve sadly become rather numb to it all. However, seeing Lindsay Davenport in the stands cheering for Madison Keys in one quarterfinal and then walk directly to the Tennis Channel booth to commentate on the next quarterfinal was just taking things to the extreme.

Stop embarrassing yourself, tennis. Please.

9. I hate this Australian Open schedule. HAAAATE it. The women’s semis should not be scheduled this way, it’s a big disadvantage for Keys and Serena even though they are working on the same timetable.

10. Let’s check in on the doubles draw, shall we?

The women’s doubles final is set: Yung-Jan Chan/Jie Zheng vs. Lucie Safarova/Bethanie Mattek-Sands. Fun!

Finals of the AusOpen!!!yayyyy!!! Happy!!! #ausopen #finals #excited @matteksands @robsteckley

A photo posted by Lucie Safarova (@lucie.safarova) on

On the men’s side of things, the semis are set:

Fabio Fognini/Simone Bolleli vs. Jean-Julien Rojer/Horia Tecau

Ivan Dodig/Marcelo Melo vs. Pierre Hugues-Herbert/Nicolas Mahut


Lord have mercy.

In mixed, there are still a couple of quarterfinals left to be played and I’m way too tired to go through all of the scenarios, but what’s most important is that in one half of the draw top seeds Mirza and Soares have advanced to the semis, and in the other half of the draw, Hingis and Paes are in the semis. So, that potential final has potential.

Alright, now it’s naptime. Let’s do this whole thing again in a few hours, shall we? I mean, in like 8 hours we’ll have a women’s final set!!

*passes out*

2 Responses

  1. qthetennisfan (@qthetennisfan)
    qthetennisfan (@qthetennisfan) January 29, 2015 at 2:25 am |

    we do have fognini vs mahut in the men’s doubles final! nice to see some singles players do well in the doubles (all 4 men,lucie/bms), helps to raise it’s profile

  2. Joshua Gibson
    Joshua Gibson January 30, 2015 at 4:02 am |

    The problem with the conflicts of interests (and, yes, I realize that I basically unleashed my own rant on the subject a few days ago in the comments on the post involving Navratilova’s public criticism of Radwanska) is that while the appearance of ethical behavior in tennis coverage (“actually, it’s about ethics in tennis journalism, guys”) might benefit from limits on such conflicts, I’m not sure “tennis” would improve. Does Davenport take the Keys job if she has to leave her presumably well-paying, cushy, secure gig with Tennis Channel? I can’t imagine she would. Obviously, Navratilova would not have done so. I don’t necessarily have a huge problem with Davenport giving commentary on other matches that don’t involve her player — it’s generally fairly easy to tell when commentators are being honest (even when we disagree with them) and when they’re trying to manipulate the storyline. But I am uncomfortable with the fact that so many of the commentary brigade for the major networks have so many difference complications in their relationships with specific players and specific tennis organizations. I’m just not sure there’s a workable solution to this — or at the very least, it’s less the fault of “tennis” then the fault of the broadcast companies who clearly apply different standards to people calling football games than they do to people calling tennis matches.

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