Things We Learned of Day 4 of the 2015 Australian Open

Andrew is very sick now, and really not able to stay up all night watching live tennis. BUT, he’s spent his day quietly sobbing under a blanket while catching up on all the highlights and replays he could find, so you don’t have to. 

1- It’s time to say goodbye to the Australian legends

Two of the matches I did manage to catch live, having dragged myself from my bed with much moaning and Cornet-level amateur dramatics, were the losses of Australian stars Lleyton Hewitt and Sam Stosur.

Hewitt, having led comfortably by two sets against Benjamin Becker, completely lost control of the match and headed into yet another 5 set grind, as he does match-in, match-out, at every slam, always. I, like most people, have a lot of love for Hewitt…but the routine is getting old.

Stosur, on the other hand, didn’t really do anything wrong. Where we’re used to seeing her nerves betray her at her home slam, this time she didn’t look nervous at all and was actually playing decent tennis. Unfortunately for her, American Coco Vandeweghe just continues to get better and better, with her serve one of the most technically perfect in the sport. Vandeweghe was completely unbreakable throughout the match, backing up the serve with attacking play from every part of the court. One break was all she needed in each set, winning 6-4 6-4.

With Stosur out, Australia has no players remaining in the women’s draw.

2- Friendship always takes a backseat in competition

Another match I’m grateful I caught live was the second round encounter between good friends Victoria Azarenka and Caroline Wozniacki. Of all the draws in the all the world, Wozniacki must have been wondering why Vika had to walk into hers, the Belorussian looking in fantastic form on her return from a long time out of the game due to injury. While it’s a shame that two such great players had to play each other so early, sometimes you just have to roll with the punches, and there were certainly big punches being landed during this encounter.

As solid and aggressive as she has been over the last six months, there was absolutely nothing that Wozniacki could do against the barrage that came from Azarenka’s racquet. Just as she used to do when she was at her very best, Azarenka absolutely pummelled the ball from side to side, taking advantage when possible with swinging volleys. Watching her play today, it was easy to remember that Azarenka is the only player over the last few years who has really challenged a top-form Serena Williams, and one can only hope that rivalry will be back on the table soon.

Azarenka progressed to the third round, where she will face Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova.

3- Either the speed gun is broken, or a record was just smashed

The stats suggest that Zahlavova-Strycova hit a 225kmh/140mph serve today. If that is true, it is not only the fastest ever serve hit by a woman by a pretty huge margin (the record is held by Sabine Lisicki for a serve of 210kph/131mph), it is also on par with the fastest ever serve of Roger Federer, and Juan Martin Del Potro. So…pretty fast!

No word yet on whether the serve has been confirmed at that speed.

4- Everyone is showing Nadal love for surviving cramps and that made Murray sad

We should all be ashamed of ourselves right now.

He does have a point. There is also probably an argument to be made that on court demeanour has a lot to do with it…Murray does tend to grab at the slightest niggle of pain, whereas Nadal is less obvious about his ailments, at least over the course of matches.

That said we all handle pain differently! For instance when I’m in pain I weep, and look for somebody who will hug me and make me a cup of tea. That would be nice, today.

If Murray wants to grab at the pain, he should be allowed to grab at the pain, it doesn’t mean he’s trying less. You be you, Murray, and we’ll try to stop with the double standards.

5- Ben Rothenberg is Anna Wintour now

Azarenka brought a bit of humour to her press conference, challenging Ben Rothenberg of The New York Times for his opinions on the best fashion on the courts of Melbourne this year. Rothenberg questioned the brightness of Azarenka’s dress, and pointed to Serena as the most fetching of the year. I agree on all counts, by the way.

This all led to the tweet of the day:

6- We should all spare a thought for this ball boy

Lopez does not hit serves lightly…ouch:

7- Radwanska is doing exactly what she’s always needed to

Aga Radwanska is a good enough player to win a Grand Slam. I don’t think anyone would argue too fervently against that fact. Her weakness has always been that she can’t finish matches quickly enough, and so over the course of two weeks exhausts herself to a degree where she can’t make it over the finish line. She knows that needs to change, and today she proved that she’s investing in that idea.

Her 6-0 6-1 defeat of Larsson took only 44 minutes, the fastest of any match in the draw so far. She also kicked off Day 4 by making a little girl’s day:

Sadly I can’t find a recording of this moment. But trust me, I saw it, it happened, I would never knowingly lie about something so adorable.

Tomorrow: Lindsay is back, and will share her experiences of Day 5! Your scores will be accurate, your narrator will be fully fit, everything will be wonderful.

Andrew can be found in the mountains of Switzerland, watching tennis and trying not to eat too much Swiss cheese. You can follow him on twitter @BackSwings

2 Responses

  1. Jason
    Jason January 22, 2015 at 7:59 pm |

    The serve speed thing sounds off to me–it doesn’t seem plausible for it to be a whole 9 mph faster than the previous record. Then again I side-eye all serve speed records these days anyway.

    “For instance when I’m in pain I weep, and look for somebody who will hug me and make me a cup of tea. That would be nice, today.”

    Same though.

  2. Patrick of La Verne
    Patrick of La Verne January 22, 2015 at 11:29 pm |

    As for Stosur’s inability to break Vandeweghe —

    It is certainly true that Coco Vandeweghe has a big first serve. In fact she led the WTA in % of first serve points won last year, nipping Serena, who had dominated that category for several years.

    But it should also be pointed out that Sam Stosur’s % of return games won (31.9% last year) is just awful for a player of her standard. Halep led the players in the top 30 with 47.1% and only a couple of players in the top 30 or so were worse at winning return games — Stephens (31.5%) Safarova (30.6%, Garcia 28.5%).

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