Things We Learned on Day 7 of the 2015 Australian Open


1. I was really hoping for more in the Rafa-Anderson and Berdych-Tomic matches, but both were basically free of suspense. Though, I did enjoy this:

2. The Monday Order of Play is amazing. Cibulkova (defending finals points) vs. a resurgent Azarenka. Serena vs. Muguruza, who crushed her last year at the French Open. An in-form Venus against an in-form Radwanska, and two American Madisons, Keys and Brengle, squaring off for a place in the quarters.

3. I enjoyed Maria Sharapova’s reaction to Maria Kirilenko marrying a mystery man.

Q. I don’t know how close you still are with her. But did you hear about Maria Kirilenko getting married yesterday?

MARIA SHARAPOVA: I did actually. I’m not sure to who. I really don’t know. I mean, wonderful actually. Why are people laughing?

Q. People think it’s funny we don’t know who she married. We know she got married.

MARIA SHARAPOVA: What happens in Russia stays in Russia. (Laughter.)


1- The Sunday night session was SOLID.

My next three points will go into detail about this, but Halep was incredible, Kyrgios vs Seppi was incredible, Murray vs Dimitrov was incredible. It was a wonderful night (Swiss morning and afternoon) of top class tennis. I’m excited. This was incredible.

Have I said “incredible” enough? Incredible.

2- NK really is rising

Nick. Kyrgios. I don’t quite know how to put into words how much I enjoyed his encounter with Andreas Seppi of italy. First of all let’s look at that scoreline because just that alone tells you how great the drama was: 5-7 4-6 6-3 7-6(5) 8-6.

I’ve historically not been a fan of five set tennis (although always encouraged that the fourth round be where 5 sets kick in), but boy I enjoyed this one.

Kyrgios is a rare character on the men’s tour. We’ve gotten very used to a great deal of politeness and ‘elegance’ and ‘what a great ambassador for the sport’ and in rolls this weird-haired Australian teenager who swears constantly throughout the match and does not enjoy it when people try to leave during his performance:

“Where are you going?!”

He has a right to wonder – this was his big day, on his home turf, and he was giving a display that makes Eddie Redmayne’s Stephen Hawking look like amateur dramatics.

Kyrgios is inevitably divisive, it comes with the territory when you have big personality, and he really will need to cut out the obscenities (which should be handled by the umpire, instead of completely ignored as they were by Fergus Murphy), but personally I’m really thrilled to see new varieties of character emerging on the tour.

3- Simona Halep can hit a tennis ball

Seriously, Halep is a great tennis player. If you’re not already sensing it – I’m currently high on the future of tennis. Wickmayer didn’t actually play a bad match, there were a LOT of entertaining exchanges, but Halep just had the answer to everything.

What’s great about Halep is that she can produce magic from anywhere on the court, even under pressure. It’s a Williams sister legacy, the ability to turn defence into attack in such a way, and Halep is one of the best in the world at creating opportunities on the stretch.

This backhand is one for the 2015 highlight reel, for sure:

She’s such an exciting player. I can’t wait for her match against Makarova too, who is really fun herself when she’s playing great tennis.

4- Dimitrov bends…but is broken

I just wanted to use that line, to be honest.

It’s sad to see Dimitrov drop out of any draw, because his antics are super entertaining, but the prospect of Andy Murray vs Nick Kyrgios is really exciting. If that match gets close it’s going to require a live-bleeper for all the language that will pour out of their mouths. Popcorn at the ready.

5- The umpires were having an off night

Not a good night for rules and discipline. Fergus Murphy ignored all the obscenities. Jake Garner ignored double bounces. There was lots of…just…not umpiring. They DID both ask the crowd to be quiet though, so maybe there’s some kind of new umpire-as-crowd-steward initiative.

Andy Murray eventually told Garner “you are having a shocking day at the office!”

We need Asderaki and Cicak to come sort these fellas out!

6- Eugenie needs to keep her game tight

Bouchard was having a great match, leading Begu 6-1 in a matter of minutes with no discernable reason to be on court for longer than an hour. And then…she just got loose. The Canadian stopped making such an impact with her groundstrokes, she stopped stepping forward as much, she just stalled. Eventually she would win the match comfortably in the third set, but she needs to watch out for getting bored or complacent against opponents she should be beating. That can be a dangerous game.

She was throwing in some backhand slices too, which I haven’t really seen from her before. I’m undecided as to whether she was practicing and it nearly cost her, or if she’s genuinely been working on adding that to her game.

She’ll play Sharapova in the next round, a rematch of the Roland Garros semifinal in which she made the Russian play three tough sets. I’ll be interested to see if she can hold her own again, or even cause an upset. Based on this week, I can’t see beyond a Sharapova win.


1. So much Andy. So much Grigor. So much everything.

Well, that match was something, you guys. Andy was hamming it up and Dimitrov was flashy and brilliant and he seemed to be playing the big points well and showing that he has really matured, mentally and physically, and it was all very fun.

That is, until it wasn’t. Grigor’s collapse over the last five games of the match will be remembered more than his hot-shots, because he’s no longer an unseeded player just trying to live up to his potential and prove that he can kind-of sort-of hang with the big guns. He’s the No. 10 seed at this tournament, and he’s 23 years old, and he’s playing in his fifth Australian Open. He should expect more from himself, and we should too.

Meanwhile, it’s great to have Muzz muzzing late in tournaments. If nothing else, we get entertaining interviews:

If you don’t want to watch all of that, a highlight:


2. Kyrgios. KYRGIOS!

Okay, I don’t have a lot of analysis of this one because I napped during it and need to catch the replay (I AM SORRY I HAVE FAILED YOU), but I will say that I think that Nick Kyrgios is exactly what men’s tennis needs right now, and I’m so excited to see not only how he does in the quarterfinal against Murray, but how he does the rest of 2015. He’s complicated and he’s dangerous and he’s young and foolish but hard-working and talented and he’s very much 19, in all of the good and bad ways.

Hopefully I’ll have an essay coming soon expanding on those thoughts, but those are the cliffs notes.

I mean, this is just nuts:

2a. How very BBC at Wimbledon of you, Channel 7.

3. The Italians have fun, no matter what.

A five-set collapse by Seppio didn’t ruin #Italia’s day.

3. Other than that, not the most interesting day.

Let’s see…Maria Sharapova cruised, and Eugenie Bouchard survived a completely bizarre second-set walkabout to set up a blockbuster quarterfinal between the two.

Kevin Anderson let some chances go late in the first set against Nadal, and paid for it immediately by getting completely creamed the rest of the way. Halep destroyed Wicky in a match that I have no qualms admitting I napped through, and Makarova took care of business over Goerges (WAIT–GOERGES WAS STILL IN THIS TOURNAMENT?!) to make her 1,000th Australian Open quarterfinal in the last four years. (Approximately.)

Oh, and Tomas Berdych beat Tomic to set up a quarterfinal showdown with Nadal. How does he feel about that?

4. Tomorrow’s OOP is absolutely insane, though:

Vika/Domi, Garbine/Serena, Ferrer/Nishikori, VENUS/Aga, Nole/Muller, Madison/Madison, Feli/Milos.

(Okay, so there’s one match in that line-up that isn’t insane, the rest will do just fine, thank you.)


One Response

  1. Joshua Gibson
    Joshua Gibson January 26, 2015 at 3:20 am |

    Usually I’m not that big on racquet smashing, for two reasons. 1. Tennis matches, especially best-of-five men’s tennis matches, are long enough without having to endure the sort of public behavior that makes me avoid Wal-Mart and 2. Players these days take FOREVER to smash the racquet. Some of them take an entire changeover to figure it out. While I’m sure the reason for this is “space age materials” or whatever, it just looks pathetic and sad. John Isner just looked like an enormous six year old (at least his demeanor matched his playing style?) trying to break his the other day.

    But I love this one from Dimitrov. First of all, it’s properly bent out of shape from ONE smash. But the best part is that he is already throwing it as Murray’s ball makes contact with the court. The racquet is finished almost before the point is finished. This is an efficient use of time.

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