Hey guys! I’m riding solo on the TWL today, so hopefully you’ll enjoy my insanely sleep-deprived ramblings. This tournament has really been a blast!
Here’s what I learned yesterday:
1. Women’s tennis is in a great place right now.
Okay, I knew this already, but man were there some good fourth-round encounters on the women’s side yesterday.
First, we had Domi/Vika, which was WAY better than I expected it to be. Vika is certainly on her way back to good form, and I’m optimistic about the rest of her season, as is she:
— victoria azarenka (@vika7) January 26, 2015
And Domi has somehow recaptured her 2014 AO form after an abysmal rest-of-2014. (I mean, REMEMBER WHEN SHE LOST TO A 15-YEAR-OLD AT THE US OPEN?!)
I don’t think that Domi will push Serena too much, but you never know, especially since we know that Serena is under the weather and it *is* still Australia. However, no matter what, I hope she keeps this form going the rest of the year because POME is really fun to watch.
Muguruza once again played a great match against Serena, and I have a lot of expectations for her this year/the rest of her life. THAT PACE. THAT DEPTH. THAT MOVEMENT. It’s fun.
But, unlike in the first three Slams of 2014, Serena was able to be patient with herself and make adjustments and figure out how to beat a good opponent in a high-quality match. Good to see.
2. Garbine has some advice for Sharapova.
Q. Maria Sharapova has not beaten Serena in 10 years. If you could give Maria any advice from your experience, what would you tell her?
GARBINE MUGURUZA: It’s difficult to say. I think Serena has the game to beat also Maria. Obviously has to be mental. When you are losing to her 10 years, there is something in your head blocking during the match. I think maybe improve more the way she plays to beat her. I think the way she plays is not the way to beat Serena. That’s what I saw in the 10 years. What can I say?
3. Oh Pam.
Pam does Australia Day. pic.twitter.com/qpBGnwSdZD
— Lindsay Gibbs (@linzsports) January 26, 2015
4. Li Na is still awesome.
I haven’t gotten a chance to watch this yet, but I hear that this CBS 60 Minutes piece on Li Na is incredible, so I wanted to share.
5. Stan’s more consistent than you think, at least on the big stages.
In the past eight majors, Wawrinka has made six quarterfinals, two semifinals and won a title. That’s not too shabby, you guys. He’s also made the WTF semis the past two years. He’ll never be Big-Four consistent, but he’s nowhere near a fluke.
Also, he’s adorable:
Interviewer asks Stan whether he'd rather have Ferrer or Nishikori in the QFs. "I cannot choose, so that's a problem," Stan says, laughing.
— Katie Bee (@breakpointsaved) January 26, 2015
7. Kei Nishikori is just mean.
His destruction of David Ferrer was RUTHLESS. Ruthless, I’m telling you. If he can stay healthy all year long, he should easily remain in the top 5, which isn’t something I believed even three weeks ago. (It’s also a really big “if.”)
I can’t say much about the Milos and Nole wins, since I didn’t see them, but kudos to Milos for keeping himself from collapsing completely when faced with Feli’s fairytale run, and kudos to Nole for taking care of business.
8. Back to the women.
Okay, so Madison/Madison and Venus/Aga weren’t as high-quality as Serena/Garbine and Domi/Vika, but they were fun in their own right. And the storylines? Oh man, the storylines.
Instead of elaborating here, I’m just going to cheat and link this:
I looked at Venus and Keys and their paths to this QF for Bleacher Report.
9. Serena is the best.
I cannot stop laughing. Serena is me when I watch a Venus match.
"Challenge…challenge…WILL YOU FUCKING CHALLENGE" pic.twitter.com/wdgMCgkNhL
— Roo (@roobynVC) January 26, 2015
9. Let’s look back at predictions!
So, for Bleacher Report I always pick the quarterfinalists, semifinalists, finalists and winner just a few hours after the draws come out. It doesn’t give me any time to think about things, but I follow my gut, and if nothing else, it’s fun to look back and see how stupid I am.
Here’s what I thought for the men:
Novak Djokovic (No. 1) vs. Milos Raonic (No. 8)
Stan Wawrinka (No. 4) vs. Kei Nishikori (No. 5)
Rafael Nadal (No. 3) vs. Ernests Gulbis (No. 11)
Roger Federer (No. 2) vs. Andy Murray (No. 6)
Djokovic vs. Nishikori
Nadal vs. Murray
Djokovic vs. Murray
Honestly? Not horrible. I picked six of the eight quarterfinalists correctly! (It helps that things went mainly according to seed, and no, I have no fucking clue why I chose Gulbis except I just expected Berdych to mess up his easy section.)
Moreover, all of my semifinalists are still around, so I’ll stick with these predictions the rest of the way, I guess.
Now, for the women:
Serena Williams (No. 1) vs. Caroline Wozniacki (No. 8)
Petra Kvitova (No. 4) vs. Venus Williams (No. 18)
Simona Halep (No. 3) vs. Ekaterina Makarova (No. 10)
Maria Sharapova (No. 2) vs. Eugenie Bouchard (No. 7)
Wozniacki vs. Venus
Halep vs. Sharapova
Wozniacki vs. Halep
Okay, this is a bit more embarrassing, I suppose. I still picked six of the eight quarterfinalists correctly, which I’d take any day, but obviously my expectations for Wozniacki were far overblown.
With so many of the remaining women playing so well, and Serena still not looking like GOATrena, I’m still inclined to stick with my pick of Halep–or, in other words, Not Serena–for the title. (Also, keep in mind that I feel silly changing my winner if they’re still in the tournament at this time, so take that for what it is.)
Still, since I have a finalist that went out in the second round (oops!), I’ll change my predictions to this:
Serena vs. Venus
Halep vs. Sharapova
Venus vs. Halep
10. THIS IS AWESOME.
With both draws sticking about 75% to form, and the big surprises–Kyrgios, Keys, Venus–being super intriguing players, there’s not much chance that the end of this tournament will be a dud.
Buckle up, tennis fans. Let the adrenaline kick in. Let’s finish this first Slam with a bang.
(Also, feel free to share your predictions below, or laugh at mine like you usually do.)