1. I’m loving the fact that we’re going to see either Tomas Berdych or Stan Wawrinka in a slam final. The tennis community has been dying for some new faces to make an impact at the slams, and here we are. They’ve had a much different path to the semifinals, Berdych taking advantage of a weak quarter, and Wawrinka beating the virtually-unbeatable-in-Melbourne Novak Djokovic, but they’re both poised for a big opportunity. I hope Stan can recover from the long five-setter enough to play his best in the semis.
2. Speaking of which, I didn’t get to see the match yet because it started at 3:30 a.m. in my timezone, but I’m so happy for Stan that he finally got his big win over Djokovic after so many heartbreakers. I didn’t believe he would put up much of a fight in this encounter, and I’m glad to be wrong. I can’t wait to watch.
And this is fun:
— Roger Federer (@rogerfederer) January 21, 2014
— Roger Federer (@rogerfederer) January 21, 2014
3. Is Stan Wawrinka the new Robin Soderling? I threw the idea out there in late 2012, and I think I believe it more now.
4. I’m struck by the similarities between Sloane Stephens’ run last year to the semifinals and Genie Bouchard’s run here. They both took advantage of a great draw, then beat an injured opponent to reach the semis. Sure, Serena Williams is a much tougher opponent than Ana Ivanovic, but the parallels are interesting. Like in Sloane’s case, I think it’s great to take advantage of a good draw and the opportunities handed to you, but I’ll be cautious about jumping on the Bouchard bandwagon until she starts beating healthy top players.
1. If you missed a second of Wawrinka’s upset over Djokovic, please get caught up on JJ’s comprehensive liveblog.
2. Wow–I just couldn’t be more impressed with Wawrinka right now. I first set my alarm clock for 4:00, but when I rolled over and saw that Djokovic had taken the first set easily, I went back to sleep. Luckily I woke up in time to see all of the fourth and fifth sets, and man, that was compelling theater. (Compelling enough for me to spend the afternoon getting caught up on the first three sets!)
I’m so used to seeing Djokovic escape from tight situations, like he did last year, that up until the moment he horribly bricked that volley down match point, I thought that he would end up as the winner. But I guess that the reason why those escapes are so extraordinary is because they’re not a given, and every once in a while even the greats remind us of that.
To borrow a Roddick-ism, Wawrinka did a great job “staying the course,” and keeping his cool throughout all of Djokovic’s up and downs. There were moments when Djokovic was the four-time Australian Open that we’ve all come to know and admire throughout the years, and then there were moments when he, well, looked a lot more like Djoko v. 2010. It often seemed like he was disgusted with his shots before he even hit them, something I haven’t seen from him for quite some time.
Wawrinka’s steadiness and aggressiveness exploited the weaknesses in Djokovic’s game and mindset, and allowed the underdog to prevail. I give all of the credit in the world to Stan, who was able to persevere when the odds were against him, and who has reinvented himself and his career so late in the game. Quite an inspiration, quite an accomplishment.
And about that volley…
Boris Becker brought in to make Djoko more dominant at the net & tougher in big moments. So Djoko flunks a volley on match point down.
— Barry Flatman (@Barry_FlatmanST) January 21, 2014
That match point from Djokovic may set serve-and-volley back even further #ausopen
— Christopher Clarey (@christophclarey) January 21, 2014
3. David Ferrer shoved a linesman, which is absolutely abysmal. I can’t imagine if someone else did this how much heat they would be getting. The fact that he didn’t seem to see anything wrong with it in his post-match presser is ridiculous too. Very disappointing behavior.
4. Congratulations to Tomas Berdych for making it to a slam semifinal. I actually picked him to make the semis, which is only impressive if you pretend that my other three chosen semifinalists aren’t all already out of the tournament. Sigh.
I’m so excited that we get a surprise finalist on the men’s side–both Wawrinka and Berdych are “deserving’ candidates who have gotten the short-end of the stick too often in this era of sustained greatness, and I look forward to seeing which one of them will be with us on the final Sunday.
5. I think this tweet by Courtney really sums up Genie Bouchard for me:
"I know you can overwhelmed and you can be underwhelmed, but can you ever just be…whelmed?" "You can if you're Genie Bouchard."
— Courtney Nguyen (@FortyDeuceTwits) January 21, 2014
The Canadian is just as cool as a cucumber, and though no one shot in her game really sticks out to me, her patience and efficiency turn her well-rounded game into a dangerous one. Like Amy above, I will keep in mind that she had a good draw, but I also think there are things to get excited about, mainly her attitude. I was in press with Genie a few times last year, and I was struck by how she was never satisfied–she was gunning for the top of the game, and she wasn’t wary to admit it. She certainly doesn’t come across as warm and fuzzy by any means, but her tunnel vision and confidence will suit her very well on the tennis court.
I’m excited to see where this breakthrough takes her.
6. You’re looking scary good, Li Na. Keep it up.
7. Gosh, it’s been a crazy few days:
— Joshua Kay (@js_kay) January 21, 2014