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Ben Wyatt's Low Cal Calzone Zone
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Discussion Starter #1
So yeah, we have a darts thread and a feckin' snooker/pool thread but somehow a Tennis thread is about as prominent as Nazzac's favourites in a Grand Slam Final.

Does anybody even watch this game anymore? Surely there's enough thirsty WOW posters entertained by Laura Robson (when she's not more injury prone than Johnny Wilkinson on Total Wipeout) and Genie Bouchard?

Anyone seeing anything but Novak sweeping the Aussie Open again this year? He's approaching Rafa at Roland Garros levels of domination at this event and I've not seen much from the chasing pack to suggest he's overly threatened bar Murray/Stan/Fed playing an absolutely faultless match.

Poor Rafa btw. Heart sank when he drew Verdasco because I figured that was about as poor a draw he could have received. First ever exit at a Grand Slam in the first round. Grim times.

Anyone see Tsonga being an absolute saint with the ball girl who needed medical attention? Escorted her off court and everything. If only he was as consistent in five setters as he was well mannered.
 

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Ben Wyatt's Low Cal Calzone Zone
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Discussion Starter #2
So a British woman actually reached the Quarter Finals of a Grand Slam and not a word of this herculean feat was uttered.

Shame on all of you.

(Watch her go out to the Chinese qualifier now I've said this, if the Chinese lass even won).

I should actually watch the matches to contribute to this creation but there's no way I'm getting up mid-morning pre work to watch it live.
 

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Aggressively White
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Is this thread just you going to be talking to yourself? Why not use the PM feature? :trips3
 

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If WOOLCOCK wants a thread to talk to himself, he will have a thread to talk to himself, damnit.

I haven't been watching any of this tournament. Will probably end up just watching the two finals.
 

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Ben Wyatt's Low Cal Calzone Zone
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Discussion Starter #5
So Konta has got the Chinese qualifer as her QF opponent, though she's knocked out a few seeded players (must resist Williams' sisters joke here) herself. Have to wonder how she'll cope in a situation where she's now the odds on favourite, as opposed to prior matches where she's been afforded the underdog status. Can't see the weight and expectation not being on her mind at some stage in the match.

Murray should get past Ferrer. He seems to be a fairly poor match-up for Ferrer given his slower play and enthusiasm for constructing more drawn out and lengthy points rather than recklessly attacking and drawing unforced errors. Can see it being a four-set affair though unless Ferrer really plays a blinder/Murray has a stinker.

Raonic has looked quite impressive this year, and could be a problematic semi final opponent if he serves as well as he has been doing. Murray's typically got a strong record to my knowledge against big servers based on his return and net play, but the Anderson match at Flusing Meadows was a good illustration of what players like that can do to Murray when their ratio of winners to unforced errors is so emphatic.

Struggling to see Djokovic losing to Federer over the course of five sets on a hard court at the minute. If Federer was to beat him anywhere it would be Wimbledon but Djokovic has somehow stepped up another level on grass and become a far better rival to Murray/Federer these past two years.
 

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Congratulations to Jo Konta! Great job of handling the pressure and a potentially dangerous opponent. Will have to tighten up her game for the SF though, Kerber doesn't give away many free points...
 

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Ben Wyatt's Low Cal Calzone Zone
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Discussion Starter #7
This is genuinly amazing. Seven top 20 players she's beaten since last summer. How she develops and kicks on from exceeding such expectations will be pivotal now, but she has the makings of being the most successful British female player for quite some time, especially with Robson being seemingly cursed with injuries and unable to play consistently.

Murray one game away from the semis. Predicted he'd take it in 4 sets. Just needs to keep his composure and head and get the job done.

Fancy Raonic to dispatch Monfils in straight sets. He's looked super from the bits I've seen and if he serves as well as he has been doing I can't see Monfils' return game being sufficient to trouble the Raonic serve.
 

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SELF CONTROL.
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Murray really upped his game after losing the second set. I felt sorry for Ferrer because he was playing extremely well until the roof needed to be shut as the rain came pouring down. Either way, Murray looked more in control for most of the match.

I'm hoping Federer can conjure up some magic and get through to the final but Djokovic seems to have his number.

I had never even heard of Konta before this Aussie open, congrats to her.

The Zhang story brought a tear to my eye considering she hadn't been past the first round after fifteen attempts.

I'm going with Raonic over Monfils as well. If he serves well, he should get the win.
 

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Ben Wyatt's Low Cal Calzone Zone
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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Fancy Raonic to dispatch Monfils in straight sets. He's looked super from the bits I've seen and if he serves as well as he has been doing I can't see Monfils' return game being sufficient to trouble the Raonic serve.
I'm going with Raonic over Monfils as well. If he serves well, he should get the win.
:positivity

Murray/Raonic will be an interesting game, 3-3 career record in previous matches.

Murray has the defensive capabilities to frustrate and contain Raonic and draw mistakes, but as Anderson proved at the US Open, if Raonic maintains a high accuracy of winners it'll be an uphill stuggle for Murray to force opportunities.

I'll say Murray in four but wouldn't be shocked if two sets go to a tie-break.

Djokovic in four for me. Just looks far too comfortable here (and everywhere tbf) and I'm struggling to see how Federer can match him over five sets. If Fed doesn't win in straight sets or four I can't see him beating Novak.
 

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Epstein didn't kill himself
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I want Raonic to win just for the fact that I dont wanna see another Djokovic/Murray final, only one way that going down.


As for the other semi-final, Fed MUST win the first set otherwise its gonna go down in 4.
 

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Ben Wyatt's Low Cal Calzone Zone
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Discussion Starter #12
Caught a little bit of the action at work, first two sets Novak was just absolutely filthy. Scary to think he could play at a calibre so consistently over two sets without faltering. Federer had absolutely no answer for what was coming over the net.

Figure it has to be said, but if it's not already been discussed, at what stage does Novak enter serious discussion for best ever? The consistency with which he's dominated the past three years has been incredible and compared to Rafa and Roger at their respective peaks, the top of the game and overall depth is far stronger with Murray, Wawrinka, Ferrer, Berdych, Raonic, Mofils, Dimitrov, Gofin, Seppi, Tsonga, Karlovic, Isner.

He's odds on to win his 11th Grand Slam as it stands, then you factor in his record at the remaining three slams. He was the closest challenger to Rafa at his peak on clay, and with Rafa struggling it's hard to put Novak below top two on the surface, if he's not already number one with Nadal's consistency wavering.

At Wimbledon he's noticeably improved since Murray overcame him in 2013. He looks far more comfortable and close to his hard court performances on the grass now than he ever has, and there's not a better outdoor hard court player anywhere which makes him odds on for the US Open.

The serve has improved tenfold and become a far more dependable asset for him to collect free points, rather than relying on his endurance and defensive capabilities to win him service games. The consistency in his serve but especially the second serve is where he's pulled away from Murray, whose first serve is a major weapon when it's firing but when faltering allows him to be eaten up on the second serve throughout a five set match.

His stamina and fitness is also incredible and when you consider Federer playing at the age he is at the level he is (arguably been at his peak since 2014), it's hard to see Novak's body betraying him so soon. The fact his closest peers are either around the same age or older means there's a dearth of young successors capable of challenging him consistently atm.

I'd say Federer is the most naturally talented player I've ever grown up seeing, but Novak's consistent dedication to improving every possible aspect of his game (both physically and mentally) means he's emerged as the most complete all round player for me that I've seen consistently and not via highlights. I really think he'll be the one to surpass Federer's GS record and sooner than people envisage.


All that said Murray in four in the final :side:


(HA)
 

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I give Raonic a better chance against Novak than Murray right now. Although I am rooting for a Murray win and for him to fly home on Saturday because Kim goes into labour only to arrive home almost an entire day later to find out it was just a false alarm.

Novak first 2 sets was something else. Bit of a shame he dropped the 3rd actually and it wasn't just a total massacre. Novak/Serena double seems on again. They're both pretty good. Kerber's game is too easy for Serena to rip through ala Radwanska. Pissed she beat Azarenka and robbed us of the best matchup by far, especially the form Azarenka was in.

I'm pretty sure Novak will go down as the most illustrious player ever. Best is way more subjective and a harder case to make. He'll surpass Federer's slams record though. 10-17 and Novak's probably got another 5 years at the very top in him. He'll probably get up to at least 20. Basically has a Rafa esque monopoly over the hard court slams now, moving towards that on grass and will definitely get a French at some point. I'm not even going to try and compare him to past generations (my name isn't Henry) (although I love watching the old matches Sky play during the US Open and how laughable the play looks compared to the speed and power they play with today) but I think he's better than Roger or Rafa. It isn't so much a knock on Federer but he racked a lot of those slams up when the competition was nothing like Djokovic is facing. If you look at Novak's Slam Finals he's faced Roger/Rafa/Andy in 16/18. 15/20 Final appearances since 2011 too. He's doing this in an era with 3 all time greats too. He'll probably get the Grand Slam one year too. Probably this year actually. Both him and Serena still look unbeatable. Olympics this year too. Kinda hope Federer gets his Gold Medal though because you can tell that he really wants that.
 

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SMILEY GOD
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It's a shame seeing Nadal in decline because of his injury problems but he absolutely dominated (prime) Federer and Djokovic in slams until a couple of years ago. Nadal toppled Federer on his best surface whilst it's important to remember Novak hasnt even won all 4 slams yet.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Four_(tennis)#Head-to-head_records

Even considering Nadal's last two years he still has a 75% win rate against Murray, Federer and Djokovic at Grand Slams (way above the others) and a 60% win rate against them overall. He is top in almost all the most important metrics in that list (H2H, H2H Clay, H2H Grass, H2H Slams, H2H Slam Finals), always with at least a 60% win rate, except for head to head record on hard courts.

It's also worth noting that prime Nadal missed a fair few slams he would have been the favourite for through injury. Also, Novak has the advantage of having half the slams on his favourite surface, as opposed to Nadal and Federer - and Federer had the advantage of racking up a fair few slams before the other two showed up. These might seem minor points but they do matter in the context of comparing the three because all three are THAT good and there's so little between them.

I would rate Nadal top for now but 2 or 3 more years of this dominance and Novak could surpass him.

Nadal fanboyism aside, it's just been a privilege seeing so many classic matches between them over the past 8 or 9 years. Novak, Fed and Nadal are absolutely miles above players like Agassi and Sampras, who I was old enough to see. Murray would have had 10 or so slams if he played in their era. If you scroll down further to this Grand Slam head-to-head records vs active players you'll notice that out of the four, against active notable players, not one of them has a losing record against any of them, except for Murray being 0-1 against Almagro. That's bonkers.
 

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Ben Wyatt's Low Cal Calzone Zone
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Discussion Starter #15
Murray's problem against Novak ironically seems to be a case of Novak doing to Murray what Murray does to so many others. Novak has the return game to rival or surpass Murray (not watched enough of both of them recently to give an accurate summary of who is the better returner, though Novak's returning in the Wimbledon Final after Federer masterclassed Murray in the SF might tip it in his favour), is probably the only one on tour with greater conditioning, has no problem absorbing rallies and covering the court and is just so awfully consistent with length and placement. Murray frustrates those with more instinctive tendancies by slowing the play whilst being capable of turning up the pace at any instant, with Novak he's the one drawn into shots with greater risk, which sometimes leads to mesmerising tennis (his comeback in the French SF) but often sees him capitulate and gift games.

The difference in serve is also crucial. Murray's first serve is so vital but Djokovic has the accurary and placement to cover his general lack of pace relative to other players, and his second serve has been so impressive for a while now. Its allowed him to dictate points more often, whilst still being comfortable with having to defend and win points he ought to have lost when needs be. Murray's second serve woes are well documented and sometimes he ends up chasing the points for long periods because of it. When he's facing guys who are looking to win points early it can be recoverable, but with Novak you've got someone who will genuinly make you run constantly.

I'm honestly trying to envisage how the Novak rout ends atm. The fact he's so rarely below his usual best (or noticeably poor) just means it's more a case of his opponent having to be faultless to win. Wawrinka in the French Final was something special but he's a wildcard who's as likely to conjure something like that as he is to be error strewn and be swept aside. I think he's got the mental edge on Murray & Federer, especially in grand slams where they know the longer it goes the more it favours Novak. He might also be the most resilient and composed player I've watched. The mentality and self-belief whatever the situation typifies his character and makes it so hard to stay ahead of him.

I genuinly want Nadal to rediscover his best form or at least come close to replicating it. The strain he put on his body, especially his knees makes me doubtful this can be achieved but a resurgent Nadal would be a fascinating force to see how Novak fares.

Seabs' argument about his opposition in finals just reinforces the case for Novak as well. I don't want to take credit away from Federer's performances and ability for the mid 00s, but the level of competition across the playing field has grown tremendously in the era Novak has emerged. I honestly think Federer might actually be better now (post 2014) than he was when he was dismantling players pre-Nadal at his peak and whilst Novak and Murray were developing. Yet he's still unable to match Djokovic especially in the slams.

Serena is just frightening. I'll be amazed if she doesn't complete the Calendar Slam soon, the level she plays at, the speed of her serve, the power in her groundstrokes, it's just so far ahead of what other players are capable of. I genuinly get irritated with her screeching and reactions to points in games (was absolutely begging for Watson to eliminate her at Wimbledon) but she's an undeniable wonder woman. Immensely talented.
 

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Epstein didn't kill himself
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First two sets from Novak was absolute annihilation, strong comeback in the 3rd, that net cord in the 4th ripped my heart out. But the outcome seemed inevtable. Djokovic to win his 6th Aussie Open
 

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I'd have Nadal above Federer too. It kinda feels his legacy is lesser which I guess is because of the French dominance and the fact he's not as "likeable" as Federer who is like the perfect face of a sport. The French dominance is monstrous though and I really hope he doesn't start losing repeatedly there now. Seb's right about him having more slams if it wasn't for injury too. 12 and 14 US Open he'd have been right up there. 13 Australia too and arguably would have had it in 14 too if he wasn't hampered in the Final. Federer never beating him at RG is a big plus for him too whereas he beat Federer on the service he was unbeatable on. Them H2H records speak volumes for him too. Winning record over Djokovic too if you cancel out the last 3 where Nadal has clearly been working his way back to fitness and form. Don't really have any doubt that if Nadal had come around 3 years earlier he'd have more slams than Roger does. I think Novak will surpass him though. He's becoming unstoppable on every surface now and he's gonna go at the top for longer than Nadal it seems at this stage.

On the Novak serve point I think there's an argument for it being the best serve of my generation. I don't know if I'd say the very best but taking into account more than just speed and volume of aces it's a massive weapon in terms of winning points off it. Likewise for Federer too although Djokovic's is more about setting the point up to constantly win rather than unreturnable serves. His serve % stats are crazy considering it's not a massive serve in terms of raw power.

I'd say Wawrinka is pretty consistent at this stage too. Quarters or better at 8 of the last 9 Slams before this one (and a 5 set loss to Raonic isn't anything to be ashamed of). Incredible player when he's firing. As good as any of them 3 at their best vs Federer and Djokovic at the French last year. Outplayed them both and then some.
 

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Ben Wyatt's Low Cal Calzone Zone
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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
I'm probably doing a bit of a disservice to Wawrinka there, though my comment was more on general consistency rather than merely the slams. Maybe I just had terrible luck with the matches of his I saw over the course of last year, but I seemed to always watch the matches where his unforced errors count was very high and his attacking play was letting him down. Agreed on him being nye on unstoppable when he's peaking and hitting the ball clean as a whistle. Best combination of generating raw power with inventive shot play on the tour. The fact he has to be so attack minded just makes him more a toss-up, since he arguably plays the most high risk of the top players. When everything comes up gravy, he is irresistable.

Interested where Kevin Anderson goes as well. His performance against Murray was incredible and he was excellent against Novak for long periods at Wimbledon. If he can play anywhere close to (or just below) that level for long periods he'll be a nightmare for a lot of the tour with his raw power and clean hitting.
 

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Thing is; Nadal's injuries are all down to the intensity he put into his game. The way he used to get around the court, bending the knees and so on is what has destroyed him.

At his peak and as healthy, he probably has the highest level of all time. But that much pressure on the body is not sustainable and the fact that he hasn't found a way to adapt and be competitive without the intensity he had has to be a black mark against him.
 

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THATS THE WALL BROTHER
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I haven't been able to watch any of this semi because I'm watching my local fitba team the wanderers. I'm a big fan of Raonic he's doing well from the scores :mark:
 
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