Australian Open 2019 Notebook (updated) – Tennis Column #16

First Grand Slam Tournament of the season always attracts a lot of attention. It is the real start of the tennis season with all the players fresh and rested. We will follow all the scores, events and news from Melbourne to keep you covered. Everything that catches our attention will be here. Follow our Australian Open 2019 Notebook!

21.01.2019

The second week of Grand Slam Tournament means that the division between favorites and surprises are meaningless. So I am moving from favorites, surprises, and match of the day paragraphs to pure notes of interesting things. Interesting for me and hopefully for you too.

In men singles draw Raonic did not give any chance to Alexander Zverev. A little bit surprising as Sascha was an expected contender for at least one grand slam title this season. However, it says more about Raonic undervaluation these days. He is injury prone and therefore do not get so much attention as others, but he can do a big things. Maybe he will do it this week.

Nishikori made a great comeback from being two sets down against Carreno Busta. It happened a second time during Australian Open to Kei and I would like to remind him, that being two sets against Djokovic on Wednesday can be the stop for him.

In Ladies draw we saw most expected match between Serena Williams and Halep. This match would qualify for my “Match of the Day” section, if I would not discontinue it. That match has everything we want from a tennis match.

Btw., Pliskova, Svitolina, Osaka and Serena Williams. That is a line-up for semifinals not quarterfinals. But I am glad for that. A lot of best tennis will be available during this week.

20.01.2019

Favorites

We were so desperate to get some surprises as we got a lot of them in one day. But first, we need to praise favorites who did their job. Rafael Nadal and Petra Kvitova did a great job to make sure they will be in quarterfinals. Berdych and Anisimova did not deserve such finish of their Australian Open journey.

Surprises

Let;s name them all in alphabet order. Cilic, Dimitrov, Kerber, Federer. Angelique Kerber suffered the most devastating loss. 0:6 2:6 with Collins, that must really hurts.

Cilic lost in five sets match with Bautista and Dimitrov in four sets with Tiafoe. Both these losses surprised me, but both matches were a splendind tennis with unclear result till the last ball was played.

Match of the Day: Tsitsipas – Federer 6:7 7:6 7:5 7:6

That is the surprise of the galactic dimension. It was a fair match with good tennis from both players. It is not an accidence, that three of four sets were decided in a tie-break. In the end, Stefanos Tsitsipas had calmer head and hands. The biggest win so far for young Greek and I need to correct two days old statement about the gap between “nextgen” and “oldgen” players. This match could in fact be the start of Federer career end.

19.01.2019

Favorites

Djokovic, Nishikori, Zverev, Raonic, Halep, Svitolina, Osaka, Pliskova, Muguruza, Serena Williams are still in the competition. Favorites are unwilling to lose this Grand Slam and we will see round of 16 as never before.

The true is, that Djokovic drop first set against Shapovalov, but then he won fourth set 6-0. Osaka, Svitolina and Pliskova all need to play three sets matches, but all of them managed to win their matches.

Surprises

It is starts to be harder and harder to fill in this part of article. We are desperately in need of some surprise.

Match of the Day: Halep – Williams Venus 6:2 6:3

First of two matches between Halep and Williams brought a fine tennis with clear result. However, the result did not reflect the match events. In some parts of it, Venus Williams was a step ahead of Halep. We are curious now, how Serena will react and her match with Halep can be the peak of Monday schedule.

18.01.2019

Favorites

Federer, Nadal, Dimitrov, Kvitova and Kerber proved again, they are big favorites for title in Melbourne. Nishikori, Cilic and Stephens were struggling but were able to win at the end.

Federer and Nadal matches showed that good old generation of players is still much better than any member of “nextgen” one.

Surprises

We are still without major surprises here in Melbourne. Someone can claim Sharapova win over Wozniacki as surprise, but I mean with Maria performance in first two rounds, nobody should be surprised with the result.

Match of the Day: Cilic – Verdasco 4:6 3:6 6:1 7:6 6:3

The last match of Friday schedule was the best one. Verdasco was playing exceptionally well and his serve was just excellent. Cilic faced match point in the tie-break of the fourth set, but Verdasco made his first double-fault at that moment.

From that point, Verdasco mentally left the court and Cilic was able to dig out of the hole and win at the end. Fernando probably still does not believe how he lost that fourth set.

17.01.2019

Favorites

Thursday was not so quiet day like Wednesday. We still wait for a major surprise, but we were really close to it today. Zverev and Nishikori needed five sets to get through the second round. Raonic needed four tie-breaks to win over Wawrinka. Simone Halep was down 2-4 in the 3rd set against Kenin but turned the things around to win 6-4 in 3rd.

Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams were the only favorites to win without any problems in pretty short matches.

Surprises

Definitely Thiem loss was a surprise. Alexei Popyrin, another young Australian tennis talent led 7:5 6:4 2:0 when Dominic Thiem retired in third set.

Match of the Day: Wawrinka – Raonic 7:6 6:7 6:7 6:7

I had to think for a while to decide between Karlovic – Nishikori and Wawrinka – Raonic match. Finally, the second one made it to Match of the Day column (and not just because of 15 minutes longer duration). To see tie-break in Raonic match is not surprising, but to see Wawrinka on other side of the court gives me a nostalgic feeling. 2014 Australian Open winner Stan Wawrinka lost and I can sense it as generation change happening right now at the moment of the last point was played.

16.01.2019

Favorites

Another quiet day in Melbourne, with almost all the favorites going to the next round. Federer, Nadal, Cilic, Wozniacki, Kerber, Kvitova won without any problems. I am just wondering if there was similar surprise-less Grand Slam in past.

Surprises

At least one surprise happened. Anderson lost with Tiafoe in pretty tight match (6:4 4:6 4:6 5:7). Kevin Anderson was considered by many with regards to his latest results as one of the possible semifinal or even final participants. However, Francis Tiafoe, rising US star was against it. This result is definitely surprising one, but it is not the big surprise. Even bookmakers were very cautios and were not favorizing Anderson too much.

Match of the Day: Berdych – Haase 6:1 6:3 6:3

This choice of “match of the day” will probably surprise many of our readers. But Berdych performance really deserved it. I was curious if his Doha final presence two weeks ago was just accidence. Now I can seriously state that Tomas Berdych is back. His won over Haase was so clear, without any hesitation. Six months rest really helped him and now he is the player who can be a real threat even to top 10 player. He will meet Diego Schwartzman in 3rd round and then winner of Nadal/De Minaur match. It is worth to consider Berdych quarterfinal participation. Odds are really favorable for this bet.

Our daily Tennis tips can be found here

15.01.2019

Favorites

All favorites won their games. Djokovic, Nadal, Zverev, Raonic in Men Singles Draw. Karolina Pliskova, Venus Williams, Muguruza, Svitolina and Halep in Ladies Singles Draw.

Surprises

I did not see a major surprise on second day. Maybe Azarenka loss with Siegemund was not much expected, but you can hardly call it a surprise.

Kei Nishikori was really close to big surprise as he was 2 sets down against Majchrzak and did not look very well. But then young Pole had to retire with injury and saved Nishikori hope for success.

Stan Wawrinka was also helped by opponent (Gulbis) retirement when set down.

Venus Williams and Simone Halep were down a set in their matches, but they were able to turn it back.

Generally, 1st round of Australian Open was unusually safe for favorites. Bookmakers count losses after first two days and bettors celebrate.

Match of the Day: Kyrgios – Raonic 4:6 6:7 4:6

This match did not deliver what I expected from Match of the Day. Kyrgios was harmless all match long and spectators (myself included) were disappointed. Another home player is out and it seems, that Kyrgios era can be over. De Minaur now the main subject of home fans hope.

14.01.2019

First day and first matches were played and everything goes as usual.

Favorites

Favorites did their job. Federer, Nadal, Cilic, Dimitrov, Kerber, Kvitova, Stephens won their matches without any problems.

Surprises

Isner lost with Opelka 1-3 (all sets finished in the tie-break) in match of two tall and good serving Americans. Julia Goerges lost with Collins 1-2, in a very tight match.

Maria Sharapova won 6-0 6-0 over Dart, which is quite remarkable. Maria played like five years ago.

Kyle Edmund (no.14) lost 0-3 with Tomas Berdych, who looks pretty refreshed after 6 months of rest. Berdych can be a “dark horse” of tournament.

Match of the Day: Bautista – Murray 6:4 6:4 6:7 6:7 6:2

Bookmakers odds predicted easy Bautista win, however Andy Murray showed what a legend he is. Standing mostly on one leg, he put up a exceptional performance, battling to the bitter end. He did not give up even when being two sets down and make the day in Melbourne really hot for Bautista.

In the end, Andy Murray lost and we saw sad moments of applauding public to the legend saying good-bye.

Australian Open 2019 Winners Predictions

We still hold on with predictions we made before the season started. Novak Djokovic and Karolina Pliskova.

Novak did not start the season very well, but we still think he will be prepared as never before. Only one who can destroy his wish to become a champion (and our pick) is Roger Federer. The final between Djokovic – Federer is a wish for many (or all tennis fans) and if that happens, we expect very close match.

Karolina Pliskova won WTA tournament in Brisbane and then choose rest for a week. And that is the difference which can decide in Melbourne. She is well prepared and we believe, this is the time when she can finally make it.

Our readers see it the same way in Men Singles. As 36% pick Djokovic and 34% Federer as winners. Third pick Nadal got just 14% votes. (The difference between Novak and Roger is so small, so it can be Federer as top pick at the time you are reading this – check aactual poll results here.

However, readers have different opinions about Ladies event. Serena Williams is the top pick with 29% of votes, followed by Kerber (17%), Halep (14%) and Osaka (13%). We understand Serena wish to revenge for unfortunate US Open final, but we still can name other 10 ladies with a good case to win too.

You can still participate in our Australian Open 2019 Poll here

12.01.2019

Tomorrow is a tennis-free day as everything get prepared for start of the Australian Open on Monday.

Today, Petra Kvitova and Sophia Kenin won Sydney and Hobart tournaments. Sydney final was an entertaining match with both ladies using all their skills and fitness to win. Ashleigh Barty will be a fans favorite in Melbourne and Petra Kvitova belongs to top favorites for a long time. However, I do not expect them to win the Australian Open, as they will be really tired. That is the thing I still do not understand, why all top ladies players are playing tournaments week before Grand Slam.

11.01.2019

Andy Murray

Andy Murray draw all the attention today with his sad press conference. His lasting problems with health are forcing him to finish his career. He would like to finish at Wimbledon, but maybe Australian Open 2019 will be his last tournament. That is really sad. 31 years old three times Grand Slam winner (Wimbledon 2013, 2016 and US Open 2012) and two times Olympics winner (London 2012, Rio de Janeiro 2016) does not deserve such end. I will always keep in mind his smile after first win in Wimbledon over Novak Djokovic.

Racket Brands Shares in Singles Draw

Qualification matches are over, all names of participants in Main Singles Draw are set. We did our homework and counted rackets used during 1st round of Australian Open. You can find out which racket brands are most popular between singles players in Melbourne here.

Do not forget to participate in our poll Australian Open 2019 winner

10.01.2019

Singles draw was performed today, so we already know who will meet who in the 1st round. And there will be a lot of matches which will attract a lot of attention. [Official site: Full draw Men Ladies]

Our choice of matches we definitely do not want to miss next week:
Wawrinka – Gulbis
Kyrgios – Raonic
Cilic – Tomic
Bautista – Murray
Edmund – Berdych

Riske – Bertens
Vekic – Mladenovic

Federer will meet Istomin in 1st round, The same match-up like 13 years ago in Melbourne. Federer won 6-2 6-3 6-2 in Australian Open 2006 1st round match. Both players are 13 years older, but the result can be the same 🙂

Do not forget, that we still do not know all the names in Main Draw yet, as qualification will end tommorrow. Then we will know last 16 names in Ladies and Men;s Singles draw.

Stay tuned. 3 more days and Australian Open 2019 will start.

09.01.2019

Australian Open Qualifying is underway and we are eagerly awaiting the singles draw scheduled on Thursday, January 10th, 6 pm local time (Melbourne)

In the meantime, our readers are participating in the poll. Currently, Djokovic and Federer are the most voted winners in Men’s Singles and Serena Williams in Ladies Singles. The difference between Novak and Roger is very small and final between this two gentlemen is probably the most wished game ever.

Join our Australian Open 2019 poll too!

Simone Halep, one of the favorites, did not start the season very well. She lost her first match in Sydney (2nd round) 4-6 4-6 with Ashleigh Barty.

Posted in BLOG, Tennis Column.

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