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Post by noleisthebest on Thu Jan 10, 2013 5:33 pm

I'll have to go with Federer's assessment Australian Open 2013 Favourites 1071211947:

"Roger Federer says two-time defending champion Novak Djokovic is the player to beat at the Australian Open.

He’s been the best hard-court player in the world for the last couple of years,” Federer told reporters. “Andy Murray is playing great and only going to get stronger in the next couple of years. Unfortunately (he,he, how honest is this?) Rafa Nadal is not going to be there.”

However, the 31-year-old Swiss says that he’s not done yet.

I love the pressure of playing and, with the new generation coming up,I have to work harder to stay at the top with the best,” Everyone has to fade away eventually, but I’m not 89 yet.”

What do you think?

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Post by noleisthebest on Thu Jan 10, 2013 5:56 pm

My AO picks:

Men
Winner: Nole.
Dark horse: Jerzy Janowicz.

Women
Winner: Serena Williams,
Dark horse: Laura Robson

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Post by noleisthebest on Thu Jan 10, 2013 5:57 pm

Also, there is a bit of history in the making for Nole should he win this AO: the first man to do it 3 times in a row!

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Post by luvsports! on Thu Jan 10, 2013 6:38 pm

i hope paris wasn't a flash in the pan for JJ, he showed glimpses against baker but made way too many errors and was hitting it quite short on the bh and was sitting up nicely for baker.

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Post by sphairistike on Thu Jan 10, 2013 6:58 pm

noleisthebest wrote:Also, there is a bit of history in the making for Nole should he win this AO: the first man to do it 3 times in a row!

As you say and that is why I think it is contradictory to your prediction of Nole winning it. Fed likes preventing others from making history, especially when they prevented him from making it - AO 2008 anyone? - and Nole always has a hard time when historic added pressure is there - FO 2011 anyone?

So my prediction is Fed to beat Nole in the final unless Murray already takes care of Nole in the SF, in which case Fed to beat Murray in the final Australian Open 2013 Favourites 151447854

Australian Open 2013 Favourites 1237221880 Fed!

As for the women part, if Serena shows up she cannot be beat especially not by the ones above her in the rankings as the H2H against them is sooo lopsided...

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Post by noleisthebest on Thu Jan 10, 2013 6:59 pm

luvsports! wrote:i hope paris wasn't a flash in the pan for JJ, he showed glimpses against baker but made way too many errors and was hitting it quite short on the bh and was sitting up nicely for baker.
You killjoy!
what are your picks, then?

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Post by noleisthebest on Thu Jan 10, 2013 7:00 pm

sphairistike wrote:

As you say and that is why I think it is contradictory to your prediction of Nole winning it. Fed likes preventing others from making history, especially when they prevented him from making it - AO 2008 anyone? - and Nole always has a hard time when historic added pressure is there - FO 2011 anyone?


Don't worry, that's the FIRST thing that went through my mind, still....

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Post by sphairistike on Thu Jan 10, 2013 7:02 pm

Let's hope for a Fed-Nole final first, so we'll be both happy about that at least! Australian Open 2013 Favourites 1237221880

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Post by noleisthebest on Thu Jan 10, 2013 7:07 pm

sphairistike wrote:Let's hope for a Fed-Nole final first, so we'll be both happy about that at least! Australian Open 2013 Favourites 1237221880

I think Fed will get past Murray, but not so with Nole. But, yes, the two in the final would be just Australian Open 2013 Favourites 151447854 Australian Open 2013 Favourites 151447854 Australian Open 2013 Favourites 151447854

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Post by luvsports! on Thu Jan 10, 2013 7:16 pm

I think it could be another murray nole final 2bh Sad

i think tomic could do well, maybe a QF.
dark horse: del potro

womens: serena just so damn dominant.

dark horse: no idea smiley

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Post by Veejay on Thu Jan 10, 2013 7:19 pm

Obviously the top 3 players are the favourites with Djokovic edging ahead as the player to beat
Would love to see Federer win a 5th AO so he has won 5 majors at 3 different grand slam events and I would love to see him retire with a round 18 majors

Cant see anyone beat Serena right now

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Post by sphairistike on Thu Jan 10, 2013 7:30 pm

Isn't Nole playing with his new racquet for the first time at this AO? Maybe he's not that used to it yet?... Unless I dreamed the whole new racquet story... Australian Open 2013 Favourites 2998105013

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Post by noleisthebest on Thu Jan 10, 2013 7:36 pm

sphairistike wrote:Isn't Nole playing with his new racquet for the first time at this AO? Maybe he's not that used to it yet?... Unless I dreamed the whole new racquet story... Australian Open 2013 Favourites 2998105013

I read about it, as well. Don't know if it's another paint job, I didn't notice much difference, maybe his forehand had a bit more penetration, don't know if it's the racquet or a slightly tweaked technique...let's be honest, even if the racquet was different a bit, how different can it get with the same strings and frames!?

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Post by luvsports! on Thu Jan 10, 2013 7:56 pm

apparently chuck norris's fist comes out of it

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Post by noleisthebest on Thu Jan 10, 2013 8:00 pm

What's this thing with Chuck Norris? Who IS the guy?!

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Post by sphairistike on Thu Jan 10, 2013 8:13 pm

luvsports! wrote:apparently chuck norris's fist comes out of it
Australian Open 2013 Favourites 2033450363

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Post by sphairistike on Thu Jan 10, 2013 8:14 pm

noleisthebest wrote:
I read about it, as well. Don't know if it's another paint job, I didn't notice much difference, maybe his forehand had a bit more penetration, don't know if it's the racquet or a slightly tweaked technique...let's be honest, even if the racquet was different a bit, how different can it get with the same strings and frames!?

You haven't noticed yet because he hasn't started using it yet. Supposed to start tomorrow...

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Post by noleisthebest on Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:48 pm

sphairistike wrote:
noleisthebest wrote:
I read about it, as well. Don't know if it's another paint job, I didn't notice much difference, maybe his forehand had a bit more penetration, don't know if it's the racquet or a slightly tweaked technique...let's be honest, even if the racquet was different a bit, how different can it get with the same strings and frames!?

You haven't noticed yet because he hasn't started using it yet. Supposed to start tomorrow...

That's a relief!

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Post by Tenez on Fri Jan 11, 2013 12:05 am

MUrray has a big role to play. If he is in Djoko's semi...then Federer coudl have a chance.

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Post by paulcz on Fri Jan 11, 2013 8:09 am

noleisthebest wrote:
sphairistike wrote:Let's hope for a Fed-Nole final first, so we'll be both happy about that at least! Australian Open 2013 Favourites 1237221880

I think Fed will get past Murray, but not so with Nole. But, yes, the two in the final would be just Australian Open 2013 Favourites 151447854 Australian Open 2013 Favourites 151447854 Australian Open 2013 Favourites 151447854

Nole with Fed would be a pleasure to watch. Hopefully Fed will do it, but now I rather would say it is 60% for Murray, but you never know what Fed will show. I feel tensions in their minds already nowAustralian Open 2013 Favourites 4006036031

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Post by raiders_of_the_lost_ark on Fri Jan 11, 2013 9:23 am

The favourite was always going to be who gets Ferrer in his half. Looking at the draw, its a cupcake for Djokovic. Fed has a mountain to climb.


Last edited by raiders_of_the_lost_ark on Fri Jan 11, 2013 9:27 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post by legendkillar on Fri Jan 11, 2013 9:44 am

Looking like a Djokovic and Murray final. I think Djokovic is favourite, barring a typhoon Winking

Think Tsonga could be a dark horse, especially now that Rasheed is on board. Cilic and Nishikori could go deep too.

Federer faces a massive task. Not convinced by Raonic as yet given how patchy his performances were at the recent US Open.

For the women? Has to be Williams.

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Post by paulcz on Fri Jan 11, 2013 9:45 am

Having read an interview with Berdych today, he looks pretty upset by enforcing a rule of 25 seconds when serving. Berd is just a player who does need a time before serving. The fittest players have a bit higher chance to succeed by implementing that. Berd has no chance against Nole in QF, if he gets there. The draw looks pretty good for Nole.

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Post by noleisthebest on Fri Jan 11, 2013 9:46 am

raiders_of_the_lost_ark wrote:The favourite was always going to be who gets Ferrer in his half. Looking at the draw, its a cupcake for Djokovic. Fed has a mountain to climb.

Ferrer will be a pain to play in the semis, just like Murray. Energy sapping grinder.
To me, the most interesting matches are potential QFs.
Ferrer, the lowest ranked of the top 4 seeds has the easiest one, I don't know how that works out, as it's happened in USO as well, but as someone else said, a good opportunity for a new name to break through in that quarter.
Ferrer has been in iffy form this season, so we'll have to wait and see.
In my opinion, Murray nad Nole have the toughest QF matches, which is where it really starts to get tough in any draw.

Interesting thing is how all 3: Nole, Fed and Murray have got the three players that suit them most in the QF, Fed I'm sure is happy he's got Tsonga and not Berdych. Nole less so, but Murray,too gets Del Potro who he handles with ease as opposed to Berdych.

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Post by noleisthebest on Fri Jan 11, 2013 9:51 am

paulcz wrote:
Nole with Fed would be a pleasure to watch. Hopefully Fed will do it, but now I rather would say it is 60% for Murray, but you never know what Fed will show. I feel tensions in their minds already nowAustralian Open 2013 Favourites 4006036031

what makes you believe Murray is the favourite in that match?

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Post by Tenez on Fri Jan 11, 2013 10:06 am

paulcz wrote:Having read an interview with Berdych today, he looks pretty upset by enforcing a rule of 25 seconds when serving. Berd is just a player who does need a time before serving. The fittest players have a bit higher chance to succeed by implementing that. Berd has no chance against Nole in QF, if he gets there. The draw looks pretty good for Nole.

Don't you think Berd's is one of those fittest player? Sure he tries to be aggressive but he also developped ridiculous thigh muscles that require lots of o2 and therefore time between points. However against the top player, the 25s shoudl suit him better....but maybe not against the lower ranked, more talented players.

That's the problem nowadays...the ATP ranking coudl almost be a fitness ranking (inversely a talent ranking - the lower ranked teh more likely players rely on talent alone).

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Post by paulcz on Fri Jan 11, 2013 10:07 am

noleisthebest wrote:
paulcz wrote:
Nole with Fed would be a pleasure to watch. Hopefully Fed will do it, but now I rather would say it is 60% for Murray, but you never know what Fed will show. I feel tensions in their minds already nowAustralian Open 2013 Favourites 4006036031

what makes you believe Murray is the favourite in that match?

Murray´s hunger for another GS, stubbornness, improved head and driven by his last SF defeat will give him a lot of energy for him. Only great service and Murray´s weaker nerves can get Fed through him in their SF. I am convinced that both Nole and Murray BH will stop Fed on this surface. Of course it will also depend on Fed´s stamina.

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Post by Tenez on Fri Jan 11, 2013 10:08 am

I woudl not be surprised if Federer were to lose for the first time in many years before the 1/4F.

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Post by noleisthebest on Fri Jan 11, 2013 10:08 am

Tenez wrote:I woudl not be surprised if Federer were to lose for the first time in many years before the 1/4F.

and who is going to beat him, Raonic?

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Post by Tenez on Fri Jan 11, 2013 10:11 am

Hopefully Fed will do it, but now I rather would say it is 60% for Murray, but you never know what Fed will show. I feel tensions in their minds already now.

==================================

I agree with Paul there....especially over 5 sets.

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Post by Tenez on Fri Jan 11, 2013 10:12 am

noleisthebest wrote:
Tenez wrote:I woudl not be surprised if Federer were to lose for the first time in many years before the 1/4F.

and who is going to beat him, Raonic?

Certainly a good contender....on those slow high bouncing courts.

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Post by noleisthebest on Fri Jan 11, 2013 10:16 am

Tenez wrote:Hopefully Fed will do it, but now I rather would say it is 60% for Murray, but you never know what Fed will show. I feel tensions in their minds already now.

==================================

I agree with Paul there....especially over 5 sets.

I'd be very surprised if Fed lost to Murray, especially if his serves well. 4 sets max. Murray to come out blasting like mad for two sets. His pattern is very predictable.

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Post by paulcz on Fri Jan 11, 2013 10:25 am

Tenez wrote:I woudl not be surprised if Federer were to lose for the first time in many years before the 1/4F.

Yes, that is also way which could happen. That is horrible for Fed to know that he must go through Murray and Nole. Fed´s mind must be messy when playing with a good server on his good day and also the pressure that he has one of last chances to succeed there. Nothing to envy him, such a draw.

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Post by paulcz on Fri Jan 11, 2013 10:32 am

noleisthebest wrote:
Tenez wrote:Hopefully Fed will do it, but now I rather would say it is 60% for Murray, but you never know what Fed will show. I feel tensions in their minds already now.

==================================

I agree with Paul there....especially over 5 sets.

I'd be very surprised if Fed lost to Murray, especially if his serves well. 4 sets max. Murray to come out blasting like mad for two sets. His pattern is very predictable.

I like to read it and believe it. As our the best hockey player Jagr says "years can not be stopped". Otherwise he has been saying this for a lot of years and still he is one of the best, so Fed surely has a chance.

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Post by noleisthebest on Fri Jan 11, 2013 10:38 am

I know AO is no Wimbledon in terms of court playing, still, Federer plays great tennis there, and in O2 showed he can deal with anything Murray throws at him when he is motivated.
To me, Federer matches Djokovic and Murray show best the difference in quality between Nole and Murray.

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Post by sphairistike on Fri Jan 11, 2013 10:45 pm

Unfortunately, Fed has a nasty draw Australian Open 2013 Favourites 1371890812, but if anyone can do it, it's RF

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Post by noleisthebest on Fri Jan 11, 2013 10:59 pm

sphairistike wrote:Unfortunately, Fed has a nasty draw Australian Open 2013 Favourites 1371890812, but if anyone can do it, it's RF
Of course he is ging to do it, I expect to see him in the final Australian Open 2013 Favourites 4006036031
I don't remember seeing him last year, but he was very, very good in 2011 against Nole in that semi.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IpeVIqZfYGM

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Post by sphairistike on Fri Jan 11, 2013 11:05 pm

He was even better in his semi last year Australian Open 2013 Favourites 364988687

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Post by noleisthebest on Fri Jan 11, 2013 11:12 pm

sphairistike wrote:He was even better in his semi last year Australian Open 2013 Favourites 364988687

Unfortunately, I didn't get to see it, but that just proves my point. He played very well in O2 a few months ago, too, so no reason not to be optimistic now.

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Post by noleisthebest on Sat Jan 12, 2013 12:16 am

Aggassi backs Murray for AO title, plus adds 2013 is going to be his year....

"Four-time Australian Open champion Andre Agassi has declared 2013 as Andy Murray's year. The 42-year-old has backed the Scot to win this month's Australian Open, convinced Murray's drought-breaking grand slam triumph at the US Open last year will ensure he is no longer the sideshow to the main attraction. Murray, who has lost two of the past three finals at Melbourne Park, has started the year the way he did the last - by winning the Brisbane International.

Agassi believes the hardship of several unsuccessful grand slam attempts and the lengths he had to go to to win the US Open last year have made Murray into the player who cannot only compete with Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, but beat them.''The way he got across the line in New York will have a hugeimpact on him moving forward because he had to step up and take it,'' Agassi said. ''He couldn't just wait and watch somebody implode. He had to step up in that fifth set and step up to the biggest situation against the biggest player on the biggest stage and take it, and he did.If his evolution is anything like mine, that was the real light switch that went off for me. I realised that I can't hope for somebody to lose.I have to want this enough to go after it. I think once that clicks in for him, you'll see him playing to their standard throughout the year and for a few years to come.''
Murray's confidence is at a record high following a year in which he upset Federer to win gold at the Olympic Games and overcome Djokovic in five sets to win his maiden grand slam at the US Open. WhileAgassi admits he was critical of Murray's approach to the game in the past, he believes he has discovered what it takes to win the big matches.

"This is Murray's year to really break through,'' he said. ''I really think his game can play at that standard of Djokovic, Nadal
and Federer. I think he's slowly come to understand what he needs to doout there as far as not being so passive. He has so many defensive skills that he does run the risk of falling into the temptation of beingpassive out there on the court. I think that can get him past everybody but not the two greatest players to ever play, not to mention Djokovic, who is now starting to be part of that equation.''

Agassi had to wait two years between his first grand slam triumph at Wimbledon in 1992 and his second at the US Open in 1994. He admitted he allowed complacency to creep into his game after his first
success but doesn't think Murray will suffer from a similar after-effect.

''For me, I thought things would come a lot easier and they didn't,'' he said. ''But when I realised that they didn't, I had something to draw on to get me across that finish line Australian Open 2013 Favourites 2786941968. I believe he hasvery specific goals and objectives. Winning the gold at the Olympics onWimbledon in front of his home crowd, and being so close at championships, then getting over the line at the US Open, I have to think he believes he can put a lot of numbers on the board.''
Agassi hasn't ruled out Federer but believes Murray and Djokovic are in prime position to make the most of 2013. ''Roger is somebody who can constantly take advantage out of anyone who is not playing their best,'' he said.
''He's 30 years old but I'm out of the business of predictingwhat he does or doesn't do because he's impressed me so many times.
Heading into the year, you really have to look at Murray and Djokovic asthe two in the position to raise the standards.Heading particularly towards Australia, I like Andy.''
Is there an Australian Open dark horse? ''Somebody who can put their resume on the table and say, 'I'm ready to go', for me that's Del Potro,'' Agassi said. ''You have a guy playing some of the best tennis to win a grand slam a couple of years ago, only to beon the sidelines for a year. Whatever time you miss, you can double that time before you're back and slightly better than you were. We're atthat time frame now and we're starting to see him play some of the tennis he was before the setback. I think he's in position to be at his best now.''

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Post by Tenez on Sat Jan 12, 2013 12:30 am

''He couldn't just wait and watch somebody implode. He had to step up in that fifth set and step up to the biggest situation against the biggest player on the biggest stage and take it, and he did
. What a reputation Andy has! Australian Open 2013 Favourites 1071211947

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Post by noleisthebest on Sat Jan 12, 2013 12:41 am

I'm surprised we haven't heard from Nadal regarding AO favourites yet...

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Post by noleisthebest on Sat Jan 12, 2013 1:00 am

Tomic on his chances against Federer, should they meet in the 3rd round:

"That third round meet is huge, but the tennis I’ve been playing now, ifI can win tomorrow, it’s different approaching the Australian Open,” Tomic said. “It’s different, especially beating the No. 1 in the world last week and coming in so confident. If I can get thatone more match under my belt and have eight matches, it’s a different feeling. I’ll give myself the best chance to play well in the early rounds. If I get to Roger, it’s going to be an interesting match. … I think I’ve improved quite a bit and in different areas. Playing Roger isvery difficult. He’s one of the best players to play for me. If I get that opportunity, if I get to the Open and play well, it will be an interesting match this time.”

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Post by summerblues on Sat Jan 12, 2013 1:45 am

Only about 46 hours of weekend between here and the start of the AO. Australian Open 2013 Favourites 364988687

Do you know if Nole will open the proceedings on Monday morning?

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Post by summerblues on Sat Jan 12, 2013 1:53 am

Fed's draw is bad; but not unsurmountable. If he plays reasonably well, none of his first four opponents should beat him. In the QF, I would actually say that he has an easier opponent than either Nole or Murray. Once in SF, obviously having to play Murray is far worse than Ferrer would be, but there was a 50% chance that would happen anyway.

Having said all this, I would also say that if Fed is below par, then this might indeed be the slam where he loses before QF, he does have tricky early opponents. But he would have to play below par.

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Post by summerblues on Sat Jan 12, 2013 1:55 am

noleisthebest wrote:Tomic on his chances against Federer, should they meet in the 3rd round:

Tomic is actually one guy that I cannot see beating Fed, unless he revamped his game from scratch. He seems to be playing all right though I have not yet seen him this year, but I do not think his game matches up well with Fed at all.

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Post by noleisthebest on Sat Jan 12, 2013 9:31 am

summerblues wrote:
noleisthebest wrote:Tomic on his chances against Federer, should they meet in the 3rd round:

Tomic is actually one guy that I cannot see beating Fed, unless he revamped his game from scratch. He seems to be playing all right though I have not yet seen him this year, but I do not think his game matches up well with Fed at all.

I agree, which is why I don't think Fed's got anything to worry about in his draw. An in-for Davy may make hi sweat for a set and a half, but that's all.

SB, are you going to do a Points Spy for AO?

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Post by summerblues on Sat Jan 12, 2013 2:30 pm

Novak plays third after two ladies' matches. A bit late for me Sad

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Post by noleisthebest on Sat Jan 12, 2013 2:54 pm

summerblues wrote:Novak plays third after two ladies' matches. A bit late for me Australian Open 2013 Favourites 1371890812

Me too, I'll see how I go. Knowing myself, I'll probably see some of it, shame you can't pop a pill and feel like you've had a 10 hour sleep Australian Open 2013 Favourites 1371890812

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Post by noleisthebest on Sun Jan 13, 2013 10:11 am

After trouncing Delpo in Kooyong final (6:1 6:4) good, old Hewitt feels like a favourite, too:

“The last couple matches I’ve hit the ball as well as I can remember
when I hit it,” said Hewitt, who is playing his 17th consecutive
Australian Open. “I feel confident with where my game’s at the moment.
There are still a couple things I got to try to take care of when I’m on
the match court. But all in all, when my moving comes together and I’m
serving well, my returns and obviously passing shots and counterpunching
has been pretty good anyways. … I felt the way I was able to be
aggressive with the bigger, stronger guys, all three matches are three
of the biggest hitters out there. I was not able only to get their serve
back but put them under pressure on their service games. So that gives
me a lot of confidence moving forward.”

I noticed he's bulked up considerably in the last year, will be interesting to see how that works against the similar, younger version, Tipsarevic tomorrow night, AND the hopefully well implemented 20 sec rule...

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