Nadal makes opponents ‘play badly’ & Osaka shows a rare gift. Day 11 – Australian Open 2019.

Rafa has given Stefanos a lesson there today. I really expected it to be closer. I am not saying I expected Tsitsipas to win but I expected a tighter contest than the 6/2 6/4 6/0 scoreline. It sums up how much I have got right in Melbourne over the last two weeks. For the sixth time this event I write that Nadal was virtually flawless, he has been mightily impressive. The remodelled serve has been a key feature of his anniahilation of everyone put in his way. He really is a joy to watch as he lands winners from every angle on the court. Tsitsipas said in his press conference that “He has this, I don’t know, talent that no other player has. I’ve never seen a player have this. He makes you play bad”. So, he now has to make Djokovic/Pouille ‘play badly’ and a second Australian Open title is his, the first coming exactly ten years ago.

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Petra Kvitova was helped by the match going indoors against Danielle Collins at 4-4 in the opener, due to the heat. Collins did break early on, only to relinquish that lead immeadiaely, but it was a slow start from Petra today. Having won the first set she realxed and flew through the second set, dishing out the bagel on her way. In nine previous attempts here her record was mediocre, with one quarter-final and one semi to show for her worries. Like with Nadal in the mens, Petra has been the standout performer in the womens this year though. Both are yet to drop a set so far. Kvitova is now 12-1 this season, Anett Kontaveit is the only player to beat her in 2019.

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Watching Osaka v Pliskova was always going to be a bit painful after Serena the previous night. It always pops up, what might have been? What was clear is that Rena’s level is clearly still right up there with all these opponents. Pliskova was looking like she was getting ontop of this in the third. Osaka once again showed her ‘Serena’ like abilty to keep in the match when not playing her best. The way she played the breakpoints down showed that in abundanace. Either a big serve or shot to get her out of trouble. In turn, that fires her up and she will come out next game and breaks with lights out tennis. It is something I have seen many times before and whether people like it or not, it is a gift.

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Andy Del Potro

 

 

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