Serena v Osaka showdown & Nole to play Qualifier Karatsev – Day 9 Australian Open.

This was much more like it from Rena. There is still room for improvement and I think that is a really good thing. It is always nice to gain a bit of revenge and this was even sweeter after the loss in the Wimbledon Final in 2019 to Halep. I think it is fair to say Serena was hitting the ball nicely and aggressively and her court movement was a big plus. The latter something she has been working on after Patrick Mouratoglou spoke to her about it at the end of the last year. I was worried during the second set, especially at 1/3 that we might be going the distance. So, to get this done in two is also a bonus. As you would expect, with each round that passes, the tests are getting sterner and that has never been more applicable than for her semi-final match with Naomi Osaka. There didn’t look to be too much stopping Osaka from making the last four, especially in light of Su-Wei’s comments prematch about potentially getting hammered. This was always a matchup that used to ‘stress’ Osaka but that doesn’t seem to be the case now. She tolerates whatever variety and trickery that Hsieh throws at her and although the match was closer than the 6/2 6/2 scoreline, she was never really threatened. It promises to be another absolute beaut when these two take to the court on Thursday for the semis. Osaka is around the 4/6 mark in the betting currently, which if you don’t understand gambling, means a 60% chance of beating Serena.

This has now officially turned into a fairytale for Aslan Karatsev. Let us not forget that Karatsev made it through qualies all the way back in January and has now made the last four. Yes, Grigor Dimitrov was suffering from a lower back problem but this is one heck of an effort. I don’t even remember what price the Russian was to win this quarter, ante-post, but suffice to say it will have been huge, probably 200/1 plus but I will try and find this out, for my peace of mind more than anything. Can the fairytale continue against Novak Djokovic? Having lost the first set to Sacha Zverev today you could feel the upset was on but that is when Nole joined the party. I saw a stat saying he committed 23 unforced errors in the first two sets today but only 2 were in the second. From the moment he won four straight games from 2/4 in the third, the writing was on the wall for Sascha. Novak winning 16 of 18 points in that spell! Zverev again lost a break lead in the fourth but Djokovic is a great set by set player as demonstrated many times before. How many times have we seen him come from a breakdown in a set against Federer to win the set by a break? This was a good performance from Nole and one where he even out aced his opponent 23-21.

Andy Del Potro

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