Australian Open 2011 Midpoint Notes

22:13 Mon 24 Jan 2011
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Unfortunately I haven’t been able to watch as much of this as I’d like. The women’s tournament was considered to be “wide open”, while the main story on the men’s side was whether Federer could stop the “Rafa Slam”.

A little more than halfway through, and those stories remain. Clijsters, Wozniacki, Schiavone (the last two currently locked in battle), Zvonareva, and Na Li all look like contenders. I wouldn’t really want to bet against Kvitova or Radwanska, either, so that’s a rather open field. A field that Clijsters might just roll through, it must be said, but I don’t think it’ll be that easy for her.

Schiavone and Kuznetsova played the longest women’s match in Grand Slam history, Schiavone prevailing 6–4, 1–6, 16–14 to set up her match with Wozniacki, which has also gone to three sets. The other big stories so far were Venus Williams and Samantha Stosur going out; Stosur was a popular pick to take the title.

As for the men, number four seed Robin Söderling lost in five to unseeded Aleksandr Dolgopolov to produce the biggest upset so far, but the “big four” of Nadal, Federer, Djokovic, and Murray are all still in it, and of them only Federer has really been pushed. He encountered an unseeded Gilles Simon, whose ranking dropped due to injury, in the second round—and Federer had actually never beaten Simon before. It went to five, with Simon winning the third and fourth, but his play dropped briefly and Federer took advantage to get the required service break. Nadal hasn’t dropped a set and plays David Ferrer in the quarters, and a loss to Ferrer would be a huge shock. Djokovic has only dropped one set but has to get past the very dangerous number six seed, Berdych, to make the semis, where he would face Federer. Murray also hasn’t dropped a set and faces Dolgopolov, who he should really beat. From here, the semis look like Nadal–Murray and Federer–Djokovic/Berdych. Nadal–Murray could be fantastic, Murray being one of the few players who can really give Nadal a tough match. Federer could have a tough time against either Djokovic or Berdych, who are the last two people to beat him in Grand Slams. That being said, Federer and Nadal are still the clear favorites to win the title, and the “dream final” remains quite likely.

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