2011 Australian Open – Day 4 Notes
Here are some notes and observations from Day 4 of the Australian Open…
- Has lost only four games in the first two rounds.
- Moves extremely well, perhaps the best mover on the Tour.
- Controls play most of the time.
- Can hit defensive-offensive shots when stretched out wide.
- She is playing so well that at times she may lose a little concentration.
- Nick’s Tip: Kim is in excellent form but must play even better versus higher level opponents.
Jelena Jankovic vs. Shuai Peng
- Jelena was cruising at 4-1 and then became very passive.
- Peng came closer to the baseline making earlier returns, but that ended up costing her control of the court.
- Jelena hits an offensive stroke and then moves back instead of staying close to the baseline and making early contact with Peng’s short returns and hit the big shot. She does not want to come forward and use her solid groundies. She also, tends to be a bit passive at times and although she wins a lot of matches, she must win the big ones. She must be more aggressive.
- Jelena gave away the first set which is unacceptable when you are such a superior player. Again, she needs to be more aggressive.
- Jelena spent so many years at IMG Academies and it upsets me when she does not take it to her opponents. She needs to get back to the true top-ten player in the world who believes that she can win a Grand Slam.
Rafael Nadal vs. Ryan Sweeting
- The conditions made for high bounces and Sweeting came forward when Nadal hit his cross-court heavy forehand to Sweeting’s backhand.
- Remember, this is how Del Porto won the U.S. Open. He is a big boy and came forward into the court to hit balls high above his backhand side.
- Sweeting never had beaten a top-ten player. He had a huge serve when he was a junior player. During his present serve he has a very low elbow and lets the ball drop a bit too low in my opinion. This results in hitting around the right side of the ball with the final result with opponents hitting winners. His true weapon is his backhand.
- Nick’s Tip: I think Sweeting’s grip may be too strong which hinders most players causing them to hit a little flatter first serve. Also, a lower toss and shorter swing motion may improve his serve.
- It is almost impossible for me to believe that a man of Sweeting’s size does not go all out for it. It has been said he can serve big, but as soon as the match gets close he tightens up, and may lose some confidence resulting in a flat serve. His coach must be able to get through to him and make him believe that he cannot win matches with that state of mind. He must also continue to work on his first serves.
- Nadal’s grip is in between 4 1/4 and 4 3/8. A few years ago the grips were: Ladies 4 1/2 and Men 4 5/8 to 4 3/4 to 5. Nadal’s smaller grip enables him to create a lot of whip in both his serve and his groundstrokes.
- Let’s give Sweeting some credit not to just go out there and giving up. He can hit one amazing shot in a rally but must hit 3, 4 or 5 great shots to beat Nadal.
- What most people don’t realize is why Nadal’s backhand is so good. His top hand is so dominant and gives him the ability to hit any ball coming at him. It really is impressive considering he is right handed in everything he does aside from tennis.
Michael Llodra vs. Milos Raonic
- Raonic has an excellent serve motion and can crank it up to about 138 to 140 mph. He is only 21 years old and was 650 in the world not long ago. He is currently ranked 160th. In Tokyo he lost to Nadal 7-6, 6-4 but Nadal said to look out for this kid, he could be a top-ten player.
- He is a tall boy but hunches over with his shoulder. He must work on his posture because later in life this could be a problem.
- He possesses huge kick on his 2nd serve, moves around well and hits a big forehand. He also has a solid two handed backhand with a very short, compact swing.
- Has a huge 1st serve and gets a high percentage in.
- Raonic is very calm and doesn’t exude many emotions on the court, but when the ball is in play the young kid is good and has a bright future.
Juan Martin Del Porto vs. Marcos Baghdatis
- Del Porto is back after several months of not being able to play because of a wrist injury which needed surgery. Before the operation, the big man not only had a huge serve, killer forehand, and a fantastic two-hander that was so dangerous because he came into the court and was able to hit it very early after catching the opponent out of position. He was probably the perfect big man on Tour. He was able to run around and hit killer forehands.
- Match Analysis: Brad Gilbert gave his opinion that no matter what the wrist injury Del Porto had lost some foot speed and may have been a bit out of shape.
- Baghdatis is truly an entertainer and draws the crowd to support him. He is back with his old time coach which has made a major difference in his appearance. He has lost about 20 lbs and it clearly comes out as a positive not only with his movement but also his stamina.
- This match may not have been a true test for him, but what most viewers do not realize how difficult it is to keep punishing a wounded assassin and not let him back into the game.
Bernard Tomic vs. Feliciano Lopez
- Once again, Tomic is the kid in the street to watch. No matter what the situation may be, this 6’5” kid who is still in his teens, is by far a player that has the ability to win all sorts of titles.
- For a big man, he moves with such ease you hardly know he is moving. His groundstrokes, including his two handed backhand, are capable of keeping you on your heels and moving from side to side. His serve will be a major weapon because of his size.
- Keep in mind, Lopez is no push over even though his ranking has slipped, but playing a lefty is always dangerous.
Robin Soderling vs. Gilles Muller
- Robin has groundies beyond description and he adds to that by standing very close to the baseline while hitting early with very little spin.
- He moves extremely well and will come forward and hit a simple volley to the right spot. His serves (both 1st and 2nd) are consistent and he gets a very high percentage of first serves in.
- Whoever he plays, his opponents must realize that Robin is a real competitor and will give you nothing. Gilles Muller had very little chance in this match, especially when he did not win the second set tiebreaker which could have slowed down the offensive and relentless “Soderling Machine.”
Andreas Seppi vs. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
- The Italian, Seppi, came close, but failed to win the tie-breakers. Tsonga keeps coming at you and, if healthy, can keep on rolling especially when he wins the crowd over to his side.
Andy Murray vs. Illya Marchenko
- This was an easy three set victory for Andy. He needed to be pushed a little more. I feel he will go well into the second week.