Jan 24, 2023

Australian Open Beanalysis: Quarterfinals

I’m going to have all of the matches in one day now, hoping that no more stupid catastrophes happen where I’m unable to do things. So, without further ado, here is my genius, 100% foolproof, turtle approved, free-range, water resistant, whole grain writing.

Khachanov vs. Korda

Well, talk about a blowout. Karen is looking really good so far here… PTSD from USO comes back, followed by screaming. No, I am not screaming out of frustration right now, that’s just your neighbor mowing their lawn. Really though, this quarter was torn open faster than a fresh bag of chips in a college dorm. I really did not expect this in any way shape or form. At the beginning of this tournament I was certain it’d be a Nadal Medvedev clash for the quarter here, but then both of them got out early, and the doors kinda blew open. Korda has definitely had the harder matchups, beating Medvedev and Hurkacz in back to back rounds. The only real challenge that Khachanov has faced thus far was Tiafoe back in round three. Khachanov completely dismantled Nishioka, crushing hopeful Japanese fans’ dreams. Khachanov made it look easy to win service games, only losing 3% of his first serve points, which I just wanna say is an incredible stat. I think the level of opponent did make that possible though, as Nishioka is nowhere near as good as Karen. One thing I will say is that he didn’t win a lot of his second serve points, maybe that’s just the stat that sticks out like a sore thumb in the stat list, but everything else was above 50%, so it’s a weaker spot that Korda could possibly exploit.

We go from looking at the blowout match that was Khachanov vs. Nishioka, to the tightest match I’ve seen all week. In terms of total points in the entire match, Korda only won 2 more points than Hurkacz, and every other stat looked almost identical to each other as well. There was absolutely no edge anywhere for Korda, and what netted him the win at the end was the ability to string the points together and win that 5th set tiebreak. I don’t know where Korda got this incredible ability to play tennis, or if he sacrificed his liver for it, but I need to figure out how this dude managed all this. The pure grit it takes to play a 5 set grind-off against Hubi Hurkacz is insane, and Korda was able to win it in the end. I don’t know whether this means he blows Khachanov out of the water, or if he was only able to barely win, meaning Khachanov blows him out of the water. (I hope it’s the former, but that’s just my personal preference) Korda can definitely win a grind-off, as we’ve already seen the other night. I also think we need to take the Medvedev blowout into consideration here. If he can do that to Medvedev, who knows what’ll happen to Khachanov here. Everything taken into account, there are lots of things that can happen. I think the sheer caliber difference between their previous opponents makes me lean towards Korda, but then the Khachanov blowout makes me lean back towards him. I feel like Korda can squeeze out just enough in the end to make it work, so I’m gonna say Korda in 5 or 4 if he gets lucky.

Tsitsipas vs. Lehecka

“Stefanos Tsitsipas” and “reliable” were not two things I thought I would use in a sentence together without a “not” in between, but here we are. Stefanos Tsitsipas is probably one of the most reliable players to have picked to win at this point. There, I said it. Anyway, from what I’ve seen and heard, Stef has been playing really well this week, and has beaten some formidable opponents, like… like… Sinner, I guess. But hey, at the last two slams, the guy who beat Sinner went on to win the whole thing. (Just saying) I don’t know if Tsitsipas wins the whole thing, but based on the looks of the draw, it’s looking really nice for that to happen. Now calm down, I hear you screaming about Djokovic, but remember, he does have an injury that could flare up at any time, so there’s that. But enough about everyone else, we are here to talk about Tsitsipas. Tsitsipas won by a pretty small margin, only winning two more games than Sinner, and only winning by a few points in the point totals. Sinner had a lot of break points, but Stefanos was able to combat most of them, and only lost 4 service games throughout the entirety of the match. This ability to hold serve that well should be extremely beneficial in this next match, and further matches as well. I think Stefanos has a really good game, he just needs to build consistency, get a better mental stability while he plays, and become less of a jerk. That will get me back on the Tsitsi-train™.

Did we forget to tell this guy he’s not supposed to win? Geez, I thought I told you people to do that. I’m firing each and every one of you. Well, here we are, and maybe we can get Tsitsipas to tell this guy he’s not supposed to win. I think that’s something Tsitsipas would enjoy doing. Lehecka has beaten some good opponents, including Masters 1000 winner Coric, Masters 1000 winner Norrie, and some dude who had barely won a single title before going on a rampage at the end of last year, winning three titles in a row. I don’t know what happened, but something happened. FAA lost to him because of some unforced errors and struggles with second serve. I don’t know how a couple extra UEs and second serve problems equals a loss, but they just do I guess. Lehecka will not get the grace of extra unforced errors against Tsitsipas, if he keeps playing the way I’ve seen him play all last week. This match definitely is one of the simpler ones to call. Tsitsipas in 3.

Rublev vs. Djokovic

Huh, a quarterfinal match that actually was projected to happen? That’s abnormal. Rune was able to drag the match to 5 sets like I anticipated, but wasn’t able to win, also like I anticipated. So yay me, I guess. (I most likely have just jinxed myself) Anyway, Rublev had a rough match, and looked utterly exhausted by the end of it, but he will have had a day off by the next round, so hopefully we can get him in good shape to play Novak. The main difference between Rublev and Rune is that Rublev was able to keep unforced errors to a minimum, and also his serve winning ability, he was able to keep a steady serve throughout the match, and Rune did not. Rune’s serve wasn’t as bad as the unforced errors count, but it was still less than exceptional. I think Rublev could make a run for the win here, but only if Novak starts making a lot of errors, or if his injury starts going haywire.

Novak still refused to leave, even after the angry Aussies asked him to. I think someone called the cops because of how brutal the beating of ADM was. Good grief, not even a set for ADM. Yikes. 9 WINNERS? ONLY 9?? I COULD’VE DONE THAT! WHAT?? Did ADM get hit by a truck mid match? How on earth? I’m bewildered. I might just have to revoke my earlier statement about Rublev possibly making a run for the match. Not a single break point for ADM in the entire match. Abysmal serve stats, abysmal return stats. I fear for his mental wellbeing after a beating like that. I’m legit scared lol. There was not a lot from ADM, I’m hoping Rublev will do more than that, but the line for this match makes a lot more sense now that I’ve seen these stats. I’m gonna have to go with Djokovic in 4, once again barring further injury. (I think this has been my prediction for Djokovic the past 3 rounds lol.)

Shelton vs. Paul

The battle for the wide open quarter is coming to a close. It’s been the equivalent of the Wild West down here in the bottom quarter. Once Ruud went out in round 2, it was a free for all, and it’s all come down to a pair of good ol’ Americans dueling for a semifinals spot. Shelton took care of Wolf, and did so pretty nicely if you ask me. I think for Shelton, a Quarterfinals run in his second ever slam is pretty darn good. I don’t know if he can beat Paul, but we will see. Shelton was able to hold serve very nicely, which will definitely do him well in this match, though I expect Paul to be a better returner than Wolf. Shelton had very little room to breathe when it came to the margins in this match, it was definitely a close one, and Shelton took longer than I expected, so good on Wolf for taking an extra set. There were a few extra unforced errors on Wolf’s end, but other than that, very close margins. I think this match will also have some pretty close margins.

Looking at Paul’s last match, we can see there was a lot more distance between the two, a lot more winners from Paul, and lots more points won. RBA’s serve was better than Paul’s, but Paul was able to take the serves and gain control of them to win points, which ended up being the main factor in the match, along with Paul simply being the better player. One thing is, Shelton has a pretty tricky serve, and Paul is gonna have to do a lot more to convert the points to being controlled by him. I know he definitely has done well against big servers, and definitely has the ability to do it, but it will be a bit harder than the last match. Another thing to take into consideration is that Paul is a much more experienced player, and has beaten a lot more top level opponents. Paul will most likely come out on top of this one, but I think Shelton’s explosive serve, and his springy style of play will gain him the edge in some of the sets, which he can most likely convert. Paul in 5.