Jan 21, 2023

Australian Open Beanalysis: Round Three (Bottom Half)

So, some stuff happened, and I was unable to come home and work on the writeups yesterday. This was annoying, but you know, such is life. I am able to get this half out, but should be able to catch all of them for the rest of the tournament. (I’m kinda glad I missed now, because some of my picks would’ve probably been pretty bad.

Rublev vs. Evans

This is one of the last projected matches left, everything else we planned on has been thrown out the window. I don’t have any funny jokes. Well, I guess that just leaves “educational content” for me to talk about here. Rublev is just about the only one who has yet to have trouble with an opponent, minus Novak Djokovic. I think this might change for this match, but I can’t be sure. From his other matches this week, Rublev looks to be in good form. Emil was a good matchup for him, and some of the rallies that they had were exceptional. I think that in this situation, Rublev’s serve will be good enough to get him through his service games with relative ease. The fast courts are also going to be effective at helping his shots go faster.

Evans is going to have to change some things here because Rublev is leagues different than Chardy, Rublev’s serve is not going to be as slow and easy, and the shots are going to be lots faster, and the pace in this match is going to be extremely fast compared to the previous match. Emil was much more of a challenge than Chardy, and I think Rublev will be better equipped to deal with hard baseline rallies. Chardy charged the net very often, and Rublev will definitely not do that. I think that Evans’ serve is going to be much more of a challenge for Rublev, but it should probably even out, because Rublev’s is also much more of a challenge. I think this match will have longer sets, but Rublev can probably finish it in 4 if he buckles down.

Humbert vs. Rune

So, here we see the weakest section of the draw. One of the two seeds that were drawn to meet in this round withdrew, leaving only new top 10 member, Holger Rune with a bunch of unseeded low rank players. Humbert got lucky in this sense, and was able to capitalize off of it. Sadly, not both seeds withdrew, and now he has to face Rune. Humbert’s match with Kudla was looking very poor. It didn’t seem like Humbert was doing much, he just kinda hit until Kudla lost. Well, I don’t think that’s gonna work against a Masters 1000 champion. Most of the winners that Kudla produced were very familiar. I wonder where I remember them from?

I don’t know if you guessed what I’m hinting at, but it looked a lot like Rune’s shots in his match against Cressy. The thing is, Humbert looked like he didn’t really want to be there, and didn’t chase after any of the balls that looked relatively hard to get to. Rune produced a lot of these in his last match, and his game pretty much revolves around those really hard to get to shots. So unless Humbert really amps his game up here, I think it’s gonna be Rune in 3 or 4 if Humbert gets lucky.

Bonzi vs. de Minaur

POBRE DE Mí! MI PABLITO! PORQUE? I am very sad, but in English, not in Spanish, I don’t know enough Spanish to be sad. I had to look up how to say alas in Spanish lol. Anyway, I am good at French though, and from what I translated, Bonzi put on an impressive show of determination. This gives me hope for someone from France to be good after Monfils retires. I know Bonzi definitely has some power behind those shots, and he definitely can run opponents back and forth. I think he can refine some shots, because I did notice a decent amount of errors, especially in those first two sets. Bonzi has a chance to make this one long, and I think he actually might just have it in him to win from what I saw in the last round.

His opponent though, it’s the DEMON, and the demon has some tricks up his sleeve. Namely that almost trademark speed he’s got. That will definitely help in getting those tough to reach balls that Bonzi produces. Another thing is that de Minaur has some spectacular shotmaking of his own. But arguably the biggest weapon isn’t even him, it’s the home crowd support. It definitely helped him out in tough points during his first two rounds, and I don’t doubt they’ll stop here. de Minaur is one of two Aussies left in this tournament, and he is definitely more popular, so he’ll win the most crowd support. He definitely can manage the win for this match though. Bonzi can probably use his staying power to scrape up a set, but de Minaur is a much faster-paced player, and much more able to come back from down sets and such. I think this one goes to de Minaur in 3 if he wins the first two sets, because by then he’ll be in the zone and also considering he’s much quicker of a player, he’s not prone to dragging things out. If Bonzi manages to get one of the first two sets though, he’ll lose in four. (Redundant I know, but I had to finish the thought lol)

Dimitrov vs. Djokovic

Huh, for once I’m not outraged or utterly stunned by one of the matchups. This is… normal? Doesn’t feel like it. Anyway, Dimitrov has the weirdest outfit that I’ve seen recently. Not that that matters. He’s playing well, I think the error difference really did Djere in, as well as Dimitrov’s ability to hold serve. Dimitrov was really able to hit those percentage shots and make good serves. The real kicker was his ability to win return points though. He won more than half of the return points in the match. This kind of win makes me hopeful here.

So… Here we are, the man you’ve all been waiting for, and maybe the only one you care about here. Novak actually made more errors than Couacaud, which surprised me, and what really got Novak through that match was his ability to hold serve. I think this match might actually be quite a challenge for Novak. If we combine his injury with the fact that Dimitrov was so good at holding serve in the last match, that means that this one could go long, and Novak’s injury could cause enough problems to make him possibly lose the match. I know I might sound like I belong in an insane asylum with the people that think Paire is ever gonna win ever again. Oh wait, I think that too. Anyway, questioning of my sanity aside, Novak could lose here, but somehow I feel like he won’t. It’s a Novak thing to do, destroying my expectations and all. I think this one goes to Novak in 4 or 5 very long sets.

Popyrin vs. Shelton

UMMM EXCUSE ME??? What in the actual heck happened here? I’m baffled. Then again, that is something Fritz would do. He’s got enough money from that Netflix show to where he doesn’t need to be here. Except he probably does need to be here. I’m not judging his choice to watch the Netflix show instead of showing up to the match. I think Popyrin definitely deserved the win here. He was able to secure his place in each set. He barely ever lost his service games, and when he did, he was able to break right back to stay in the sets. I’m not saying the win wasn’t slim, Popyrin won by the hair on his chinny chin chin. He’s looking pretty good actually. I think he has a chance here, especially given he’s got that home crowd support.

Shelton has won against Jarry with much ease it seems. Looking at the stats for that match, I think I know why. Shelton was able to convert important points a lot easier. I think his serve also was very good, helping him get to tiebreaks and then win them. I think against Popyrin, things won’t be so simple. It’ll most likely be a tight battle, and I don’t really have a clear picture of who is going to win. If I based it simply off the bits I saw of both matches and the stats, I’d say Shelton would win, but also, Popyrin just beat Fritz. I think that could factor into things. If I’m forced to make a choice it’d be Popyrin in 5, but I’d stay away from this match if you’re betting. (go for the over if you feel the desperate need to bet on it.)

Wolf vs. Mmoh

The mantra has held strong my friends. Wolf forever. Wolf won because he was able to capitalize on the low serve percentages from Diego, and he was also able to hit a lot more winners, and control the points. This’ll be extremely helpful if he can keep it up going forward, and this kind of performance gives me hope that he might make it really far at this tournament. Especially since his quarter opened up wide when Ruud lost. The explosive Rafa-esque forehand will also really be a kicker, especially when it gets refined the way Rafa has it. Wolf’s chances here are phenomenal, but this match will be a great one either way.

“I am once again asking, HOW?” I’d never heard of this guy prior to this tournament, and then he goes and beats Zverev that easily? Ugh. I know Zverev had an injury but still. Mmoh won this one by capitalizing on Zverev’s second serves and also taking advantage of the 58 unforced errors that Zverev had throughout the 4 sets. It was a slow start, but he was able to get it into gear and win the last three sets and win the match. Looking at the difference in errors tells me all I need to know. Zverev wasn’t with it, whether that be from the injury or not, he wasn’t on point. Mmoh knew exactly how to capitalize, and won. Props to him. This match will most likely be different. As long as JJ Wolf can keep the errors to a minimum, and keep the serve on point, he can win this match easily. Wolf in 3 or 4.

Murray vs. Bautista Agut

ANDY MURRAY REALLY DID IT! Dangit, now my hopes are up. Don’t crush my dreams Andy. If that wasn’t the textbook definition of a tight match, I don’t know what is. Looking at the stats, there is absolutely no place where I can say either one definitively won, except for the winners stat, which went to Kokkinakis. That match was all about the important points and staying power. Murray just edged Kokkinakis out barely. I think that the main thing for Murray to watch out for is fatigue. That could definitely wreck him.

Bautista Agut had what looked like a tight match, but when explored it was more of a few sets of warmup lost, and then him coming back to take the last three. He was able to win just a few more service games, and win a few more break points, edging Holt out in the end. I know that both of these guys have got to be tired, and based on their last match stats, and also the caliber of their opponents, I’d give this one to Murray, but there is fatigue to think about. I think that will come into play, and make this one an RBA win in 4.

Paul vs. Brooksby

Here we see yet another pair of Americans in the mix for this bottom quarter. Tommy Paul had it all in the return of serve. Those stats for his match against ADF were incredible. I think that definitely comes into play for this next match. Looking at the service stats, they were pretty decent, very similar. Paul was able to edge Fokina out in the very end, after all looked lost. He won just a few extra return games, and a couple extra service games, pulling him out the win in the end. Paul definitely seems like the better player in this round’s matchup, but we shall see if that changes when we look closer.

Brooksby is the bane of my existence at this point. Whatever. Ruud just could not get a second serve, let alone hold serve at all. It doesn’t look like he could hit winners either. I don’t know what happened. Oh, he had an injury? An abdominal injury? That’s a lousy excuse, everyone uses that excuse. GET ORIGINAL CASPER! Either way, he’s out of the mix, and that leaves the bottom quarter of the draw in absolute shambles. My prediction for the whole quarter at this point is that they all spontaneously combust and then Novak wins by default. For this match though, looking at the stats, it’s gonna be a lot harder for Brooksby to win return games when Paul can actually serve, and with Paul winning those return games with a good server on the other side, that means he is actually good at returning, not just feeding off of errors. This one has to go to Paul, probably in 4 if I had to guess.