Jan 27, 2023

Australian Open Beanalysis: Semifinals

Welcome back everybody! I have been waiting for you. (I have not been waiting on you, in fact, you’ve probably been waiting on me.) Well, I hath arrived, and I now bless thou with mine knowledge. (Or perhaps I curse you with it? Who knows?)

Khachanov vs. Tsitsipas

Sadly, once Medvedev was gone, there was no hope for anyone to make it out of the quarter except Karen Khachanov. I hate to say it, but he is pretty good. I will point out that he’s had all the difficult matches done for him. He’s like that one group project kid who pretends like he’s doing something when he’s really not, and then turns in the project and takes all the credit. For real though, the only match of his that I would consider “hard” was his match against Tiafoe. His other opponents have consisted of Carballes Baena, who is alright but he’s not ranked too high. Plus, Khachanov was fresh for round one. Kubler who has made some good runs, but hasn’t really broken through, along with the fact that he’s more of a grass player. Of course, Tiafoe, who was a good challenge, but still didn’t seem to do much. Nishioka, who basically rolled over and played dead, then proceeded to get destroyed anyway. Then finally Korda, who seemed to be invincible, but he crumpled against Khachanov, I have been informed that he retired due to a wrist injury. That makes sense. I wouldn’t want to continue that lost hope of a match with an injury. In conclusion, Khachanov didn’t face much challenge at all going through to this round. None of this to say Khachanov is bad, but it’s more of he doesn’t deserve to be here all that much. The USO run was earned in my opinion, but this one wasn’t really. Anyway, the challenge jump should be drastic here, as Stef has been playing exceptionally well as of late.

Stefanos has yet to do one of the two things that I needed to become a fan again, and that is being less of a jerk. He almost hit a ballkid when he missed a shot, which was uncalled for. Anyway, he seems to have done something about the other thing that I wanted him to do, which was becoming more consistent. His level of play has been at the top this entire tournament, so I’m excited for what’s to come the rest of the season. So, what do I think of Tsitsipas in this match? I think he definitely has the ability to win this one pretty easily. I feel like he might be extra though, and drag it out. Then again, he knows who his likely opponent for the final is, so he might make it quick because he wants to preserve energy for the final. I hope he does the latter, because I want a good match for the final, not some boring 6-2 6-1 6-4 match. If Stef can just hold his composure through the match, and not get mad at every little thing that happens, he can play a good match and probably advance. If he can’t, things will just get harder as the match goes on, and his winning chances will decrease drastically. So, my answer entirely depends on the mindset of Stefanos. Khachanov has yet to make a slam final, and he will definitely be gunning for a spot. So if Stefanos comes in cool and collected, and stays that way, he wins in 4 probably. If not, he probably makes it go to 5, and then it’s a tossup from there. I sure am hoping it’s the former.

Djokovic vs. Paul

So apparently, this was Paul’s dream match, so here we are, let’s hope it doesn’t turn into a nightmare. Novak has shown no sign of stopping anytime soon. He completely smited Dimitrov from existence, he clicked CTRL + X on ADM, and he most recently made Rublev no-clip through reality. I fear the same will be true for Paul. He doesn’t have the abilities to do anything to Novak, and losing a set that he looked to be winning against Shelton does not give me much hope. But Paul will be talked about later, right now we’re looking at Novak. In the match against Rublev, it seemed to be returning that was the problem, they had similar serve stats, but Novak was able to win more service games overall, the return stats section is where things get ugly. Rublev had 19% 1st serve return points won, 50% second serve return points won, and 0 break points converted. Yikes. In terms of overall performance, there were just less points won by Rublev overall, and things looked very Djokovic-controlled. I think there is nothing anyone can really do to stop the Djoker-train, it seems to be unstoppable.

Paul was looking really good from the start of the match against Shelton, and really kept it consistent throughout the match. It got to where Paul was 2 sets up, and he got a break, making the match seem to be over, but then Shelton retaliated, grabbing himself a pair of breaks to win the set. The next set, of course, went poorly for Shelton. The very first game was a break by Paul, and there was no recovery from that point, it was all Paul. Hey that rhymes. Anyway, the 3rd set falter makes me very worried like I said earlier, because Novak will be more than able and willing to take advantage of any weakness like that. Paul also won’t have the wacky unforced errors to bank on if things get rough, Shelton made a lot of those mistakes, Novak will not. I doubt Paul will be able to touch Novak all that much. His heavy hitting can maybe put a dent in the scoreboard during a set or two, but the odds of him taking one entirely are slim to none. Winning is also basically out of the question for Paul at this point, it’s a matter of stretching Novak as much as he can. If Paul can keep a tight serve, he can maybe get to a tiebreak and then he can possibly squeeze a win from one of those, but he’s gonna be hard-pressed for possibilities to do much in this match. Sometimes the most obvious answer is the right one, Novak in 3.