Australian Open Day 3: Djokovic Turns Up the Heat

I hope you enjoyed the tennis as much as I did. That was another day of very high-quality tennis. In particular by the world number one who defeated 19-year old French prodigy Halys 6-1, 6-2, 7-6(3). I had never seen this kid play before and I must say I was highly impressed.

Even more so than I was with Chung. It takes a lot for me to be impressed by a French player because I believe the French are inherently mediocre in the mental department as tennis players but at least from this one performance Halys showed huge promise.

As was the case with Chung, he played fearless tennis. But unlike Chung, he had some serious firepower and a feisty demeanor. What is it with these youngsters anyway? I guess it must be the fearlessness of youth because this is one of the biggest stages in tennis against one of the all-time greats.

Just no sign of nerves from them. And don’t let the scoreline of the first two sets fool you. Halys was playing extremely well. The only reason Djokovic won the first two sets 6-1, 6-2 was because his level was about the same it was in the Doha final.

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His match stats are impeccable. An even better winner to unforced error ratio than in the Doha final(42-14 vs 30-13) and extremely efficient at the net. The same goes for the serving, returning, and break point conversion rate.

As I speculated he also opened the bakery in the first set. There was a key moment in the second set at 3-2 and 0-30 on the Djokovic serve. Halys was threatening to break back but Djokovic hit four straight winners. Boom. The first one painted the baseline which Halys mistakenly let go.

Extraordinary because had it been centimeters longer Djokovic would have stared down three break points. And that wasn’t the first occasion Djokovic painted the baseline when he was in trouble. Djokovic possesses a supernatural ability to paint the lines when in trouble.

And I am not exaggerating with ‘supernatural’. Think about it. It is hard enough to hit the baseline if you have all the time in the world. But to do it under pressure at the pace these guys play, and doing it on a consistent basis?

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A very exciting prospect for the French

I tell you, there is something about that which defies logic. But hey, that’s why he is the best and why he just had the most successful season in tennis history. And the scary thing is he seems to be getting better. But I don’t want to neglect Halys.

I see too many tennis fans who don’t give proper credit to the opponent, saying Djokovic sleepwalked through the third set or some nonsense. Nothing could be further from the truth. Halys absolutely deserved to force a tiebreak in the third.

He was even a break up at 2-0 and played some incredible tennis. It was only Djokovic’s ability to raise his level in the tiebreak which prevented this match from going into a fourth set. I thought it might well happen.

But in the end, another incredible performance from the world number one, and he is looking awfully good already.

  • Federer vs Dolgopolov

Of course, all of the above would have gone over the heads of the Federer cult who was mesmerized by another ‘flawless’ performance from the ‘GOAT’. Yup, the hype train is in full flow again. I can sense it.

O’Shannessy is already playing cheerleader again tweeting that Federer served like a ‘Greek god‘. Just priceless stuff. I only caught the third set of that match which Federer won 6-3, 7-5, 6-1 and it almost looked like Dolgopolov was tanking.

Just no fight in the third set. Of course, by then Federer had played two good sets. Does that mean you give up in the third set? Let’s compare a little. Halys got destroyed in the first two sets and yet he just upped his level in the third.

Dolgopolov was competitive in the first two sets and gave up in the third. I’ll just leave it at that for people to draw their own conclusions.

I’ll say this much, though: I do find it very fascinating how the same thing keeps happening over and over again and how easily people get swept away by hype and hysteria.

Anyway, a decent win for Federer who now plays Dimitrov and I’m sure that will be another straight-set beatdown. I watched some of Dimitrov’s match against some unknown player and he showed me nothing to suggest that he can even win a set off of Federer.

I just don’t rate him. I’d love for him to prove me wrong and make it a good match but I can see him just rolling over in straights again. In fact, I probably won’t even bother watching. Dimitrov is just too overrated to deserve my viewership.

  • Elsewhere in the Draw

Djokovic now plays the player who defeated Federer in the third round last year. That is Seppi of course. Seppi clearly can’t be underestimated. If Djokovic keeps up his current form he should defeat Seppi but you never know in tennis.

Then Nishikori had a straight-set win as well and so did Thiem. I didn’t watch but the 6-3, 6-1, 6-3 scoreline from Thiem against Almagro is quite impressive. He now plays Goffin who I think he will defeat if he keeps in together mentally.

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Fourth round bound?

Cilic and Bautista Agut also won and now plays each other in what should be an interesting third round encounter. Finally, Berdych and Kyrgios both won in straight sets. I just caught the final set tiebreak of Kyrgios’s match and he looked good against Cuevas.

His match with Berdych will be one of the highlights of the third round. He certainly has the potential to upset Berdych and go deep in the tournament but it’s difficult to know with him. I like to believe the fact that he is playing in his own country will, at least, provide him with enough incentive not to tank.

  • Highlights

  • Match Stats

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The is in your court.

Posted in Australian Open, Grand Slams.

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