Tennis Prose



AO Blockbuster Men’s Semifinals

The moment of truth as arrived for the Australian Open with two men’s semifinals to be contested today. First off, Novak Djokovic vs Jannik Sinner — the 24-time Grand Slam champion vs the Italian Stallion who beat him twice at the end of last year (10:30 EST).

Djokovic has won Australian Open ten times and has a 20-0 record in AO semis and finals. But Sinner has beaten Djokovic two of the last three times they played and saved three match points in the most recent duel at Davis Cup Finals. Djokovic leads the overall head to head 4-2.

Then it’s the battle of the two towering Russians with Daniil Medvedev facing Alexander Zverev, two nuclear servers who have already played 18 times (11-7 for Medvedev). This will be their first clash at a Grand Slam tournament.

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  • Scoop Malinowski · January 26, 2024 at 7:46 am

    Sinner simply blasted Novak off the court, he’s a different player now. I think saving the three MPs vs Novak in their last match in Davis Cup is the main reason why Sinner has become this new player he is, he gained the self belief to win a match like this and play at this level. Also he’s going to be no. 1 soon, a truly earned no. 1, unlike Med and Carlos who only got to no. 1 because points were stolen from Novak because he was blocked from playing several majors and 1000s. So Sinner is going to be a true no. 1.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 26, 2024 at 8:56 am

    Medvedev is a magical player and he exhibited that again to shock Zverev from two sets down and on the brink in both the third and fourth set tiebreakers. Remains to be seen if Zverev ever fully recovers from this traumatic loss.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 26, 2024 at 5:45 pm

    My thoughts on Sinner beating Novak…

    Djokovic may not recover from this devastating loss. At some point these young lions will devour him. Overcoming Sinner will be harder than over coming Carlos.

    And the reason for the Novak’s “flat”ness may have been Sinner’s brutal firepower, accuracy and consistency. Let’s see if Sinner can sustain this level all year, or was it a flash of genius, like Del Potro and Safin?

    Enduring his worst loss ever in Australia is alarming. But if anyone can bounce back from it, it’s Novak Djokovic.

  • Sam · January 26, 2024 at 8:06 pm

    I was shocked to see the result too, Scoop, but things sound a bit complicated. As for bad losses, Djokovic got routined by Medvedev at the U.S. Open in 2021, but we all know how he eventually came back from that.

    It seems that Djokovic was off the whole tournament—not just physically but also mentally. He was awful in the first two rounds. And even against Fritz, wasn’t his break-point conversion rate appalling? 🧐

    During the Sinner match, I heard he showed almost none of the fiery emotions he normally does, but was more like a passive zombie. That’s just not like him. No doubt Sinner was responsible for some of that, but I don’t think that’s the whole story. Is he struggling to stay motivated? Maybe he actually needed a painful loss like this to remotivate him for the entire year. 😏

    Yes, he’s getting close to 37, but I believe he has a couple more Slams in him. I’d still consider him the favorite for Wimbledon at this point.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 27, 2024 at 7:39 am

    Sam, Djokovic was overwhelmed by Sinner’s brutality and pinpoint accuracy in the first three games and never recovered. Sinner was too good. Was it a fluke, lightning in a bottle performance by Sinner or has he finally figured out how to beat Novak? Like Delpo and Wawrinka could do on rare occasions. Let’s see if this was a rare occasion or a pattern, the next match will be the moment of truth. I think the fire and passion were not there because he knew Sinner wasn’t losing. Even when he stole the third set TB Novak’s celebration reaction was just going through the motions. The belief was not there.

  • Matt Segel · January 27, 2024 at 10:33 am

    I agree this is a big match for Summer, but also for Medvedev. I don’t think Sinners run is like Del Potro. Medvedev’s initial run reminded me of Del Potro. Great summer and then US Open. Del Potro could have been an all time great. His pace of shot when he was 20 was other worldly. I really believe that if injuries did not plague him he would have won 4+ Grand Slams. He was a great competitor.

    Sinner is also a great competitor, he has just been more methodical. Kind of like Raonic. Step by step, adding to his game.

    I hope he wins but I think Medvedev is a gritty competitor and will not let this chance slip by.

  • Cory · January 27, 2024 at 8:23 pm

    I think it’s Medvedev’s night. I think he has the experience and the grit. And coming back from 2-0 sets twice speaks huge volumes. I think it’s in the cards for him. Perhaps Sinner will break down in the biggest moments and Med will weather. Medvedev +225 odds is nice too.

    No question Sinner is the future #1 and the better player, better skillset, as he has all the weaponry, and, like a younger Djoker, Nadal, or Carlos, you just can’t hit through Sinner easily. He’s wiry and ubiquitous.

    But experience matters tonight.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 27, 2024 at 9:13 pm

    Matt, Delpo’s highest level, which was very rarely reached, may be better than Djokovic’s highest level. Delpo when he was really ON could just blast ANYONE off the court, We saw him blast Fed, Rafa and Novak off the court, Novak at Olympics 1R 76 76 where they both cried on court after because it was such a high level match. But Delpo was often hurt and only very rarely could he get the momentum to reach his best level. Delpo’s forehand could destroy any player from history.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 27, 2024 at 9:17 pm

    Cory, did you see Sinner has beaten Med the last three times they played? 3-6 head to head vs Med but he’s won the last 3 after 0-6 so it appears Sinner has solved the Med puzzle. Will be a fantastic final for sure, I’m favoring Sinner but Medvedev is one player I would never bet against.

  • Matt Segel · January 28, 2024 at 8:34 am

    Del Potro suffered a wrist injury within months of his USOPEN and he was never the same player and never rose to that level again. But that summer he was the best player in the world, I was in awe of his power and even now think what if…

    Great win for Sinner, he is a special player, lets hope he can handle success.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 28, 2024 at 9:01 am

    Matt, I guess that’s the price to be paid when one hits the ball so doggone hard as Delpo. I once played a teenager in an intra club match and the kid hit the ball so hard with his forehand and Wilson Pro Staff that he popped two balls in the match. I saved, then blew match points and finally lost 12-10 in the third set tiebreaker. I wonder how many balls Delpo popped with his forehand. I will always say, Djokovic and Federer and Nadal are the three best, Djokovic the undisputed no. 1 but Delpo at his best may be the highest level of tennis ever played. His body just didn’t allow him to sustain that level for more than a few brilliant flashes.

  • Matt Segel · January 29, 2024 at 7:41 pm

    Well I was almost right about Medvedev… if only it was best of three!

    Well I guess Sinner could be a special player. Very impressive. He has a lot of positive characteristics and his serve could become even better.

    He seems to have a great attitude and outlook. Good demeanor on court. Seems motivated.

    Let’s go Sinner!

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 29, 2024 at 7:53 pm

    Matt, now the question is how will Sinner respond after his dream come true win? Will he coast a little or will his appetite for more kick in? Now he will have the huge x on his back and everyone will be gunning to beat the top dog. Going to be interesting how Sinner responds to this new pressure and expectation to win many more majors.

  • Sam · January 31, 2024 at 8:08 pm

    Even when he stole the third set TB Novak’s celebration reaction was just going through the motions. The belief was not there.

    Scoop, even if that explains Djokovic’s meltdown, it still doesn’t explain why he surrendered 15 straight break points against Fritz—and his awful form in the first two rounds. 🤔 And just yesterday, an article came out in which a popular Serbian journalist claims that Djokovic had a fever the night before his match with Sinner. I don’t know if that’s really true, but I do think there’s more to Djokovic’s flat Australian Open than meets the eye.

    Matt, now the question is how will Sinner respond after his dream come true win?

    There’s this saying: “The problem with success is that you have to keep on succeeding.” 🤓

    And I think that’s very true.

    Going to be interesting how Sinner responds to this new pressure and expectation to win many more majors.

    Exactly. I wish Sinner the best, but I don’t automatically assume that he’ll just start cruising through Grand Slams from now on.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 1, 2024 at 7:30 am

    Sam I think Djokovic is 36 and he may finally be burning out. I’m giving all the credit to Sinner, he saved those 3 mps on Novak in Davis Cup SF in Dec and I think that mental edge gained factored into the AO SF result. Full credit to Sinner. If Djokovic was not 100 percent I think Sinner’s awesome hitting firepower accuracy and consistency caused Djokovic to be overwhelmed. As John McEnroe said, “It’s been scientifically proven everything hurts a little more when you’re losing.” )

  • Sam · February 5, 2024 at 8:50 pm

    Scoop, no doubt Sinner is a deserving winner—he obviously played the best overall in Australia. 👍 Yes, I think Sinner’s brutal game made Djokovic feel even worse.

    One thing I find interesting is that Djokovic has neither confirmed nor denied this statement by journalist Luka Nikolic:

    [Djokovic] was sick for three weeks, and then he had a relapse. That’s why he played so badly in the first two sets, you could see he was so weak and couldn’t do it. He couldn’t play well in those conditions. He didn’t want to go to the doctor so the journalists wouldn’t bother him and make a fuss.

    If Djokovic had actually been feeling 100%, he could just come out now and say something like, “I have great respect for Luka, but he’s mistaken here—I felt just fine.” 🤔

    Anyway, I think it was a combination of Sinner playing great and Djokovic being off (physically and/or mentally), but Sinner certainly deserved to lift the trophy in the end.

    We’ll have to see how the rest of Djokovic’s season goes.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 6, 2024 at 8:02 am

    Sam, this topic is still being discussed heavily on twitter and it should be time to close the chapter. My view is Djokovic just got beat and overwhelmed, similar to how the older Sampras was outgunned in US Open finals by young tigers Hewitt and Safin. And I think Sinner will have better careers than both Hewitt and Safin.

  • Sam · February 10, 2024 at 6:40 am

    That may indeed be the case, Scoop, but it would certainly help matters if Djokovic just came out and said, “Hey, there’s zero truth to the recent rumor that I was sick.” 😏

    By staying silent, he’s just prolonging all the speculation.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 10, 2024 at 8:00 am

    Sam, Djokovic is laying low now, I’m sure he will address this topic at his next tournament press conference.

  • Sam · February 13, 2024 at 11:47 pm

    Scoop, I certainly hope so.



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