Tennis Prose



Lostralian Unopen 2022

By Scoop Malinowski

With all the drama and chaos before the tournament even began, the controversial political backstabbing and deportation of the world’s greatest tennis champion, one could not expect this 2022 Lostralian Open to be a normal affair of business.

As this oddity of a tournament evolves to an ending hopefully none of us can imagine, certain players are making waves and making cases to secure their roles in the theater of the unexpected.

I think Carlos Alcaraz is going to beat Matteo Berrettini tonight in their third round slugfest. Alcaraz looks like a Spanish tornado which is picking up strength each match. He’s ready to shock the world.

Taylor Fritz very nearly sent eventual champ Novak Djokovic packing last year and for sure, in the back of his mind and the inner sanctums of his heart, Fritz has to know if he got a fraction wiser, stronger, gutsier, quicker from a year ago, he can win this tournament. He pummeled the dangerous Frances Tiafoe like a punching bag last night and gets Agut next.

Naomi Osaka looks bigger and stronger and in her best form. Can you sense how she wants a piece of Ash Barty? Barty has to get through the dangerous Camila Giorgi tonight. And Osaka will play Amanda Anisimova who has not lost yet this year with new coach Killer Cahill.

Everyone is talking about Clara Tauson, her leverage, hitting power. The teen phenom just blitzed no. 6 seed Anett Konteveit 62 64.

Sebastian Korda has also looked like a future Grand Slam champion and today he will have his hands full with Pablo Carreno Busta.

It was a big surprise to see Adrian Mannarino dominate Hubi Hurkasz the way he did but most surprising was seeing the usually introverted French player hopping and skipping and arm waving and showing spirit on the court. Maybe has this new emotional expression unlocked his inner genius? If he can manhandle Hubi in three sets, he can beat Aslan Karatsev in the third round.

Rafa Nadal is obsessed to win this title to steal no. 21 but he has to get through Karen Khachanov in the third round.

We all know Benoit Paire is the craziest guy in the ATP and he looked like a Grand Slam champ destroying Grigot Dimitrov last night. What would happen if Paire gets the crazy idea he can beat anyone in the world? He certainly has the arsenal to do it. Paire vs the shaky looking, dispirited Tsitsipas in third round looks winnable for the wacky French veteran who now wears a clothing line Celio Be Normal.

Andrey Rublev is absolutely obliterating tennis balls and opponents so far, next up will be Marin Cilic.

Felix is grinding his way through two epic marathons and now he plays Evans next.

Maxime Cressy has also looked like a totally focused machine and he has winnable match vs wildcard Chris O’connell to get to a fourth round clash with Daniil Medvedev who will beat Van De Zandschulp.

Qiang Wang, who beat Serena here a few years ago, suddenly looks revived as she has blasted through Coco Gauff and Van Uytvanck. Keys is next for Wang and coach Pat Cash.

Badosa vs Kostyuk is a heavyweight match that could be a showcase of future Grand Slam champs. As is Tauson vs Danielle Collins.

Iga Swiatek is another player who can go all the way, like Sabalenka, Pavlyuchenkova, Svitolina and Azarenka.

Oh, I forgot to mention Shapovalov, Opelka and Krejcikova and Kovinic, who just sent Emma home.

But one gets a sense the final week of this tournament is not going to be normal, predictable or obvious. This is the Lostralian Unopen and with the ghost of King Novak and the irritated Tennis Gods haunting the city of Melbourne, be prepared for absolutely anything.

Notes: Sania Mirza retired after losing in doubles first round.

19 years as a pro

6 Grand Slams

47 career titles

1st Indian woman to win a singles WTA Tour title

1st Indian woman to win a Grand Slam doubles title

1st Indian woman to rise to No.1 in singles or doubles

Paire was crying in his post match on court interview, he had to bend over for a minute to compose himself: “It was a shit year last year. It was compromised. This year it starts by testing positive. I isolate for seven days. It starts like shit again. But I’m here. I hang on. I played a big match today. One of my best matches since a long time. I’ve been criticized a lot. At one point it weighs… and honestly when I pull off a match like this… I have support here. The French fans. Really there is nothing better.”

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  • Scoop Malinowski · January 20, 2022 at 3:36 pm

    Kyrgios said after losing to Medvedev he would have beaten 95% of the tour last night. But is he fit enough to do that as he looked to have run out of gas in the 62 fourth set. Murray manhandled Taro Daniel in Davis Cup five years ago but last night Murray got manhandled. With all the 16 wildcards he still can’t break back into the top 100 he’s around 113 now. Paire is now 3-1 vs Dimitrov.

  • Cory · January 21, 2022 at 5:44 pm

    Paire can beat anybody on tour… but… he’s Benoit Paire. He does look great so far. Tsisipas, while clearly better, is a good opponent for Paire to challenge, as Tsisipas can frequently have mental lapses and Paire will not only need to be focused, but rise to the occasion during a Tsisipas lapse. Unlikely but I’ll be rooting for Paire.

    Evans should outlast Felix in 5, grinding as Evans does best. Evans so composed mentally… I see Felix getting frustrated with Evans returning everything.

    Van Zandschulp is no joke. But it’s Medvedev’s to lose, no question. I think Botic CAN win tho.

    Cilic zero chance against Rublev.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 21, 2022 at 6:06 pm

    Cory, I’ve always been a Paire believer, the talent and arsenal are there. Now maybe the mind has matured to a new level. He has to believe he can beat the now vulnerable self doubting Greek. I see Felix beating Evans but won’t bet a hamburger on it. BVZ (no way am I typing that name out) has won me over also, with his easy style and power and terminator machine like demeanor. Very dangerous player even if he presents himself on court in a boring old school manner.



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