Tennis Prose



Delray Beach Dream Draw

By Scoop Malinowski

The 2019 Delray Beach Open is a dream draw for tennis fans. Almost every first round match has some sort of intrigue factors attached. Let’s examine…

Top seed and fourth ranked Juan Martin Del Potro returns from injury hiatus to take on the super talented Japanese lefty Yoshihito Nishioka, the ATP no. 71. This is their first meeting.

Tennys Sandgren vs Reilly Opelka will be a rematch of their 76 in the third, first round marathon at Sarasota Open in 2017, the win that perhaps triggered Sandgren’s rise to prominence.  76 ranked Sandgren beat 89 Opelka again later in 2017 in Charlottesville 63 64. Opelka will seek revenge.

Jared Donaldson makes his return after about eight months and faces Guillermo Garcia Lopez. Both are ranked just outside the top 100. GGL won their only meeting in 2017 at Paris Indoors qualies 64 in the third.

McKenzie McDonald vs his good friend Taylor Fritz, the 7 seed. Both Californians train and travel together.

Struggling Steve Johnson vs Bradley Klahn in another battle of two Americans. Klahn won their only meeting in Auckland qualies in 2014 76 76.

Paolo Lorenzi vs qualifier.

Radu Albot rematches Ivo Karlovic, they just played at New York Open, Albot won 67 76 76.

Nick Kyrgios vs John Millman in a battle of contrasting Aussies, the showman trick shot artist vs the blue collar grinder. Millman won their 2017 US Open match in four sets. Kyrgios should be motivated to improve his 66 ranking. Millman is ranked 37.

Andreas Seppi vs Bernard Tomic, two touch and finesse players. Bernie won both of their previous matches in 2010 and 2013 but both duels were very close.

Jordan Thompson vs Marcel Granollers.

Wildcard Lloyd Harris vs  a qualifier.

Defending champ Frances Tiafoe vs a qualifier.

Adrian Mannarino vs Brayden Schnur, the rising Canadian who is in the semis now at New York Open.

Feliciano Lopez vs Denis Istomin. Two veterans over 30 looking to get back into the top 50. F Lo has won all three meetings, in Memphis (2013), Barcelona (2010) and Queens (2009). Each match featured super competitive scorelines.

Lukas Lacko vs a qualifier.

2 seed John Isner vs Peter Polansky.






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  • catherine · February 21, 2019 at 9:17 am

    I have a feeling Angie might do the Olympics next year (Germany haven’t much of a team without her) and then retire. The way she plays, it’s not going to bring her more big titles and that’s what those other freaks hunger for.

    As for Serena, I can see her playing pro doubles with her daughter 🙂

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 21, 2019 at 10:25 am

    You have to wonder where would Kerber rather be? On a photo shoot, sipping martinis at the beach, or in the locker room getting ready to do battle with a Sabalenka or Hsieh or some obsessed teenager who would die to win?

  • catherine · February 21, 2019 at 11:35 am

    Don’t think Angie’s into alcohol although she certainly enjoys photoshoots. Unfortunately she’s not getting any younger or winning tournaments and that’s what matters in the world of glossies. I’d guess she knows the sands are running out there. And if you were to ask her, I’m sure she’d say a legacy in the record books and maybe H of F are the things she’d wish for in tennis. They’ve been her goals since she turned pro at 15. She’ll retire on her own terms and I doubt she’ll be drawn back. Like Steffi, her idol.

    But hey – what if all the ‘older’ players started to copy Hsieh’s style ? Could extend their competitive years indefinitely 🙂

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 21, 2019 at 12:24 pm

    Catherine, Hsieh is uncopyable. The only player in history who is uncopyable. No can hit her shots. Not one has as many tools in their toolboxes as Hsiah. She is a shot inventor and holds patents on several of her shots. 🙂 Rios was also a shot inventor but his backhand jump shot was copied.

  • catherine · February 22, 2019 at 1:19 pm

    Bencic bts Svitolina in 3 sets + t/b. Belinda is rising fast in the rankings. Monfils watching courtside.

    Changes ahead in WTA ? Bencic plays Kvitova in the final – Petra served hard and whacked her forehand v Hsieh who couldn’t locate her bag of tricks this time. Final could be close.

  • Hartt · February 22, 2019 at 4:56 pm

    Catherine, I watched the Bencic vs Svitolina match. Talk about twists and turns, you had no idea how the match would go from one moment to the next. I was rooting for Belinda. It’s nice to see her having a successful tourney, but I will be all for Petra in the final.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 22, 2019 at 7:17 pm

    We have been waiting a long time for Bencic to regain the form that she showed beating Serena in Cincy about three years ago.

  • Hartt · February 22, 2019 at 7:52 pm

    Scoop, Belinda’s big run was at the Rogers Cup. And she beat several top players in addition to Serena.

  • catherine · February 23, 2019 at 5:53 am

    Belinda won’t turn 22 until March and the bookies are favouring Petra but much as I’d like to see her win I think it’ll be Bencic. She lost to Kerber at the Hopman Cup but that seems a long time ago now, when the ‘new Angie’, as some fan noted, flickered briefly across our screens.
    Petra has a habit of dropping opening sets but if she does so here I think Belinda will take advantage. Check back later.

  • catherine · February 23, 2019 at 12:13 pm

    Just as I said – Petra dropped 1st set, came back in second and lost 3rd as easily as 1st. Disappointing. Belinda’s a good player but will never be on my favourites’ list.

    Is there a generation gap opening up in women’s tennis ? Are the oldies no longer goodies ? Excepting you-know-who of course 🙂

  • catherine · February 23, 2019 at 12:35 pm

    I didn’t see the whole match but I suspect Petra’s UEs count was probably high. Not exactly bad Petra in the last set but careless/tired ? Anyway – she’s had a lot to do this early part of the year, off court, so a decent run in Dubai.

  • Hartt · February 23, 2019 at 1:02 pm

    I saw the last 2 sets of Petra vs Belinda. Good Petra was on the scene in the 2nd set, and I started to think about what treat I would get, even knowing that was a bad idea! But Petra ran out of steam in the third set and missed too many easy shots. Belinda did not have to do a lot, although she did make some good shots.

    If Petra had to lose, I am glad it was to Belinda. It’s good to see the youngster back playing well after having to deal with several injuries.

  • catherine · February 23, 2019 at 1:42 pm

    I prefer Sabalenka as a player although she really has to do something about her tendency to scatter match points to the winds…still, only 20. Should have beaten Belinda.

  • Hartt · February 23, 2019 at 3:03 pm

    Of the young women players I like Biance Andreescu the most. Not just because she is Canadian, although that does play a role, but because she has so much variety in her game and is such a good competitor. She is at No. 71 in the live rankings and now that she can play more WTA events her ranking should go up. She got into the main draw of Acapulco. Bianca does not turn 19 until June.

    I like Sabalenka’s game for the most part, but have a hard time with her extremely loud grunting. I hate having to turn the sound down because I like to hear the sound of the ball, the line calls and the ump.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 23, 2019 at 6:18 pm

    Marta Kostyk sure has disappeared. So has Cici Bellis. Louisa Chirico. Coco Gauff will take over in a few years.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 23, 2019 at 6:25 pm

    Felix scored a major win vs Cuevas and into his first final. Major breakout happening now with Felix, looks really really good. Looks like a potential French Open winner in the next four years.

  • Hartt · February 23, 2019 at 6:51 pm

    Felix won that SF against Cuevas, who won the title in 2016, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.

    He is the youngest player ever to make an ATP 500 final. The youngster just keeps setting records.

    He should have a good chance against Djere in the final.

    Felix does not turn 19 until August 8 (has the same birthday as Federer).

    Scoop, yes he could win RG. However, his coach, Guillaume Marx, thinks that hard court will be his best surface in the long run.

  • Hartt · February 23, 2019 at 6:55 pm

    I’d meant to say that Felix is now No. 59 in the live rankings, and should be No. 42 if he wins tomorrow. That will mean the end of Felix playing Challengers.

    It hardly seems fair, but Felix will be playing the qualies for IW.

  • catherine · February 24, 2019 at 2:12 am

    Hartt – Grunting doesn’t bother me. I usually have the sound turned down because some of the commentators bother me a lot more. They drive me nuts.
    People complain about women grunting but they don’t seem to mind when men do it. Bit of stereotyping ?

  • catherine · February 24, 2019 at 2:22 am

    Scoop – there are so many ‘prodigies’ who turn out not to be. You can find the odd Youtube about them – look really good until you see the video is something like 10 years old 🙂

    Girls seem to get more publicity when they’re young than boys – maybe because they are seen as more marketable.

    Swiatek is another one who’s not doing much lately. Cori Gauff ? Let’s wait and see.

  • H · February 24, 2019 at 8:27 am

    Catherine, I hate grunting by the men, but agree that it gets less attention than the women grunting. I don’t mind if it isn’t very loud, but some players are extreme. One poster calls Sabalenka “Howlerenka” and I think he is right.

  • catherine · February 24, 2019 at 1:03 pm

    Some people just want women to be quiet and ladylike 🙂

    Aryna will probably moderate her yelling as time goes by and she realises winning is more important than decibel level.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 24, 2019 at 3:51 pm

    Catherine, on the tennis court every woman has the right to grunt, scream, show passion, whatever. On the court is on the battlefield. The days of Borg and Evert quietness are over, the players are too fast, too explosive now, passion and grunting and screaming are necessary for most players if they want to make their dreams come true in tennis.

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