Tennis 2019: Tennis without Andy Murray


Kohlschreiber is really taking it to Djokovic today. Djoker looks either very rusty or unwell, and Kohlschreiber is at the top of his game.


With Zverev out as well, that half of draw is wide open. If Thiem ever wants to win a big tournament, now’s the time. Of course, being that it’s not on clay coupled with my vote of confidence in him means he’ll probably lose to Karlovic. Monfils is in that section too and has been having a sneakily solid season (#5 in the year-to-date rankings). There are big opportunities for a lot of players you wouldn’t normally expect to reach a Masters final now.


Djoker is out in two sets. Nishikori is out. Cilic lost to Shapovlov. The draw is really opening up.

Nadal won. Fed is yet to play.


Fed beats Stanimal, 3 and 4. All is well with the world. Good night.


Thiem finally won a big tournament! Hopefully he can carry this momentum forward into the clay season. #101 for Federer will have to wait. On to Miami, where Isner is the defending champ.


Isner is not playing well this year.

The big question is if Djokovic has a good run. He was out in the 2nd round at Indian Wells. I hope he’s not starting another swoon after winning three slam events in a row.

And Nadal is doing what seems to happen every year now – get hurt during the early season and not return until the clay season starts. At least Fed is playing clay this year.


It was a good, competitive match and Thiem showed a lot of toughness down the stretch to close out the final set. It feels to me like the kind of confidence win that breaks the psychological barrier - the opposite of what happened when he came so close to beating Nadal last year then fell short. Maybe it will be a breakthrough for him; he’s got so much game, it would be nice to see him competing for Grand Slam titles.


And so Thiem follows it up with a first round loss to the immortal Hubert Hurkacz at Miami. The next gen still isn’t quite ready for prime time.


Yeah, we watched that last evening. Though maybe at this point it’s Hurkacz who is the next gen, who knows.


Man, Ferrer was a demon tonight. And he played with such joy. Hard not to cheer for him, and it reminds me what a truly committed and determined player he has always been.


I didn’t see it but a lot of seeded players fell today. Zeverev, Wawrinka, Karen Khachanov, Cilic, and Diego Schwartzman. Fed got a scare going three sets but held on. Nishikora and Thiem are out as well.

Ferrer is one of those players who is a bit older and has fallen in the rankings, but for a given match he can play like a top 10 player.


Tons of seeds dropping, yet Djokovic’s draw remains dangerous for him especially given his recent form (got taken to three sets today by Delbonis). He has Bautista Agut next who beat him earlier this year, maybe Isner in the quarterfinals who has proved problematic for him in the past, and then potentially Kyrgios in the semis who has a career winning record against him. It’s weird to complain that the winner of the last three slams can’t catch a break, but here we are.


The problem is Kygrios is such a flake I have no confidence he will make it to the semis. I love the guy’s talent – he can fill a highlight reel with some amazing shots – but he has trouble running the length of a tournament.

Isner is such an odd player. The dude basically plays to get the tiebreak and win that with his serve. He’s good enough to be top ten but will never be top four. He won Miami last year and that may very well be his career highlight.


I’m being optimistic and hoping Kyrgios turned a corner at Acapulco. I can excuse his subsequent Indian Wells loss as him being physically exhausted. But you’re probably right.

Have you seen Opelka play yet? He’s basically a slightly taller (!) Isner except with the ability to get service breaks with some modicum of consistency. At 21ish, he seems almost as far along skill wise as Isner is now, but probably still missing some mental aspects of the game.


Me, too, but it’s actually hard to watch him use it, because the rest of the package is so execrable. His behavior in the match last night was quite terrible, and it was hard not to sympathize with poor Lajovic who appeared to be completely befuddled by the combination of great tennis and boorish behavior.


Agree, I think Djokovic is in trouble. He isn’t playing very well, and the players ahead of him in the draw are all players who can beat him.


I did see him once. He does look like he might be a better Isner, though it’s difficult to think that players that tall are ever going to a consistent baseline game. I think the height might be a disadvantage for pounding groundstrokes, though I have no basis to think that.


So Opelka followed the Isner formula of playing to get to the tiebreak but fell short. All three sets went to the tiebreak but Opelka lost two of 'em. Then today the architect of the strategy, Isner, used it successfully to win both sets in tiebreakers. Such an odd way to play tennis – be dominant on serve and mediocre otherwise.


I don’t know what it is specifically about Bautista Agut that gives Djokovic trouble, but he’s now won the last three matches against Djokovic on hardcourt. He really just seems like a prototypical Spanish grinder distinguished only by his proclivity to finish at the net.

If I’m not mistaken, Isner and Federer are the only players left in the draw with a tournament title above 500-level (maybe even 250, what has Anderson won?). How does two-time masters champ Isner scan to you guys? Remember, Zverev is the only player born since 1990 with more than one masters title. Strange times.

Edit: Anderson won Vienna last year, and Coric won Halle, so there’s that at least.


The thing that gets me about Isner is why he doesn’t go to the net more often, like Karlovic does. He’s probably too old to learn how to serve-and-volley and chip-and-charge now, but Opelka still has time. It seems like the most obvious strategy in the world to me if you’re that tall and shaky from the baseline. If you’re going to a tiebreak anyway, why not at least put pressure on the opponent?