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On the men’s side of the Australian Open draw, one of the things people were really excited about was seeing those #NextGen match-ups, you know, between two yutes…
Yutes like Denis and Stefanos…
— longview (@llife858) January 17, 2018
Youthhhhhs like Casper and Quentin…
Shapovalov had an impressive straight-sets win in the battle of the one-handers with Val’s precious little baklava, but then moved on to a topsy-turvy 5-setter with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga that he had a shot at winning in four before ultimately falling to the Frenchman.
The Ruud / Halys battle raged on for what seemed an eternity, ultimately leaving Casper the victor at 11-9 in the fifth. Like Shapo, he went out next round, in his case to 24th seed Diego Schwartzman.
In contrast, two stand-outs on the ladies’ side of the draw were tour veterans Andrea Petkovic (age 30) and Hsieh Su-Wei (32).
One of the highlights of the Australian Open was Petko’s match against 27th seed Petra Kvitova, the latter about 6 months along on her rather impressive comeback trail from that serious hand injury.
Petkovic oofa-d her way to a 6-3 4-6 10-8 victory, with what seemed a flurry of easy winners if you look at that highlight reel above. Unfortunately, she only had one more set in her before she fell with two additional bakery sets to a feisty Lauren Davis–who herself came close to ousting eventual finalist Halep in another barn burner of a match, but finally went out 13-15 in the 5th.
You know that “if only I–” is keeping her up at night…
Then there was Su-Wei, whose playing style includes a double-handed swing on both wings–sometimes–and a lot of flat-footed casual swats that somehow land right on lines and in corners and seem to defy all laws of physics. Tennis fans used to seeing a more steady rhythm on court were left scratching their heads, as were many of Su-Wei’s opponents, wondering if this was a normal sort of tennis.
Hsieh buzzed through two mighty opponents, taking out Garbine Muguruza and then out-foxing the little ninja Aga Radwanska (though Aga fans should still check out that point at 4-2 in the second set in the video below):
The Taiwanese player then drove Angelique Kerber to madness, her best freakin’ tennis, and…well…a bit of hostility.
Though Kerber eventually triumphed, it likely took a lot of the steam out of her legs for her semifinal match.