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On The Ball
On The Ball

Episode · 10 months ago

Rotterdam Open, Adelaide International & Qatar Open - Episode 109

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

I return to the ironing board to discuss the last fortnight of Tennis. The WTA Tour and ATP Tour's are respectively up and running after the Australian Open Summer and are now in full swing heading towards the Miami Open. The likes of Medvedev, Zverev, Tsitsipas, Barty and Azarenka were on display in various tournaments around the world. We unpack the last two weeks of action and put a magnifying glass onto the upcoming week of tennis including Roger Federer's return. 

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Crowd cheers. He Settle Allo andwelcome back to the on the little podcast. This is episode a hundred nine ofthe show and I am recording a tennis episode today. Recorded a rugbyleague episode early this morning that you would have seen by now if you followus on social media. If you haven't, feel free to go check that outif you do happen to follow both sports. Otherwise, stick with mehere and we're going to be recapping the last two weeks of tennis tour action. The ATP and DOTA tours have resumed, as per usual, after the AustralianOpen. Not really any changes. A few changes in terms of whattournaments are on and what weeks and what tournaments are on. Three I openhasn't been on, which is a five hundred. That's normally held in theseweeks in Brazil, but that has been postponed. However, that has beenSouth American Clay Court tournaments, along with a few European tournaments, and thenthe women have been bit of all over the joint with the Adelaide international andthen Doha this week, and the men will follow that up next week.So we're going to go through the winners and the losers on both the men'sand women side. We're going to go through my votes for the week,as I do my votes every week for the tennis and then we're going tolook ahead at the next two weeks of action. I'm going to be lookingto do a fortnightly tennis episode. It will depend on the schedule. Sometimesit might be three or four weeks in between episodes, but I fell thisweek we'll get one in and then after the five hundreds in Dubai and aCapool Co will do a review and then will preep be able to preview Miamithe following week. So it's going to be interesting to see, especially thisweek, how Roger Goes in Doha. But looking back, there's been afew big winners and I'm going to start with fooks of Itch, modern fooksof itch. He has been not a great play for a long time,but he's been pretty consistent player. He's always had it in him to havean upset, especially on a hard court, and this week he made the finalof Rotterdam and that's a very impressive effort. It's a five hundred andin the past he's really struggled for performances and tournaments like that. He's hadgood success in tournaments like the odds open. Me As an Australian and avid supporterof this grain open, I know a lot about books of bitch,but he's starting to take that into a week by week action on the tour. He's up to rank forty six now he's at the age of twenty nine, so it doesn't have probably too much progression left in him, but Ithink he will be one to watch this year. Started the year off prettywell and making the final as a qualifier and Rotterdam. He beat the likesof he beat a pelker in three sets, which is never an easy win onhard court. Then he dispatched of Aleandro Davidovic Bokner, who's been anincredible form he then he beat Tommy Paul in straight sets. That he dispatcheda born a courage who looked like an outside chance to win the tournament.And then he just couldn't get it done against Rublev Louving, losing six sevens, four six. So overalls a pretty unbelievable week for fooks of itch.I can't remember how much the loser of a five hundred picks up. Somethinglike three hundred points or something like that. So a good week in terms ofhis rankings, a good week in terms of the money and is justgoing to be in. It's an exciting start to the year really for fooksof Itch, hopefully setting up a lot more success this year. I thinkhe's shown a lot of glimpses over the last few years, so I thinkit's about time that he puts in a real stint and bolts up those rankings. I think you had one point he was pretty high and then he startedto slide a bit last year and the year before that. So it's goodto see him back inside the top fifty...

...and hopefully making a push for thattop thirty. My next winner is Andre Rublev, the eventual winner of thatRotterdam Tournament. He was the victor. He beat fooks of itch. Hewas really apart from sits the pass who did pretty well, Rubov beat himin the semi. Said, I was a pretty big win for Rubove,who often struggles against those big contenders. He was really one of the onlybig names who lived up to the building. Really will talk about them in alittle bit, but mevid Evans very of both lost in the first roundbatist a good lost in the first round, Goffin second round, Felix and standfirst round. So a lot of the big names in Rotterdam would disappointing. However, Rublev definitely stood out as herself and does out these tournaments.He loves a hundred fifty, he loves a five hundred. He just needsto start pulling it out. In Masters and Grand Slams he beats yer onand straight sets. Then he dispatched to Andy Murray. In a return tournamenthe beat Robin Hass Andy Marri, so I guess that's a positive for himat the end of the week. He then went on to beat Jeremy Shadyin close fashion in three sets, but then to beats. It's a passingstraight sets and FOOKS OF ITCH and straight sets. That, overall capped offa pretty big week for Andre Rublev, who often know when say he's AustralianOpen was disappointing. But just the fact that, just the fact that hegot dispatched by Medvedev so comfortably after people like myself thought he was an outsidechance to go all the way to the final. So it's good to seethat he's starting to take those steps into becoming a really top player. Thathe has shown in the last few years, especially at the small tournaments. Butit's good now that you can start to challenge the likes of sits apass and that takes his overall record against it's a past two, three andthree. So since about seems to be someone that he can beat. Nowhe just needs to take that step and start challenging Medvedev team and the bigthree. So really happy Phon J Rublev. I'm a big fan of his work, so it's good to see him getting big wins like that. Nextup we've got Alexei Popper and who won the Singapore Open. It was inthe first week and he it was a fifty and heonem pretty comfortably in theend. He had a good tournament. He beat the likes of Chilich intwo tiebreakers, which I thought was a very impressive win Chi which was mypick to win the tournament, as I mentioned on this podcast two weeks ago. He then beat bubblekin three sets, which is always a good win.Bub looks very tough opponent. He beat Maddie Ebdon in straight sets in thequarter finals and then in the earlier rounds he disposed of two opponents that heshould have disposed of. But you never know, with someone ranked around ahundred they can often be quite inconsistent. So poper and looking forward, Idon't think he's got the ability to become like a top thirty player. However, I do think he has the potential to become the level of someone likea Jordan Thompson just be in and around s fifty s, be able toconsistently get to second third rounds of slams and masters and be able to contendfor the old to fifty here or there. So I think poper and can definitelyreach that stage and he started this year and showing that he could becapable of that. He had a pretty impressive Australian Open, sadly crashed outto Lloyd Harris, but that was probably more to fatigue. So for himto back it up in Singapore and then go ahead and win, I thoughthe did well enough to just to get to the semis but then to beatChilichen Bull Block. That was very impressive. So ultimately was a pretty good twoweeks for Alexey Popper and and he now finds himself up to eighty twoin the rankings and at the age of Eight, at the age of twentyone, he sets himself up for a pretty big year in terms of rankings. He doesn't he's not defending too many points anywhere. So we could definitelysee him and the year in the top fifty, which would be pretty excitingfor Australian tennis with the likes of Jordan Thompson, Curios milman demon or alreadyin and in and there about in the top fifty. So yeah, I'dbe pretty cool if they could get a...

...fifth guy into that top fifty.My final winners on the men's side is the Saren Dulo brothers. The toArgentinian brothers had an absolute blinding two weeks on the clay courts of South America. In the first week in Cordoba, one manual Saren Duelo, young andnineteen year old, came from absolutely nowhere to win the tournament. It's Ihave to say I've ridiculed the sunshine sweat. Why they don't call the sunshine seeing? I can't that it has a name of I've forgotten the name ofit, but the South American swing, it's never really the greatest standard.It's often the clay court specialist ranked around fifty two, hundred and twenty,who go out there and try and get points. We often see guys likeChristian Garron or one Ignacio Londero, who get points that maybe they don't necessarilydeserve and term relative to the difficulty of getting points elsewhere. But one manualSarendul, who came through qualifying. He had to beat one Pablo verrillas inqualifying, who was the number four seed. He then, in the major,went on to beat Tiago saboff field, who is showed himself last year onthis swing that he was a pretty exciting prospect. He then dispatched ofthe third seed, Keck man of Ititch, in three sets, which was agreat win. He then did the exact same thing to Tiago Montero,the seventh seed. He then he was just grinding w week. He beatFederico Corrier in three sets and then he got into the final against Albert RamosFinolas and he won in three incredible victory. I think he was at the timein the torn I think it was ranked outside the top two hundred.He came into he's now ranked a hundred eighty two at nineteen years old.Looks like he's going to be a talented clay player. It will be interestingto see if he comes to the European clay season and see how he goesthere against the big boys, but definitely an impressive two weeks for him.He didn't necessarily have the same success in the Argentinian open, where he gotspecial exempt but he lost to Federico Del Bonus and straight sets, but that'sprobably to be expected after a week of grilling three sets on clay. Butyeah, incredible week for the nineteen year old, and then the following weekhis brother backed it up, feder federico is Serendolo. He is the betterof the two. He is ranked a hundred and twenty. FRIENDSCHISCO sound alusor. Before the tournament he was ranked around a hundred and fifty. He madethe second round of Cordover, but then in Budus airs he really came intohis own, making the final of the tournament. He eventually went down tothe winner, Daro Schwartzman, as you would expect, but he beat FedericoCorrea, Benoir Pere public under jar and Albot Albert run much of in Alas, who must have been sick of the Serundoli brothers at this point, andhe's also at twenty one years old. He's now knocking on the verge ofthat top hundred, which would see him get entrance into pretty much every mosttournaments on the calendar, which would be pretty exciting for him. So onceagain these two are names to look out for in the European Clay Court seasonand will be interesting in track their progress throughout the rest of the year.Now lose. Moving on to my men's loss, I'll be looking at BenWhir pair. He had an absolute stinker of a two week period on thetour. He was on the South American swing in called over. He gotmatched up against Nicholas Jerry as the second seed. He beat him in straightsets, but then went on to lose to Federico Correa in straight says three, six, two, which was pretty disappointing for the number two seed.And then he went on to one US airs and he got dispatched. Inthat tournament he was placed up against the guy who I spoke about earlier,Francisco Sunderler, and lost in three sets there. So very disappointing week twoweeks for him. He will now come...

...back to Europe or Dojara, whereis going, and it's just going to be a really cup big couple monthsfor him. He's had a shocking start to the season if we look athis results. Earlier in a Stanna, which was his last tournament last year, he lost to Ma Kale Kush gun despite being the number one seed goingto the tournament. Then in the ATP Cup he got dispatched by Dominic teamin Fabio Fol Ninny. Then in the odds open he lost to grassomoven forand then he's had this two week run and this week he is not playingsingles in the Chili Open, but he's playing dolls. I'm not sure what'sgoing on there, not really sure why he's there, but that's a strangeturn of events. But he's defending points at Mara Kesh in April. Obviouslyit's a bit different this year with the tournament schedule, so I'm not sureif that torm's actually happening then, but he's still got to defend those pointsin that week. He's defending to fifty points there and then he's also defendingto fifty points at the start of May from Leon and his only holding onesee hundred points. So if he doesn't defend those two well, all ofa sudden bemoi pears going to be spat out of the top fifty. You'dimagine after being a seated player and almost every tournament for the last two orthree years, is at the age of thirty one now, so he's gettingto the end of his career and it if he doesn't turn this form around, he's going to find himself slipping down the rankings pretty quickly as these covidrankings start to unfold, and I think they are disguising a lot of playersactual level right now with the way they've been able to defend points for twoyears. But I think he's going to start to get exposed and another manwho will be joining him in that expose a is John milman. He's similarlyhad a shocking start to the year. He got dispatched by Crano bull startin the ATP Cup, then in the Oz open he lost it in disappointed, disappointing fashion to current and Moutet. In Singapore he got dispatched by countrymanMatthew Ebdon, who bad him six for six one, which was pretty disappointing, and then he lost what you'd expect him to lose, but to losetwo dim in all six hundred and sixty four, you don't really associate thosekind of loss was with John Millman. He's a he's a shows a lotof grit on court. He's a resilient character. You would expect him toput up more of a fight than a sixty four against someone is young andinexperience as demon also, milman will be kicking himself right now. He hasBassi Lash v in the Dohar Open this week, so that's going to bean interesting one because obviously Bass Lash V is a higher ranked player the Millman, but definitely someone millman who would fancy himself against him. Bass Lash Vis also in shocking form and has been for about twelve months. So it'sgoing to be a big match there for both of them. In terms ofMILMAN's rankings, he's defending he's defending most of his points at Tokyo, whichis later on in the year, in October. He's defending three hundred andtwenty points there. He's also defending two fifty points at the back end ofthe year from nurse soul time. So he's got time to get his formtogether, because he doesn't have too many points to defend between now and then. But he's really got to pull his finger out otherwise, similarly to benmy pair, he's going to start to slip and at his age it's goingto be hard to see him, you know, really hit the heights thathe was once reaching with the likes of his almost upset victories over Roger Federand stuff like that. So at the age of thirty one, he reallyneeds to pull his finger out at the ranking of forty one as well,otherwise he's going to find himself down at seventy and eighty pretty quick and hewon't be able to enter all the tournaments that he wants to. Next upwe've got the winners on the women's side of the tour. They've had Adelaide, do hear and Leon in the past two weeks. For me, thefirst win it is Clara touse and, who really announced herself onto the tourthis year. Clara to house and is has been a young prospect for afew years now. She was the number one ranked junior player at one pointand she's won a few junior grand slams...

...and at the age of eighteen.Now she's really starting to mix it with the big guns on tour. Thiswas one of her first entrances into a tour tournament. I don't know ifshe's played too many of the tournaments. She obviously played the French Open lastyear and upset Jennifer Brady in the first round seven in the third, andthat pretty memorable encounter. But Up Leon she went the whole way, whichis pretty incredible for an eighteen year old who had to qualify for the tournament. She cruised through qualification pretty comfortably, got matched up against the number oneseed, which is pretty much everyone's nightmare as an unseen the player, andshe dispatched off her six three hundred and sixty four on the first day ofthe competition, which got everyone in the tennis world's is perked and really followingher progress for the rest of that tournament. She then went on to beat Timmyababoss, Camilla Giorgi, Paulabdosa and Victoria Gola Bitch on her way toher first tour title as a professional tennis player at the age of eighteen.It's pretty incredible and I think we're going to have a serious talent on howon our hands in the WHA for many years to come, and it's goingto be exciting to see how she goes as year. She's probably going toreceive old cards into a lot of tournaments and she's going to be you know, she might have to qualify for a lot of tournaments as well, butshe's going to be a dangerous player now ranked inside the top hundred, whichwill see her have an entrance into the likes of Grand Slam. So she'sgoing to be one to watch out, especially throughout the European season on herhome turf. And yet it just really excited to see how Clara's house andgoes for the rest of the year. Another person who's had a great fewweeks, well, she's had a great start to the season really, isJessica Pagoula. She's had an incredible start to the year. She made thefire, she made the semi final of the Dojo Open this week, followingher impressive performance at the ears open. This week she beat Cheng Wang inthat the first round, then dispatched of Oster Penko in the second and thenshe upset Curentlyna Pliskavat in straight set six thre hundred and sixty one, whichwas very impressive. She lost to the eventual champion, petrick. A bitof her, but that's something you probably wouldn't expect her to do. Andas I'm filming right now, she's actually playing Yaroslava she fidova at in Dubaiand she is up a break and a set already. So she is ininsane form after making the quarterfinals in the odds open and losing in three setsto Jennifer Brady, but she's definitely one to watch for the rest of theyear. She's come out of the gates absolutely flying. She's down up torank thirty six and in no time will be in the top thirty and willbe seated at pretty much every torn and she enters. So Jess a book. Jessica Bugula is arguably being the player of the year so far and lookslike she's going to keep it going in Dubai. My final winner on thewomen's side is Egach Fiontech, the young nineteen year old. She's still nineteenher birthdays in May. After obviously winning the French Open last year, peoplehave been wondering if it's just the flu she hasn't played too much tennis sincethen, but she's coming out this year and she is basically just shown howgood she is once again. She went and the fourth round of the earsopen, which she might be disappointed with, but she pushed hawipped three sets,which I think was pretty impressive. But then she came out in thefollowing week and cruise to an Adelaide international victory. No one got within armsreach of her. She dispatched of Madison Wrangel, Madison English, Daniel Collins, Jill Tishman and impressively in the final she beat Belinda bench at six toh and sixty too, who was in pretty good form herself. She's nowup to fifteen in the rankings at the age of nineteen. That's very exciting. Likely going to end the year in the top ten, as she won'thave to defend her French Open points. Actually, that could be false becausethat is after the date where it changes from twenty one and to two thousandand twenty one. Yeah, anyway, that you know what I mean.So she might have to defend that.

So she might fall down the rankingsfollowing that, but before then she might already crack in the to the topten. She's playing Dubuy this week and she has a buy in to thefirst second round, so I will be interesting to see how she goes there. But yet really impressive from eager St Round Texture who's had a great startto the year. On the flip side of that coin, other people whohaven't had such hot starts as Barty has had a pretty disappointing start to theyear. She obviously has a lot of pressure on her and the Australian Opensummer, but she came out and won her first tournament in the warm up, but then got knocked down the quarterfinals to Carolynamcoba, which was disappointing forthe number one seed. As a lot of the seeds crashed out in herside of the drawing, it look like body was going to cruise to thefinal and have a tough test in that final, but it was disappointing thatshe didn't get there in the first place. And then at the Adelaide International,where people like myself thought she was going to bounce back and show uswhy she's the number one playing the world, she proceeded to lose in the firstround, while her first match to Daniel Collins three hundred and sixty four, so that was pretty disappointing. From ash party, who's not had anideal start to the year and she is not playing this week in Dubai,so she's not going to have be able to prove her doubt is wrong justyet. She might be waiting till Miami to do so. But yeah,bodies got to start putting together some performances otherwise she after her French Open pointshave to be defended this year. She might all the sun spit out thattop five and really struggle in those rankings for the rest of the year.Another person WHO's had a pretty disappointing start to year is petromatage. She I'llbe honest, I don't really know how she still ranked so high, butin Adelaide she was the sixth seed. She beat Samson over and three sets, but then proceeded to lose to the Youngster Corey Golf and I just don'tthink petromatage will be ranked as high as she's for very long. In theodds open she lost in the first round to Olga Danilovitch, which was verydisappointing. She was the ranked number sixteen and someone who you would back onhard courts. She had a disappointing start to the season as well in thewarm up tournaments and in the Philip Island trophy. She only won a couplematches there and then got absolutely killed by direct asset Kina. So that's beena very disappointing start to her season and she will now. She's now downto rank twenty one already and at the age of thirty, it's looking likethat trend might continue unless something drastically changes. She's playing in Dubai this week,so that'll be interesting to see how she goes there. And yet PETROMATAis probably one to look out this year because she could be on the endof a lot of upsets if she keeps this former now, quickly looking atmy votes for the tours, starting on the women's side, in Adelaide,obviously eager Shauntech picked up the most votes. Jewel Tykeman, storm sanders and shelbyrodgers also picked up boats there. At Leon Clara to house and pickedup the most votes, and in Dohart Jessica Pergula did. And that takesus to the overall leaderboard, where Jessica Pagola aptually leads it after her pressiveperformance in Australia. She leads Naomi Saker and Serena Williams, who are theonly three people above a hundred votes. So that's one to look out outfor. And then on the men's side, the Sarah Dulu Brothers obviously dominated thislast fortnight. They both picked up twelve votes for their respective breakout performances. Pop Room picked up twelve votes for his Singapore Open Golfin didn't quite getthe full votes for his win at Montpellier Peter Gage, which stole those awayfrom him, but he got nine there. And then at Rotterdamn Madden fooks abitch stole the most votes and Rublev had to settle for seconds there.So looking at the overall leaderboard, carrot said is still on top after hisAustralian Open breakout. He leads mevedev,...

Jock Vich and Mackenzie McDonald as well, who won the nurse Saltan Challenger last two weeks ago, so that's he'shad a good start to the season. Mackenzie McDonald. Another one who's hada good start to the season on the challenge at is Thomas Matt Chack whowon a challenge in Nursultan last week after an impressive performance the week before aswell. And that takes us to this week's action, where we will havethe Abierto Zappo pound. I don't know why it's called that this year,but it's the Montere the Guadalajara Open. Their look, it's not the greatesttournament, if I'm going to be honest. The seeds are basically the only playersin the top hundred, so I'm not sure. I'm probably not goingto make a prediction there, but we'll follow that one closely. However,in Doha, not Doho, in Dubai, we are absolutely loaded with talent.We have the likes of Vitellina, plus Cabar, Sabrilenka, could ever, basically all the players from the Doha Tournament, so that's exciting. Scheantext also made it over there, so we'll see how she goes this week. The matchups to look out for. We've already had some people make itthrough the second round. Madison keys is already through because then sobers through,curtain matobs through. Corey Goth has beaten at caterine Alexandra the whalt. Coreygolf made it through as a wild card, so that's exciting and there's just goingto be a lot of good matches really, with the amount of talentat this tournament. If I had to make a pick or s tough tomake a peek, I'm going to say sutherly caw to disappointing performance last week, so I'm actually going to say she bounces back this week and Winns thistournament. Honestly, I have no clue, though. She is up against cornerand then probably quanti fight and then Chrontech, so she definitely doesn't havean easy run. Even coomit of, off the back of her winning Doha, could back it up in the device. So that's going to be one towatch. But obviously the big story this week in tennis is the returnof Roger Feder he's playing his first tournament in around ten months, I thinkso. Actually might be since last year's Australian over. Actually, I don'tknow any last tournament was, but it's going to be incredible to see howhe goes. Everyone's basically just intrigued whether he's going to be the Roger Federerthat we all know or if he's going to be a more subdued, justlesser ability, kind of player now. I just don't see a world wherehe is. I think it he's just going to come back and be RogerFeder obviously I think he's passed his prime, as most athletes are at his age. But yes, it is his first tournament since the two thousand andtwenty strain open, so it's going to be exciting to see how he goesand Doha. Looking at his drawer, he's going to play Jeremy Chardie orDan Evans in the second round, so he has he's got to buy itthrough the first so that's going to be an exciting thing to look out for. He's got chapovalov in his half of the draw, along with David Goffin, so he'd probably fancy himself there. Dominic team and rude level also inthis tournament. So a lot of good players, a lot of informed players, carrot servers also making his return to action. He's up against a Qatarwild card who think you're dispatch of, and then he's got a match upagainst Dominic team, which we probably won't expect him to win, but it'llbe a good test to see if that was just a flute performance or ifhe's really going to be at this level for the rest of the year,which you probably wouldn't expect, but you never know with carrots of then inMassa we've got mevedev, we've got catching off, we've got sits a past, we've got sinner, we've got Nishikori, so that's also pretty good torn it. That's going to be one to look out for. And then Santiago, sorry, Benoit pet is playing singles. I'm not sure why didn't say iton Google. I've got the SARENDUELO brothers back in action, so that'sgoing to be one to look out for. And you've got all the clay quarterslike Marco Chechnado, Daniel Gillan, Pedro Su's a lot of other goodplayers Jamina, so that's going to be an interesting one to follow. ChristianGaren is there. Can he make up...

...for last week? and well,he can. He just prove that he belongs in the top thirty, asI don't believe he does, but him and Ben Marpere have a lot toprove. So that's going to be an interesting one to follow as well.And then that in the following week we have Dubai and a Cappool COOS.So a lot of good tennis to come and then Miami the following week,but we will have an episode before then, so thanks for tuning in. Obviouslynot the most structured episode before today. I'm going to try and come withthe bit of a structure for these tennis episodes so I'm not just ramblinglike I was today, but thanks for joining me. Feel free to getaround the video and podcast and all our platforms on social media and, yeah, tune in next time. Cheers,.

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