No one can accuse the Australian Open of lacking drama.
There was the great Australian hope, Ash Barty, on the court in Rod Laver Arena, looking to go into the semifinals, only to have her home court advantage and her hopes vanish when Petra Kvitova took the first set faster than you can say, “Get that bloody Foster’s away and bring me a proper tinny.”
Kvitova took only 27 minutes to win the first set 6 – 1.
In an effort to give the crowd their money’s worth, she slowed down in the second set and actually received a time violation in the eighth game of the second set.
That violation delayed the inevitable, but two games later, Kvitova had a 6 – 1, 6 – 4 victory.
Plenty was said about the lack of local support for Barty, but it seemed as though the Melbourne crowd was simply stunned that Kvitova was demolishing Barty so easily.
The emotion affecting Kvitova was due to the relief she must feel to be back playing at a high level. She was attacked in her home and suffered deep cuts to both hands and nearly lost fingers.
Would that she could transfer some of that mental strength to a couple of the Aussie men players, two dilettantes whose names need no mention.
Over on the men’s side, Rafael Nadal performed his own demolition project on American Frances Tiafoe. Nadal required less than two hours to take the match in straight sets, 6 – 3, 6 – 4, 6 – 2. The fact that Tiafoe managed to take nine games is either an indication of promise or that Nadal was simply being courteous. He has won five matches without surrendering a set.
With Federer out of the way, a final collision with Novak Djokovic seems all but a foregone conclusion, but we have had similar thoughts before, only to see one of the giants derailed by a young gunslinger looking to carve a notch in the stock of his racquet.