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Old 12-30-2005, 10:07 AM   #1
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Default Australian tour

Kiefer has mix right
By Scott Coghlan
December 29, 2005


CONSISTENT German Nicolas Kiefer hopes a change of preparation will help him atone for the disappointment he experienced at this year's Australian Open.

Kiefer enjoyed another solid season in 2005, but made a shock first-round exit at Melbourne Park, beaten by Belgium's Olivier Rochus in five sets.

Rochus was Kiefer's nemesis, also knocking him out of his warm-up tournament in Adelaide a couple of weeks earlier.

This time around, Kiefer has elected to go with the certainty of at least three singles matches on the same surface as the Australian Open by playing in the mixed teams Hopman Cup, starting on Saturday.

He will team with Anna-Lena Groenefeld, 20, in Perth.

Kiefer, 28, said he had put in a solid preparation for Melbourne and expects the Hopman Cup to round it out.

"You have three good matches for sure against quality opponents and hopefully a fourth one," Kiefer said yesterday.

Kiefer will enter 2006 ranked 23rd in the world, having this year reached the fourth round at the French Open and US Open, and third round at Wimbledon.

Four times this year he was beaten by Roger Federer, and can claim to have taken the only set off the Swiss star at Wimbledon.

Kiefer finished the year strongly to reach finals in Moscow and St Petersburg in October.

Although defeats in those finals took his losing streak in finals to nine, he is confident his best tennis is still to come and is aiming for a return to the top 10 after being ranked as high as No.4 in 2000.

There is no sign of the wrist problems that plagued him in 2004 and some competitive performances against Federer have him believing a Grand Slam title is still within reach.

"I had a big chance to beat Roger at the US Open," Kiefer said.

"My body is better than it has been in years before and my game is coming back. If my health is okay, I can go to another level and take another step."

The Germans' first assignment is the host nation on Saturday. The tie will pit Wayne Arthurs and Kiefer against each other in singles for the first time.

______________

good luck Kiwi in Australia
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Old 12-30-2005, 10:35 AM   #2
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Default Re: Australian tour

Kiwi is staring Hopman Cup tomorrow! I hope Grönefeld is playing well after her injury, but I'm don't know how she recovered. Too bad she got injured, I'm sure with the form before her injury she had beaten every woman there.

I'm also excited about Kiwi's start to the season!
Hopefully he opens it with a win with many more to follow
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Old 12-30-2005, 01:36 PM   #3
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Default Re: Australian tour

I am so excited I will see Kiwi's match on TV tomorrow.

Good luck Kiwi, and of course Germany (I think Germany is a huge favourite to win this Hopman Cup). really depends on how ALG can perform after the injury.

Good luck Germany
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Old 12-30-2005, 06:32 PM   #4
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Default Re: Australian tour

Yeah I can't wait!!!!!!!! Good Luck Germany.
Hope they'll play well together
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Old 12-30-2005, 11:41 PM   #5
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Default Re: Australian tour

I´m already looking forward to the new season. I just hope that he wins a title this year. My heart can´t take another choke like that one he had in Moscow.
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Old 12-31-2005, 07:45 AM   #6
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Default Re: Australian tour

Germany def. Australia 2-1
Kiefer def. Arthurs 6-4 6-3
Grönefeld lost to Stosur 3-6 5-7
Grönefeld/Kiefer def. Stosur/Arthurs 4-6 6-3 7-6(8)

OMG, very close win!
Grönefeld lost, probably struggling too much after her injury
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Old 12-31-2005, 08:03 AM   #7
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Default Re: Australian tour

very good performance by Kiefer, esp in single, he won 100% of his first serve in :wroship: He did worry me though with the splits he did during the match. Hopefully he will be ok.

ALG played well in mixed double, in single, I expected her to lose since it's her first match after the injury, and S Stosur is not an easy opponent. I hope ALG will be able to win her single match next against ARG & NED.
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Old 12-31-2005, 08:06 AM   #8
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Default Re: Australian tour

Did Arthurs return that shabby? Normally Kiwi doesn't have near 100% won points on 1st serve How many aces did he have, approx.?
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Old 12-31-2005, 08:34 AM   #9
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Default Re: Australian tour

Don't know about anyone else but I could only follow on the SB. I didn't know that Anna-Lena had an injury till I read Neely's post. Pretty good 2nd set from here it seemed.

Yay Kiwi!!!

And add to that...Yay Germany!! I could barely look at that SB during the tiebreak. Matter of fact, I left the room at 7-5
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Old 12-31-2005, 11:26 AM   #10
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Default Re: Australian tour

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neely
Did Arthurs return that shabby? Normally Kiwi doesn't have near 100% won points on 1st serve How many aces did he have, approx.?
He served 'only' 8 aces and 5 double faults, while Wayne served 12 aces and 2 double faults. It was a pretty clean match from Kiwi (not many unforced errors from him), he held quite easily and not face a single break point on his serve. Wayne on the other hand didn't serve as good as he normally does, and his return of serve was even worse . Full statistics can be found in hopman cup website.

Although it's their first meeting, it seems that Kiwi had studied his opponent's game, and attacking Wayne's backhand all the time (baseline and volley). He got lots of free points from Wayne's backhand errors in fact.
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Old 12-31-2005, 11:41 AM   #11
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Default Re: Australian tour

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tennis724
Don't know about anyone else but I could only follow on the SB. I didn't know that Anna-Lena had an injury till I read Neely's post. Pretty good 2nd set from here it seemed.

Yay Kiwi!!!

And add to that...Yay Germany!! I could barely look at that SB during the tiebreak. Matter of fact, I left the room at 7-5
I was lucky enough to get coverage for Hopman Cup here in Melbourne I watched the full coverage. ALG started very shaky in the beginning, got broken straight away, but she started picked up her game in the end of the first set. I thought she could make it rubber set, but Stosur's serves were way too consistant and very good placed. At least ALG gave a pretty good fight in the end, and I expect her to win her next matches

Kiwi, as expected, won pretty easily, and it wasn't even a close match. I was a bit worried actually that Kiwi might get injured in that match, since he did the splits several times, and you can see he felt the pain straight after. Hopefully enough rest will make him fully recovered and get better.

Mixed double is probably the most interesting match today. I knew it's going to be a tough match, since both Stosur and Wayne are a very good double players. Kiwi admitted that he has never played mixed double in his 10 years on tour, hence he would be a bit nervous. He started serving, and got broken straight away. This is the only broken serve in the first set, and the Aussies were too good in the coordination and volleys departments.

Second set, Kiwi and ALG changed tactic, ALG was in the backhand side now and started serving first. This new tactic paid off as it seems Kiwi was much better in the forehand position. In this set, Kiwi paid a much better game, played lots of good serve return and this really helped ALG to gain her confidence back. I must admit they got a bit lucky as well from the worse play from Stosur (which played really well in the first set). Stosur lost her serves twice (consecutively) in this set and helped Germany to win this set.

Super tie break: again the weakest player was Stosur. Wayne held all his serves, and ALG really really struggled to return his serve Kiwi lost his serve once in the beginning but they got the break back from Stosur's serves. ALG played really well in this tie break, held all her serves (from my memory) and played some unbelievable lobs and return smashes from Stosur The germans really fired up toward the end of the tie-break and Kiwi's huge smash directed pretty close to Stosur's body ended the match. They both looked very happy in the end.

For their next matches, I think the key matches will be whether ALG can win her match, and whether Kiwi will be fit and consistent enough to win his match. I am pretty confident though if it has to be decided by the mixed double, Germany should be able to pull a win. This win over Stosur/Arthurs will boost their confidence a lot I think
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Old 12-31-2005, 01:01 PM   #12
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Default Re: Australian tour

Thanks for the reports, Henry Too bad I couldn't see it, I would have liked to watch it. I found the stats on the Hopman Cup homepage now.

Can you tell us if Kiwi challenged some shots with the Hawk Eye replay?

Also how strong is Dulko normally? Do you see a chance for Grönefeld to win at her current state?
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Old 12-31-2005, 01:34 PM   #13
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Default Re: Australian tour

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neely
Thanks for the reports, Henry Too bad I couldn't see it, I would have liked to watch it. I found the stats on the Hopman Cup homepage now.

Can you tell us if Kiwi challenged some shots with the Hawk Eye replay?

Also how strong is Dulko normally? Do you see a chance for Grönefeld to win at her current state?
No problem, Dani.

Kiwi wasn't challenging the hawk eye replay. Although several times, he seems to question the calls with the umpire, but he didn't ask for the hawkeye Maybe he is still not used to the new technology, or just forgot about it

In the mixed however, there are few occasions that ALG challenged the calls (she seems to like it, as she also did it several times in single), and the look at Kiwi's face (and eye) at the first time he saw the hawkeye was priceless. It was his serve which was called out and ALG thought it was in (hence she challenged the call), and the hawkeye showed the serve was out. Kiwi was just amazed by the hawkeye and just laughed. Now he knows this cute thing, I think he might use it in his next single match unless of course he prefers to challenge the umpire instead

As for Dulko, I am not so sure how she will perform this week. I remember last year at Hopman Cup, she didn't play well at all in the beginning of the tournament, and just started picking up her game later on during the week. IMO, ALG is probably a better player, but of course, just coming back from injury and just starting practice 10 days ago, it might be tough for ALG to win the match. If Dulko plays as bad as last year, I think ALG will have a chance to beat her even though she is still not at her best. I am predicting she will win her next 2 single matches in a tight 3 sets
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Old 12-31-2005, 05:29 PM   #14
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Default Re: Australian tour

Yeah, don't forget to keep an eye on Kiwi if he challenges a shot next time in his matches Or if he prefers to argue with the umpire about it
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Old 12-31-2005, 07:39 PM   #15
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Default Re: Australian tour

3 days rest now.

Who will be no.1 when GER and ARG have 2-1 wins? The winner of the GER/ARG game or the team, which has won more matches?
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