As the Australian Open goes into its final stretch toward the championship, it is a good time to reflect on how the players slated to come to Memphis did. Memphis Open players claimed a total of 17 wins at the first major tournament of the 2017 season. Five made it to the second round, four played into the third round, and Brit Daniel Evans made his first appearance in a Grand Slam round of 16. Evans will also break into the Top 50 in the Emirates ATP Rankings for the first time next week. An interesting observation is that five of the Memphis players lost to a player who reached at least the quarterfinals.
Looking at a few other highlights of the week finds some interesting performances Down Under, which portend some great tennis in Memphis.
Big-serving Croat Ivo Karlovic fired an Australian Open record 75 aces and rallied from a two-set deficit to beat
Horacio Zeballos 22-20 in the fifth set (longest fifth set in tournament history and 2nd-longest fifth set in Open Era) during his opening match. Although he lost in the third round, as of the beginning of the quarterfinals, Karlovic was still the tournament aces leader with 119. If you like remarkable serving, then Karlovic and American’s John Isner and Sam Querrey will be putting on an aces showcase in Memphis.
Teenagers and Memphis Open wild cards Frances Tiafoe and Reilly Opelka, who both qualified into the main draw in Australia, played well in their openers with Tiafoe, who turned 19 last week, winning his first career Grand Slam match, while Opelka lost in his Grand Slam main draw debut in a five-setter to No. 11 David Goffin who has now reached the quarter finals in Australia.
When it comes to Americans in the Memphis Open field, there were seven victories in Australia in the first and second rounds.
The two former Memphis Open winners, Sam Querrey (2010) and Steve Darcis (2008), who are returning to Memphis in February and who played in Australia each made it to the third rounds before falling in tough matches. No doubt that these two will be ready to make a run in Memphis.
Lastly, the Memphis Open has the potential for three revenge matches, as three of the Memphis players lost to other Memphis players in Australia. Mikhail Kukushkin fell to Frances Tiafoe, Konstantin Kravchuk lost to John Isner and Bernard Tomic lost to Daniel Evans.
The world’s tennis eyes stay on Australia through the rest of this week, but when February 11 to 19 rolls around, just 19 days from now, those eyes, and many of the same players from around the world will be focused on the 41st Memphis Open.