Saturday, 24 January 2009

Australian Open Week 1 Mens Review

The Australian Open is already nearing the second week and the Round 16 lineup has been finalized. Sadly I haven't been able to watch many matches (the only whole match I was able to watch was actually the one that just finished a few minutes ago - Nadal/Haas).
Just a short recap; in the first section Dmitry Tursunov suffered an early defeat to Flavio Cipolla thereby paving an easier road for Tommy Haas. Gonzalez hasn't had it easy in the Aussies having to play Lleyton Hewitt on his home turf in the first round. He then had to face the experienced Guillermo Canas and had an extremely tough match against Rchard Gasquet - it must be his nightmare to see Nadal in his next match. Youzhny another one of my favourites lost early but in this section there were few shocks to the seeds (only Ancic beating Karlovic but that was always going to be a tough match).
In the second section Kei Nishikori lost to Melzer in 3 sets in the 3rd round. Not much else of note in the early rounds of Section 2 except for Dudi Sela beating 30th Seed Rainer Shuettler.
Skipping the third section, Bernard Tomic was able to make the 2nd round of the draw with a tough match against Potito Starace - the Australian's must have been happy. Though Feliciano Lopez was not as lucky; playing an awfully difficult last set against Gilles Muller - the deciding set went to 16-14.
A shock in bottom half of the draw; in the second round was probably Lu Yen Hsun of Taipei beating David Nalbandian - though most of us would have expected something unexpected from Nalbandian.
Coming into the 4th Round the Top 4 seem to be quite dominant over the main draw; though Djokovic has been taken to 4 sets; however that's Djokovic's game.
So where had my predictions of the QF lineup taken me?
In the 4th Round Nadal will play Gonzalez who will probably be little of a threat after playing two 5 set matches in the last three rounds. Therefore Nadal should cruise through to the QF's. Simon will play Monfils to set up the QF opponent for Nadal. I was predicting Monfils. Both have played well so it would be difficult to predict a winner here I think - though I'm expecting a 4 setter with Monfils winning.
Murray will play Verdasco but if Murray continues his form I don't see a problem with him getting through. Blake/Tsonga will be his QF opponent. Tsonga's supposed back injury hasn't seemed to affect his play so my earlier prediction of Blake reaching the QF may prove me wrong - though I'm still going to stick to my guns.
Roddick plays Tommy Robredo an underrated venom in the draw I think, we'll have to see what Roddick can produce. Baghdatis will play Djokovic which I'm probably the most worried about because the last time they met at a Grand Slam (Wimbledon 2007) it was a really tough 5 sets and if that was to continue then a possible match up against Roddick would be hell.
Del Potro will face Marin Cilic (by bet for a QF place). I don't know which way to go for this one so we'll just have to wait and see. Federer on the other hand has Berdych to contend with. I think I have past the days when I was hoping Berdych could upset Federer so I'm expecting very little from this match.
So till now all my Quatrefinalists are still in the draw - one match away from seeing how good my predictions were - though I have to say I've never been able to predict more than 6 of the finalists.
But I think this year has been easier to predict because if you look at the draw currently only 1 player is not a seed - 12 of the 4th Round players are seeded in the Top 16.

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