Saturday, 18 January 2014

Australian Open 2014 - Round 4

Rafael Nadal (Spain) [1]

1R - Bernard Tomic (Australia)          6-4 (Retired)    RANK 57
2R - Thanasi Kokkinakis (Australia) WC  6-2,6-4,6-2 1h53 RANK 570
3R - Gael Monfils (France) [25]         6-1,6-2,6-3 2h01 RANK 32

Nothing announced Nadal's arrival as much as his straight sets thrashing of Gael Monfils. I don't know how that managed to happen but if Kei Nishikori was watching I wish him luck.

Kei Nishikori (Japan) [16]

1R - Marinko Matosevic (Australia) 3-6,7-5,2-6,6-4,2-6 3h41 RANK 54
2R - Dusan Lajovic (Serbia) Q      1-6,1-6,6-7(3-7) 1h49    RANK 117
3R - Donald Young (USA)            5-7,1-6,0-6 1h47         RANK 91

After a tough opener Nishikori is playing into his game but Nadal will be an insurmountable step up from his recent matches and I don't think Nishikori has the answers right now to sail over the No.1.

Prediction - Nadal in a good 3

Grigor Dimitrov (Bulgaria) [22]

1R - Bradley Klahn (USA)        7-6(9-7),4-6,4-6,3-6 2h34   RANK 93
2R - Yen-hsun Lu (Taiwan)       3-6,3-6,6-7(11-13) 2h04     RANK 53
3R - Milos Raonic (Canada) [11] 3-6,6-3,4-6,6-7(10-12) 2h36 RANK 11

Dimitrov finally showed the Grand Slam ability befitting of his title as the next Federer. I am a Dimitrov fan however I have a feeling that Dimitrov might choke in the next round. Though it is his best performance in a slam ever.

Roberto Bautista Agut (Spain)

1R - Tim Smyczek (USA)                    6-2,6-1,6-1 1h30        RANK 90
2R - Juan Martin Del Potro (Argetina) [5] 3-6,3-6,6-7(11-13) 3h53 RANK 5
3R - Benoit Paire (France) [27]           2-6,1-6,4-6 1h30        RANK 28

It's hard to deny Bautista-Agut after shocking Del Potro and giving Paire a right whopping. He has been playing great tennis for most part so his match against Dimitrov could be very interesting. Though either way Nadal really needs some competition before the semis.

Prediction - Bautista Agut in 4

Andy Murray (Great Britain) [4]

1R - Go Soeda (Japan)             6-1,6-1,6-3 1h27      RANK 112
2R - Vincent Millot (France) Q    6-2,6-2,7-5 2h01      RANK 267
3R - Feliciano Lopez (Spain) [26] 7-6(7-2),6-4,6-2 2h15 RANK 27

It's worrying that Murray's draw isn't giving him too much of a test since his QF opponent will be a big step up. He isn't as clean either but he should sail over Robert either way.

Stephane Robert (France) LL

1R - Aljaz Bedene (Slovenia)     7-6(7-3),6-3,6-0 1h53          RANK 104
2R - Michal Przysiezny (Poland)  7-6(7-3),6-1,6-7(3-7),6-1 2h33 RANK 64
3R - Martin Klizan (Slovakia) LL 6-0,7-6(7-2),6-4 1h54          RANK 106

Robert has yet to play a tough opponent so Andy Murray will be a huge step up. I think it's safe to say it will take a gargantuan effort to beat Murray.

Prediction - Murray in 3

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (France) [10]

1R - Filippo Volandri (Italy)   7-5,6-3,6-3 1h50      RANK 70
2R - Thomaz Bellucci (Brazil) Q 7-6(8-6),6-4,6-4 2h15 RANK 129
3R - Gilles Simon (France) [18] 7-6(7-5),6-4,6-2 1h53 RANK 19

Tsonga has been playing valiantly through the last three rounds and his next will be a very interesting match-up. It's a repeat (though a round earlier) of their match-up last year, Federer won that time but at that point Federer was still on his long run of 2nd week showings.

Roger Federer (Switzerland) [6]

1R - James Duckworth (Australia) WC 4-6,4-6,2-6 1h46      RANK 133
2R - Blaz Kavcic (Slovenia)         2-6,1-6,6-7(4-7) 1h47 RANK 99
3R - Teymuraz Gabashvili (Russia)   2-6,2-6,3-6 1h41      RANK 79

Federer has been doing the rounds to an inevitable Round 4 matchup with Tsonga. However his opponents are not the type to give Federer many problems whilst his next opponent will. My head says Federer but my gut is going for Tsonga.

Prediction - Tsonga in 5

Tomas Berdych (Czech Republic) [7]

1R - Aleksandr Nedovyesov (Kazakhstan)        6-3,6-4,6-3 1h50 RANK 94
2R - Kenny De Schepper (France)               6-4,6-1,6-3 1h42 RANK 86
3R - Damir Dzumhur (Bosnia and Herzegovina) Q 6-4,6-2,6-2 1h44 RANK 188

Berdych has been plain sailing since the start, taking about the same time to dispatch of each of his opponents. But having not been tested could prove a problem when he reaches the latter stages of the tournament.

Kevin Anderson (South Africa) [19]

1R - Jiri Vesely (Czech Republic)    2-6,6-7(4-7),6-4,6-4,6-4 3h49 RANK 83
2R - Dominic Thiem (Austria) Q       6-4,6-3,6-4 1h47              RANK 136
3R - Edouard Roger-Vasselin (France) 3-6,4-6,6-3,7-6(7-5),7-5 3h54 RANK 40

With two tough 5 setters under his belt I doubt he'll have much left against Berdych especially when Berdych holds a 9-0 H2H against him. And of interest is that Anderson lost to Berdych in the 2012 and 2013 Australian Open!

Prediction - Berdych in 3

Florian Mayer (Germany)

1R - Denis Kudla (USA) Q           6-4,6-2,6-4 1h45         RANK 113
2R - Mikhail Youzhny (Russia) [14] 4-6,6-3,3-6,6-3,3-6 3h06 RANK 15
3R - Jerzy Janowicz (Poland) [20]  7-5,6-2,6-2 1h38         RANK 20

Mayer should be appropriately battle hardened having played two good opponents and a tough five setter but his journey is only going to get tougher as Ferrer is a much more consistent player.

David Ferrer (Spain) [3]

1R - Alejandro Gonzalez (Colombia) 3-6,4-6,4-6 2h05          RANK 74
2R - Adrian Mannarino (France)     6-7(2-7),7-5,0-6,3-6 3h02 RANK 71
3R - Jeremy Chardy (France) [29]   2-6,6-7(5-7),2-6 2h11     RANK 31

Ferrer hasn't been left unscathed in his three matches up to this point. The next match will be just as tricky but with Ferrer's match experience he should come out alive.

Prediction - Ferrer in 5

Stanislas Wawrinka (Switzerland) [8]

1R - Andrey Golubev (Kazakhstan)  6-4,4-1 (Retired)         RANK 85
2R - Alejandro Falla (Colombia)   6-3,6-3,6-7(4-7),6-4 2h47 RANK 87
3R - Vasek Pospisil (Canada) [28] Walkover                  RANK 30

Wawrinka is lacking vital time on the court and match practice with the top players. His next opponent could prove his undoing.

Tommy Robredo (Spain) [17]

1R - Lukas Rosol (Czech Republic) 6-1,6-7(7-9),3-6,7-6(7-5),8-6 3h32 RANK 47
2R - Julien Benneteau (France)    6-3,6-7(4-7),6-1,7-6(8-6)     3h32 RANK 38
3R - Richard Gasquet (France) [9] 2-6,7-5,6-4,7-6(8-6)          3h19 RANK 9

One has spent too little time on court, the other has spent too much time! How will it turn out? However Robredo has an overwhelming 6-1 H2H against Wawrinka! This is the toughest one to predict I think.

Prediction - hmmm... Robredo in a tight 4

Fabio Fognini (Italy) [15]

1R - Alex Bogomolov Jr. (Russia) 6-3,6-2 (Retired)     RANK 89
2R - Jarkko Nieminen (Finland)   7-5,6-4,3-6,6-2 2h347 RANK 39
3R - Sam Querrey (USA)           7-5,6-4,6-4 1h55      RANK 51

Fognini has had a good three rounds up to now but Djokovic will be a huge step up. Fognini has only ever beaten Djokovic once and that was all the way back in 2006 when both were youngsters (they were actually born only two days apart!) And in the other 7 times Fognini hasn't really been a threat.

Novak Djokovic (Serbia) [2]

1R - Lukas Lacko (Slovakia)      3-6,6-7(2-7),1-6 1h50 RANK 96
2R - Leonardo Mayer (Argentina)  0-6,4-6,4-6 1h47      RANK 98
3R - Denis Istomin (Uzbeksitan)  6-3,6-3,5-7 1h59      RANK 49

Djokovic is doing enough to go through each round in a simple fashion, his next opponent will be a bit tougher but Djokovic will have the answers to all of his weapons. Djokovic has his mind on the finals.

Prediction - Djokovic in a good 3


Serena Williams (USA) [1]

1R - Ashleigh Barty (Australia) WC      6-2,6-1 0h57 RANK 155
2R - Vesna Dolonc (Serbia)              6-1,6-2 1h03 RANK 104
3R - Daniela Hantuchova (Slovakia) [31] 6-3,6-3 1h20 RANK 33

Nothing has been able to stop Serena's relentless drive. Hantuchova has given her the biggest test but even then Serena has been solid as a rock.

Ana Ivanovic (Serbia) [14]

1R - Kiki Bertens (Netherlands)       6-4,6-4 1h32           RANK 93
2R - Annika Beck (Germany)            6-1,6-2 0h56           RANK 54
3R - Samantha Stosur (Australia) [17] 7-6(10-8),4-6,2-6 2h14 RANK 17

Ivanovic is slowly finding her way back into the elite. She still has a way to go though and the next match will be a painful reminder.

Prediction - Serena in a good 2

Casey Dellacqua (Australia) WC

1R - Vera Zvonareva (Russia)        6-2,6-2 1h15 RANK 95
2R - Kirsten Flipkens (Belgium)[18] 6-3,6-0 1h03 RANK 19
3R - Jie Zheng (China)              6-2,6-4 1h23 RANK 56

This Australian has been fighting strong. It's hard to deny her from being a strong contender in her next match. She'll also hold the hopes of her country on her shoulders as she's the last Aussie left in both the men's and women's draw.

Eugenie Bouchard (Canada) [30]

1R - Hao Chen Tang (China) WC 7-5,6-1 1h28        RANK 487
2R - Virginie Razzano (France)6-2,7-6(12-10) 1h57 RANK 100
3R - Lauren Davis (USA)       6-2,6-2 1h17        RANK 68

Eugenie has been in a luck, she has yet to receive an opponent that has really troubled her. Her next round will be tougher but will still provide opportunity for her to make her best performance in a Grand Slam.

Prediction - Dellacqua in 2

Na Li (China) [4]

1R - Ana Konjuh (Croatia) Q               6-2,6-0 1h01          RANK 241
2R - Belinda Bencic (Switzerland) Q       6-0,7-6(7-5) 1h20     RANK 187
3R - Lucie Safarova (Czech Republic) [26] 1-6,7-6(7-2),6-3 2h38 RANK 26

Li's journey hasn't been plain sailing. She managed to dominate a pair of 16 year olds but she got stuck against Safarova. Her next opponent will not let up so easily but with a tough match under her belt it might just have been enough to be a jolt to her system.

Ekaterina Makarova (Russia) [22]

1R - Venus Williams (USA)       2-6,6-4,6-4 2h29 RANK 37
2R - Irina Falconi (USA) LL     6-2,7-5 1h25     RANK 142
3R - Monica Niculescu (Romania) 6-4,6-4 1h26     RANK 64

Makarova likes the Australian and has been faring well since her first round match against Venus. Her next opponent will be a big step up as she is also suitably battle hardened, Makarova will need to bring her A-game.

Prediction - Li in a tight 3

Angelique Kerber (Germany) [9]

1R - Jarmila Gajdosova (Australia) WC 6-3,0-6-6-2 1h47 RANK 329
2R - Alla Kudryavtseva (Russia) Q     6-4,6-2 1h02     RANK 162
3R - Alison Riske (USA)               6-3,6-4 1h19     RANK 53

Besides an early slip up to Gajdosova Kerber has been playing well. She's coming in on decent form so expect her matchup with Pennetta to be a tight one.

Flavia Pennetta (Italy) [28]

1R - Alexandra Cadantu (Romania) 6-0,6-2 1h03 RANK 60
2R - Monica Puig (Puerto Rico)   6-3,6-4 1h20 RANK 58
3R - Mona Barthel (Germany)      6-1,7-5 1h14 RANK 39

She has been playing decent opponents but it's been pretty much plain sailing for Pennetta however her 4th Round opponent will be a whole different ball game. I would love to see Pennetta win but I think it will be tight.

Prediction - KERBER in 3

Jelena Jankovic (Serbia) [8]

1R - Misaki Doi (Japan)   6-1,6-2 1h14 RANK 89
2R - Ayumi Morita (Japan) 6-2,6-0 0h56 RANK 61
3R - Kurumi Nara (Japan)  6-4,7-5 1h38 RANK 74

I did not realise that Jelena Jankovic dashed the hopes of 75% of the Japanese female team! Anyway she has been playing well enough but she'll find it tough against Halep.

Simona Halep (Romania) [11]

1R - Katarzyna Piter (Poland) Q   0-6,1-6 0h54      RANK 119
2R - Varvara Lepchenko (USA)      6-4,0-6,1-6  2h03 RANK 50
3R - Zarina Diyas (Kazakhstan) Q  1-6,4-6 1h07      RANK 152

She hasn't had the most difficult of draws and her results reflect that, however she did have a bit of a faff against Lepchenko. Her next match will reveal in what state she really is.

Prediction - Halep in 3

Dominika Cibulkova (Slovakia) [20]

1R - Francesca Schiavone (Italy)        3-6,4-6 1h37  RANK 42
2R - Stefanie Voegele (Switzerland)     0-6,1-6 0h57  RANK 46
3R - Carla Suarez Navarro (Spain) [16]  1-6,4-6 0h59  RANK 16

She has been in fine form in the last three rounds, probably the cleanest bar Serena. Her match with Sharapova will be very interesting as Sharapova only recently recovered from injury. It will be a tough physical match for both players.

Maria Sharapova (Russia) [3]

1R - Bethanie Mattek Sands (USA) 3-6,4-6 1h39      RANK 41
2R - Karin Knapp (Italy)         3-6,6-4,8-10 3h28 RANK 44
3R - Alize Cornet (France) [25]  1-6,6-7(6-8) 1h51 RANK 25

There's no doubt that Sharapova is still finding her feet but she has proved her worth against three good opponents. However Cibulkova will be a much harder task. It will be her first true test to see where she's currently at.

Prediction - Cibulkova in a tight 3

Agnieszka Radwanska (Poland) [5]

1R - Yulia Putintseva (Kazakhstan)          6-0,5-7,6-2 2h02 RANK 112
2R - Olga Govortsova (Belarus)              6-0,7-5 1h15     RANK 98
3R - Anastasia Pavyluchenkova (Russia) [29] 5-7,6-2,6-2 2h15 RANK 30

Radwanska has been slightly messy though still playing a good game. Her next match will be up against the rather unknown youngster who beat Wozniacki. However Radwanska should be mentally more stable to put Muguruza in her place.

Garbine Muguruza (Spain)

1R - Kaia Kanepi (Estonia) [24]        2-6,6-2,2-6 1h40 RANK 23
2R - Anna Schmiedlova (Slovakia)       6-3,6-3 1h07     RANK 81
3R - Caroline Wozniacki (Denmark) [10] 4-6,7-5,6-3 2h14 RANK 10

Muguruza is a youngster with talent beating Wozniacki in a good three sets however beating Radwanska right after could be too much of a challenge for this up and comer.

Prediction - Radwanska in 3

Sloane Stephens (USA) [13]

1R - Yaroslava Shvedova (Kazakhstan) 7-6(7-1),6-3 1h38 RANK 82
2R - Ajla Tomljanovic (Croatia)      3-6,6-2,7-5 2h07  RANK 67
3R - Elina Svitolina (Ukraine)       7-5,6-4 1h18      RANK 47

Sloane has been a little shaky of the bat. She'll need to bring her best against Azarenka if she is going to cause an upset. It will be the biggest test for both of them.

Victoria Azarenka (Belarus) [2]

1R - Johanna Larsson (Sweden)                    6-7,(2-7),2-6 1h46 RANK 91
2R - Barbara Zahlavova Strycova (Czech Republic) 1-6,4-6 1h26       RANK 84
3R - Yvonne Meusburger (Austria)                 1-6,0-6 1h00       RANK 49

Azarenka is playing better and better. Stephens will be a good test to see Azarenka's true form before the latter stages of the tournament as it's only going to get tougher from here.

Prediction - Azarenka in a good 2

Here's a fearless forecast of what I think might happen as of now.

Nadal VS Nishikori (Nadal in 3)
Dimitrov VS Bautista Agut (Bautista Agut in 4)
Murray VS Robert (Murray in 3)
Tsonga VS Federer (Tsonga in 5)
Berdych VS Anderson (Berdych in 3)
Mayer VS Ferrer (Ferrer in 5)
Wawrinka VS Robredo (Robredo in 4)
Fognini Vs Djokovic (Djokovic in 3)

Nadal VS Bautista Agut (Nadal in 3)
Murray VS Tsonga (Murray in 4)
Berdych VS Ferrer (Berdych in 4)
Robredo VS Djokovic (Djokovic in 3)

Nadal VS Murray (Nadal in 4)
Berdych VS Djokovic (Djokovic in 4)

Nadal Vs Djokovic (Lets leave this for later!)

Williams VS Ivanovic (Williams in 2)
Dellacqua VS Bouchard (Dellacqua in 2)
Li VS Makarova (Li in 3)
Kerber VS Pennetta (Kerber in 3)
Jankovic VS Halep (Halep in 3)
Cibulkova Vs Sharapova (Cibulkova in 3)
Radwanska Vs Muguruza (Radwanska in 3)
Stephens Vs Azarenka (Azarenka in 2)

Williams VS Dellacqua (Williams in 2)
Li VS Kerber (Li in 2)
Halep VS Cibulkova (Halep in 3)
Radwanska VS Azarenka (Azarenka in 2)

Williams VS Li (Williams in 3)
Halep VS Azarenka (Azarenka in 3)

Williams VS Azarenka (Lets leave this for later!)

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