Thursday, January 17, 2013

AO Day 5 Preview: Already Day Five... time sure flies when you're having fun

Hey All.

How are you doing? Probably better than Kvitova is right now. She went into "nervous wreck mode" in an epic 3 set loss to Robson. Apart from her, pretty much everyone "big," whether seeded or not, is going strongly still, and Jerzy Janowicz, so far is winning the biggest strop award -- or as I like to call it, the Nalbandian Award -- but tempers have been frayed everywhere, possibly due to the enormous heat. Well, I'll get going on the predictions for day five.

First though, a special call out to Garbine Muguruza for getting two games against S. Williams. Gael Monfils on four consecutive match points -- serving at 7-6 in the fifth set against Lu -- hit a double fault. On the next match point? He hit a service winner. Oh, Gael...sometimes I think he does it on purpose.

Men's Singles - 3rd Round RLA (Rod Laver Arena)

Novak Djokovic (SRB) [1] V Radek Stepanek (CZE) [31]

There is something about Stepanek that Djokovic doesn't like. He took a set off him at Wimby last year and pushed him to five in that memorable US Open match. But he is 7-1 against Stepsy for a reason. Steps has come through a very tight match in the first round and then thrashed Lopez. Djokovic has swept all before him so far. This will be a good match with some long rallies and drop shots, too. Expect some net play from Stepsy and lots of passing shots from Novak. In the end, a couple of close sets but Novak in three.

Women's Singles - 3rd Round RLA

Venus Williams (USA) [25] V Maria Sharapova (RUS) [2]

This is a bonus. A one off. How can I not try to preview this match? Even casual tennis fans know this is big. Both have looked very impressive in the first rounds. Sharapova has dropped just 38 points and no games. Venus has dropped just seven. With a kind draw I could see Venus winning the Ladies title at Wimbledon. Both these two are brilliant ball strikers and very talented. Sharapova even has a dropshot -- it's not great fine, but it's still not as bad as you might think -- and Venus likes the net. There's variation and the winner plays either Savinykh or Flipkens. So the winner of this is very likely to be a quarterfinalist here. But Pova is the heavy favorite and there's a reason Venus is the 25th seed and not higher. Sharapova's collarbone is not an issue any longer, it seems, and this one match I think goes to Pova in three.

Men's Singles - 3rd Round RLA

David Ferrer (ESP) [4] V Marcos Baghdatis (CYP) [28]

This is a juicy match up. Bagman is a showman, a performer. He loves the big crowds and he'll love the feel of this night match. He will play flashy, brilliant tennis. Bagsy has dropped two sets and Ferrer one to get here. This will be a fantastic match with long rallies and it will be very physical. However, I think Ferrer is on a different level now. He would be the number one in the world right now if the rankings were based on just this year. He will play excellent tennis consistently and, in the end, he will win in four.

Men's Singles - 3rd Round HSA

Kevin Anderson (RSA) V Fernando Verdasco (ESP) [22]

I am a huge fan of Ferver and I have a lot of time for his game. I've been picking him to be on the wrong end of an upset because he has looked there for the taking. I admit I was wrong, but the problem now is that if I pick him to win he'll lose, for sure. Anderson did beat him at the Hopman recently. Anderson has dropped a set but Ferver has dropped two. I think this will be a big server's match. Expect few breaks. In the end, after a tight four sets, Ferver will emerge victorious.

Men's Singles - 3rd Round HSA

Jurgen Melzer (AUT) [26] V Tomas Berdych (CZE) [5]

Melzer is a great player. He's got all the shots, it seems. He's thrashed Kukushkin and outlasted Bautista-Agut in five. Berdych has been very quiet, but very impressive, thus far. Nobody has noticed him, which is odd. He is seeded fifth, after all. This should be easy on the eye, this match, with regards to the rallies and the shots these men play. Melzer will make Berdych run around and he'll hit dropshots, come to net and all those irritating things. Berdych will come at him with power and lots of it. In the end, this has Berdych in four written all over it.

Men's Singles - 3rd Round MCA Upset Alert

Julien Benneteau (FRA) [32] V Janko Tipsarevic (SRB) [8]

This is a match up of big power players. Both are very talented, but both also have the same weakness -- a lack of originality in key areas. Not quite one-dimensional, but not really versatile. They both have a lot of power and the rallies here will be long and grueling. I think this could go four or five and this will be at 1pm in the Melbourne heat, too. This will hurt tomorrow, boys. Tipsy was taken to five by Lacko and ground out a tight three set win against Hewitt. Benny beat Dimitrov in straights and Vasselin in four tight sets. This will be a very physical, tough match. Look for Tipsarevic in four sets.

Men's Singles - 3rd Round MCA

Sam Querrey (USA) [20] V Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI) [15]

Last year the USA had no men left in the second week. These guys had an enthralling match at the 2010 US open that went five. Then, Querrey was seeded five spots above Wawrinka and now the opposite is true. Wawrinka also beat Querrey in a very tight three setter at the 2009 Indian Wells tournament. So the match-up is close. They've only ever played on hard courts. Querrey has dropped a set to an unkown Spaniard in the first round in a tiebreak, but apart from that neither has dropped a set. The winner gets Djokovic or Stepsy. For both, if they were offered the fourth round before the tournament, losing to the top seed, they would take it. I think Vavsy in 4.

Men's Singles - 3rd Round SC2

Evgeny Donskoy (RUS) V Kei Nishikori (JPN) [16]

I'll be honest, I have never heard of the Russian. He thrashed Ungur, then upset Youzhny in five. Nishikori -- apart from one blip in the first round -- hasn't dropped a set. He looks pretty good. I don't know much about Donskoy, so I can't really preview this. I'll say that Nishikori has been to the quarters here recently. He is a very good player and he should win in straight sets.

Men's Singles - 3rd Round SC3 Upset Alert

Nicolas Almagro (ESP) [10] V Jerzy Janowicz (POL) [24]

This really should be higher-billed. This will be a fantastic match. Jerzy -- despite a tantrum -- beat Devvarman in five epic sets in the third round and beat Bolelli with little trouble in his opener. Almagro beat Johnson in a five setter in the opener and then thrashed Gimeno-Traver. Both men are very talented and can use the drop-shot and come into the net, too. They both serve big and they both like the big stage. I feel like picking an upset, so I pick Janowicz in five here.

Right, till tomorrow, chums. Have a good one and don't forget to visit WTABACKSPIN (watch out for IT though...)

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