Tuesday, January 15, 2013

AO Day 3 Preview

Hey All-

I'm still trying to make a workable system for this. I think I'll wait till the draw is thinner before I preview and review. For me, time is short. I'd love to be paid money to lie around all day, but, alas I was not blessed with such good fortune. I'll just say that Fed, Gasquet and Murray all look very impressive. Tomic looks strong, too, as does Djokovic and Ferrer. Basically the seeds are flourishing and apart from a few minor casualties (Errani losing isn’t an upset in my book, but a great win for CSN, in any case) the seeds are looking strong. I think it's a ticking time bomb before there's a big casualty. I think we could see one sooner then we think. I'm not brave enough to pick it, though. I'm not actually subtly hinting, I genuinely don't know, but one has to come soon, right? Anyway, I must keep on previewing...and we start with a flashy Frenchman once more.

Men's Singles - 2nd Round RLA

Guillaume Rufin (FRA) V Tomas Berdych (CZE) [5]

Berdych is the fifth seed here. This is due to Nadal's absence, as we all know. I like the Berd's power game. He's like a rich man's Cilic. He's what Cilic could have been. That said, his movement is still not fantastic and his net play is a little awkward. He has got some finessey bits to his games, too. I think the handshake business last year and some altercations with Nadal -- who is Mr Nice, by the way -- have put me off him a little bit. He plays Rufin, who is a very talented player. In the previous round, Rufin put Reister to the sword in four. Berdych , meanwhile, took down Russell in straights. Look for Berdman in three here.

Novak Djokovic (SRB) [1] V Ryan Harrison (USA) RLA

I would love to pick the American underdog here. I really would. He beat Giraldo in a tight four setter. But Djokovic is a machine. He put away a good player with complete ease. Harrison will hit big, but you have to hit consistently and aggressively for hours to wear down Djokovic, and even then you need to mix it up and throw in chip charges and drop shots. He's good, Harrison, and I think he'll push Djokovic to at least one tiebreaker here. In the end, though, Djokovic will take this match in three.

Men's Singles - 2nd Round HSA

Nicolas Almagro (ESP) [10] V Daniel Gimeno-Traver (ESP)

Perhaps it is no longer fair to call Almagro a dirtballer like that, but this is a match between two dirt-ballers. Almagro is also now pretty good on hard courts, but clay is what he likes. Speaking of clay-loving Spaniards, Nadal is coming back in February, apparently. Plus, he has a new hairdo. Right, where was I? Both these two won in five set classics in the first round. I think Almagro will win. It won't go five sets, but it may go four. I think, though, I'll go with Almags in 3 maybe 4 sets. Hmmm....

Tatsuma Ito (JPN) V Marcos Baghdatis (CYP) [28]

Like before, both came through in five set classics. I like the game of Bagman. I also like his personality and the fact he's hilarious.

"I have 21 cousins here from my father's side. I have some uncles here, and all the fans here make me feel like home."

"I think my coach will watch and I'll be sleeping with my girlfriend [on his plans to watch potential opponents]"

What a guy he is. Ito is a decent player and he beat local boy Milman, who did him easily in Brisbane a few weeks back. Anyway, I struggle to pick Bagman's matches. I think he'll win this one in straight sets, though.

Men's Singles - 2nd Round MCA

David Ferrer (ESP) [4] V Tim Smyczek (USA)

If you are a US citizen like Whitney was then you will likely know more about Tim than I do. However, I do know a lot about Ferrer. He smashed Rochus in the first round. He is on form and he is going to be the number one Spaniard after this tournament for a reason. Well, he will be for sure if he beats Tim, which looks likely. Tim was great in a tight three set win over Karlovic. This will be a lesson, though, I feel. I think this will rapidly turn into how many games rather than any kind of contest. I'll go with Ferrer in 3.

Men's Singles - 2nd Round SC2

Tobias Kamke (GER) V Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI) [15]

I'm listening to the song "Sail On" as we speak. I thought you'd like to know because it's a beautiful song, if a little cheesy. Sorry, anyway where were we? Ahh, yes the talented Swiss star with that fabulous backhand and all those grand slam titles has a good friend named Stan. He plays talented German Kamke. This will be a good match and I advise you to watch half a set here and there. Both of them thrashed their opponents in the first set. Neither have dropped a set thus far. Look for Stan the Man to win in four.

Men's Singles - 2nd Round MCA Upset Alert SC3

Xavier Malisse (BEL) V Fernando Verdasco (ESP) [22]

I picked Verdasco to lose last time. I'm surprised he didn't. He beat talented baby faced assassin in five big sets. The talented Belgian thrashed Andujar, losing just 6 games. This has upset written all over it in big letters. I think it's going to be a great match to watch and I think the rallies in this will be bizarre and yet awesome at the same time. I'd love to watch this if the time difference allowed it. I'll go for Xavsy in 4.

Carlos Berlocq (ARG) V Kei Nishikori (JPN) [16]

Both had four set wins in the first round. Nishikori had a tougher opponent, but funnily enough a less competitive match. Then again, I know nothing about Maxime Authom. Anyway this will be interesting. Nishikori seems to do better against people above his level, but worse against people below his level. Regardless, I'll take him in straight sets here.

Men's Singles - 2nd Round 'Upset Alert'

Feliciano Lopez (ESP) V Radek Stepanek (CZE) [31]

The winner of this will likely play Djokovic. Radek won an epic 5 setter against tricky Troicki. He would win Todd's Zombie award, I suspect. These guys are both great doubles players and they like the old serve volley play, too. This will be like a call back to the good old days of the '70s in some ways. This is my tip for match of the day. In a very entertaining four sets, the winner will be Lopez.

Men's Singles - 2nd Round Crt 6

Sam Querrey (USA) [20] V Brian Baker (USA)

If you're on the outside courts, then this is really the place to be. This will be a crackerjack. Two Americans with big games battling it out. I've been a Querrey fan since fall 2009. There will be aces and winners a-plenty. This is going to be a great one to watch for all USTA fans. Baker beat Bogomolov jr in a classic. Querrey lost the first set against Daniel Munoz-De La Nava, but then came back for the win. This will be tight. I think it could swing either way, but Querrey should have just too much. Sam in 4.

Thanks all. I'm currently listening to a sad song about working class America sung by Bruce Springsteen. It's called "Used Cars" from the album Nebraska. It's very good -- both the song and the album. We have some time before day four, so why not have a listen? Over and out.

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