Wednesday, January 16, 2013

AO Day 4 Preview: The End of the Beginning of the Tournament

Hey guys!

I hope you're all well. We're getting into the business end of the tournament. The way I see it is that once you get to the third round you've earned it and every match from there on in isn't a given. Anyway, all the top seeds look very, very good. Djokovic was ruthless in sending Harrison packing and Sharapova hasn't dropped a game in two matches. She's just dropped 38 points. She and Williams (V and S) both look very good in the women's draw. I think Azarenka looks good, too. The whole point of the early rounds is to send a message about your form. Djokovic, Federer and Murray have all sent messages. Williams, Pova, Azarenka, Radwanska and Kuznetsova have all sent messages. Kerber, too. The big guns look good on both sides. Anyway, I've got my Woodie Guthrie going and the Day Four schedule up, I'm going to dive in.

I'm going to give a special mention to a WTA favorite of mine first. Garbine Muguruza Blanco is a fantastic young talented player. She outlasted Babos of Hungary in 2 and a half hours, 14-12 in the third set. Her reward? Serena Williams. She's dropped no games and just 18 points. Serena dropped 1 point on her first serve. Yep, you heard that right. I think Blanco is good enough to get a game, though. If she gets a game, I will honor her in this space tomorrow.

Men's Singles - 2nd Round RLA (ROD LAVER ARENA)

Daniel Brands (GER) V Bernard Tomic (AUS)

Brands upset Klizan in four. That was an upset because Klizan was seeded 27th. Klizan is a talented lefty, but Brands has a lot of good shots, too. He has some weapons. Tomic thrashed Mayer in his opener. He played very well, Tomic, and I think in the end he had too much craft and power for Mayer. He just had more everything, pretty much. This will be another match where if they both play their best Tomic will win. I don't know how well Brands is playing, but I know Tomic is in form. I'll take Tomic in 3.

Nikolay Davydenko (RUS) V Roger Federer (SUI) [2]

Nikolay Davydenko once led Roger Federer 6-2,2-0 in the quarterfinals of the 2010 Aussie Open. He missed one backhand into the net and then completely and utterly capitulated. For no reason. Since then he has fallen due to injury and other problems. Federer didn't drop another set that whole tournament. He isn't the player he once was. Very few men can find Fed's backhand consistently. Davy was one of them. However, even if he can still do that this is only going one way. Federer in three.

Men's Singles - 2nd Round HSA

Joao Sousa (POR) V Andy Murray (GBR) [3]

I should preview every match the top four seeds play. So I will. But this match is only ever going one way. Sorry, but Murray in three very easy sets.

Yen-Hsun Lu (TPE) V Gael Monfils (FRA)

Gael now has the seed path Dolgo had. So he won't face a big seed until Round 4, but he'll possibly face a seed in the upper levels next round. He may face Simon, then he may face Murray. He beat Dolgo in a four set classic in the first round. That was a fantastic match. It was a sustained high level of play from both throughout. Lu got through a third set blip against Ruben Hidalgo to win in four and this match will be interesting. Lu upset Roddick at Wimbledon once and he's a decent player. But I can only see one winner here. La Monf! in 3.

Men's Singles - 2nd Round MCA

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) [7] V Go Soeda (JPN)

Go Soeda has a cool name. He's also the Japanese number two or three. Tsonga is the French number one, however (Tsonga, Gasquet, Simon) and he beat the French number 7 in straight sets in his opener. Soeda beat Saville, the talented young Aussie, in four. This is another straightforward one. This will only get interesting if Tsonga let's it become interesting. Tsonga in 3.

Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG) [6] V Benjamin Becker (GER)

Benjamin No-Relation Becker struggled past Bedene of Slovakia in the first round. He won a very tight four setter. JMDP dropped just 5 games in his match. He is playing very well, too. His forehand up the line is once again striking fear into the hearts of men everywhere. He has been striking that ball very purely and very forcefully of late. Becker is a decent player and is 1-1 in ATP finals. They were both at 250 level. Like the others, though, there's only Juan winner here. And, like before, this one is unlikely to even go four sets. JMDP in 3.

Men's Singles - 2nd Round SC3

Alejandro Falla (COL) V Richard Gasquet (FRA) [9]

Falla is the guy who nearly beat Federer at Wimbledon and who gave him a game at the French, too. Here's a particular point which I'll reference to make this preview article more interesting:

Anyway, this should be a genuinely good match and a clash of styles. I think that Falla had a great win over Frenchman Ouanna while Gasquet was pretty strong in the end against tricky Spaniard Montanes. I'll take Rickie in four here.

Men's Singles - 2nd Round Crt 6 Upset Alert

Florian Mayer (GER) [25] V Ricardas Berankis (LTU)

I have heard tennis experts say the Lithuanian is very talented and could be the next big thing. However, he picked up an injury last year. This year he is on the comeback trail. Mayer can beat or lose to anyone. He's beaten Nadal before. This will be a very entertaining match to watch with a lot of shotmaking between the pair. I would recommend you to watch a set or two if you have the time. Berankis took out another talented player in Stakhovsky from the Ukraine in straight sets in the first round. Mayer saved match points against Rhyne Williams (USA) and should have lost that match. He was two sets to love down. He looks like he's there for the taking.The winner of this will get Murray. Ill go for Berankis in four sets.

Men's Singles - 2nd Round Crt 7

Jarkko Nieminen (FIN) V Ivan Dodig (CRO)

Two very talented players here. Both have big serves and can mix it up. Jarkko is a very tricky lefty and he saved match point in the first round. He beat Haas in 5 epic sets and he'll be tired after that because it was a very physical match. Dodig took out the Di Wu. He was the first Chinese man to make it into the main draw of a slam. Anyway he won in four sets. He looks vulnerable, though. He didn’t look brilliant in that match. This is a tight one for me to pick. I'll go for Nieminen in four here.

Men's Singles - 2nd Round Crt 13

Milos Raonic (CAN) [13] V Lukas Rosol (CZE)

Nadal conqueror Rosol is trying to become more than just a one upset man. He hasn't replicated his form from that Wimbledon match. He can beat very good player, and he beat Britain's Jamie Baker in straight sets. Raonic, in contrast, struggled with Jan Hajek. He eventually closed it with a 7-0 hammering in the fourth set breaker. This will be a good match and a tiebreak here is likely. I think, though, that Raonic will have too much. I'll go for a Canadian win in four.

Right, thanks all. I'm gonna go and watch "Return Of The King." Till next time, and visit WTABACKSPIN.

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