Let’s talk some Australian Open. The first Slam of this new decade gets underway in less than an hour and it really shapes up to be a pretty incredible and hopefully unpredictable tournament.
The men’s and women’s fields are really tough to call and number of challengers in each is as many as we have seen in years. Sure, there’s Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams the clear favorites, but maybe this go round we’ll see some real surprises and upsets as status quo no longer reigns.
But, I’m not buying into that just yet. So I’ll say it right now that I like both Federer and Serena to be standing as champions at the conclusion of this event! Boring, I know. But give it a littel more time and some new blood will be collecting those major titles.
Taking a peek at the draws, Roger’s going to have to deal with Igor Andreev right off the bat. Recall Andreev took Mr. Federer to five sets at the US Open a few years ago, but the Russian’s really faded in recent times. Federer could also face a test in local hero Lleyton Hewitt in the fourth round – Hewey did push Fed at the Open – and then a big showdown with the red hot Nikolay Dayvdenko in the quarterfinals. While Dayvdenko’s proven he’s a threat at the ATP events in his last two events, stepping up at a Slam is another matter. I’ll go with what I know and that’s that Federer’s proven he knows how to win big matches in Slams. Dayvdenko as of yet has not.
In the second quarter, it’s hard not to pick Novak Djokovic to get through. There just isn’t much in the way of real resistance for the Serb until the quarterfinals where I like Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to land.
The third quarter is stacked with Andy Roddick, Fernando Gonzalez, Marin Cilic and Juan Martin Del Potro. It’s really the toughest of the four sections. If Del Po’s wrist is in bad shape then Roddick’s my pick over Cilic. If DelPo’s 100%, then he’ll get through. My thinking right now is that wrist really is a question mark, so my pick is Roddick.
The last quarter appears two-man show between Nadal and Andy Murray. I like my man Gael Monfils in there as well, but he’s also been battling a bum shoulder so Murray looks good to the quarterfinals. Nadal could run into Stepanek (who plays Ivo Karlovic in round one!) and Phil Kohlschreiber could present some problems, but I think Nadal v. Murray looks inevitable. For now, I’ll go Rafa.
That leaves my semifinals as Federer v. Djokovic and Roddick v. Nadal. And in the final…Federer beats Roddick! I honestly want to pick Djokovic over Nadal, but I can’t bring myself to do it. And can we really have another Fed v. Rafa final. It just sounds unlikely, thought not illogical.
On the women’s side, I think it’s Serena v. Radwanska in one semifinal with Clijsters and Sharapova in the other. In the final, Serena beats Kim in the US Open rematch. No foot faults issues for Serena this time! Have a good two weeks everyone!
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