It should be a great night tennis today from Melbourne. The quarterfinals begins with a terrific four-pack of matches headlined by the Roger Federer-Juan Martin Del Potro showdown.
Federer and Del Potro are meeting for a 10th time and the Swiss holds the big edge 7-2. But Del Potro has won two of their last three meetings, both back in 2009 before the Argentine injured his wrist.
The two US Open champs did meet last summer and Federer won easily 6-3, 7-5. This time, I think Del Potro is back to 100% full strength and eager to shed that horrific loss to Federer in this same round three years ago when he could only muster three games in a very lackluster effort.
While Del Potro has all the game and talent to beat Federer again, it’s hard to pick him here based on how Roger’s playing and the fact that it’s forecasted to be another hot one in Melbourne this afternoon could be the deal breaker.
“It’s nice is to see him back,” Federer said of Delpo. “He’s a good guy. I’m looking forward to the match. I think it’s going to be a tough one. He really came through convincingly in the last two especially. And, yeah, we know the firepower. I played him in Cincinnati six months ago. It was super fast. It’s going to be different. We’ll have many more rallies, so for me, a chance to mix it up, but I have to stay aggressive myself, as well.”
Added Del Potro, “It’s going to be another good moment for play. Roger is the best tennis player of the history, and of course he’s the favorite. I remember three years ago I play on quarters against him and I only win three games. So if this time is something different and I win more games is going to be okay for me.”
The key will be how well Federer serves. If he takes care of his serve he should get through. Therefore I think Del Potro keeps it close but in the end I like Federer in four sets. He really wouldn’t lose his 1000th match, would he?
I initially gave Tomas Berdych a good chance of knocking out Rafael Nadal in the quarters, but after the Berdych-Nicolas Almagro incident Rafa’s not going let Berdych off the hook for that misstep against his countryman.
To make matters worse, Nadal has won nine straight matches over Berdych who often flames out in these situations. Rafa, though, has been plagued by an assortment of injuries (knee, shoulder, brain) and in this round the last two years he’s had serious issues. Tonight, however, no issues. Nadal gets through, maybe even in straight sets.
As for the women, if Kim Clijsters’ left ankle is okay she’ll get past Caroline Wozniacki. If it isn’t, as I suspect, I think Wozniacki wins and hangs on to her No. 1 ranking a little longer.
It’s Kim’s farewell match in Melbourne so I hope she’s feeling fit. But 48 hours usually isn’t enough time to recover from an ankle sprain assuming that’s what indeed it is.
In the first match I’ll tip Victoria Azarenka to beat Aga Radwanska in a tight contest. With the Clijsters injury and Serena Williams out of the way on the other half, Azarenka really looks ready to take that next step. That step begins today.
Tennis Channel has coverage starting at 8pm ET then ESPN. If you can stay awake for all four it should be well worth it!
Rod Laver Arena 11:00 AM Start Time
1. Legends’ Doubles
Pat Cash (AUS) v. Wayne Arthurs (AUS)
Goran Ivanisevic (CRO) Thomas Muster (AUT)
Not Before:12:00 PM
2. Women’s Singles – Quarterfinals
Victoria Azarenka (BLR) v. Agnieszka Radwanska (POL)
3. Women’s Singles – Quarterfinals
Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) v. Kim Clijsters (BEL)
Not Before:2:30 PM
4. Men’s Singles – Quarterfinals
Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG) v. Roger Federer (SUI)
Rod Laver Arena 7:30 PM Start Time
1. Men’s Singles – Quarterfinals
Tomas Berdych (CZE) v. Rafael Nadal (ESP)
2. Men’s Doubles – Quarterfinals
Bob Bryan (USA) v. Mariusz Fyrstenberg (POL)
Mike Bryan (USA) Marcin Matkowski (POL)
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