In the match the tennis world highlighted in the men’s draw for the first week, it’s going down tonight at the Australian Open when Roger Federer takes on Tomas Berdych.
Federer leads 16-6 with a couple of wins coming in Melbourne – one last year – but this time and for maybe the first time ever, it’s Berdych who has to be the favorite.
And honestly, after seeing Federer struggle with Noah Rubin and at times have issues with Jurgen Melzer, I don’t know how he beats Berdych. Of course, Berdych is more than capable of imploding and handing Federer the match, and that’s really the Swiss’s only hope here.
Roger will improve from the Rubin match, but I just don’t see his footwork, movement and quality of shot where it needs to be right now. And that’s not really much of a surprise given he’s been out so long with a knee. Maybe by Miami that changes, but right now from how he looks on court and what he’s saying in press, he sounds like someone who isn’t close to being full strength.
So unless Roger serves lights out (remember he’s 35!) or Berdych just bombs (ok, not that farfetched), I think the Czech gets through here. That said, the real “win” as Roger said himself, is that he’s back.
The pick: Berdych in 4
As for the other matches (and there are some good ones!):
Andy Murray v Sam Querrey: Querrey stunned Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon, Murray/Lendl won’t let that happen here, especially with the Serb headed home.
Mischa Zverev v Malek Jaziri: What a win for Zverev over Isner, and disappointment for the American. And what an opportunity for both to reach a fourth round at a Slam. I’ll lean Jaziri who’s the fresher player
Lukas Lacko v Kei Nishikori: Kei’s looks good and he’s healthy, he’ll get through the qualifier.
Stan Wawrinka v Viktor Trocki: After an early struggle against Martin Klizan, Stan was sharp in a win over Steve Johnson. It will be tougher today, but I like Stan in 4.
Steve Darcis v Andreas Seppi: What a wreck Nick Kyrgios is. So much talent, so much waste. Andreas Seppi is the beneficiary and the veteran backs up the win beating the Shark.
JW Tsonga v Jack Sock: In the other “Match of the Day” both guys are very streak, very explosive. I’ll lean slightly to Tsonga who has the experience, will have the crowd but Sock is playing some of the best tennis of his life.
Bernard Tomic v Dan Evans: Take your pick. This is the toughest match to call. Evans has been sneaky good but Tomic always plays well in Melbourne and he’s doing it again. But can you trust him? I don’t think I can. I’ll go with Evans.
Looking ahead tomorrow, the big match is Alexander Zverev against Rafael Nadal. I’m thrilled to see Nadal back in form, but I don’t know if it will be enough to take out the teen.
And Grigor Dimitrov battles Richard Gasquet in another good one.
With Djokovic out, who’s going to take advantage. My guess, it’s Milos Raonic.
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