Sunday, January 18, 2009

Australian Open Predictions- Mens

(Roger Federer practicing in Melbourne with a new haircut)

With plenty of young talents waiting to make there mark on the tour, the Australian Open is no giveaway to Federer, Nadal, Djokovic or Murray. Young players like Jo Wilfried Tsonga, Gilles Simon, Juan Martin Del Potro and Marin Cilic are thirsty for a piece of the pot. So, as we disect each quarter of the draw, beware of the sleeper that always seems to come out of nowhere on the men's side in Australia.

Quarter 1

Rafael Nadal is the clear favorite in this section of the draw, but Gael Monfils and Gilles Simon will be waiting for him. Nadal performed well here in 2008, reaching the semis and then losing to eventual runner-up Jo Wilfried Tsonga. Gael Monfils defeated Nadal 2 weeks ago at the Qatar Open in Doha, proving he has what it takes to hang with the big guns. After a breakout 2008, finishing the year at number 7, Gilles Simon also looks to spoil the party for Nadal. A first round matchup between 13 seed and former runner-up Fernando Gonzalez and Aussie Lleyton Hewitt may be the most intriguing first round match-up, and Ivo Karlovic and Richard Gasquet may be potential sleepers, but with the stalwart biceps concealed, Nadal will prevail.
Quarterfinals: Nadal. d. Monfils

Quarter 2

2008 runner-up Jo Wilfried Tsonga looks to repeat his incredible run last year, but favorite Andy Murray is in his way. After 5 titles in 2008, victories oiver Nadal and Federer 2 weeks ago in an exhibtion and a victory in Doha, Andy Murray looks like he is in prime position to win his first grand slam. He has a relatively easy road to the semis but Radek Stepanek and Kei Nishikori are others who stand in his way. Stepanek won in Sydney last week and looked very impressive. Nishikori, the youngster, who stomped on to the tour last year, is a very talented 18 year old with terrific ball striking skills and the gut to take out the big guys. In the end, Murray will come out on top.
Quarterfinals: Murray d. Tsonga

Quarter 3

Many people think that this is Novak Djokovic's tournament to lose, but it really isn't. He has not been playing well at all, losing early in both of his warm up tournaments, indirectly blaming the losses on his switch to Head racquets. Although, it may seem like I am leading towards an upset of Djokovic prior to the semis, there are no real threats to him in the section. Andy Roddick is the next highest seed in the quarter, and Djokovic easily beat him in New York. Roddick has changed coaches and plans to revive his career this year, but 1 player will cause another early exit from Melbourne. Sam Querrey. Yeah, you heard me, Sam Querrey. The young American played incrediblty on his way to the finals in Auckland, defeating Nicholas Almagro and David Ferrer. Querrey will defeat Phillip Kohlschreiber, Roddick and David Nalbandian on his way to the quarters, but his run, unfortunately, will stop there.
Quarterfinals: Djokovic d. Querrey

Quarter 4

If you think Roger Federer will have an easy road to his 19th consecutive slam semifinal, you're wrong. Federer has a lot of young stars in his section that are waiting to steal all of the marbles. Players like Juan Martin del Potro and Marin Cilic are hungry to hault Federer's slam semi run. Federer also has to get by Marat Safin, who had a very unexpected road to the wimbledon semifinals, where he lost to Roger himself. Federer's countryman Stanislas Wawrinka could also make a run, but after being easily defeated by the Swiss Maestro in the finals of the Kooyong Classic last week, his game just doesn't look good enough to pull it off. David Ferrer and John Isner could surprise some people, but I am expecting one young man to give Federer a good fight in the quarters.
Quarterfinal: Federer d. Cilic

Honestly, I HATE to pick the top 4 in the semis, but they looks so far ahead of the pack, that I couldn't see an upset.


Murray d. Nadal
Federer d. Djokovic


Federer d. Murray

Now, at 7 ET tonight on espn2, we all can sit back, relax and enjoy the ride in 100 degree weather.

(I will have to record it because of my beloved Baltimore Ravens AFC championship game vs. the Steelers)

Serving up the topics for you to discuss,


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