Saturday, 15 January 2011

Australian Open men's analysis

Nadal so far has performed well this season, winning the exhibition tournament at Abu Dhabi but fell to Davydenko in the Semi-Finals at Doha, after being ill with flu for most of the tournament but has now recovered and has been seen training in Australia.

He should have no trouble getting into the fourth round, having the possibility of facing only the 31st seed, Lopez, up till then. In the fourth round he will probably face either world number 15, Cilic, who made the Semi-Finals here last year, or world number 20, Isner. He has a 2-0 winning record over Isner but is 0-1 to Cilic, losing in their one match in 2009 on the Beijing hard courts. This match is potentially difficult but I believe he will not drop more than a set up to this point if any. In the Quarter Finals if the seeds get through he could have Ferrer or Youzhny. He has won his last seven matches with Ferrer, including all three in 2010, and 5 of the last 6 against Youzhny, including their only match in 2010 at the Semi-Finals of the US Open. He also could potentially face Nalbandian, who has won half of their 4 meetings, or Llodra, a player Nadal has never played. Again Nadal should have no trouble winning but may be taken to four sets. Then he has a potentially difficult match probably against either Soderling or Murray. Although Murray beat Nadal last year I can't see him doing that again if he plays him as Nadal is now at his best and could easily take a straight sets win to repay Murray. If he plays Soderling I really can't see Soderling getting much out of the match, he lost both matches against Nadal in 2010, which were both in Grand Slams. There is a small chance that he could come up against Melzer or Tsonga but I still think who ever he comes up against he will make the Final. Who he may play will be discussed later.

Federer has also started the season well, winning convincingly at Doha but losing to Nadal in the Finals of the exhibition tournament at Abu Dhabi. He has a simple draw up to the Quarter-Finals and will probably beat 25th seed Montanes in round 3 and Querrey or Fish in the fourth round. If he faces Roddick in the Quarter Finals he will be a very happy man and should easily add to his 20-2 winning record over him. He could also be put up against Monfils and even though he has a 5-1 winning record over him he may feel a bit nervous, losing to Monfils at the end of last year in their only match of 2010. His compatriot, Wawrinka, could also be a potential opponent but not a potential threat, beating him in their last 4 meetings and has a 6-1 winning record over him. The only player he will be worried about facing in the Semi-Finals is Djokovic, who he lost to in an epic Semi-Finals at the US Open, however Federer beat Djokovic in their next 3 matches before the end of 2010. I think Federer will also advance to the Finals but I see a close match between Federer and Djokovic of 4 of 5 sets. This Final will be the first Grand Slam Final between Federer and Nadal for 2 years, since the 2009 Australian Open Final, which Nadal won. I think Nadal will go on to win in a close final as he has shown great form as is so impossible to beat in a 5 set match. However, if Nadal is injured or doesn't make the Final, then Federer will probably go on to win.

One thing I almost certain of is that the player who wins this tournament will be one of the top 3 in the world but probably one of the top 2.

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