Saturday, 21 January 2012

Australian Open 4th round preview

The 4th round of the Australian Open will kick off tomorrow and we have some excellent matches to look forward to over the next two days.  Here are my predictions for tomorrow's matches...

Caroline Wozniacki
Caroline Wozniacki vs. Jelena Jankovic - This is the match i'm most looking forward too on Sunday and i'm thankful to the schedulers for putting it as the late night match on the Rod Laver Arena so I can watch it! Wozniacki has won their last three encounters and used her excellent defensive skills to grind down Jankovic in those matches. I fancy this to be a closely fought match but I have to give Wozniacki the edge purely for her superior mental toughness.  Jankovic has been playing much better in 2012, but i'm just not convinced that if she got into a winning position, she could get across the finish line.
Prediction - Wozniacki to win in 3 sets

Li Na vs. Kim Clijsters - The third match on the Rod Laver Arena will be a rematch of last year's final, which was the last time these two players faced off against each other.   Clijsters and Li have both advanced to this stage without any problems and they look to be in good form.  I think it could be a scrappy match with quite a few errors because they have similar games, but it should be a competitive contest.  I give the edge to Clijsters...
Prediction - Clijsters to win in 3 sets

Victoria Azarenka vs. Iveta Benesova - Azarenka and Benesova have both played some good tennis to reach the 4th round, which is where they both lost in last year's tournament.  This year, one of them will go at least one step further and you cannot look past it being Azarenka.  The Belarusian has won their last three matches in straight sets and although Benesova is playing with a great deal of confidence at the moment, I think Azarenka will be too powerful and consistent for the Czech player.
 Prediction - Azarenka to win in 2 sets

Agniezska Radwanska vs. Julia Goerges - Goerges is through to the second week of a Grand Slam for the first time in her career and will play her first seeded player in Radwanska.  In her previous matches, Radwanska has been outpowered at times, but her consistency and low error count has got her through.  The match bascially lies on Goerges' racquet; if she stays aggressive, serves well and keep her errors to a minimum then she has a shot here.  I fancy two tight sets, but Radwanska will be too consistent in the end.
Prediction - Radwanska to win in 2 sets

Juan Martin Del Potro
Philipp Kohlschreiber vs. Juan Martin Del Potro - Kohlschreiber and Del Potro both struggled in their first round matches but had no such problems in their last two rounds as they eased into this 4th round meeting.  They have played on four occasions with Del Potro winning all four including a three-set victory in Miami last year.  Kohlschreiber is an extremely talented player, but has struggled with his focus and consistency in recent years.  I fancy Del Potro to be tested but to still have enough in the tank to progress.
Prediction - Del Potro to win in 4 sets

Bernard Tomic vs. Roger Federer - Federer and Tomic have had completely different passages through to the 4th round.  Federer has had two straight set wins and a withdrawal, meanwhile Tomic has had 2 tough five setters; in fact Tomic has spent nearly 7 hours longer than Federer on court during these championships.  I think this could be a significant factor in this match and I cannot see the Australian causing any more upsets this week.
            Prediction - Federer to win in 3 sets

Tomas Berdych vs. Nicolas Almagro - Almagro continues to surprise me with some impressive results on the hard courts so far this year.  He has had a difficult draw beating Grigor Dimitrov and Stanislas Wawrinka on his way to the 4th round; however this is where I see his run ending.  Berdych has lost just one set in the tournament so far and has been slowing improving through each match.  I predict he will be too powerful for the Spaniard.
Prediction - Berdych to win in 4 sets

Feliciano Lopez vs. Rafael Nadal - Nadal has had a smooth passage to the 4th round with some excellent performances, particularly in the third round against Lukas Lacko.  Lopez played a good match to finally take out John Isner in the last round but I see no contest here.  Nadal has a significant 8-2 lead in their head-to-head record and Lopez never seems to turn up on the big stage.
Prediction - Nadal to win in 3 sets

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