Saturday, 12 January 2013

ATP Australian Open 2013: Preview & Predictions

No time to dwell, it is straight down to discussing the mens draw for the 2013 Australian Open...

FIRST PROJECTED QUARTER - N.Djokovic (1) v T.Berdych (5)
Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic has drawn a pretty perfect draw and should feel confident of making a third consecutive Australian Open final.  The world number one will take on Paul-Henri Mathieu in the first round and is projected to meet Radek Stepanek in the third round.  Sam Querrey and Stanislas Wawrinka are likely to meet in the third round with the winner facing Djokovic in the 4th round.  I particularly like Querrey this year and a round of 16 spot should be well within his grasp.

Tomas Berdych has made a stuttering start to the season with disappointing losses at the exhibition in Abu Dhabi and in Chennai too.  He opens his campaign against Michael Russell and could meet Jurgen Melzer in the third round.  His conqueror in Chennai, Roberto Bautista-Agut is also in this section and would have to beat Melzer to set up a Berdych showdown in round three, which is possible.  Juan Monaco is Berdych's projected 4th round opponent although he has yet to take to the court in 2013 due to a hand injury.  I predict that Kevin Anderson and David Goffin will have solid runs in the draw with one of them making at least the 4th round.

Highlights of the 1st round matches (and predictions) - Djokovic to beat Mathieu in 3 sets, Stepanek to beat Troicki in 5 sets, Goffin to beat Verdasco in 5 sets and Berdych to beat Russell in 4 sets

1st Quarter-Final Prediction - Djokovic v Anderson

SECOND PROJECTED QUARTER - D.Ferrer (4) v J.Tipsarevic (8)
Lleyton Hewitt
The weakest section of the draw and the one where a surprise semi-finalist could emerge is definitely the second quarter.  David Ferrer is the highest seed and has looked so-so in 2013.  He won in Auckland, but his decision to play the first two weeks could come back to bite him, despite being one of the fittest players on tour.  Oliver Rochus will be his first test and Marcos Baghdatis should be the first seed.  The player I have got my eye on is Kei Nishikori.  I think he could make the semi-finals barring any recurrence of the injury that forced him out of the Brisbane semi-finals against Andy Murray.  The Japanese number one takes on Victor Hanescu in the first round and will meet Ferrer in the 4th round if they both get to that stage.

Janko Tipsarevic faces a stern opener against the home favourite, Lleyton Hewitt.  Last year, the brave Aussie battled into the 4th round where he gave Novak Djokovic a scare.  He won the Kooyong exhibition and I fancy him to spring a surprise with a raucous home crowd fully behind him.  One of the highlights of the first round will see the emerging, Grigor Dimitrov take on Julien Benneteau.  As a dangerous floater, it is not a bad draw at all for Dimitrov who has a 2-0 head-to-head lead over Benneteau and could sweep up if Hewitt can knock out Tipsy.  The rock solid, Nicolas Almagro is also likely to do well here and I fancy him to get past Jerzy Janowicz in the third round, who will be looking to dispell the murmurs of being classed as a"one hit wonder".

Highlights of the 1st round matches (and predictions): Baghdatis to beat Ramos in 4 sets, Dimitrov to beat Benneteau in 4 sets, Lacko to beat Muller in 5 sets and Hewitt to beat Tipsarevic in 4 sets

2nd Quarter-Final Prediction - Nishikori v Almagro

THIRD PROJECTED QUARTER - J.Del Potro (6) v A.Murray (3)
Juan Martin Del Potro
Juan Martin Del Potro is the most likely player to break the current top four, but without any competitive matches under his belt in 2013, Del Potro will go into the Australian Open as somewhat of an unknown quantity.  Del Potro takes on the qualifier, Adrian Mannarino in the first round; Mannarino has actually beaten Del Potro before at Queens two years ago, but I fancy the Argentine to win in straight sets.  

His first projected seed is Marcel Granollers in the third round followed by Marin Cilic in the fourth round.  Cilic struggled in Chennai and I think he could come unstuck against the home hopes of Marinko Matosevic in round one.  The Australian pushed Cilic to five sets at Flushing Meadows and I think he will seal the deal this time round.  Watch out for Denis Istomin in this section, who will be a match for Andreas Seppi in round two.

Andy Murray made a solid start to 2013, winning the title in Brisbane without ever hitting top form.  He should be able to saunter into the quarter-finals shaking off any match rust.  Robin Haase will be his first opponent and Florian Mayer should be the first seed in his path.  Gilles Simon and Alexandr Dolgopolov will be battling to play Murray in the round of 16.  The highlight of the 1st rounders will see Dolgopolov take on Gael Monfils in what could be a classic five-setter full of fine entertainment.

Highlights of the 1st round matches (and predictions): Del Potro to beat Mannarino in 3 tight sets, Granollers to beat Zemlja in 4 sets, Matosevic to beat Cilic in 5 sets, Monfils to beat Dolgopolov in 5 sets and Murray to beat Haase in 4 sets

Third Quarter-Final Prediction - Del Potro v Murray

FOURTH PROJECTED QUARTER - J.Tsonga (7) v R.Federer (2)
Roger Federer
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is likely to pass through a few French challenges in his draw.  Michael Llodra will be his first round opponent and Richard Gasquet could await in the 4th round in what would be a first encounter since 2009.  Gasquet opens up against Albert Montanes and could meet Tommy Haas in an intriguing third round match.  I fancy Gasquet, who is still clinging onto the top 10, to make the quarter-finals here.   

The big talking point of an otherwise rather lacklustre mens draw is Roger Federer's path through the draw.  He has definitely been served up a stinker; in round one he takes on the flamboyant, Benoit Paire who should throw up a few surprises.  Doha finalist, Nikolay Davydenko could await in the second round followed by the most dangerous floater in the draw, Bernard Tomic in round three.

A Tomic/Federer match would no doubt be a blockbuster late nighter on the Rod Laver arena and based on Tomic's form this season, Federer would be in for a significant early test.  Tomic has just won the title in Sydney and should easily take out the seed in his section, Martin Klizan in round two.  It is certainly a tough draw for Federer and we haven't seen him play in 2013 yet, but I still think you cannot underestimate him.  Milos Raonic and Philipp Kohlschreiber are the two seeds in the other section of the fourth quarter.  Many people fancy Raonic to break the top 10 in 2013 but I just do not see it.  Kohlschreiber, who reached the final in Auckland, should have the beating of Raonic in round three...

Highlights in the 1st round matches: Tsonga to beat Llodra in 3 sets, Haas to beat Nieminen in 5 sets, Gasquet to beat Montanes in 3 sets, Baker to beat Rosol in 4 sets, Brands to beat Klizan in 4 sets and Federer to beat Paire in 4 sets

Fourth Quarter-Final Prediction - Gasquet v Federer

My tip for the mens title is Novak Djokovic... again its not exactly radical thinking, but I cannot see anything else happening! I think Federer will make it to the semi-finals to meet Murray, meanwhile I am predicting somewhat of an upset in the other semi-final where I think Kei Nishikori will make it to the semi-final.  I am feeling less enthused about the mens tournament and cannot deny that the loss of Rafael Nadal is a big blow to the tournament...

You can view my full predictions for the mens Australian Open HERE


  1. Went for the same final and same result :)

  2. The men's draw is a little flat this year - and I don't expect too many surprises towards the business end of the tournament. I would go for the same final as your have (it's the one that I really want to see) and patriotic loyalties would have me picking Murray for the win. I reckon Lendl's been working him hard to make this one count.

  3. I think it is most people's final, Omair!

    I couldn't agree more, random cloud. I think there will be a few surprises with seeds 5-8, but I see the top three all making the semi-finals without too many problems. I too would like to see another Grand Slam win for Andy.

  4. This is a wonderful tennis blog. Thanks for great post.