Sunday, 20 January 2013

Australian Open Day 8: 4th Round Predictions

1. Roger Federer v Milos Raonic
Roger Federer
Roger Federer has made easy work of his "tough" draw so far as he played a blinder to beat Bernard Tomic, 6-4 7-6 6-1 in the third round.  The second set saw some of the highest standard of tennis we have seen so far in the tournament and Federer was terrific in defence to dig out of a 5-2 deficit in that second set.  The 4th round poses another stiff challenge in the form of Milos Raonic.  

I have been quite critical of the big serving Canadian, but I must admit he did a great job to beat Philipp Kohlschreiber in straight sets, his best performance of 2013 by far.  Federer and Raonic played each other three times last year and all three were pushed to a decider, in fact two of the matches went to final set tiebreaks.  This will be their first ever best of five set match and I think that Raonic can certainly trouble FedererI fancy the Swiss star to lose his first set of the tournament, but not the match...

Prediction - Federer to beat Raonic in 4 sets

2. Caroline Wozniacki v Svetlana Kuznetsova
Caroline Wozniacki
After overcoming a tough first round match against Sabine Lisicki, Caroline Wozniacki has strolled through to the 4th round, which is the first time she has reached this stage of a Grand Slam since last year's Australian Open.  A much more testing match will now be on the cards against comeback kid, Svetlana KuznetsovaThe Russian player lost the middle set of her 3rd round match to Carla Suarez Navarro, but pulled out the win in the end, 6-2 4-6 6-3.  

Kuznetsova took six months out during 2012 due to injury problems and it seems to have done her the world of good and refreshed her brain too.  Kuznetsova beat Wozniacki in a blistering 2nd round match in Sydney, but she will be under no illusion that this match will once again be a grind.  I still question Kuznetsova's mentality in the tight moments of a match, but there is no question she has the game to beat Wozniacki and the match will be played completely on her terms...

Prediction - Kuznetsova to beat Wozniacki in 3 crazy sets

3. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga v Richard Gasquet
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
Two players who have snuck away from the headlines will take to the forefront in a potential French thriller.  Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Richard Gasquet have not played each other since 2009, making this 4th round match all the more exciting.  Tsonga has yet to lose a set and strolled past a weary Blaz Kavcic in the 3rd round, 6-2 6-1 6-4  Gasquet has been consistent without really impressing; he took four sets to defeat Ivan Dodig in the third round.  Tsonga fell at this stage last year to Kei Nishikori and once again, he has not been tested so it is hard to gauge his form.  I think this match will hinge on the opening set; if Tsonga starts well I think he will cruise it, but if Gasquet can win the first set then I expect him to battle past in a thriller..

Prediction - Gasquet to beat Tsonga in 5 sets

4. Serena Williams v Maria Kirilenko
Serena Williams has unsurprisingly cruised through the tournament and has managed to shake off any worries of the ankle injury she picked up in the first round.  She overcame a determined Ayumi Morita in the third round, 6-1 6-3 and will now play Maria Kirilenko.  The Russian has been remarkably consistent of late and did just enough to edge Yanina Wickmayer in a tight two-setter in the last round.  The pair have played on numerous occasions and as you would expect, Serena holds a 5-0 lead.  Kirilenko has won two sets in those matches including one in their last match-up back in 2011 at Stanford.  I think Kirilenko will win more games than any of Serena's first three opponents, but that is about as much as she can hope for...

Prediction - Serena to beat Kirilenko in 2 sets

Best of the rest: womens 4th round predictions
Victoria Azarenka to beat Elena Vesnina in 2 sets
Sloane Stephens to beat Bojana Jovanovski in 2 tight sets

Best of the rest: mens 4th round predictions
Andy Murray to beat Gilles Simon in 3 easy sets
Andreas Seppi to beat Jeremy Chardy in 3 sets

You can view my original predictions for the WTA and ATP draws to see how I am doing! I am 3/4 so far for womens quarter-finalists and just 2/4 for the ATP after Kei Nishikori and Kevin Anderson both lost today.

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