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Old 12-10-2012, 09:16 PM   #13
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Default Re: USTA Australian Open Wild Card Playoffs: December 14-16, 2012

My preview and predictions for the quarterfinals:

(1) Tim Smyczek vs (8) Christian Harrison
(3) Rhyne Williams vs (6) Daniel Kosakowski
(4) Tennys Sandgren vs (5) Bradley Klahn
(2) Denis Kudla vs (7) Chase Buchanan


(1) Tim Smyczek vs (8) Christian Harrison
The 18 y.o. is up against Tim Smyczek who is coming off the best year of his career winning two challenger titles (Champaign, def. Sock; Tallahassee, def. Dancevic) to end the year with a career high of 128. Harrison, who is not blessed with power and size at this age, relies on his defensive skill and backhand to draw errors from his opponents. Against Smyczek, he will have to do more b/c the speedy veteran is very consistent and rarely makes mistakes. Smyczek has good defense and strong backhand himself. He is the more aggressor of the two, likes to play inside the baseline, and will jump on every short ball. At this time, Harrison's forehand has the tendency to land short, advantage Smyczek.


(3) Rhyne Williams vs (6) Daniel Kosakowski
Two players with similar game. Both have good serve, decent backhand but favor the forehand. Unlike Johnson and Sock, Williams and Kosakowski are reluctant to step into the forecourt. They prefer to play close to the baseline, though impatient at times. There are some differences though: Williams' random drop-shots and Kosakowski's one-handed backhand. Kosakowski is the more composed of the two (too calm though, show some emotions boy!). Not sure what to expect, but Williams seemed like a better indoor player and I think his bigger serve will lead him to a victory (Kosakowski tends to stay too far behind the baseline to return serve).


(4) Tennys Sandgren vs (5) Bradley Klahn
Klahn is a bad match-up for Sandgren IMO. Sandgren likes to control rallies with his backhand, particularly the backhand cross-court. The problem: his opponent is a lefty with an aggressive forehand. If he keeps hitting the ball to that side, he will be in for a long day. However, Sandgren had some pretty good wins during the USTA Pro Circuit indoor season beating Jesse Levine and Alex Kuznetsov. Could be a good match, but I think Klahn will come out victorious.


(2) Denis Kudla vs (7) Chase Buchanan
Battle of the former Junior USO Finalists (Kudla 2010, Buchanan 2009). One of the matches I'm most looking forward to (if it does happen). Haven't seen too much of Buchanan, but I liked him the first time I saw him back in June (1st tournament as a pro). Similar to Kudla, he seemed solid from both wings unlike most of their American peers who like to run around the backhand (*cough* Sock, Johnson, Williams, Klahn, Kosakowski *cough*). Both players like to dictate points with the backhand. However, Kudla is more of a clean ball striker/flat hitter whereas Buchanan hits with a lot of topspin. Like Smyczek, Kudla will play inside the court if you let him while the latter likes to grind from the baseline. Buchanan is a very streaky player; can win 5 games in the row and can also lose 5 games in the row (concentration lapses). He is a slow starter (tends to get broken early in sets). He can get away with it at the futures level, but it will be a lot tougher on this stage. If Buchanan can keep his unforced errors under control (something that he really needs to work on), the match could be close. Otherwise, Kudla will run away with it quickly. Despite being a year younger, the more experienced Kudla will have the upper hand.
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