Unique 2012 Australian Open Preview
The Australian Open is almost apon as and what a tournament it promises to be. The mens draw really is wide open and one feels that any number of players could potentially lift the crown. Let's take a look at the tournament more closely and see if we can pick a winner!
It is hard to see a winner coming from outside the top four, even if they are not all playing their best tennis at the moment. Andy Murray has had fantastic preperation, winning in Brisbane, but Djokovic has only played an exhibition in Abu Dhabi a few weeks ago whilst Federer and Nadal are both out of form and carrying injuries. nevertheless, we will run with the fact that the winner will probably come from the top four. In order to win the title they of course need to get to the final first and the best way of analysing who's got the best chance of even reaching this stage is by analysing each of the top fours quarters of the draw.
As world number one and defending champion, Novak Djokovic sits at the top of the mens draw and in the same half as Andy Murray. Djokovic has a decent draw and should comfortably make it through to the fourth round, bypassing Lorenzi in the first round without any problems. He will most likely face Stepanek in the third round which could be tough but a big test will most likely come in the fourth round where the chances are he will face Canadian wonderkid Milos Raonic. As one of the best returners in the game, Djokovic is better equipped than most to deal with Raonic's. If Djokovic is going to lose before the semi', it will be in this match but I can't see it happening. Raonic's game will not penetrate him enough and Djokovic can expect to face David Ferrer in the quarter finals in a match where, agai, he should pull through without too many problems really.
As i already stated, Murray's preperation for the Australian Open has been superb. He is well rested but also high on confidence after taking the title in Brisbane two weeks ago. He will face a tricky opening tie against young American prospect Ryan Harrison. If anything,this could be the ideal match for Murray to get his tournament strated. Harrison should give him some decent court time and allow Murray to really get in to the swing of things. Murray looks likely to face Malisse in round two, which shouldn't bee too tricky for him, before possibly facing Bogomolov or LLodra in round three. Facing either of these men could be tricky. Lllodra's serve and volley style can catch out the best of players whilst Bogomolov's solid, counter attacking style can also cause the best players problems. After this, he could face another tricky match as Gael Monfils should pop up. Monfils can cause most players problems but often struggles to find his best against the top four and so a Monfils v Murray match should go the Scot's way. It the quarter finals that will cause Murray the most problems in his quest through his quarter as he will most likely face Jo- Wilfred Tsonga. As everybody knows. Tsonga can beat unplayable on his day and if Murray catches him on one of these days, then he could be in trouble. If Murray plays his best and Tsonga isn't in one of his unplayable moods, then Murray should get the better of him.
The second half of the draw is a lot more tricky to pick than the first half. Federer has atleast reached the last eight in his last thirty grand slams so it's hard to rule him out making the quarters in Australia. Playing his best tennis, he would make it through to the quarters comfortably once again. However, with his back injury it is tough to predict what he is going to do. He should cruise through rounds one and two, regardless of his back injury, but round three could be the stumbling block. I am expecting Australian home favourite Bernard Tomic to make it through to round three and face Federer. If Federer is not 100% fit, then he will struggle against a guy who I believe is a future world number one. Even if he is 100% fit, Tomic could still cause him problems. Not only that but if he makes it past Tomic, he will most likely face Juan Martin Del Potro in round four and then if he makes it through this, possibly Fish in the quarters. In all seriousness, I don't think Federer will make it out of his quarter. I would love to see him prove me wrong, but i believe that he will fall in either round three or round four.
Rafael Nadal may not be 100% right physically or mentally but he has got a fantastic draw. I honestly can't see him facing too many problems, even in the quarter finals where he will most likely face Berdych. The only player who really stands out, aside from Berdych in the quarters is the big American John Isner. He could cause Nadal problems in round four if he makes it that far but isner often struggles physically to last these long matches whilst, as we all know, Nadal does not. Even if it went to five sets you would always favour Nadal's physical and mental strength. So I expect Nadal to make it through to the semi finals .
So my semi final lineup is: Djokovic v Murray and Nadal v Del Potro
This would be a great semi final line up, though not as good as a 100% Nadal v a 100% Federer semi final! In the Nadal v Del Potro semi, I would be pushed to say that I fancy Del Potro to win although it is more of an educated guess as opposed to a genuine gut feeling of mine that he will actually make it that far. The Djokovic v Murray semi would be a nightmare to call and a lot would depend on the players form throughout the tournament. On the spot at this precise moment in time, in a semi final, I would have to go with Djokovic to go through.
And the final?
As far as I'm concerned, if Djokovic reaches the final is Melbourne then he wins the tournament. he will have to play his best to reach the final and if he plays his best then he is the best in the world at the moment.
My tip for the title: Djokovic