Australian Open Preview/Draw

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Australian Open Preview/Draw

Post by sirfredperry on Tue 10 Jan 2017, 10:27 am

Doubt whether there's been an AO for years where just TWO guys are being considered as possible finalists. Fed's long lay off and Nadal's shorter break mean it's more of a big two than a big four at the moment. So who could prevent a likely Djoko-Andy M final?
Stan the Man? Well, at his best he's more than capable, and he has won a GS in each of the last three seasons. So, yes, he could get to the final but would need one of his blitzkrieg outstanding displays to do so.
Raonic? Another possibility though it was a surprise he did not win Brisbane. Federer? It's asking a lot to see the Swiss going far after such a lengthy time away. Rafa? A lot of the sparkle appears to have gone from his game, although it would be foolish to write him off.
Of the others Nishi would probably be the best bet, while Dimi, after three good top-10 wins at Brisbane, could be dangerous. A fit Kyrgios could have been a contender, but the Aussie appears to be struggling with injury.
Much could depend on the draw, with Nadal and Fed likely to clash with the big boys much earlier than usual.
As for the women, defending champion Kerber has had two disappointing tournaments so far this year. Serena cannot be discounted, but virtually any of the current women's top 10 can be considered.

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Re: Australian Open Preview/Draw

Post by dummy_half on Tue 10 Jan 2017, 11:21 am

Difficult to look past Murray and Djokovic for the mens singles. If they meet, I would put Novak as the favourite (after the Doha final) as he seems to be a very difficult opponent for Andy. However, I also think Novak is the one less likely t make the final - he was one shanked Verdasco forehand away from losing the semi-final, so he's clearly not all the way back to his best.

Obviously, Stan could have his one great tournament of the year, but otherwise surely it's too soon coming back for Roger and Rafa, while I'd always expect someone to be too good for the likes of Raonic or Nishi.

Womens side I think is throw the names of about 8-10 into a hat and pick one.

For the Brits, I guess Edmund and Evans are hoping for decent draws (unseeded or bottom end of the 32 seed in R1) and a chance to pick up decent points by reaching R3 or R4, and consolidate their ranking. Kyle in particular could do to consolidate his position and be getting into all the MS1000 events by right.

Konta obviously has a lot of points to defend, and would be doing exceptionally well if she can match last year's run to the semi-final. R4 or QF is more realistic (although as last year showed, one good win and the draw opening up can take you a long way). Having said that, even an early defeat won't actually drop her ranking much with Kvitova absent and Suarez Navarro nearly 700 points behind.

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Re: Australian Open Preview/Draw

Post by lags72 on Tue 10 Jan 2017, 3:33 pm

Yes, clearly two favourites,  ..... unsurprisingly in the shape of the Doha finalists. Hard to separate them.

As for the two former members of the Big Four :

-  I actually think Nadal will take some stopping in the early rounds. He still has the capacity, on a good day, to wear down opponents - sometimes through sheer boredom (just a joke if you're a Rafa fan ..... Wink ) and with the added confidence of a few wins at Melbourne behind him, could still represent a threat even to Andy & Novak. Am not writing him off.

- Little hope for Fed, I'd say. Sure, he will say that he's here to win etc, and will definitely be motivated after being away for so long and seemingly missing the game. Looked pretty sharp in Perth (and very offensive, pressed well, taking the ball even earlier than usual) BUT Bo5 over two weeks is simply too much these days. I think deep down he himself will be happy just to make week two unscathed. Won't be putting any money on him for the title !

Then it's about who else can make something happen. Sfp has already mentioned most realistic prospects, and I guess we should also put Zverev into the mix....?

I'd like Andy to get his first AO. Failing that, I think a brand new Slam winner would be good for the sport. But that's a lot to expect, given the way things are.

In writing this (pretty feeble, I agree !!) post, I realised just how little there is to say about the men's tour that sounds remotely fresh or exciting. Or is that just me ......

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Re: Australian Open Preview/Draw

Post by sirfredperry on Tue 10 Jan 2017, 5:30 pm

Lags 72. Know what you mean about the tour. For Brits it's good to see Andy at the top. But for those wishing to see a new name at the very head of the rankings, after years of domination by the big four, it must be disappointing to see Andy and Djoko ruling the roost.
All things pass, of course. So where, in the future, we may not perhaps get the quality at the top, there will at least be variety, with slams becoming more unpredictable and titles being shared around a bit more.


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Re: Australian Open Preview/Draw

Post by lags72 on Tue 10 Jan 2017, 6:19 pm

Yep, the titles will almost certainly be shared around a LOT more in the coming years - by which I mean, once the biggest multi-Slammers currently occupying the top spots eventually fade from the scene.

Who knows precisely what the short to medium-term future holds ....??  But safe to say, surely (?) that there is very, very little prospect of a repetition of the prolonged spell of unprecedented domination when Rafa and Fed cleaned up over 30 Slams between just the two of them. If there were any 'new' rookie stars with their level of talent - or indeed anything even approaching it - I think we would have seen evidence of it by now.

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Re: Australian Open Preview/Draw

Post by sirfredperry on Tue 10 Jan 2017, 6:24 pm

Lags. But the beauty of sport is its unpredictability. When Sampras won his 14th and final Slam in 2002, few would have forecast that a guy who had, until then, not won a single slam, would take away Pete's record IN JUST SEVEN YEARS.

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Re: Australian Open Preview/Draw

Post by lags72 on Tue 10 Jan 2017, 6:36 pm

Fair enough sfp ...... I assume you're talking about that Swiss guy with two sets of twins .....??

Yep, can't argue with your key point ! (maybe I should have finished my post immediately after I said Who knows .....what the future holds ...?)

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Re: Australian Open Preview/Draw

Post by CaledonianCraig on Tue 10 Jan 2017, 8:36 pm

And I can't recall the same beefing about boredom when Roger and Rafa were scooping up all the slams and met in seven (i think it was) slam finals in three years.
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Re: Australian Open Preview/Draw

Post by Jermaine2015 on Wed 11 Jan 2017, 12:01 pm

CaledonianCraig wrote:And I can't recall the same beefing about boredom when Roger and Rafa were scooping up all the slams and met in seven (i think it was) slam finals in three years.
Two of the best players of all time.
Djokovic is one of the best of all time. Sadly for Murray isn't the league of the three I mentioned

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Re: Australian Open Preview/Draw

Post by JuliusHMarx on Fri 13 Jan 2017, 8:36 am

The draw is here - http://www.ausopen.com/en_AU/scores/draws/ms/

Djoko vs Verdasco looks suspicious tasty.

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Re: Australian Open Preview/Draw

Post by sirfredperry on Fri 13 Jan 2017, 8:37 am

The draws have been made for the AO. Fed is in Murray's quarter and they could meet in the q-final if Rog can get past Nishi. Djoko faces Verdasco in a tough opener and has Raonic and Rafa in his half.
Rog has qualifiers in the first two rounds. Tommy Haas (no, he hasn't retired) is playing.

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Re: Australian Open Preview/Draw

Post by Guest82 on Fri 13 Jan 2017, 9:37 am

Djokovic has Dimitrov in 4R. Looks to me that Djokovic has the harder early rounds with Verdasco and Dimitrov, but he gets a decent QF with Thiem/Goffin. Plus think he would prefer Raonic to Wawrinka.

Murray should cruise to the QF, but it gets tricky there. Federer/Nishikori then Wawrinka.

Nice draw for Rafa. Zverev looks his only threat before semi finals.

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Re: Australian Open Preview/Draw

Post by Mad for Chelsea on Fri 13 Jan 2017, 10:35 am

I see that Fed's been given a nice couple of qualifiers to ease into the tournament Wink

Tasty R3 match against Berdych then though, followed by Nishi in R4 and Murray in the QFs.

Other Brit watch. All three men have decent R1 draws, and Edmund has Carreno Busta in R2 which is winnable (Djokovic in R3 though). Evans has Cilic in R2.

On the women's side Watson and Broady have drawn seeds in R1, so will be tough. Konta has a tricky draw: Wozniacki in R3, Cibulkova in R4 and Serena in QF. She's just blown away Radwanska to win the Sydney title though, so seems in good form.

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Re: Australian Open Preview/Draw

Post by slashermcguirk on Fri 13 Jan 2017, 10:45 am

horrible draw for Djokovic...............verdasco in round one! You just know verdasco will be up for that one, funny thing is if verdasco pulled off the win I would bet anything he would lose to a nobody in the following round.

That last thing novak wants is to be pulled into a 5 setter into round one, Dimitrov in round 4 would be difficult too but you never know which Grigor will turn up.

Federer vs Nishikori would be a great match up in round 4 if it happened. Then the winner playing Murray who has a pretty nice draw up until that point (only possible hurdle could be Querrey if he served lights out like he did against Novak last year)

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Re: Australian Open Preview/Draw

Post by Guest on Fri 13 Jan 2017, 10:46 am

Djokovic once again avoiding anything resembling a threat - all the difficult opponents in the other half: Wawr, Fed, Nishi, Kyrios. Verdasco could be a threat over 3 sets but not over 5.

His only threat will be a rejuvenated Nadal - but don't see that happening.


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Re: Australian Open Preview/Draw

Post by Guest on Fri 13 Jan 2017, 10:48 am

I'd be amazed if Fed even gets to Murray. I expect Bird or Nishi to take him out.

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Re: Australian Open Preview/Draw

Post by slashermcguirk on Fri 13 Jan 2017, 12:13 pm

emancipator are you serious? Verdasco in round one and dimitrov in round 4, nadal potentially in QF.

Anybody knows that verdasco could turn up and play lights out tennis. Rod Laver is probably his favourite court where he has produced some of his top career matches, beating Murray, Nadal (nearly beating Nadal in 2009 too in that epic 5 setter). Verdasco can beat anybody on their day, particularly in a 1st round match where a top seed can be caught cold.

Dimitrov is clearly in good form again having won last week beating the likes of nishikori, raonic etc.

Murray has a cake walk to the 4th round while Djokovic may have to overcome those two

Federer has a brutal draw

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Re: Australian Open Preview/Draw

Post by Henman Bill on Fri 13 Jan 2017, 12:54 pm

verdasco is a bad draw - Novak will be glad he entered Doha and took it seriously - odds are that Novak wins this perhaps quite easily however.

It's a bad round 1 draw but the top guys shouldn't be losing in round 1 to whoever they get

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Re: Australian Open Preview/Draw

Post by Guest82 on Fri 13 Jan 2017, 12:56 pm

slashermcguirk wrote:emancipator are you serious? Verdasco in round one and dimitrov in round 4, nadal potentially in QF.

Anybody knows that verdasco could turn up and play lights out tennis. Rod Laver is probably his favourite court where he has produced some of his top career matches, beating Murray, Nadal (nearly beating Nadal in 2009 too in that epic 5 setter). Verdasco can beat anybody on their day, particularly in a 1st round match where a top seed can be caught cold.

Dimitrov is clearly in good form again having won last week beating the likes of nishikori, raonic etc.

Murray has a cake walk to the 4th round while Djokovic may have to overcome those two

Federer has a brutal draw

Think Nadal is in Raonic's quarter (got my post up there wrong) so can only play Djokovic in the semi final.

Could argue that Dimitrov is fourth or fifth favourite for the title - he's beaten Raonic and Nishikori last week.

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Re: Australian Open Preview/Draw

Post by Guest on Fri 13 Jan 2017, 1:53 pm

slashermcguirk wrote:emancipator are you serious? Verdasco in round one and dimitrov in round 4, nadal potentially in QF.

Anybody knows that verdasco could turn up and play lights out tennis. Rod Laver is probably his favourite court where he has produced some of his top career matches, beating Murray, Nadal (nearly beating Nadal in 2009 too in that epic 5 setter). Verdasco can beat anybody on their day, particularly in a 1st round match where a top seed can be caught cold.

Dimitrov is clearly in good form again having won last week beating the likes of nishikori, raonic etc.

Murray has a cake walk to the 4th round while Djokovic may have to overcome those two

Federer has a brutal draw

I agree Fed has a brutal draw but that was expected given his ranking.

Verdasco is not gonna take three sets off Djokovic and even if he gets close he'll choke.
Dimitrov is a lightweight - he'll probably lose to a nobody before rd 4
Rafa hasn't reached a slam semi in 2.5 yrs
Djokovic has a cakewalk

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Re: Australian Open Preview/Draw

Post by Guest on Fri 13 Jan 2017, 1:55 pm

Henman Bill wrote:verdasco is a bad draw - Novak will be glad he entered Doha and took it seriously - odds are that Novak wins this perhaps quite easily however.

It's a bad round 1 draw but the top guys shouldn't be losing in round 1 to whoever they get

Exactly. Verdasco had his chance when he caught Novak cold in Doha but still couldn't get the job done. He has no chance over 5 sets.

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Re: Australian Open Preview/Draw

Post by slashermcguirk on Fri 13 Jan 2017, 2:38 pm

Emancipator.........verdasco didn't choke when he took out Rafa on Rod Laver arena last year! he is well used to the big occasion and he very nearly beat Murray at Wimbledon the year andy won his first title. He is a very streaky player.

Dimitrov is hardly a lightweight, crushed Murray on centre court at Wimbledon a few years ago and had two great top 10 wins last week. When he is off he can be very poor but he is well capable of competing with the best when his game is on. Those two matches are a hell of a lot harder than Murray has to face in his first four matches.

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Re: Australian Open Preview/Draw

Post by CaledonianCraig on Fri 13 Jan 2017, 5:12 pm

slasher let's not forget Murray has (possibly) Sam Querrey in the second round who wiped out Djokovic at Wimbledon last year. Djokovic beat Verdasco in Melbourne (was it last year?) so I wouldn't read much into it that Verdasco has beaten Nadal in Melbourne. All that matters is how Djokovic deals with him and he has a 9-4 head-to-head against him. Verdasco is a dangerous customer but if Novak is to defend his crown he has to be beating the likes of him.
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Re: Australian Open Preview/Draw

Post by banbrotam on Fri 13 Jan 2017, 6:24 pm

I'm with slasher on this one. I wouldn't fancy playing very good former top 10 players at the event they had their best result, in the past. 

Dimi is very unpredictable. If he's anywhere near his Spring/Summer 2014 form, that's a toughy

Let's be honest the Querrey defeat was the biggest one last year, simply because Sam's shown nothing before or after that this was expected

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Re: Australian Open Preview/Draw

Post by CaledonianCraig on Fri 13 Jan 2017, 7:25 pm

It is like a draw of two halves for the top two seeds. Early on Novak has other tougher but then it gets easier. Andy has the easier start but it gets tougher later on.
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Re: Australian Open Preview/Draw

Post by slashermcguirk on Fri 13 Jan 2017, 8:03 pm

CC I get where you are coming from but that was a real one off freak performance by querrey last year, he showed nothing before or since.

Verdasco regularly produces his best on the show courts against the top players. Verdasco problem is he tends to play woeful against lesser opponents, it's like he doesn't have the motivation unless he is playing a top player on centre court.

You are right though that Novak should be winning anyway and murrays draw gets tougher later on. I was only referring to the first 4 rounds and the risk of falling early.

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Re: Australian Open Preview/Draw

Post by CaledonianCraig on Fri 13 Jan 2017, 8:55 pm

At the end of the day though it really does all even out and more for Novak. I'd fully understand if Murray had an easy draw all the way through and Novak had it tough all the way through - that just isn't the case. Give me Andy's first three rounds and Novak's next four.
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Re: Australian Open Preview/Draw

Post by CaledonianCraig on Sat 14 Jan 2017, 6:59 am

It is always interesting listening to media build-up to a slam but Boris has let himself down. He has been spreading it around that Novak was not training/practicing so hard at the end of last year. Novak side-stepped these comments without a denial so would say there is an element of truth to them. However, it is a poor show when a former coach and confidant goes spreading dirt and gossip. That information should stay strictly confidential. Very poor show Boris Becker.
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Re: Australian Open Preview/Draw

Post by Guest on Sat 14 Jan 2017, 8:01 am

I agree. Boris started blabbing the day it was announced they would split and hasn't stopped since. The guy doesn't know when to keep his mouth shut.

As for the draw, Andy's section is far harder. No question about it. Novaks first rd is difficult for a first round - but he should still win comfortably. After that it's a cake walk to at least the semi (Dimitrov has zero chance) and even there Stan would have been his most feared opponent but he avoids him too.

In fact I can't remember the last time Screech had a difficult draw - where is Socal to moan about cup cake draws Very Happy

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Re: Australian Open Preview/Draw

Post by Guest on Sat 14 Jan 2017, 8:04 am

Verdasco invariably produces his best and still manages to lose. The only reason last year was different was because Rafa forgot how to win. Rafa's once incredible balls of steel have turned into peanuts.

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Re: Australian Open Preview/Draw

Post by summerblues on Sat 14 Jan 2017, 6:52 pm

Interesting to see Fed and Rafa hidden in the bowels of the draw.  Novak and Murray must be the two run-away favorites, even though I would be much happier if someone else were to win.

Draw looks reasonably balanced to me.  Also, it is hard to tell this early in the year who is in what form, so not clear where the threats to the top 2 are most likely to come from.

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