Australian Open 2016 – Men's Singles QF Preview & Predictions

0
602

It’s crunch time at the Australian Open 2016. With the 2nd week on the horizon, tensions are already building to fever pitch. Most of the big names in the sport have made it through, with Wawrinka and Nadal being notable exceptions.

In most grand slams, the performance of players in the QF has always played a pivotal role in their tournament success. A relatively easy passage to the SF will mean that the player will have a lot of gas left in the tank, for the considerably tougher final two matches.

In this preview, let’s look at the Men’s Singles Quarterfinal match-ups for the Australian Open 2016:

Top Half:

  • [1] Novak Djokovic vs. [7] Kei Nishikori:

djokovic_ozopen16

Novak Djokovic and Kei Nishikori will be face each other for the 8th time when they battle at the Australian Open 2016. Djokovic leads the H2H series 5-2, after he reeled off the last 4 matches. {thrice on indoor HC and once on outdoor clay}

djoko ninja

Djokovic, however, made an outrageous 100 unforced errors against Gilles Simon on Sunday. Djokovic preceded those wins by taking out Hyeon Chung and Quentin Halys in straight sets.

g_240116_djokovic_tk_10

It gives me great joy to know that I can’t get worse than that, than what I played today. It doesn’t concern me for the next one

– Djokovic after his match against Simon

The “Ninja” Nishikori has been in control this fortnight, steamrolling over Philipp Kohlschreiber, Austin Krajicek, Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, losing a lone set to Garcia-Lopez en-route. Nishikori took an injury timeout for a wrist issue against Lopez, but he bounced back by dispatching Tsonga 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 in the 4th round.

CY98YG0UkAAt3LT

Djokovic has a clear edge in all departments–including history of success at this event. The Serb has lifted the trophy 5 times.

Djokovic’s return will damage Nishikori’s relatively weak serve, while the World No.1’s athleticism can help him outstretch the shorter Nishikori from the baseline.

TT Pick: Djokovic in 4 tight, scrappy sets

  • [3] Roger Federer vs. [6] Tomas Berdych:

Roger Federer and Tomas Berdych square off for the 22nd time in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open.

berdych federer

Federer leads the H2H 15-6, including 4-2 in Grand Slams. However, they have not faced each other at a major since the 2012 U.S. Open QF, where Berdych prevailed in 4 sets. Federer will take heart from the fat that both of their Melbourne meetings (2008, 2009) have gone Federer’s way.

Federer has defeated Berdych the last 4 times they have faced each other. Berdych’s last win over Federer was at Dubai SF 2013.

roger-federer-ap-m1

Federer put on a masterclass against Belgian No.15 seed David Goffin in their 4th round encounter, winning it 6-2 6-1 6-4 in 90 mintues. Federer had beaten Basilashvilli, Dolgopolov and Dimitrov to get there.

Berdych edged Roberto Bautista Agut 4-6 6-4 6-3 1-6 6-3, in a 5 set match that lasted three hours and 18 minutes.

I’m pleased with the way I handled the match. I was playing well tactically with the right game plan. It was a good challenge for me

Tomas Berdych after beating Agut in 5 sets

I have to play well. I think the court suits him. I think this sort of flatter bounce and faster court is good for his serves, good for his returns. It’s a fast court. It’s going to be a good match. We’re both going to play aggressive; this court pays off when you do play good and aggressive tennis

Roger Federer on facing Berdych

It’s always difficult to say something else or something new. I mean, it’s Roger

 Tomas Berdych on facing Federer

2Tomas-Berdych-Australian-Open-2016-foto-di-Jason-Heidrich-720x480

Berdych has been hitting huge groundies throughout the tournament, but Federer will take time away from the tall Czech by rushing the net and denying him rhythm from the baseline. Federer’s improved and highly disruptive attacking game will carry him through to the SF.

TT Pick: Federer in 4 tight, entertaining sets

  • [23] Gael Monfils vs. [13] Milos Raonic:

These two have played twice, and Monfils leads 2-0. In fact, Raonic has won only 1/5 sets he’s played against Monfils.

monfils raonic

But, Raonic is a far better player than he was a few years ago and Monfils really hasn’t been tested leading up to this point, while Raonic has 2 Top-10 wins already this year.

Flamboyant French showman Gael Monfils, has reached the QF at Melbourne after trying for 11 years. He made it through, with an inspired serving performance in the 4th round — 14 aces compared with Kuznetsov’s zero — plus 74% 1st serve points.

c3248b430777678262b9584d45f986c3

Monfils is hitting 62% of 1st serves in play and winning 65% of those points. Monfils has looked sharp thus far and as long as Monfils can limit his UE count and his antics, he’ll be a tough opponent. This is Monfils’ 3rd grand slam quarterfinal appearance since 2012. Monfils has made just one SF appearance, at the 2008 French Open.

Monfils can serve big and hit big too. But, it’s nothing compared to what his Canadian opponent can pull off. Raonic put up an incredible performance to oust Stan Wawrinka in 5 sets in the 4th round with an overall good performance in all departments.

Raonic is currently undefeated in 2016, which includes an upset victory over Roger Federer in the Brisbane International. This is Raonic’s 4th QF at a grandslam. Raonic has reached a grand slam semifinal once at the 2014 Wimbledon.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 23: Milos Raonic of Canada plays a backhand in his third round match against Viktor Troicki of Serbia during day six of the 2016 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 23, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

TT Pick: Milos Raonic in close but straight sets.

  • [2] Andy Murray vs. [8] David Ferrer:

The pair has played 18 times in the past, and Murray has won 12 of those meetings, including the last five. The most recent match was in last year’s ATP World Tour Finals, a match Murray won in straight sets.

murray ferrer

Ferrer’s last win over Murray came in the 2014 Shanghai Masters. This will be the 13th time Ferrer and Murray meet on hard court.

g_Ferrer_230116_65

David Ferrer is coming off a straight sets win over John Isner and has yet to drop a set this tournament. Unlike most tournaments, Ferrer has yet to really be pushed in a match and a fresh Ferrer is quite dangerous. More importantly, Ferrer has lost in the QF 5 times since 2013. However, Ferrer has reached the AO SF twice in his career.

Andy Murray is coming off a straight sets win over Bernard Tomic and has dropped one set this tournament. Murray has lost in the QF of slams thrice since 2014. Murray has made the SF of the AO in five of the last six years, and is a 4 time finalist here.

andy-murray

Ferrer gives up nothing easy and should be extremely fresh after cruising to this point. However, Murray has owned the history between these two and is simply a better version of Ferrer in every department. Given recent form, past success and firepower, Murray should romp home relatively comfortably.

TT pick: Andy Murray in 4 long sets.


Warning: A non-numeric value encountered in /srv/users/serverpilot/apps/trolltennis/public/wp-content/themes/Newspaper/includes/wp_booster/td_block.php on line 1008

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here