128 players are ready to go

I have taken a closer look at the draw after all the qualifiers have been plotted on the drawboard, and I think this year’s AO has the potential to be a big one with a lot of big matches. Potentially, the R16 might be filled with suprises but also great matches.

At the very top Federer is not met with several qualifiers beneath him like in New York, rather two players who have, and will give Federer some running time. Isner and Santoro will battle for a second round spot against Federer. It’s hard to pick a winner in that one, but I hope that Santoro is given the opportunity to take out a (what we all can assume is) rusty Federer right from Christmas break and stomach upsets. Heard of Sirianni? I think this name might be a headline for the first few days as I see him go into 3rd against Federer. Verdasco and Tipsarevic are anonymous as we head into 2008, but both very good players. Sirianni surprised all by reaching the semi in Adelaide, defeating Stepanek, Querrey, Mathieu on his way. Look out!

I don’t know how Berdych handles the heat and the conditions in Melbourne, but he should be heading for a 4th round against Federer. We know who’d win that…

First upset prediction: Ljubicic goes down under against Haase. If it’s HOT Ljubicic won’t appreciate it for sure and Haase seems to cope OK with the Australian summer. He made some headlines when he defeated Baghdatis back in 1st round of Adelaide. Watch out LJUBBY!

Marin Cilic is a player on the rise (still), and should be headed for a 3rd round clash against 07 finalist Gonzo. HOWEVER!  A dark horse on the road!! Guccione seems to be a greater hope for the home fans than poor Hewitt right now, and could be trouble for Gonzo. Another potential top seed upset.

Speaking of which, Hewitt has been given a very promising draw, relatively speaking. He has Darcis and a couple of unknowns before running in to Baggy, Safin or Johansson. Can’t rule out the 2002 champ from Sweden.

In this section, we will get two sweet 1st round matches. Safin-Gulbis and Baggy-Johansson. Predicting the outcome of these two is impossible. All of them are too inconsistent and good but bad… depending on conditions etc…. more entertaining for us!

But like I’ve said before, Tsonga-Murray should be the highlight of the 1st round. Tsonga is in my opinion still underrated. He should play more ATP events and start to give the challenger tour a rest. His game is good enough to beat Murray, but it has to be perfect timing all the way. Serve must be 100%, zit in the errors department and a grumpy Murray.

Next section including Davydenko is interesting because we have the GS underachiever Karlovic, Youzhny, Wawrinka, Mahut, Llodra…++. Llodra just won a title, and clearly gets more attention this way. I don’t know if he’s good enough to take down the robot Davydenko. What’s interesting here, is to see whether we could get a Russian R16 with Youzhny playing Davydenko.

Last quarter can potentially give us an American battle between the early 80s generation in Roddick and late 80s generation in Young. I know who will win it, but it can actually go long and tight. Young has nothing to lose, Roddick quite the opposite.

But people! What about Fish?! He has Robredo and Nieminen to content with. I can see him once again facing Roddick in the R16. He made the QF last year and has some points to defend. Give him a freakin’ break!

Everybody is talking about the Moya-Nadal 4th round, but I haven’t seen too many who wonder whether Moya makes it past round 1. Koubek has beaten Moya and can do it again. Moya’s age is not in his favor at grand slams anymore, although he did show what he’s made of in Chennai. Nadal would dissapoint big time if he gets defeated before R16. Moya is the only threat for him in that section.

Prediction for the last 16 will be posted after this.

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One Response to “128 players are ready to go”

  1. Tim Says:

    Almost all of the predictions follow the seeding. What’s the point when you know there will be upsets?!
    Yeah, Guccione might be the one who makes the big news. Don’t rule out Gulbis. That kid was amazing at USO. Koubek defeating Moya? Moya will be too good in the very first round.

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