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Sunday, January 13, 2013

[2013 Australian Open] The draw analysis and prediction

The curtain of the first grand slam tournament of the year is risen.
(I know I should have written this before the first round started.)
I anticipate each of the Masters & Grand slam draws to be announced, and try to have the first glimpse as soon as it is released.
And of course, it was the first thing I looked up when I got back home from work on Thursday.
It's 16 hours ahead in Melbourne. So the draw was announced already on Thursday afternoon in Eastern time.

I have hoped for one thing since Rafael Nadal ("Rafa") announced this withdrawal from the Australian Open 2013: Andy Murray ("Murray") be in the half of Novak Djokovic so that Federer doesn't need to meet Murray in the semi-final. The other player Federer could have had was David Ferrer who is definitely an easier opponent by far. As the head-to-head shows, Ferrer hasn't managed to win a match over Federer in their previous 24 encounters.
(As I wrote it before, I am a die-hard Federer fan.)

But, as you know, things don't go as you hope, do they?
Murray made landing in Federer's quarter (darn~)
And now! Look. As far as I remember, Federer got the most difficult quarter in past 3-4 years.
It is literally a nerve-cracking draw, from the first round to the final, if he reaches there.

Let's see the men's singles draw from the top to the bottom.
(You can see the men's singles draw here. )

  1. Novak Djokovic's quarter
(Photo taken at 2009 Cincinnati Masters)
The defending champion, i.e. Djokovic, got the most soft draw out of the top 4, until he (probably) meets No. 5 seeded Tomas Berdych in the quarter-final.
Djokovic's first opponent Paul-Henri Mathieu would be lucky if he takes a set from Djokovic. And, any of Djokovic's opponents along his path to the quarter-final, is not even close to a mere threat.
Djokovic may reach the quarter-final with a perfect set score, i.e. 12-0 (sets)
Berdych would have had more chances if he had been drawn to either Federer's quarter or Murray's. Djokovic is a really bad match for the Czech.
His sole win over the Serb came at the quarterfinal of 2010 Wimbledon, before he lost to Djokovic in straight sets at the quarterfinal of 2011 Australian Open. It may not be the straight set win, but I expect another comfortable win for the World No.1.

2. David Ferrer's quarter
(Photo taken at 2009 Cincinnati Masters)
This quarter became an open field, thanks to (or because of) Rafa's notable absence.
I do admit that Ferrer is a very consistent solid player. He is a great fighter and a dangerous opponent for any ATP player.
But,  it is a hard court tournament where the other three top-4 players are just too strong.
However, it is true that THIS is Ferrer's opportunity to appear at the third consecutive semi-final of the Grand Slam tournaments. The second highest seed in Ferrer's quarter is  Janko Tipsarevic who is No. 8 seed and arguably the weakest of the seeds No. 5-8.
If there is an obstacle in Ferrer's path to the quarterfinal, it would be the seed No. 28 Marcos Baghdatis who usually gets immense support from local crowd in Australia.
Once the Spaniard reaches the quarterfinal, I'm confident that he will win the match no matter whom he sees at the other side of the court.

3. Andy Murray's quarter

(Photo taken at 2009 Cincinnati Masters)

It has been long time since Murray was in such a not-so-difficult draw. I always thought that the goddess of the draw was not fair to the Scot, until now.
But, as you see, everybody has his own share and chances. And this is Murray's time.
I can't imagine anybody in the quarter, who can steal a set from the Scot who is on fire, before the seed No. 6 Juan Martin Del Potro at the quarterfinal. There shouldn't be any problem for the top two players of the third quarter meet each other for the seventh time in their careers.
Del Potro is a super talented player who even has a Grand slam title under his belt, but it would not be easy for the 2009 US Open champion to block the passage of the 2012 US Open champion.

4. Roger Federer's quarter

(Photo taken at 2009 Cincinnati Masters)

This is the most difficult quarter of 2013 Australian Open, by far.
I don't mean Federer would fall in the first week or anything like that.
However, Fed might not get his breath back until the end of the second week.
First of all, Benoit Paire is not the easiest first round opponent.
Fed and Paire met only once at last year's Basel quarterfinal which Fed won the match by 6-2 6-2.
So this is the first time they will play against each other on a (real) hard court.
After the first round, Federer will meet a fellow veteran, Nicolay Davydenko.
Then, the Swiss maestro's first real challenge will be Bernard Tomic who recently won his first ATP tournament in Sydney last week.
Fed and Tomic met twice last year, once at the round 16 of the Australian Open, and at the Cincinnati Masters for the second time, both of which the Swiss won in straight sets. I guess this time would not be as easy as the previous encounters as Tomic is very much in form.
Once he passes Tomic test, Fed will have to overcome the rocket serves of Canada's Milos Raonic, in the round of 16. I support our own Canadian Milos, but I am also a long-time loyal fan of Federer. :D
There is a high chance that Fed will play a French player in the quarterfinal as the two potential candidates for the quarterfinal spot are my favorite French player Jo-Wilfried Tsonga ("Tsong") who is seeded No. 7 and Seed No. 9 Richard Gasquet.

It's very likely that we will see the top four players in the semi-finals.

My super-biased humble prediction for the 2013 Australian Open is as follows:

Quarterfinal
Djokovic over Berdych in 4
Ferrer over Hewitt in 3 
(I know it's a very wild prediction, but there actually is nobody in the other side of Ferrer's quarter)
Murray over Del Potro in 5
Federer over Tsonga in 3

Semifinal
Djokovic over Ferrer in 3
Federer over Murray in 4
(It's really hard to predict this one, but I want to see Fed lift his fifth Autralian Open trophy.)

Final
Federer over Djokovic in 4
(It's also so hard to pick, but I really want to see Fed lift his fifth Autralian Open trophy.)


2013 Australian Open

2 comments:

  1. I was kinda hoping that you would post about AO draw like you did in the naver blog, but wasn't really expecting it since you haven't done it last year.. but then, yay!

    Glad that neither Berdych or DelPo is in Fed's quarter, although sf with either Delpo or Murray would be inevitable. I agree that Tsonga wouldn't be much of a problem for Roger unless he goes 2011 Wimbledon QF all over again.

    I can't put my finger on who will win Murray-DelPo QF though, Murray definately has gotten himself an ego boost after all that happened last year, but DelPo also has shown some amazing tennis at the end of last season.. not to mention the last two encounters with Fed.. (ouch.)I'd give the slight edge to the Argentine, but we'll see how it goes.

    I watched Federer-Paire match today and although it was an esay win for Roger, he still made 18 unforced errors! While he conjures some incredible forehand winners.. would I be expecting to much if I wanted only 10 or so UFE?

    Have a nice tennis week :)

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    Replies
    1. Hi julia,
      I'll try to post a draw analysis for big ATP tournaments this year.

      Murray is not a good match for DelPo. Either one would be a tough opponent for Fed. Anyway Fed must overcome Raonic in the round of 16 first. (I'm assuming both Fed and Raonic make it to the R16). I am sure that Fed will prevail in the last weekend of January 2013!

      First let's see how Fed handles Davydenko today. (I'll not be able to watch because of the time difference, though :() But, I'm pretty confident~
      Enjoy the match!

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