Australian Open 2013 Issue 7: 20 January

January 19, 2013 · Print This Article

by: Tom Cochrane

For the second successive year, second seed Roger Federer has sent Aussie young gun Bernard Tomic packing from his home Grand Slam, the Swiss master too good in an absorbing night duel.

Day 6 Recap

Tomic dropped serve in the opening game of the match, and that was all Federer needed to claim the first set, maintaining the advantage to take it 6-4. In the second set Tomic withstood a barrage of pressure on his service games, fending off a raft of break points before taking 4-1 and 5-3 leads in the tiebreaker.

Unfortunately for the parochial crowd, Tomic was unable to maintain the momentum as Federer reeled off 4 points in a row to claim the tiebreaker 7-5 and take a commanding 2 sets to love lead. From there, the local lad’s challenge faded, as he picked up just one game in the third set. But Tomic was far from disgraced, his vastly improved serve, and second set efforts in particular, showing that he has improved from where he was 12 months ago.

In other men’s matches on Day 6, Andy Murray was fairly clinical in his straight sets win over former junior star Ricardas Berankis, while Jo-Wilfried Tsonga did not drop a set against Blaz Kavcic. Federer, meanwhile, will now face Milos Raonic after the Canadian impressed in a straight sets win over Philipp Kohlschreiber.

There were a couple of cracking 5-setters on Day 7, with Jeremy Chardy surviving a mid-match wobble to upset Juan Martin Del Potro, and Andreas Seppi outlasting Marin Cilic. Frenchman Gilles Simon and Gael Monfils also went the distance, with both players barely able to move at the end of their gruelling battle. In the end, it was Simon who came up trumps, triumphing 8-6 in the decider over a gallant Monfils.

On the women’s side, top seed Victoria Azarenka survived a scare against Jamie Hampton, who pushed the Belarusian to 3 sets, while Serena Williams had to recover from a break down in the second set against her Japanese opponent Ayumi Morita in order to claim a straight sets win.

Italian seed Roberta Vinci was upset by the Russian Elena Vesnina, but there was no such trouble for her fellow seeds Wozniacki, Kirilenko and Sloane Stephens, all of whom progressed through to the round of 16. The run of 42 year old Kimiko Date-Krumm came to an end however, the Japanese veteran unable to get past Bojana Jovanovski.

Matches of the Day – Day 7

1. Nicolas Almagro vs. Janko Tipsarevic

Not much separates this pair in the world rankings, with Tipsarevic just that tiny bit higher. On clay, the Spaniard Almagro would clearly be the favourite, but on hard-courts I’d say this is an even-money bet. The pair played in Abu Dhabi a few weeks ago, with Almagro winning in a close tussle.

Almagro has improved his form with each round in this tournament, while Tipsarevic’s form has been up and down. Almagro is the steadier of the two, while the Serbian has more creativity and flair (and is more emotional) on the court. I’ll back Almagro to upset his higher-ranked opponent, but I don’t think more than a few points will separate the pair in this match. Almagro in 5.

2. Novak Djokovic vs. Stanislas Wawrinka

World number one Novak Djokovic hasn’t had the easiest of draws at this year’s Australian Open, but the Serbian has risen to the challenge against every one of his opponents to date, the defending champion yet to drop a set in the tournament.

Swiss veteran Stanislas Wawrinka always competes strongly and has a very solid all-round game. If Wawrinka’s one-handed backhand is firing, he should have a chance of sneaking a set off the top seed, but Djokovic’s current form suggests that the Serb will book his spot in the quarter-finals without too many nervous moments. Djokovic in 3.

3. Ana Ivanovic vs. Agnieszka Radwanska

Nicknamed “The Wall”, Agnieszka Radwanska’s court coverage and consistency mean that it is indeed very difficult to finish points off against her. The fourth-seeded Pole made her first Grand Slam final last year, brushing off a nervous first set in the Wimbledon final to push Serena Williams to a deciding third set.

Radwanska will be be looking to go one better at one of the majors this year, and she has certainly started the season in blistering fashion, claiming a pair of titles and not having lost a match so far in 2013. Ivanovic could threaten Radwanska if the Serb gets on song on her forehand wing and serves particularly well, but recent form suggests another win for Radwanska. Radwanska in 2.

4. David Ferrer vs. Kei Nishikori

One of the most popular players at Melbourne Park, Kei Nishikori has rewarded his fans with an impressive run to the round of 16. The Japanese star came into the tournament under an injury cloud after suffering from a knee injury in the lead-up event in Brisbane, but so far so good at this year’s Australian Open for Nishikori.

Fourth seed David Ferrer arrived in Melbourne after capturing a fourth successive title in Auckland, indicating that the Spaniard is likely to replicate in 2013 his stellar form from 2012, which saw him capture 7 ATP Tour titles. Nishikori, like Ferrer, is a great mover around the court, and has plenty of variety to his game. I think Nishikori will trouble Ferrer but I’ll still back the little Spanish warrior to ultimately prevail. Ferrer in 5.

5. Li Na vs. Julia Goerges

German Julia Goerges has been hovering around the top 20 in the world for the last few years, scoring some good wins on the WTA Tour but not being able to translate those wins into standout performances in the Grand Slams. This year’s Australian Open marks Goerges’ first trip to the round of 16 at a major, and I think the big-hitting eighteenth seed can earn herself plenty more trips if she continues to improve her game.

As noted previously, Li Na’s form has been inconsistent since her stirring run to the 2011 Australian Open final and her subsequent French Open success that year. But the Chinese superstar seems more focused on-court at present, and it is showing in her results. I think she will be too strong for Goerges in this clash, but only just. Li Na in 3.

Put your house on: Maria Sharapova to get the better of Kirsten Flipkens. The Belgian has performed tremendously well to make the round of 16 after troublesome blood clots threatened at one stage to end her career, but Sharapova will be too good in this encounter.

Upset alert: The Russian Makarova might cause some problems for German fifth seed Angelique Kerber whilst, as previewed above, I like Nicolas Almagro’s chances of taking down his higher-ranked opponent Janko Tipsarevic.

Likely to go the distance: As detailed above, I’m predicting Kei Nishikori will push fourth seed David Ferrer all the way to a fifth set in their round of 16 clash today.

That’s it for today. Enjoy the tennis and I’ll be back with another serve tomorrow.

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