Men’s Bottom Half: After Second Round
Tommy Haas (12)
Ivan Dodig (32)
Mikhail Youzhny (14)
Ernests Gulbis (23)
Dmitry Tursunov (30)
Top Stars Moving On:
Novak Djokovic (2) – Our beloved Serb did not lose a set in either of his two matches, even throwing in a bagel in his second match. He may be tested in his third-round match against Denis Istomin…..but let’s be real. We say that before each of his matches and then he always wins in straight sets. Novak is always entertaining to watch and he’s still a favorite here. Can he win his fourth Australian Open? Or will Nadal knock him off his throne to obtain his second grand slam title down under?
David Ferrer (3) – Known as a dogged player, Ferrer certainly has not let up in Melbourne. He played really well in his first-round match against Gonzalez and even though he tripped up a few times in the second round, he fought his way through the heat (and Mannarino). He plays Jeremy Chardy (29) next and then will play either Jerzy Janowicz (20) or Florian Meyer. From there on out it will become tricky, having to play Berdych (7) then maybe Djokovic (2) (but hopefully Wawrinka). Ferrer should make it at least to the quarters to play Berdych.
Tomas Berdych (7) – Berdych has destroyed so far in Australia. He has been consistent with his serve and has minimized his unforced errors. He should be able to handle his next opponent, Damir Dzumhur, with relative ease. Prediction for the Czech? I think he has been coping with the heat better than some players, and I think he has the weapons to move past Ferrer and give Djokovic (or Wawrinka) a run for his money, if not upset him. I expect great things (and more funny tweets to @PseudoFed) from Tomas.
Stanislas Wawrinka (8) – Stan the man! But really. Let’s see a repeat of that Wawrinka-Djokovic match this year. Except with Wawrinka coming out on top, because, let’s be serious, he deserves it. Stan has a tricky third-round match against Vasek Pospisil, but his powerful ground strokes and even-temperament should help him in this match. If he does make it to the quarters against Djokovic, I think this will be his time to shine.
Richard Gasquet (9) – Gasquet has played quite well, not having lost a set yet in the tournament. He has a tough opponent in Robredo next round, but seeing how well he’s been playing I don’t see him stopping there. It will get harder if he plays eighth seed Wawrinka in fourth round. *cue battle of the one-handers* Prediction: he will defeat Robredo, but lose to Wawrinka.
Dark Horses Rise:
Sam Querrey – The former number 1 American is back, ladies and gentlemen. He has only dropped 1 set so far, in the first round to Giraldo. His latest win against Ernests Gulbis (23) was very convincing, especially playing in this heat. His next opponent is Fognini (15). Fognini has also played well, but expect Querrey to get past the Italian.
Denis Istomin – This marks the first time the Russian has made it past the second round of the Australian Open, so might as well do it in style playing Djokovic, right? He was impressive in his second-round win over 30th seed Tursonov and he may be a tricky opponent for Djokovic. Does he have the weapons to defeat the number 2 seed? Probably not. But it’s definitely a match worth watching.
Others to Watch For:
Vasek Pospisil (28) – The young Canadian has the firepower to challenge some of the top players. In the second round he suffered through back pain to overcome Matthew Ebden of Australia. The match-up between Pospisil and Wawrinka should be probably the best match of the third round. Although I think Wawrinka has improved so much that Pospisil will not be able to beat him, expect him to put on a show. Definitely put that match on your radar.
Jerzy Janowicz (20) – Suffering through a foot injury and the heat, the Wimbledon semi-finalist overcame Pablo Andujar in the second round. By making it so far at Wimbledon last year, he proves he does have the weapons to make it far in a grand slam. However, he has struggled through the first two rounds in Australia. Prediction? He will beat Mayer and then go down to Ferrer. But you can never rule out the Pole definitely.
Tommy Robredo (17) – First round, this US Open quarterfinalist battled off Lukas Rosol, Nadal’s conqueror at Wimbledon 2012, in a brutal 5-set match. Although struggling at times, he stayed calm and focused to force Rosol into making unforced errors. He plays Gasquet next. While I don’t believe he can defeat the Frenchman, expect a great match.
Third-Round Matches to Watch:
While basically every match will be amazing in the bottom half, here’s some that are bound to be top-notch…
Stanislas Wawrinka (8) v. Vasek Pospisil (28)
Tommy Robredo (17) v. Richard Gasquet (9)
Novak Djokovic (1) v. Denis Istomin
Fabio Fognini (15) v. Sam Querrey