Australian Open Sweet 16: Men’s Predictions

As much as I love the early rounds of Grand Slams, the matches that lay ahead of us all look to be of a high quality.   Grand Slam events are set up a lot like the NCAA college basketball tournament.  Rather than wait for a sweet 16 in March, we have one in January.  I was 5-2 with my picks yesterday so I decided to take a crack at the next 8 matches.

Men’s Picks (My projected winners in bold)

1 Novak Djokovic vs. Lleyton Hewitt – I expect Novak to win in 3 sets, but Lleyton could make this close.  After 5 surgeries in 4 years, Hewitt deserves a ton of credit for getting back to a Grand Slam round of 16.

17 Richard Gasquet vs. 5 David Ferrer – I am tempted to pick Gasquet as he has weapons and flare.  I thought Janko Tipsarevic would beat him, but I think Ferrer is unlikely to no show like Tipsarevic was and on a slower court I think Ferrer wins in a close match.

4 Andy Murray vs. Mikhail Kukushkin – Prior to hiring Ivan Lendl this might have been an upset special.  Kukushkin is a solid player who won’t beat himself, but Murray in 3 or 4 is my call.

24 Kei Nishikori vs. 6 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga – I’d love to pick Nishikori here as he has a great game, but Tsonga since Queen’s Club 2011 has been close to cracking into the elite ranks of the sport.  Tsonga winning Qatar in addition to being runner-up at the Word Tour Finals makes me pick Tsonga in 4.

Philipp Kohlschreiber vs. 11 Juan Martin del Potro – Delpo is my second favorite player as a fan, but I don’t see Juan Martin del Potro  playing quite at the level he needs to.  Kohlschreiber has a great deal of variety in his game abd can keep the ball low.  That will be enough to win a close match.

Bernard Tomic vs. 3 Roger Federer – I think Tomic actually has a 30-35% chance to win this match.  His game is subtle.  If he can keep Roger off balance enough and get some good Aussie vibes going, Tomic has a chance.  Still, Roger Federer should win in 3 or 4 sets.

7 Tomas Berdych vs. 10 Nicolas Almagro – This is a huge opportunity for both players.  Berdych had a breakout year in 2010, and played well everywhere except for the Grand Slams in 2011.  He has been solid to this point in the event and might present Nadal a tough quarterfinal opponent.

18 Feliciano Lopez vs. 2 Rafael Nadal – Nadal wins easily.  I just can’t see Lopez getting enough quality returns in play to break Nadal.  Rafa will beat up his backhand.  Lopez will have to serve huge to make this interesting.  I just can’t see that happening for more than 1 set.

My Women’s Picks Will Be Coming Up Once the Quarterfinal Round Occurs – I do pick Kim Clijsters to beat Na Li again.

6 Comments Add yours

  1. bstevens says:

    The only surprising pick is Kohlshreiber. I would like to see Del Potro reach the quarters, where he would have a chance to knock out the top 3 seeds in succession (Fed, Nadal, Djoko). I wonder if that has ever happened in grand slam?

    1. Dan Martin says:

      It would be awesome if JMDP did it. I want him to beat Kohls, but I thought he looked sluggish in the 1st round.

  2. jane says:

    Yeah Dan – I am surprised you went with Kohls over Delpo. Juan has a 4-0 H2H over Kohls and it’s not like he’s playing badly here. Interesting pick for the upset. Frankly, I can see Nishikori as a more likely upset of Tsonga.

    1. Dan Martin says:

      I just thought that JMDP looked out of sorts in the 1st round. I hope JMDP wins.

  3. jane says:

    true, but i think he’s gotten better since round one. hey, you could be right. kohls has a reputation of big upsets at the slams, with which he does nothing, always losing the next round. in 08 kohls beat roddick at the ao, and in 09 he beat novak at the FO so he is capable of the upsets…

    1. Dan Martin says:

      It has been an odd week for me and my family so I have to admit I have not seen much of JMDP’s form since round 1. I hope he wins. I’d love to see him where he was in 2009.

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