Andy Murray vs. Roger Federer
Andy Murray ended 2016 on an incredible run. Murray has reached the Australian Open final 5 times between 2010-2016. This surface suits his game perfectly, but unfortunately for Murray this surface also suits Novak Djokovic’s game perfectly. I am highly confident that Murray will reach the final 8. Roger Federer has not played since Wimbledon 2016. He is not match tough. I think he will win his first round match versus a qualifier. His second round match will also be against a qualifier. This could pose a problem for Federer as that opponent will have won 4 matches, and Federer’s ability maintain consistency will be tested. Still, Federer should win these two matches and will likely have at least 6 sets under his belt prior to facing someone who automatically qualified for the Australian Open. Kei Nishikori could certainly beat Federer and set up a quarterfinal versus Murray, but my guess is Federer finds a way to win 6 more sets before setting up a massive challenge against Sir Andy Murray.
Nick Kyrgios vs. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
This quarter is ripe for craziness. Stan Wawrinka ended 2016 with scattered results. Marin Cilic seems unlikely to play through his seeding too. To be sure, Wawrinka and Cilic could be major trouble in the second week if they find their form in the first week, but I have doubts they play well enough to get out of the first week. Kyrgios has been vexing to put it politely, but his game could be streaky enough to push through. Jack Sock just claimed a title and has a chance to make a dent in a soft draw, but I think Tsonga is the more likely player to come out of his section of the draw. If Tsonga is healthy, I think he can play through any bumps in the road due to 3 of 5 set matches making bad patches of play less lethal.
Gael Monfils vs. Milos Raonic
If someone takes Nadal out for Monfils, I think the Gael Force will reach the final 8. Roberto Bautista Agut could beat Raonic, but I think Milos is the smart pick for the final 8. Raonic’s tennis may lack some imagination and versatility, but he works exceptionally hard and meticulously aims toward the top tier of tennis. Milos should be able to win 3 sets versus anyone in his first 4 matches even if he might need 5 sets to do so.
Novak Djokovic poses with the winner’s trophy after beating Andy Murray & retains his #1 ranking, during the Qatar Open final in Doha (AFP) pic.twitter.com/2uHbp1YrgM
— TIMES NOW (@TimesNow) January 8, 2017
David Goffin vs. Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic has a tough test in Fernando Verdasco in the 1st round. Nole also may have to beat Brisbane champion Grigor Dimitrov to reach the final 8. Still, Novak has won the Australian Open 6 times for a reason. He should win these matches, and the 3 of 5 set nature of his match versus the streaky Verdasco favors Djokovic. Dominic Thiem is seeded to reach the final 8. He certainly could do this, but I think Goffin is less likely to throw in a sub par performance than Thiem.