This event could easily be a moment that marks the dawn of a new day in men’s tennis or the Big 4 plus Stan could comprise the championship match. Milos Raonic is the most likely to win the title according to seeding, but is that really the case? Here is my reseeding of the 8 men left. I am seeding according to who seems most likely to win so the draw matters. I will also provide tiers.
Their history helps make Rafa most likely to win the title
- Rafael Nadal – Rafa entered the Australian Open with a lot of question marks. He openly questioned his confidence. He has dropped 3 sets through 4 matches but generally looks solid physically. He certainly could be overpowered by Stan, Milos, or Jo-Wilfried. Goffin or Dimitrov might take him down. Federer being 0-3 versus Nadal in Melbourne yet being the 2nd most likely player from the top half of the draw to reach the final gives Rafa my number one spot. He is least likely to beat himself and potentially faces a friendly path to his 15th major title.
- Stan Wawrinka – Stan won the most recent major and won the Australian Open in 2014. Stan faces a tough opponent in Tsonga in the quarterfinal round, likely faces Federer in the semifinal round, and then would likely face either Rafa or Raonic (who beat him in Melbourne last year) to win the title. Stan has the toughest path to the title, but his recent successes and big event acumen make him my 2nd most likely to take home the big trophy.
- Milos Raonic – He played well in Australia last year and made a solid accounting of himself during the Wimbledon final last year. If anyone is ready to make the next step, it is Milos Raonic. The problem is sometimes a player’s first major comes about through a surprising leap rather than a steady progression of slightly better results. Milos beat Rafa in Brisbane. Given their re-seedings, I think the champion is likely to come out of their quarter. If Milos can beat Nadal, and he has the tools to do so, he will be favored to reach his second major final.
- Roger Federer – Roger’s history and quarterfinal opponent give him a bit of a boost. He should win his next match. That nearly puts him 6 sets away from a 5th Australian Open title. Can he play 2 great matches back-to-back? Will he need to? Federer’s rust and lack of match play is much less of a factor after playing 15 sets through 4 rounds.
- David Goffin – I think Goffin is less likely to play poorly than Dimitrov, but he has slightly fewer weapons than his quarterfinal opponent. Goffin’s return of serve can make anyone remaining in the draw struggle so he has a real shot at the title.
- Jo-Wilfried Tsonga – Tsonga was runner-up at the 2008 Aussie Open. He is 9 sets away from grabbing a trophy that eluded him nearly a decade ago. Tsonga can beat Stan and Roger. Beating them back-to-back and then needing another win is a tall task though.
- Grigor Dimitrov – Grigor is the form horse after an impressive run in Brisbane to set up his current Melbourne run. He is nearly 50-50 to beat Goffin in my view. My biggest concern with Dimitrov is a question of consistency. He has been quite consistent through 10 matches in 2017 so he can erase more doubts with more wins.
- Mischa Zverev – I can see Zverev beating most of the other 7 players, but I cannot see him winning 3 more matches.