Wednesday, January 28, 2015

2015 AUS OPEN: Men's Semifinals Preview

The men's semifinals are now set at the 2015 Australian Open. This year, I predicted 2 of 4 women's quarterfinals correctly and 3 of 4 men's quarterfinals correctly.Last year I correct predicted 1 of 2 men's semifinals and 1 of 2 women's semifinals. I have also previewed this year's women's semifinals.

Novak Djokovic (SRB) [1] vs  Stan Wawrinka (SUI) [4].  This is the match everyone has been waiting for when the draw was released. For the last two years one of the best matches of the year has been played between Djokovic and Wawrinka at this tournament. In 2013, Djokovic won their amazing 4th round showdown 12-10 in the 5th set and ended up winning the tournament. Last year, Wawrinka won their almost equally amazing showdown in the quarterfinals, and went on to win the tournament. So, the pattern would indicate whomever wins this match will likely win the tournament. I think that is going to be Djokovic, who has been playing flawless tennis, and has yet to drop a set. Wawrinka definitely impressed with his straight set dismissal of #5 seed Kei Nishikori in the quarterfinal but I think the main reason Djokovic will win is that he has a dominating 12-3 head-to-head record against Wawrinka (and two of those losses were early in their careers). The last set these two played was a 6-0 won by Nole. I don't think that will happen, but I don't see Stan winning this match. Mad Professah's Pick: Djokovic in 4 sets.

Andy Murray (GBR) [6] vs. Tomas Berdych (CZE) [7] Rafael Nadal (ESP) [3]. This was supposed to be the showdown between Federer and Nadal in the semifinal, if things had gone according to seeding. But after Nadal easily dismissed Federer in last year's semifinal, like he has in all six Grand Slam matches the two have played since 2008, this Federer fan was not looking forward to another result like that, but an off-day dismissal in the third round still stings. Berdych is playing inspired tennis, and his straight set beatdown (of a clearly underprepared Nadal 6-2 6-0 7-6(5) in the quarterfinals is a major accomplishment that should give him confidence against a player he has always matched up well against in the past. The two are 3-3 on hard courts and 1-1 in Grand Slam matches, although I think it is significant that Murray won their 2012 meeting at this same stage at the U.S. Open, on his way to winning his first major. Regardless, I think this match will be quite close, especially since Berdych now has Murray's former fitness coach Jez Green Dan Vallerdu in his camp. However I doubt that any new insights Jez provides will be enough  to swing the result. Mad Professah's pick: Murray in 5 sets.

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