Thursday, January 24, 2013

2013 AUS OPEN: Men's Semifinal Preview

The men's semifinals are now set at the 2013 Australian Open. Last year, I predicted 4 of 4 women's quarterfinals correctly and 4 of 4 men's quarterfinals correctly. This year I  correctly predicted 3 of 4 women's quarterfinals and correctly predicted 4 of 4 men's quarterfinals.

I have also correctly predicted 1 of 2 women's semifinals this year.

Novak Djokovic (SRB) [1] vs David Ferrer (ESP) [4]. Ferrer is very lucky to be here because he was down 2 sets and a break against his good friend and countryman Nicolas Almagro whom he had never lost to before in 12 previous matches.
With this belief, Ferrer was able to battle back to win the 3rd set and then after repeatedly trading service breaks he was to win a 4th set tiebreak and then easily run away with the win. Djokovic continued his domination of Tomas Berdych  by winning his 12th match in 13 meetings against the tall Czech, this time in 4 sets. Ferrer and Djokovic have met 14 times in their career with the World #1 enjoying a significant 9-5 edge, including 3-0 in 5-set Grand Slam matches.  In fact, the two met at this very same stage in the previous major in New York with Djokovic prevailing in 4 sets but Ferrer was in control of that match for a significant stretch of time under very difficult windy conditions.  There's nothing that Ferrer does better than Djokovic and he is yet to show that his residency in the Top 4 of Men's Tennis will not be temporary as we await the return of his friend and compatriot who has a dominating record against him: Rafael Nadal. Last year Djokovic was able to outlast Nadal in an instant-classic, nearly 6-hour final (the best match of the year), is there anyone who thinks that Ferrer can exceed that performance? I didn't think so. Mad Professah's pick: Djokovic in 3 sets.

Andy Murray (GBR) [3] vs Roger Federer (SUI) [2].  This has been the most anticipated match-up of the tournament since the draw was released before the 2013 Australian Open began. The big question was with Nadal out of the tournament, in whose part of the draw would the #3 member of the trivalry at the top of men's tennis: Djokovic's half or Federer's half? Not only did Murray finish in Federer's half but so did numerous other problematic opponents like Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Milos Raonic and Bernard Tomic. In fact, of the top four players, Federer's path to the final was by far the most difficult. Amazingly, he was able to win a tough 5-set match against Tsonga in the quarterfinal despite playing his worst tennis of the tournament, with what is very likely a career low of a mere six aces in a 5-set match, with less errors but also less winners than his opponent. If you look at the stats of the match, it is astonishing that Federer was able to win 7-6(4) 4-6 7-6(4) 3-6 6-3 despite converting far less breakpoints than his opponent as well. With this   win Federer has now made 10 consecutive Australian Open semifinals, and has a 5-4 record in those matches.

Murray on the other hand was able to easily dismiss the hard-hitting Frenchman Jereny Chardy who earlier had upset Juan Martin del Potro 2 round before. In fact, the winner of the last contested major tournament has yet to drop a set in this tournament, the only semifinalists to do so. Murray is simply playing the best tennis of the four and despite Djokovic's head-to-head advantage over him and should be considered the favorite to win the entire tournament at this point. Murray has always matched up well with Federer and has a slight 10-9 career head-to-head edge which he should use to give him confidence to win this mach. Before winning his first major title in New York, Murray often had difficulty playing his best tennis in big matches but that is probably a thing of the past. Mad Professah's pick: Murray in 4 sets.

1 comment:

carter said...

While I didn't see the match, Novak just demolished Ferrer in 89 minutes, 6-2, 6-2, 6-1, and mow has a day more rest to determine who he will be playing in the finals.
Seems like a man on a mission!


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