Sunday, January 13, 2008

Australian Open Preview Part One

So we're about 30 minutes away from the first point of the 2008 Australian Open, so I've got just enough time to get my pre-tourney analysis and predictions into the world. I love this part, just before a tournament sitting down with the draw sheet and digging out the potential matchups that'll leave you drooling with anticipation.
The best of the first two rounds is a potential second round match between Roger Federer and Fabrice Santoro. Not that Santoro has a chance, but this would be a shotmaker's paradise; Santoro is the most creative and fit players on tour and can absolutely bedevil and opponent while charming viewers with his slice 2 hand forehand and neverending repertoire of trick shots. Federer is, well, Federer. Watching him play is to watch high art. This would be one not to be missed
Mark's Matches: 1st round look for John Isner (easy to spot, he's 6-10) vs Santoro, Tsonga-Murray, and Thomas Johannsen-Marcos Baghdatis
Upset special: look for Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to knock off 9th seed Andy Murray. Tsonga has a monster game and a few months to get healthy. Murray is an injury-prone headcase without a coach. The French heavyweight moves on.
Dark Horses: look for Tsonga to make it through to the 4th round. Australian redhead Chris Guccione blazes all the way into the quarters
My Prediction:
Quarters: Novak Djokovic tops David Nalbandian in a classic, Federer puts out the, um, fiery Guccione, Richard Gasquet over Michael Youzny, and Roddick over Paul-Henri Mathieu
Semis: Roddick overcomes his 07 US Open gack and crushes Gasquet, Federer gives Djokovic a beating that's going to stick in his head all year
Finals: Federer raises the trophy. And the bar for the whole 2008 season

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