Saturday, January 17, 2009

Australian Open 2009 Preview: Wayne Odesnik Watch Resumes

It's time to turn our focus down under and get ready for the first Grand Slam of the year, the Australian Open. The theme for this two weeks is quite the same for both the men and women's draw: who wants to stamp the season with their name and make a claim to the world number one ranking.
Make no mistake, world supremacy is most assuredly up for grabs. On the men's side, Rafael Nadal has nothing close to a strong grip on the number one spot, and Roger Federer must deal with the ignominy of being a number two seed for the first time in years. Andy Murray is surging forward and is a sexy pick to break through, but has to play under this mounting pressure and expectation.
The early rounds, which start tomorrow (with TV coverage starting on ESPN2 tomorrow night, have a handful of choice matches, particularly American Sam Querrey vs Philip Kohlschreiber, and Australia's golden boy Lleyton Hewitt taking on the much-disliked Fernando Gonzalez. I'm not watching this because of sentimentality for Hewitt on his home court; these dudes are both obnoxious and loud-mouthed, so the on-court antics should be quite festive.
Best of all, though, is that Wayne Odesnik is back in the main draw after winning three qualifying matches. He takes on Mario Ancic in the first round, and I refuse to pick against him in this clash.
The Tipsy Historian's Picks

Andy Murray vs Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer vs Andy Roddick (look for Roddick's quarterfinal match against Novak Djokovic to be an all-out brawl)

Finals: Murray vs Federer

Champion: Federer reminds Murray just how hard it is to take that final step and win a Grand Slam by taking the Australian Open 2009 away from him

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