2011 Australian Open – Nick’s Picks – Men’s Singles Round 1
As I was writing these picks, Tommy Haas was practicing nearby so I asked him to come over and give his thoughts. So, for the first round these are a combination of my picks with some advice from Tommy!
Andy Murray (GBR) vs. Karol Beck (ITA)
Murray reached the finals here last year before falling to Federer in straight sets. Can he repeat that performance and maybe win his first Grand Slam? All of England would love that!
Beck is a solid player, but lacks a bit of stamina which isn’t good when playing Murray. He has a good forehand, but no weapons to push Murray around the court. Murray will drive Beck nuts in this match and should move on without much trouble.
Nick’s Pick – Murray in 3 sets
David Nalbandian (ARG) vs. Lleyton Hewitt (AUS)
This is clearly the match of the first round, especially with Hewitt playing in front of his home crowd. Nalbandian is playing well, but you can never be too sure how fit or healthy he is. Hewitt hasn’t played since September of last year and is coming back from an injury so his health is in question as well.
These two have some history…Hewitt is 3-2 against Nalbandian and beat him in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open back in 2005 10-8 in the fifth set! I have to give a slight edge to Nalbandian because of Hewitt’s health, but if the Aussie crowd can get behind him and will him to victory. I can’t wait to watch this one!!
Nick’s Pick – Nalbandian in 4 or 5 sets
Roger Federer (SUI) vs. Lukas Lacko (SVK)
Federer could be in for a couple of difficult matches here in the first two rounds. Lacko is a zany guy who isn’t afraid to come in to the net and has a very good forehand. If/when Federer gets by him, he has to play Gilles Simon in the second round and he playing very well also. This is the first time in a long time that Federer could get seriously tested in the opening couple of rounds. On the other hand, Federer could play like Federer and just blow throw these guys, demonstrating what has made him the best of all time. Can’t wait!
Nick’s Pick – Federer in 3 tough sets
Kei Nishikori (JPN) vs. Fabio Fognini (ITA)
This is the first career meeting between the 21-year old Nishikori and the 23-year old Fognini. Nishikori made a name for himself a couple of years ago when he won a title in surprise fashion. He has been injured off and on and is now working with Brad Gilbert and IMG Bollettieri Tennis coach, Dante Bottini. He is feeling good and when he is on, he can beat the best. He just took down Marin Cilic and Alejandro Falls in Chennai and demonstrated why he can be such a threat.
Fognini isn’t going to hurt Nishikori, but he can run all day. Nishikori has to be patient and pretend like he is playing on clay. Just wait for his chances and then strike when he has the opportunity. He cannot get over-aggressive and has to remain focused. I look for Nishikori to win, but this will not be a short match.
Nick’s Pick – Nishikori in 4 sets