2011 Australian Open – Nick’s Picks – Men’s Singles Quarterfinals
Roger Federer (SUI) vs. Stan Wawrinka (SUI)
Federer dropped a set against Robredo in the fourth round, but he bounced right back and beat the Spaniard in four sets. He has looked a little vulnerable at times, but then he demonstrates why he has been one of the best two players in the world for a long time. Playing his good friend, Wawrinka, isn’t going to be easy for Federer. He is 6-1 against him and beat him three times in 2010, but to me Wawrinka seems like a more confident player than he was last year.
Wawrinka was absolutely too physical for Roddick in the fourth round and he was able to out-muscle the American and push him around the court. I feel Roddick needs to get back some of his strength to be a real competitor in the Grand Slams. The other men are more physical than he is and it is hurting his chances of winning another Grand Slam title. This is the second time Wawrinka has been to the quarters of a Grand Slam and I think he has a very good shot of reaching the semis.
You know what both men are going to do, but the difference to me is Federer’s variety and his ability to turn defense into offense so quickly. He also has a mental edge over Wawrinka and when you play somebody you know really well, that can be a big factor. I look for Federer to win, but this is going to be tough.
Nick’s Pick – Federer in 4 sets
Tomas Berdych (CZE) vs. Novak Djokovic (SRB)
This is the match I am most looking forward to watching. Both men were picked as youngsters and both have shown they are capable of winning on the big stage. Djokovic is 4-1 against Berdych, but Berdych beat him in straight sets in the semis of Wimbledon last year. Djokovic doesn’t really have a glaring weakness, he does everything extremely well and he is the definition of consistent. On the other hand, Berdych gets more firepower from his groundstrokes but is not as good as a mover as Djokovic.
This match could really go either way. If the heat is a factor then Berdych gets the advantage, if Berdych has any mental lapses than Djokovic will jump all over him. I think I am going to give a slight edge to Berdych based on the way both men are playing and what I have seen thus far, but it is the slightest of advantage’s. I certainly would not be surprised at all to see Djokovic advance.
What I would love is to hear your take on the Berdych/Djokovic clash. Who do you think is going to win and why?
Nick’s Pick – Berdych in 4 sets
Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs. David Ferrer (ESP)
Nadal took down Marin Cilic in straight sets and has yet to drop a set in four matches. He looks as good as he ever has and has an impressive 11-3 record against Ferrer. The two faced three times in 2010 and Nadal won each of those in straight sets.
After dropping the first set to Milos Raonic in the fourth round, Ferrer bounced back and beat Raonic 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 to reach the quarters of the Australian Open for the second time in his career. The fact that he knows Nadal so well and understands his game will really help Ferrer in this match. He won’t be surprised by anything Nadal does and he will be ready for everything Nadal has to throw his way. The difference in this match to me will be Nadal’s backhand and his overall firepower. I feel their movement is about equal, but Nadal has more offensive groundstrokes than Ferrer does and he has the ability to go from defense to offense in a split second. I look for a four-setter and for Nadal to advance to the semis!
Nick’s Pick – Nadal in 4 sets
Andy Murray (GBR) vs. Alexandr Dolgopolov (UKR)
I came away very impressed with Dolgopolov in his five-set win over Robin Soderling in the fourth round. He is smooth on the court, moves well, has solid groundstrokes and can hit with anybody. It seems like there is always a player you don’t expect to make a run deep into the second week at the Australian Open and this year it appears to be Dolgopolov. This is his first Aussie Open and he is into the quarters of a Grand Slam for the first time in his career.
Murray breezed by Jurgen Melzer 6-3, 6-1, 6-1 and has a 1-0 record against Dolgopolov (although that match was in 2006). Like Nadal, Murray hasn’t really been tested yet but I feel that is going to change. Dolgopolov plays a unique style and should be able to test Murray a bit. Unfortunately for Dolgopolov, Murray will not try to beat him up physically like Soderling attempted. Murray will move him around, return serve well and play great defense. That should be enough to offset what this tricky Ukrainian does.
Nick’s Pick – Murray in 4 sets