2011 Australian Open – Nick’s Picks – Men’s Singles Semifinals
Novak Djokovic (SRB) vs. Roger Federer (SUI)
Their was plenty of hype about the Federer/Wawrinka match, but it definitely didn’t live up to that hype as Wawrinka didn’t play his best tennis. Federer moved past him pretty routinely and his play on the court was superb. I am very impressed with how Federer is playing and right now it’s going to take an unbelievable effort to beat Federer but I do feel Djokovic has the talent to test him.
Djokovic played fantastic tennis in his straight set victory over Tomas Berdych in the quarters. He faced only two break points against his serve while breaking Berdych five times. Djokovic’s forehand was on and he seemed to win all the big points at the right times and when the second set tiebreaker went his way you could see that Berdych was disappointed and Djokovic jumped all over him in the third set. If the match was one set all, you never know what would have happened.
Federer is 13-6 against Djokovic and was 4-1 against him in 2010. Both men are playing fantastic tennis and both are more than capable of winning this tournament. Against Wawrinka, Federer was able to pick on some weaknesses, but that is not the same story against Djokovic because the Serb doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses. I don’t think Federer will stand on the baseline and try to hit with Djokovic. I see him moving Djokovic around, chipping, hitting dropping shots, serving well, and really playing with a ton of variety. I really think that the difference in this match will be Federer’s versatility and his ability to adapt to any situation. The longer this match goes, the more it favors Federer. If Djokovic is to win this match, I think he needs to win it in straight sets or in a quick four sets. It’s hard to pick against Federer and I see him winning this match.
Nick’s Pick – Federer in 4 sets
Andy Murray (GBR) vs. David Ferrer (ESP)
Murray never quite got into a rhythm against Dolgopolov, but was able to win 65% of the points on the Ukrainian’s second serve demonstrating why he is the best “returner-of-serve” on the Tour. This is his fifth appearance in the semis of a Grand Slam and he is looking to get back to the finals of the Aussie Open for the second time in his career. Could this be the year Murray takes home a Grand Slam title? His chances look as good as they ever have right now.
Ferrer did what many people didn’t expect anyone to do: beat Nadal at a Grand Slam. He has played fantastic tennis to start 2011 and has a 9-0 record on the year and already won a title last week in Auckland. This is the second appearance in the semis of a Grand Slam (first was in 2007 at the US Open) and with the way he is playing Murray is going to have a very tough match on his hands.
Ferrer is 3-2 against Murray, but all three of his wins have come on clay and Murray has won both their matches on hard courts. Murray had one heck of a match against Dolgopolov and what stood out to me was Murray’s fitness. You can see how much work he has put into his physical fitness and it paid off for him big time in this match. He will need his strength against Ferrer because the Spaniard works extremely hard, moves well, has a great forehand and serve and competes for every point. I feel Murray will be able to force Ferrer into making more unforced errors that he is used to and that will be the difference in this match. Murray’s ability to break his opponent’s serve and his off-the-wall movement make him difficult to beat and I see him continuing his winning streak.
Nick’s Pick – Murray in 4 sets
P.S. There has been a lot of talk about the balls and how they are fuzzing up and how quick they are and everything. I say both these men don’t care. They could play with a golf ball!!