2012 Australian Open – Quarterfinals Picks and Thoughts
Roger Federer (SUI) vs. Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG) – Their will be no surprises between these two as they know each other’s game very well. Del Potro has a sonic serve, a big icker second serve, a very aggressive, flat forehand, an excellent two-handed backhand, and moves really well for a big guy. On the other side, you know what Federer does. He moves around the court like Ali glided over the boxing ring, his grounstrokes are fantastic and he can place his serve anywhere. We are all thrilled to have Del Potro back and playing good tennis again, but Federer will not be impressed because he will play his game and that will make him a winner. Should be a great match, but going with Fed. Federer in 4 sets.
Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs. Tomas Berdych (CZE) – Berdych’s match against Almagro ended with the fans booing him for refusing to shake Almagro’s hand. We will have to see if that has any effect on this match. I would imagine that the fans would be squarely in Nadal’s corner for this match, and they do have an effect. Nadal would do what he does best and hit heavy spinning balls, trying to push Berdych back off the court. Berdych has the big serve and powerful groundies, but I’m not sure if that will be enough. Gotta go Nadal here and looking forward to a possible Nadal/Federer semi! Nadal in 4 sets.
Novak Djokovic (SRB) vs. David Ferrer (ESP) – Djokovic continues to roll and many wonder how he can play at that high of a level for so long. That, I cannot answer, but his physical conditioning and nutrition certainly have a lot to do with it. Novak definitely has the advantage against Ferrer (he does against everyone!) and will play a much more aggressive game than his counterpart. Ferrer is in great shape and covers the court extremely well. I give a ton of respect to Ferrer and the way he plays the game, but it’s impossible to pick against Djokovic. Djokovic in 4 sets.
Victoria Azarenaka (BLR) vs. Aggie Radwanska (POL) – Azarenka is looking for that first Grand Slam title, and boy this is a great opportunity. She has monster groundstrokes, has become a better defensive player, plays the big points very well and can turn defense into offense better than most anyone. Her serve has been great and she hasn’t been broken yet throughout the tournament. Radwanska has a tough task here. She doesn’t have the big weapons, but she doesn’t make any mistakes either. She moves extremely well and anticipates where the ball is going to be perfectly. Azarenka should be able to control points, and if she continues to serve at the current pace, she should win. Azarenka in 2 sets.
Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) vs. Kim Clijsters (BEL) – Wow, this is going to be a barn-burner! Both women come in playing fantastic tennis and even though Clijsters may be a little nicked up from her last match against Na Li, she will be competing to the last point. Wozniacki looked great against Jankovic, but Clijsters will come at her from the first ball. Clijsters’ movement is superb, her serve is solid and her aggressiveness is what really sets her apart. Wozniacki will need a good serving day, because any weakness here and Clijsters will jump all over her. This is going to be a tough match, but I have to give the edge to Clijsters. Clijsters in 3 sets.
Maria Sharapova (RUS) vs. Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) – Sharapova has been all business in her matches and only knows one way to play. She stands inside the baseline taking the ball early, has a superb return of serve, and her groundstrokes are some of the best. Makarova is a lefty who built her game based on her movement and making you hit one extra shot. She is sneaky good and should be full of confidence after dispatching Serena Williams in straight sets. Makarova must go for her shots and use her slice serve to keep Sharapova off-balance. The key to this match is whether or not she gets a good percentage of first serves in play because Sharapova will pounce on her second serve. Because of the stage and their experience, I definitely give the edge to Sharapova. Sharapova in 2 sets.