2012 Australian Open – Semifinals Picks
Novak Djokovic (SRB) vs. Andy Murray (GBR) – I have watched both players throughout this tournament and sum up my opinions of both in a few short sentences. Djokovic will stand close to the baseline and move Murray in all directions. He will get several quick points from his serve and will put a ton of pressure on Murray’s serve. He feels confident and this will play an important role on the outcome of this match. Murray will stand a few feet behind the baseline, will get to every ball, his serve has improved and Lendl has helped him maintain his focus.
Djokovic will not relent and will continually pressure Murray from every direction and their are going to be plenty of long rallies in this match. Their is no doubt in my mind that both men are capable of winning this tournament, but in the end I cannot pick against Djokovic. Djokovic in 4 sets.
Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs. Roger Federer (SUI) – This match-up can be compared to the New England Patriots vs. the Baltimore Ravens. Federer, to me, is like Tom Brady. Both men are smooth and cool under pressure and they play with a great finesse. Nadal is like Ray Lewis. They both play a physical style of defense and will come at you with all their might and if you get up they will knock you down again! The Super Bowl draws a huge audience and so will this match! This is how I see it…
Roger Federer – He uses a heavy racket to play with and this means he cannot try to work the racket using physical strength, but he has to relax and use his talented hands and racket head speed with the racket head and arm extended away from his body on the forward swing and then driving the racket head an arm totally out to the target, Many say he has the very best finishing shots in the game, but to do that he has to be completely balanced and have control of his entire body before the ball arrives. Brady and Federer are both with the ability to read the defense and make a quick adjustment. Once again, both of them have soft hands which enables them to handle the ball easily. In addition, Roger has gained a great deal of confidence with his backhand and is much more aggressive on his passing shots. No one changes the pace better than Roger with his biting low slice and don’t forget his drop shots from both sides. He also has the ability to use the very same serve toss to hit a kicker or a wide-slice serve.
Rafael Nadal – Nadal is one of a kind and there is no doubt in my mind that he is basically a freak of nature! It’s amazing to me when just about everyone is ready to say he can’t come back and then guess what, he comes back again! The entire world should try to follow his work ethic because this guy never gets tired and is always trying to get better and better. Nadal will do what he has always done against Federer which is to hit his lefty cross-court forehand with heavy spin to Federer’s one-handed backhand. Federer will move Nadal all over the court and try to avoid cross-court rallies. Both men are in top form, but what will be a major factor as the match rolls on is whether or not Federer is able to play his variety of shots which includes coming into the net.
The odds certainly favor Nadal, especially if the match becomes a dog fight with long sets and rallies. Most experts and I agree that the longer the match goes on, the more it favors Nadal. We must also bring our the clear facts that the heavy cross-court forehands of Nadal could take a toll on Federer’s backhand. Having said all of that, I just like the way Federer is playing and I am going to give a slight edge to him. Although, if this match goes five sets, I give it to Nadal. Federer in 4, Nadal in 5!
Maria Sharapova (RUS) vs. Petra Kvitova (CZE) – Kvitova has had success against Sharapova in the past, but Maria is playing great tennis right now! Kvitova’s forehand is hard to read because she is a left and she can hit winners from anywhere on the court. Her bakchand is also an offensive shot and she doesn’t hit with much spin. Her first serve is very good, and she has a lot of action on her second serve, but it can be attacked. She is very comfy at the net and also moves well for her height. Pay close attention to the way she returns serve because she does it very well and with great consistency.
There is no reason to break down Sharapova’s game in to much detail, but this is what will take place. She will stand close to the baseline and pound the tar out of every ball with little spin. She will go after tentative second serves and punish you at all times. She has spent many hours on her physical fitness program and equal time working on her return! Her serve is still a major weapon and will have a big impact on a win or a loss. Finally, no one is stronger mentally that Sharapova!
I give a slight edge to Sharapova because she refuses to lose and will find a way to win! Sharapova in 3 sets.