2018 Aussie Open, The Picks, Day 4


Novak Djokovic vs Gael Monfils

It has been a long time that Novak has been on court. He’s been hurt physically, as well as mentally. On Tuesday, when he walked on court, you figure his first thought was that he was finally back.

He sure is. The former No. 1 is an excellent player, who has improved so much over the past decade. But now, he has to re-charge his battery. 

The funny Gael is a veteran player and he has reached the semis twice at Roland Garros. Every year, I thought if he was healthy, he could win a major. When he is focused, he is phenomenal. But he has not changed his tactics, especially because he lives too far behind the baseline and his backhand is marginal. 

That is why Djokovic is better; without a doubt, his backhand is substantially better, and he hits it very deep. He is super-intense. Novak will win in four sets, but it should be some terrific points.     

Simona Halep vs Genie Bouchard
The Romanian Halep is No. 1, which is just fine, but she has yet to win a Grand Slam. She absolutely has to. She has come very close, but in the finals at the majors, she backs off and inside in her head, she blinks. And then she is gone.

However, Halep moves so well, and she runs and runs without getting tired. She is incredibly strong. 

Now Halep has to go up against the Canadian Bouchard, who was stunningly good in 2014, when she reached the final at Wimbledon and in the semis at the Aussie Open. She is a huge hitter, and moves forward like an animal. But over the last three years, Bouchard has played terrible. Last year, she did win a couple events, but other than that, she was losing in the first round all the time.

Right now, she is barely in the top 100, considering that in 2014, she was ranked No. 5.  That is kind of crazy, given that more or less, her body is just fine. One day, she could rise, but Genie has to become much more mature. Go out and battle and forget about the negatives all the time. But even if Bouchard players very well, Halep will out steady her. Simona will win in straight sets.

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