2018 Aussie Open, The Picks, Day 7

(Last Updated On: January 21, 2018)

Madison Keys vs Caroline Garcia
This has to be a tossup. They have only faced each other twice, only the hardcourts. The Frenchwoman won in Fed Cup; the American Keys bested Keys in 2016 Wuhan. Since then, Garcia has risen because last fall she finally became aggressive, smarter and confident.
At times over the past four years, Keys has been very good, bad and so-so. But right now, Keys is finally happy, she is healthy and she can finally breath again. The same goes with Garcia: When she was way down, she could become depressed, and she would mentally walk away. But now, she never gives up and she returns very well. Plus, she plays a lot of doubles and she can put it away at the net.  
Keys is a huge first serve, as well as her heavy strokes. It will be a long battle, but in the end, the American will outlast Garcia in three heavy sets.

Simona Halep vs Naomi Osaka
It took the No. 1 Halep, what, nearly four hours to win over Lauren Davis on Saturday. What a marathon! As Halep said, she almost died. But she is still in there, and she is incredibly strong in her legs. At least by Monday, Halep will have recovered.  
Osaka is a solid hitter and upset the Aussie Ash Barty. That was a huge win. She is only 20 years old; clearly, she is coming up. She will try to out-stroke Halep, but Osaka needs more time to mature. Simona will win in straight sets.

Novak Djokovic vs Hyeon Chung
We all know that when the Serbian is locked in, he can thump anyone. But, last year, the very young South Korean Chung was pretty good and continues to improve. In the fifth set against Sasha Zverev, he blew him out 6-0. Ka-boom.
Chung is super steady, and very quick. Of course, Djokovic is the favorite as he has won six titles at the AO. He was frustrated last season, he was very hurt, but now, he is healthy and driven. Djokovic will win in four sets, but there will be some very long rallies.   

Dominic Thiem vs Tennys Sandgren
Yes, there is one US male left, the tall Sandgren. The American has been around for eight years. He has struggled, year after year, because he isn’t that fast, but he has a huge serve, and he can crack his forehand.
The Austrian keeps on plugging away, an odd thing to say about a player with his ranking. Thiem is ranked No. 5, and he loves clay, but gradually, he is getting better at the hardcourts, especially with his one-handed backhand. As Sandgren, said, “Its going to be really tough, man.”
One way or another, Thiem will wear him down and win in four sets.

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