Close ones: Murray vs. Ferrer, Raonic vs Monfils, Vika vs. Angie

murray aussie open 2013




Can the Spaniard really bother the Brit if he manages to serve big and jump on his returns? Maybe, but even if he does, how is he going to wear him down? Years ago, Ferrer did, as he could run side to side, pushed him back for hours, and Murray became frustrated. Instead of being patient, he could be wild. But over the past few years, Murray improved overall. His forehand is stronger, especially when he goes down the line. His brilliant backhand is so sharp and he can smack it were ever he want to. Ferrer can’t find a way to crack him, and now he has become anxious.

Both the veterans know each other well, with Murray having beaten him 15 times, and Ferrer has won six times. According to Murray, he has found out that Ferrer has recently changed his racket and now he can hit even harder. Perhaps he is, but that doesn’t mean he can out–hit him, as Murray has looked fantastic since he arrived here last week. Murray will win in the four sets.


Monfils’ right arm must be busted up after he dove to the right to try to hit a forehand and fell hard into the court. He said that he could have broken it, but it didn’t. However, he is likely pretty sore and while he can leap around and crush his first serve and forehand, he can be erratic and he has never gone deep at the Aussie Open. However, the 29-year-old Frenchman has beaten Raonic twice and, while it was a while ago, at least he will think he can sting him. On Rod Laver, he can smile and grin and have the fans join him in a fun match.

However, Raonic has played extremely well since he started this year in Brisbane. He knocked out Roger Federer in the final, and here, when Stan Wawrinka was trying to trick him, he decided to be more aggressive in his serve, returns and net game. Monfils can sit way back and punch the ball around, but Raonic has no intention to engage in long rallies. He will swing early and often and the Canadian will win in straight sets.


Do we have to see this again? In two-and-a-half weeks ago in the final of Brisbane, Azarenka beat the heck out of Kerber 6-3 6-1. The first set wasn’t bad, but after that, Azarenka whacked her. She has never lost against Kerber, who she has beaten six times, and the reason is because her serve is substantially better. In big matches, she can get right into her face and the German backs off.

Look, Kerber is an excellent player when she is feeling fantastic mentally and outside her so-so serve (and it can be very, very bad), she can handle anyone. She is a super fast, she doesn’t get tired and she can paste her forehand and backhand. At the 2015 US Open, Kerber was very close of upsetting Azarenka, but lost 6-4 in the third. Azarenka was pretty vulnerable then but now, the former two-time Aussie champion is on fire and hasn’t lost a set. She will be ultra aggressive and come to the net whenever she can. Azarenka will win in two sets.


What a shocker that they both reached the quarters. Who would have think it? Konta has played extremely well over the past six months; while Shang has lost time and time again. She said that she was ready to retire, but then she qualified and began ripping the ball from everywhere. It’s a true pic-em. I will take Zhang, largely because she knocked a series of fine players (even if they were hurt) such as Simone Halep, Alize Cornet, Varvara Lepchenko and Madison Keys. Zhang Zhang will win in three very tough sets.

The Big 6, semis, Queens, Halle & Birmingham: Murray, Federer, Lisicki & more

Sabine Lisicki


At Queen’s

Andy Murray vs. Victor Troicki

The Britain had to play very well in the last two sets to overcome Gilles Muller 3-6 7-6(2) 6-4. The lefty Muller kept charging, and Murray mixed it up, attacking early and making sure that he would be in charge. That was a solid win by Troicki beating John Isner 7-6(5) 6-3, who really has improved this year. He may not be the strongest player out there, but he is steady and he has become a better server. Murray has too much game on grass and will dismisses the Serbian in straight sets.

Gilles Simon vs. Kevin Anderson

This is a true pick-em, because Simon was very solid to best Milos Raonic, and the tall Anderson was more than respective as he rarely loses early. Simon seems to like the grass, and can skid around happily, but Anderson can crack serves and wind up and swing away from inside the baseline. Anderson will win in straight sets.

At Halle, ATP

Roger Federer vs. Ivo Karlovic

Yes, Karlovic through bomb after bomb and he upset Tomas Berdych 7-5 6-7(8) 6-3, nailing 45 aces. Obviously, he was untouchable when he served, and he is pretty decent at the net, but Federer knows how to return. Plus, the Croat has never been able to make it to the semis at Wimbledon. Here in Halle, Federer realizes he has to be super patient, but he will and when the rallies begin he will yank him.   Federer will win in straight sets.

Kei Nishikori vs. Andreas Seppi

Nishikori has been pretty consistent this year, but his five set loss against Jo Tsonga at RG really hurt. However, on Halle he is moving quickly and he understands the grass courts. Seppi can be fun to watch, but he has yet to show he could knock out the top 10 guys on the super fast courts. Take Nishikori in straight sets.

At Birmingham, WTA

Karolina Pliskova vs. Kristina Mladenovic

Both of these hitters aren’t that fast side-to-side, but they both have huge serves and can crack the balls from both sides. On grass, not only do you need to have a lot of aces, or un-returnable, but when you are returning the second serves, you have to make sure that you can go close to the lines or go extremely deep. Mladenovic is a fine volley, and she could upset one of the top 10ers at Wimbledon, but here, the Czech will take her out in three sets. The Frenchwomen upset Simona Halep, but the Romanian is fragile now and Pliskova – who smoked Carla Suarez Navarro – is just too consistent.

Angelique Kerber vs. Sabine Lisicki

The German Lisicki is serving bombs and it’s not just because “Boom, Boom” is crushing the lines, but because mentally, she is much more confident on the grass. Yes, Kerber is a better player overall, but Lisicki has reached the final before at Wimbledon and she likes bending down very low and whacking the ball. Lisicki will win in straight sets.