Australian Open: Wednesday Preview

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Roger Federer plays Jo Wilfried Tsonga today in what will be his 35th consecutive quarter final. 35 a huge number and is seems even bigger when you see it is consecutive. That is like almost 9 straight years! Most players don’t have a career 9 years long!

Jo is a tough opponent because he can and he has beaten Federer at the Grand Slams before. Only very few playing today have that distinction (and experience). That Tsonga beat Federer at Wimbledon of all places AND after being two sets down makes him a huge threat. Federer leads their head to head 8-3 but will be wary of the talented albeit volatile Frenchman.

When the draw was announced, it was common sentiment that Federer had the toughest road to the final. The players projected to meet him enroute were all capable of giving him a hard time or derailing him completely. But the Swiss native has skilfully navigated through his draw so far and has used all of immense experience at the majors to defeat an old foe and a couple of young upstarts. Untroubled, Federer has sailed into the quarters. Could he have used a tougher test? I don’t think it will matter as he knows his game and has seen Tsonga’s game enough to prepare adequately. And the short matches ensure that he is fresher which let’s face it, is better for the Grandpa of Tennis!  😛

Can the 2008 finalist here stop the four time champ from reaching his 10th consecutive AO semi and an astonishing 33rd Grand Slam semi? While Tsonga’s absolute best can match Federer’s, the 17 time GS champion is too far ahead in consistency and experience and will eventually come on top on what promises to be a entertaining match.

Andy Murray faces another Frenchman, Jeremy Chardy in the other quarter final. Murray has had a very kind draw so far in this Open and could potentially have another easy day on court today as well. Chardy did take out Del Potro but can he repeat that feat against the ultra consistent Murray? I don’t think so.

I caught highlights of the first two quarter finals and while there were no surprises about the winners, the manner of their victories was striking. David Ferrer came back from 2 sets down to beat countryman Nicolas Almagro. However the latter had multiple chances to serve out the match but failed each time. His backhand was beautiful to watch when it clicked but it didn’t click enough. Somehow, someway Almagro managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

World number one Novak Djokovic overcame Tomas Berdych to advance to the semis. The two time defending champion started strongly to take the opening set 6-1, dispelling any rumours about his fitness after his 5 set win over Wawrinka in the previous round. Berdych, against the momentum, broke to start the second set and eventually levelled the match. But the Serbian came out even stronger as he easily took the next two sets to book his place in the semis.

David Ferrer needs to raise his game to near perfection to have any chance of beating the defending champion. Consistency is the trademark of Ferrer’s game, not aggression and I don’t see any one out defending Novak on this court; if Murray and Nadal couldn’t do it, certainly not Ferrer.

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