Its the second week of the Aussie Open, the time when two players realise their dreams and the rest rue the missed opportunities. Half of the 4th round games have now been played, and the initial quarter finals are looking tasty to say the least. Who has impressed me most this week? The ladies which is still very very open despite the loss of the mercurial Henin, Sharapova, Venus and Stosur. Caro Wozniacki has played herself through a very tricky draw and will be confident entering the second week The journalists certainly want her to make the final so we can hear further witty press conferences. Li Na has been very convincing thus far, she has the talent to become the first Chinese woman to win a slam and who would back against her.
The next big player on the women’s circuit Petra Kvitova has shown she has more than enough weaponary in her arsenal to make it to the top 5. In her match against Sam Stosur, she showed no fear or respect for reputations as she demolished her, with her powerful forehand and monster serve. The tall, athletic and blonde Czech plays like a cross between Nadal and Del Potro and moves just as good as the former. I have not been as impressed with a player in a long time! She faces baseline basher Flavia Pennetta in her 4th round match as she chases a likely quarter final with Vera Zvonareva.
The remaining ladies 4r matches do not exactly get my pulse racing but who knows I could be surprised by an upset or two. Aggie Radwanska
faces China’s Shuai Peng, should Ms Peng win that will be 2 Chinese in the quarter finals of a slam again. China seem to be churning out tennis players as quickly as Russia churn out gymnasts. Kim Clijsters who has looked infallible so far in Melbourne faces Russian Makarova, queue commentators curse and watch Kimmy tumble out in shocking fashion. And finally Vera Zvonareva faces Iveta Benesova a match she should probably win without having yet achieving the level she reached last year.
The next generation of men have begun to come through in the form of Bernard Tomic, Milos Raonic and Alex Dolgopolov; all tall athletic lean guys in the mould of Juan Martin Del Potro. Perhaps the most exciting of which would appear to be Canadian Milos Raonic. He faces David Ferrer of Spain in the 4r. What a huge announcement it would be for the Canadian if he could negotiate steady eddie Ferrer and make the Quarter finals. In form Robin Soderling faces Alex Dolgopolov. The two have never met but I expect the big Swede to teach Mr F a lesson in aggressive baseline hitting.
The current generation in Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal have winnable 4r games. Murray players leftie Melzer who has done fantastically well at the slams of late and Nadal faces the nearly man on mens tennis Marin Cilic. There can be no doubt that although Cilic and Melzer are underdogs on their day they can certainly overcome their more illustrious opponents. Cilic and Melzer have hard flat forehands, the kind that typically Andy and Rafa dont thrive on. Whos knows, perhaps we could see 4 sets maybe even 5, but the top dogs should come through.
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