Australian Open 2012 TV Schedule: Top Men's Matches to Watch on Day 7

Jack Alexandros RathbornContributor IIIJanuary 21, 2012

Australian Open 2012 TV Schedule: Top Men's Matches to Watch on Day 7

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    There has been some action-packed tennis in the first week of the 2012 Australian Open so far.

    But the bar will be raised on Sunday as we enter the fourth round.

    We have some mouthwatering matchups upon us, and the veteran stars have all strolled to this stage alongside some young stars, who we all want to see, still there too.

    Here is a preview of three games on Sunday you must watch. 

Feliciano Lopez (18) vs. Rafael Nadal (2)

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    Rafael Nadal has begun the year's first Grand Slam in impressive fashion.

    The Spaniard has come through Alex Kuznetsoz, Tommy Haas and Lukas Lacko, and has dropped just 25 games.

    He now plays fellow-Spaniard Felicano Lopez, who should be the perfect player for Rafa to tweak some parts of his game that he feels need to be adjusted in order to finally conquer Novak Djokovic without jeopardising the result of the match.

    Not that Nadal will take Lopez lightly, he is just too professional for that, but Rafa has an 8-2 record over his Davis Cup teammate.

    Lopez's last victory over Nadal came in 2010 at Queens Club on grass.

    His other victory, which now seems irrelevant, was a three-set victory on the carpet in Basle back in 2003 (their first meeting together).

    In fact, Lopez has not won a set against Nadal on this surface, which leads me to expect a dominant Nadal to sweep aside his opponent in straight sets and coast in to the quarterfinals.

    Crucially we need to look out for slight adjustments in his game that might show us what his eventual game plan will be when he meets the world No. 1 and current champion.

    Expect some brutal winners from the back court as Nadal tries to end the points quickly, a tactic that could be fruitful against Djokovic.

    Nadal will at least need to change the tempo quickly, by putting his foot on the accelerator as the rally gets in to a rhythm—something that has always helped Djokovic in his recent games with Nadal. 

Philipp Kolschreiber vs. Juan Martin Del Potro (11)

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    Juan Martin Del Potro is a dangerous player for the top four seeds.

    The general consensus among tennis fans is that the Argentine, when on top form, is the best equipped player outside of the "big four" to be able to win a Grand Slam on a hard court.

    He was superb on the clay in Seville, as he pushed Rafael Nadal all the way in the Davis Cup final.

    Although he suffered a devastating defeat then, there were clearly promising signs that he is returning to his very best form and that the Australian Open is one of the two majors that the Argentine will be targeting to add to his one Grand Slam victory thus far, the 2009 US Open.

    He begun the tournament slowly, by taking four sets to get past Frenchman Adrian Mannarino before a scrappy three-set win against Blaz Kavcic.

    In the third round, Del Potro ramped his game up against Taiwanese player Lu Yen-hsun and strolled to a three-set victory, dropping just five games.

    The signs are ominous for the German Kohlscreiber, who will struggle against Del Potro's game, which should have too much range and power in this one.

    The German did pick up an impressive win against Juan Monaco in the first round in five sets, but the road should end here as we finally see Del Potro enter the necessary form to topple two of the best four players in the world and claim a Grand Slam.

    The Argentine holds a 4-0 record against his opponent and has only dropped one set in that time, five years ago in the first meeting.

    I predict a straight-sets victory for Del Potro.

Bernard Tomic vs. Roger Federer (3)

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    Roger Federer appears to have been written off by the majority of the tennis world when it comes to claiming another Grand Slam.

    The Swiss is not getting any younger, but this could be his year to win another Grand Slam—the Australian Open appears to be set up for him to add to his legacy.

    Federer will be fresh, due to only playing two matches thus far which were both routine three-set wins.

    The second-round match with Andreas Beck was abandoned.

    The 30-year-old will now face his toughest challenge in Bernard Tomic.

    The Australian youngster will present a physical challenge for Federer, who holds a 1-0 record against the 19-year-old.

    That victory against Tomic came in last year's Davis Cup on grass and Federer came through in four sets.

    Tomic could be fatigued somewhat after taking five sets to dispose of Fernando Verdasco, four sets to take out Sam Querrey and another five sets in his third-round victory over Alexandr Dolgopolov.

    I can see Federer starting quickly in this one before the crowd brings the Australian back in to it, but the Swiss will eventually triumph in four sets.

    This should be thoroughly entertaining action and has the potential to be the match of the tournament so far.

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