Australian Open Men's Draw Down to the Final Eight

Janice IanContributor IJanuary 26, 2009

Now that we're down into the last few playing days of the Australian Open, we spectators have been treated with several surprises in the Men's Singles Draw.

Pre-tournament favorite Andy Murray was left out in the cold with a shocking defeat handed by Fernando Verdasco in five thrilling sets.  The Spaniard was on fire and probably playing his best tennis yet.  He has only made it to the second round in the past Australian Open tournaments he joined, and this is his best performance to date.

World No. 1 Rafael Nadal is on course to reach his first Australian Open finals.  His third and fourth round matches have proven that he is rightful to be on top of the standings with an amazing winners over unforced errors ratio and winning all his matches in three straight sets.  Will Frenchman Gilles Simon stop him on his tracks?

Another Frenchman and 2008 finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is also on course to duplicate if not surpass his performance last year.  He will be up against Verdasco in the quarterfinals, and with a possible rematch with Nadal in the semis.  Deja vu?

So will it be an all-Spaniard or all-Frenchman semifinals?  Nothing is written yet.

The other half of the draw has a similarly interesting cast going into the quarterfinals.  Defending champion Novak Djokovic will surely fight tooth and nail with American Andy Roddick for a slot in the semis.

World No. 2 and former Australian Open Champion Roger Federer, who just came back from a two sets to love match in the fourth round, has just proven that he is still a force to reckon with in Melbourne Park.  Not unless Argentine Juan Martin del Potro will have his way with the Swiss.

Everyone who is following the Australian Open is up on their feet waiting for the drama of the quarterfinals to unfold.

And your guess is only as good as mine.