As we approach half way through the first week, the Australian Open has been pretty straightforward. The favorites have not missed a beat coming out firing and hungry for the first Grand Slam of the season.
Before we look ahead to the exciting third round matches, especially on the women’s side (Sharapova-Venus, Ivanovic-Jankovic) there is still one more day of second round action featuring Roger Federer, Andy Murray, Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka.
Will Serena be hampered by her ankle? Can Gale Monfils continue his comeback trail? Will the hot weather forecasted for today take its toll on the favorites?
Here are the bold predictions for day four.
Scheduled as the last match of Day four, this features one player looking to continue to break through, and another trying to reach the final week of a Grand Slam. Kvitova struggled in her opening round, against former French Open champion and top-10 player Francesca Schiavone, but found her form in the final set. Kvitova is coming back from ending the 2012 season with an illness and struggled in the early lead up tournaments.
The bad news for Kvitova is that Robson has experienced beating the world’s best on the biggest stage, as we saw at the 2012 US Open. Robson beat the three-time US Open champion Kim Clijsters on Arthur Ashe Stadium and then followed up her upset by defeating French Open champion Li Na. Robson has a strong hard court game and if she’s playing her best, it will be a major test for Kvitova.
The good news for Kvitova? She and Robson avoid the sweltering heat and play in more favorable weather conditions.
Look for a battle on Rod Laver Area with the Wimbledon champ squeaking through in three sets.
Serena took a big spill on day two that turned out to look a lot worse that it actually was. And as history has told us, Serena’s will and determination overrides her physical ailments. Take the 2007 Australian Open, where she entered unseeded and out-of shape (due to her injuries in 2006) and demolished top seed Sharapova in the final.
Look for Williams to dispatch opponent Garbine Muguruza and move on to the third round.
Monfils takes on Taipei’s Yen-Hsun Lu as the final match on Hisense Arena. Though Lu hasn’t done much since his quarterfinal appearance at Wimbledon almost three years ago, his game is suited for the hard court. And his best recent Grand Slam result came at last year’s Australian Open, reaching the third round.
Monfils looked impressive in his first round match, taking out the number 18 seed Alexandr Dolgopolov. Like his opponent, Monfils shines on fast surfaces with his Roddick-like service motion and his athletic groundstroke game.
Monfils and Lu have met once, in Johannesburg on hard court with Monfils winning in two sets. Don’t expect the same easy outcome. Because Monfils has had limited match play, his level could dip and Lu could get a set or two off of Monfils.
The Monfils comeback trail won’t end here, look for the Frenchman to advance in 5 sets.
Although Rosol hasn’t had the best results since taking Rafael Nadal out at Wimbledon, causing one of the biggest upsets of the decade, he could today on Court 13.
His opponent, number 13 seed Milos Raonic has gotten off to a mediocre start—losing early in Brisbane to Grigor Dimitrov. He looks vulnerable, coming off a slow start in his first round match, which is good news for Rosol.
Although I’m going with Rosol in five sets, this is still a toss-up match. It just depends if “Nadal Killer” Rosol or 75 ranked Rosol shows up.