Australian Open 2013: Underrated Players to Watch in Men's Singles Draw

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 18, 2013

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 17:  Gael Monfils of France looks on between games in his second round match against Yen-Hsun Lu of Chinese Taipei during day four of the 2013 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 17, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
Scott Barbour/Getty Images

As with most every Grand Slam, the cream always rises to the top at the Australian Open.

However, as it is the first Grand Slam tournament of the year, the Aussie Open is much more prone to seeing the top seeds upset.

From 2006-08, the men's singles final saw Marcos Baghdatis, Fernando Gonzalez and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga all make the final.

Recently, it's been more domination from the quartet of Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic.

The odds are against the following players, but you should watch for them because the momentum they could gain from key upsets would be immense.


Stanislas Wawrinka

Stanislas Wawrinka has the opportunity to do some major damage in the fourth round, but it's going to be a herculean task.

He's challenging world No. 1 Novak Djokovic. According to, the Djoker is 13-2 head-to-head against Wawrinka.

The last time the two met was the fourth round of the 2012 U.S. Open. Djokovic won after Wawrinka had to retire in the third set.

Wawrinka beat the 20th-seeded Sam Querrey in three sets in the third round to meet Djokovic. The chances are slim, but the Australian Open is almost always guaranteed to see most of the big seeds upset early


Kevin Anderson

It's been a much easier road than expected for Kevin Anderson. The South African upset 22nd-seeded Fernando Verdasco in the third round.

Thanks to Andrey Kuznetsov, Anderson avoided having to play Juan Monaco in the second round. Anderson beat Kuznetsov in straight sets before upsetting Verdasco.

Now, he has a date with fifth-seeded Tomas Berdych. Anderson and Berdych went the full five sets at the 2012 French Open, with the Czech advancing. Having played him on multiple occasions, it's not as if Anderson is going to be intimidated by Berdych like another unseeded player might be.


Gael Monfils

Gael Monfils has been through the gauntlet, so far. He went five sets in the first two rounds, beating No. 18 Alexandr Dolgopolov and Yen-Hsun Lu in the process.

Monfils has remained one of the more freakish athletes in men's tennis, but it hasn't translated well on the court. On the other hand, if there's anybody who can handle the physical toll of consecutive five-setters, it's him.

The Australian Open has never been too kind to Monfils. He's never advanced further than the fourth round.

In that 2009 fourth-round match, he had to retire due to a right-wrist injury. His opponent was Gilles Simon, who's coincidentally his opponent this year in the third round.