Australian Open 2013: Picking Round of 16 Winners on Day 7

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Australian Open 2013: Picking Round of 16 Winners on Day 7
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The first week of the 2013 Australian Open is nearly in the books, as only 16 men and 16 women remain in the hunt for the year's first Grand Slam title.

On Day 7 from Melbourne Park, fans will get another glimpse of two-time defending men's champion Novak Djokovic, as well as former women's champion Maria Sharapova. But beyond those two familiar faces, who are both favored to advance to the next stage, 14 other contenders, including Agnieszka Radwanska, are set to pursue spots in the quarterfinals.

But before Sunday's action begins, here are three of my Round of 16 picks from Down Under.

 

Ekaterina Makarova (19) over Angelique Kerber (5)

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Angelique Kerber will be on upset alert on Sunday against Ekaterina Makarova. The fifth-seeded German will be favored, but I actually love Makarova's chances.

The Russian took out No. 11 Marion Bartoli in the third round and recorded a ridiculous 51 winners in that match. She has loads of confidence and a scorching-hot game coming into Day 7. Although many signs point to Kerber and her mistake-free game coming out on top, I'll ride the hot hand this time around.

I like Ekaterina Makarova to get back to the quarterfinals of the Australian Open for the second straight year. After all, Kerber has never been past the fourth round at Melbourne Park, which is something she'll have to overcome, in addition to her opponent on Sunday.

 

David Ferrer (4) over Kei Nishikori (16)

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The fourth seed on the men's side, Spaniard David Ferrer will take on No. 16 Kei Nishikori of Japan on Sunday, in an under-the-radar Round of 16 match. 

Ferrer is coming off a fantastic year in 2012, the best of his career, capitalizing on the absence of Rafael Nadal later in the year while making a run to the semis at the French Open as well as the U.S. Open. Both Ferrer and Nishikori made quarterfinal runs in Melbourne a year ago, but Ferrer has more experience, having made deeper runs in the Australian Open, reaching the semis two years ago.

I like him to get one step closer to the semis on Day 7, using his unrivaled cardio and intensity to take down Nishikori.

The 30-year-old may not be a serious threat to Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer or Andy Murray, but nonetheless he's proven to be a consistent force at recent majors.

 

Agnieszka Radwanska (4) over Ana Ivanovic (13)

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This year marks the third time in three years that Polish star Agnieszka Radwanska has reached at least the fourth round of the Australian Open, and that bodes well for her chances on Day 7.

Radwanska will take 13th-seeded Ana Ivanovic in the Round of 16. And while there is little doubt that Ivanovic is capable of springing the upset, it should be noted that the Serbian fell at this stage in 2012 and hasn't been beyond it since she made the final in 2008.

Beyond the two players' history here, Radwanska is poised to play a cleaner match and to make fewer unforced errors than Ivanovic on Sunday. The 23-year-old fourth seed has been extremely consistent in that department, which is often times the most critical on big stages such as this one. 

Plus, Radwanska has been finding rare success on her second-serve points, which is another great sign for her in this Round of 16 clash.

 

Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter throughout the 2013 Australian Open for more reaction and analysis on the year's first Grand Slam.

Follow _Pat_Clarke on Twitter

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