Ideal Quarterfinal Matchups for the 2014 Australian Open

Jeffrey Ruth@@ruthjeffreyaFeatured ColumnistJanuary 17, 2014

Ideal Quarterfinal Matchups for the 2014 Australian Open

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    It's not too early to look ahead to the quarterfinals of the 2014 Australian Open. Here's a sneak peak:

    • Novak Djokovic wins.
    • So does Feliciano Lopez.

    But that's not really enough, is it? There will be significant upsets en route to the quarterfinal stage of this first grand slam event. It simply won't be the usual cast of characters. The heat, the timing and the matchups will dictate some surprises.

    Here are the ideal quarterfinal matchups going into week two of the Australian Open.


Tomas Berdych Versus David Ferrer

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    Poor David Ferrer. He will lose to Tomas Berdych.

    Perhaps that is not the biggest surprise, but it will make for a compelling, and therefore ideal, match. David Ferrer remains an outsider in the world of elite tennis, and that is truly a shame. He just doesn't carry the excitement value of a top player.

    Berdych, on the other hand, is no stranger to fan excitement, having eliminated Ferrer in the big moment already—the 2013 ATP World Tour Finals.

    His game is powerful, his smiles large and he will continue to provide problems for his opponents. This will be especially true of a face off with the Spaniard. Expect an invigorating match. Anyone who follows tennis on a regular basis can already anticipate why this will be such an ideal clash.

    Berdych will be on the constant attack, as he has been during his 13-0 run of service games. Ferrer will retreat into the shade and chase virtually everything down.


    Advantage Berdych, and he will advance.

Stanislas Wawrinka Versus Novak Djokovic

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    Stanislas Wawrinka versus Novak Djokovic will be the match of the tournament. It is not only the ideal quarterfinal of the 2014 Australian Open, but will be the ideal overall encounter.

    Pity it will happen so early in the fortnight.

    Clearly, the No. 2 Djokovic is favored to win the Australian Open, seeding notwithstanding. He is playing confidently and is seemingly ignoring the court conditions, which is amazing. But then again, Wawrinka is in top form himself. He has displayed an early season form that bodes very well for his 2014 season.

    This match may not end up going the distance, but it will sure feel like it did. Wawrinka just doesn't fear Djokovic anymore, and he will show why.

    After their memorable battles of 2013, the baseline rallies don't scare him. Djokovic won't be able to pin him down in backhand-to-backhand rallies.

    Wawrinka is that good off the ad court wing.

    To be sure, Djokovic will win this encounter and will likely go on to win the tournament as well. But it will be a memorable match, an ideal match and probably the best of the first quarter of the season as a whole.

Rafael Nadal Versus Milos Raonic

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    Will Milos Raonic, the No. 11 seed from Canada, really beat top-seeded Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open?


    This will distress certain tennis fans. To be sure, Spaniards everywhere will not believe the news, even when they read it in the papers the next day. But that's what makes this such an ideal quarterfinal. It will be fast-paced, exciting and nearly unbelievable.

    The truth of the matter is that it is a great exchange of styles. Like the Stanislas Wawrinka versus Novak Djokovic match, it will be attack against counterattack.

    That makes for memorable grand slam moments.

    Raonic has been riding his serve to success over the first week. But that is not all that he will bring to the match. After his successes last year, he is primed to make a run, and there is no better time than the beginning of the year.

    Fans will be treated to a shocking four-set display, and the result will be that the attacking Raonic will put the defending Nadal on his heels and then send him packing.

Feliciano Lopez Versus Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

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    By the quarterfinals of the 2014 Australian Open, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will have been on quite a roll. Especially since he will have eliminated No. 6 seed and fan favorite Roger Federer.

    That's right, the Swiss player.

    Tsonga is on top form and the hot, hard courts suit him just fine. He will continue to romp over opponents and then break into his spinning dance over the entire first week in Melbourne. Then he will meet Feliciano Lopez, who has looked equally ship-shape.

    This, of course, necessitates that Feliciano Lopez upsets Andy Murray prior to the quarters. Is this reasonable to argue? It is well within reason. Lopez's low, precise groundies and ability to grind out points will work wonders  against the Scot. They may, in fact, be just not what the doctor ordered for Murray, whose back remains questionable.

    Many are questioning defending Wimbledon champ's claims of feeling comfortable, from experienced pundits to up-and-coming players like Adam Hermann of the United States.

    Tsonga, though, is the one causing the top seeds to look over their shoulders, according to

    The Frenchman will just have too much game in the end. It is possible, probable even, that Lopez will take a set. That will be all, though.

    What will make this the ideal quarterfinal, then?

    The fact that it is a completely unexpected match-up. Writers, pundits and fans will have Federer in the quarters and probably will have him beating Tsonga. Because Federer won't even be around for the Tsonga match, there will automatically be intense interest.

    And because many will have Tsonga losing at this stage anyway, more eyes will be on Lopez to perhaps be the one to eliminate him.