2009 Australian Open – Nick’s Picks – Men’s Singles Round 2

Once again, Nick’s Picks along with Tennis Week will bring you in-depth coverage of the Australian Open.  Check back everyday for insight leading up to the Open and then throughout.

David Nalbandian (ARG) vs. Yen-Hsun Lu (TPE)

Nalbandian picked up a four-set win over Marc Gicquel of France in the opening round. He has already captured a title in 2009, winning in Sydney just last week. He has been to the quarters here three times and the semis once.

Lu comes into the tournament ranked a career high of #61 in the world and has reached the second round of the Aussie Open for only the second time in five attempts. He is best known for his upset over Andy Murray in the first round of the Olympics last year, so you know the kid can play.

The Match-Up:

Nalbandian is 1-0 against in his career, with that win coming back in 2004 in Beijing. Nalbandian is not a guy who is going to come out and surprise you. He is extremely solid from the baseline, doesn’t make many mistakes, and will keep Lu pinned back on his heels with deep groundstrokes. Nalbandian returns the serve well and his serve itself is underrated. Lu is going to have to force the issue a bit in this match and try to keep Nalbandian off balance, which is not an easy thing to do. I look for Nalbandian to pull through.

Nick’s Pick – Nalbandian in 3 or 4 sets

Marin Cilic (CRO) vs. Janko Tipsarevic (SRB)

Cilic is one the top guys to watch over the next couple of years. He is only 20-years old and is already ranked #20 in the world. He came into the Aussie Open with a perfect 5-0 record on the year and a title in Chennai already under his belt.

Tipsarevic, aka “Tipsy”, played one of the great matches of the 2008 Aussie Open when he took Federer to five sets before falling 10-8 in the fifth. This is already his third tournament of the young season and he reached the quarters in Chennai a couple of weeks ago.

The Match-Up:

Cilic is 1-0 against Tipsarevic, with that win coming just a couple of weeks ago in Chennai. That match went three sets, with Tipsarevic winning the second set 6-0 and Cilic winning the third 6-4. Tipsarevic is a streaky player. One day he takes Federer to five sets and the next he is losing to Albert Montanes 6-2, 6-1. He needed five sets to win his first match, and that may have an affect on his energy level in this match.

Cilic plays a big game from both sides and has a great serve. His style of play translates well onto this court and he seems to thrive on the big stage. Tipsarevic has the ability to frustrate the best guys and I don’t think this is going to be an easy win for Cilic. I give the edge to the Croat, but this could go long.

Nick’s Pick – Cilic in 4, maybe 5 sets

Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs. Roko Karanusic (CRO)

Nadal is very different, he is truly one of a kind. The entire tennis world is lucky that we get to witness a player such as him right now. His engine never stops running and that is what makes him so special.

Karanusic comes into the Aussie Open ranked #92 in the world. His best result in a Grand Slam came at last year’ US Open where he reached the second round before falling to Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy student Kei Nishikori.

The Match-Up:

This is the first career meeting between Nadal and Karanusic. Nadal plays a style that very few others can match. He beats you up and then throws in a few more punches just for good measure. I am sure his team tells him to try and cut down long points by using a little less spin on his groundstrokes and also taking advantage of his lefty serve (especially out wide to the ad side). Karanusic cannot trade blows with the killer, he should talk himself into being a totally different play and do things he through would be impossible. If Nadal continues to play like he did against Rochus, this could be quick.

Nick’s Pick – Nadal in 3 sets

Andy Murray (GBR) vs. Marcel Granollers (ESP)

Murray was not tested in the first round because Pavel retired in the second set. Murray is the talk of the world, especially among the British fans and news-media, and for good reason. He has never had a better chance than now at winning a Grand Slam.

Granollers picked up a four-set victory over Teimuraz Gabashvili in the first round. He is currently ranked #51 in the world and just reached the semis in Chennai a couple of weeks ago.

The Match-Up:

Murray is 1-0 against Granollers, with that win coming a couple of years ago on clay in Barcelona. More than likely, Murray is going to win this match, but we must be careful not to overreact to all the publicity he is receiving. Granollers cannot keep the ball in play and expect Mr. Murray to make errors. He must take chances, say a few prayers, and pray for some kind of heat phenomenon. Look for Murray to continue his winning ways.

Nick’s Pick – Murray in 3 sets

Other matches of interest:

Here are some of the other matches that I will be keeping my eye on during the first round.

Andy Roddick (USA) vs. Xavier Malisse (BEL) – After qualifying for the tournament, NBTA alum, Xavier Malisse, won his opening round match against Michael Llodra. Everyone agree that Malisse has the type of game that could keep Roddick pinned back. Malisse has magnificent footwork and excellent techniques; he just needs to stay focused. If he can, which I think he will, he could put a scare in Roddick. I do give Roddick the advantage though because of Malisse’s recent lack of match-play. This should be a good one.

Fabrice Santoro (FRA) vs. Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) – I still am having a hard time coming to grips with the fact that Santoro is going to retire. He is the kind of the guy that is great for the tour, because he plays such a different game. If you compare apples to apples, Kohlschreiber definitely has the bigger guns in this match. If you look at the mental aspect and the knowledge of the game, Santoro has the edge. I urge everyone to watch the magician at work here, as this will be a great match.

Novak Djokovic (SRB) vs. Jeremy Chardy (FRA) – Everyone is making a big deal about Djokovic’s racket change. He needs to accept the fact that he made the switch and needs to have complete confidence in his new tool. He was a little shaky early on in his first match with his forehand, but seemed to settle in as the match progressed. He can’t do that against Chardy, who is very talented. If you don’t know about Chardy, you will soon. He is currently #68 in the world and at 21-years old has a very bright future. He will go Djokovic a heck of a match, but in the end the Djoker will get the last laugh.

Bernard Tomic (AUS) vs. Gilles Muller (LUX) – Both of these guys are coming off of great wins. Tomic, the 16-year old Aussie, won his first Grand Slam main draw match, and Muller won a dramatic 16-14 five setter over Feliciano Lopez. No matter what anybody says it takes longer than one day to recover from a battle like Muller went through. He is a lefty with a good forehand, big serve, and not too many weaknesses. Tomic has excellent groundstrokes for a young kid, but to beat Muller he must gamble and take advantage of any defensive balls.

Gael Monfils (FRA) vs. Stefan Koubek (AUT) – Koubek is a fighter and can play on a very high level if he keeps his focus in line. Monfils must not be a dare-devil, and conserve his energy especially with the temperatures being so high. The Aussie fans really take to the character of Gael and this will help him throughout the tournament.

Ivan Ljubicic (CRO) vs. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) – This is a must-see match. The big serving Ljubicic had to play a tough five setter, while Tsonga was nice to his opponent, letting Juan Monaco get out of the heat relatively quickly (losing only eight games).

Ivo Karlovic (CRO) vs. Mario Ancic (CRO) – I am sure these two Croats know each other very well. Karlovic must have a huge serving day, which includes using a variety of serves rather that just big booming ones. Karlovic must also be aggressive onm his returns, especially from the backhand side. He cannot only slice and chip. Ancic is solid in all areas; the only question mark is his physical health. He has great techniques and will present a great challenge for Karlovic. Not too many break of serves in this one…


~ by Nick's Picks on January 20, 2009.

3 Responses to “2009 Australian Open – Nick’s Picks – Men’s Singles Round 2”

  1. Richard Gasquet Diego Junqueira Gasquet in 3 sets Gasquet Yes

    R. Gasquet 6 7 6 6
    D. Junqueira 7 6 3 4

    • We go by straight wins and losses for the pics…sets are an added bonus if we get them correct!

  2. ok thanks

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