Who to watch at the Australian Open

Nathan Templeton January 18, 2013, 12:40 pm

We are through the first two rounds of the 2013 Australian Open and we have been able to take a look at how everyone is tracking; the favourites and the smokies.

So far there are not a huge amount of surprises, the big guns are firing and living up to the expectations we all have on them.

Let's take a quick glance at the men and the women that are lighting up the courts here at Melbourne Park after their first two matches.

Men

Novak Djokovic

He has been untroubled in his matches so far and has done nothing to suggest he has dropped off from where he was last year.

Not so long ago there was a query over his ability to handle the heat but he has improved his fitness a lot. He is just so lean now, an absolute machine and his physical condition is up there with the best on the tour.

That helped him move from that 2-4 ranking to being the No.1 in the world and he has done nothing so far to suggest he shouldn’t be favourite to take out the Australian Open.

Roger Federer

Federer seems to have recaptured the form of a couple of years ago in these two rounds.

He had lost it a bit but at 31 it’s back.

He really looks to have that hunger back in his game after drifting for a couple of years.

He has lost none of that touch and last night, against Nikolay Davydenko, he looked ruthless as well.

Davydenko I a tough opponent to get in a round two clash but he looked determined to put it to bed early and that’s exactly what he did.

Andy Murray

A lot of experts agree he has really closed the gap on the top three of Djokovic, Nadal and Federer.

He believes he belongs in that top echelon and after his US Open win last year he certainly does.

He is going along a bit under the radar which seems srange after the end he had to last year.

But that is who he is. He goes along with the minimum of fuss and he will e there at the end of this two weeks.

Smokies

Tomas Berdych

He is always a danger. He has the game to beat anyone and showed that when he blew Federer off the court last year.

There has been question marks over his temperament but he has had a solid lead up and caould cause an upset.

Juan Martin del Potro

He has a huge game and could easily win another slam.

He won the 2009 US Open and beat Nadal and Federer in that event, both of them in their prime.

He has had some injuries in recent years but he looks to be over those.

He beat Benjamin Becker well last night and is the kind of player no one wil want to meet in a quarter final.

Jo-Wilfred Tsonga

The big guy with the big game, he could knock off anyone on his day.

He plays a lower percentage game and does not have the consistency of the top guys but if they get him when he is firing they will be in trouble.

Women

Victoria Azarenka

She deserves to be the No.1 seed here. She is the defending champion and the No.1 in the world.

The win at last year’s Australian Open was a real breakthrough for her and she has not dropped off from the form shown there over the year.

She looks to have been firing in her first two rounds and will go far this year as well.

Serena Williams

Anytime she is fully fit she is the favourite at any tournament, and deserves to be.

She is definitely the most powerful force in the women’s game.

She is now more selective in her tournament selection and when she sets herself for one, she always causes problems for every player there.

She had an ankle scare in round one and looked tentative in her second round clash ut played doubles yesterday and has dealt with ankle injuries her entire career.

As long as it does not cause too many issues for her she will be very hard to beat here.

Maria Sharapova

She has won here in Australia before and reached the final last year.

Her first two rounds saw her grab double bagels in each, the first to do so since Margaret Turnball in 1985.

What you hear from a late of players is you need to conserve energy early in the tournament in Australia and she has certainly done that and is at a huge advantage.

She has the physical powers to match it with Serena and is looking very good so far.

Smokies

Venus Williams

Venus is again showing flashes of being a top player but is less consistent than her sister.

She certainly has the game to match it with all of them but percentages say she might struggle tonight against Sharapova, who is younger, fitter and more consistent.

Ana Ivanovic

She is a slam winner who deserves respect here.
She is much fitter than she was and has slimmed down a bit so can handle the longer matches better now.

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1 Comments

  1. Alan03:31pm Tuesday 22nd January 2013 ESTReport Abuse

    Hey Mr Templeton, You forgot Li Na. Venus and Ana are way past thier best.

    Reply