Who can pick a men's or women's Oz Champ?
It has been a long while since a Slam has been this open in both sexes. Pick it if you can! I will venture a guess and go Davydenko and Clijsters but don't ask me for any conviction. Davydenko has crossed one rubicon in winning the end of year masters the backing it up with wins over his two arch nemesis Fed+Rafa, so can his nerve hold for a Slam? Clijsters historically played well in Melbourne so with her new found confidence and relaxed "motherhood works" attitude I really think she is the one to beat. Not so you can hear Serena, Elena, Justin, Dinara(weekly) and a few others. What about Wickmayer? Unseeded and fresh off qualifying and a win but probably a step too far.
Roger will quietly progress and loom large in the semis whilst watching Murray, de Potro and Rafa fight out the bottom but certainly will not take Davydenko lightly should they meet in the semis. He is no longer the guy he always beats! Roddick? Gasquet or Bagdhatis are all capable of taking out a favourite and like Melbourne. Even Hewitt could be in with a chance of a big night match to throw a spanner in someone's works.
I sit here about to board a flight from Shanghai to Amsterdam, then Manchester (kinda like knowing you are about to go 5 sets and can't avoid it, having finished all my books including the Agassi book-magic) and really look forward to watching this Oz open unfold.
I've been with Naomi Broady to two challengers in China where she played well but came up short in the 2nd round in both. A real shame as had chances in both and Krunic (went on to win the 50K) plus Abdouraimova who she lost to 76(5) 16 6-4 is hot and may also go on to win the week. I felt Naomi could win both weeks but it was not to be. She has compiled a 17-2 record in her last 5 tournaments and is the fastest riser in the world over the last month so all is good in perspective. Still its disappointing when you know its on.
MCTA will now decamp to Bath and try work some magic on a few younger players. We also await the injury crisis to pass.
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