The first Grand Slam of 2016 takes place next week, with the best players in the world fighting for the glory at Melbourne. Join us while we analyze the Men’s Draw and the best tennis picks.
The Australian Open takes place in Melbourne and will be played on Hard Court
Top Half Of The Draw
The defending champion and five-time winner, Novak Djokovic, is once again the main favorite to lift the trophy. After ending 2015 with 11 titles, Djokovic started 2016 with another conquest at ATP Doha. The Serbian shouldn’t experience any problems until quarterfinals, where he might face Kei Nishikori. The Japanese is a terrific shot maker and is always a tough opponent to face, as he showed in 2014 at the US Open – when he reached the final and surprised Djokovic on semifinals – however the Serbian won the previous three matches between them and should be too solid for Nishikori. On semifinals we might have a very interesting contest between Djokovic and Roger Federer. The Suisse created some problems to Novak in 2015, with three victories in eight meetings, however Roger’s last victory over Djokovic on a Grand Slam was at Wimbledon in 2012. Novak’s consistency and tremendous physical shape are just too much for Federer in best of five matches, adding to this the courts in Melbourne are quite slow, which suits Djokovic defensive skills and make things even harder for Federer.
Bottom Half Of The Draw
Andy Murray will be looking for his first Australian Open title, after losing four finals between 2010 and 2015. This will be Andy’s first official tournament in 2016, he was competing on Hopman Cup where he was surprised by Nick Kyrgios. The slow conditions in Melbourne also suit Murray’s defensive skills and he should do another good run on this event. The first three rounds should be quite easy for Murray, but after that, a tougher contest is expected against Bernard Tomic. Bernard retired from Sydney, but it was obvious during his match with Teymuraz Gabashvili that his mind was already in Melbourne. Tomic is always a dangerous player in Australian soil; however, Bernard serve won’t be so effective on Melbourne slower courts and Murray should emerge victorious. On quarterfinals Murray might have another interesting contest, this time against David Ferrer, but Andy should get another victory over the Spaniard in three or four sets to book a place in semifinals.
Rafael Nadal, Stan Wawrinka and Milos Raonic are the three main favorites to face Murray on semifinals. All of them started the year at good level, Wawrinka won ATP Chennai, Raonic won ATP Brisbane and Nadal lost in ATP Doha’s final to Djokovic. Stan has been absolutely brilliant on this event, winning the trophy in 2014 and losing only in the fifth set to Djokovic in 2013 and 2015. The Suisse has also performed at his best on majors and he should be the one to face Murray on semifinals. Andy leads 8 – 7 on h2h against Stan, however Wawrinka won the previous three contests. Stan’s firepower should once again be too much for Murray to handle and the Suisse has great chances of reaching his second Australian Open final.
Djokovic and Wawrinka might face for the 4th straight year at the Australian Open. As we mentioned, Stan has always created problems to the Serbian, defeating him in 2014 and losing only in the decisive set in 2013 and 2015. However, Djokovic is performing at an unreal level and seems quite unlikely that he doesn’t win his 6th Australian Open title.
Player To Keep An Eye On
After reaching quarterfinals last year, Nick Kyrgios will be looking to go one-step ahead this time. Nick started the season at great level on Hopman Cup, defeating Andy Murray on the round robin stage and winning that unofficial competition. The Australian shouldn’t experience any problems in the first two matches against Pablo Carreno Busta and Pablo Cuevas or Yoshihito Nishioka. After that, a very close match is expected against Tomas Berdych, the Czech is the 6th seed and has a terrific 22 – 5 record on this event since 2011. It won’t be an easy match for Nick, but the Australian can produce his best tennis on Grand Slams and with the home support he has great chances to grab the win. On 4th round Kyrgios might have another tough contest against Marin Cilic, but the 2014 US Open champion has been far from his best and Kyrgios should keep his run. Roger Federer should be the following opponent on quarterfinals, but as we mentioned, Roger is currently far from reliable on long matches like this. Adding to this, the Australian knows how to beat Federer with 1 – 0 on h2h and he might reach Australian Open semifinals for the first time on his career, where his journey might end against Djokovic.
Free Tennis Pick: Novak Djokovic to Win (-149)
Best Line Offered: at William Hill
Free Tennis Pick: Stan Wawrinka to Reach the Final (+350)
Best Line Offered: at Bet365
Free Tennis Pick: Nick Kyrgios to Win the 2nd Quarter (+700)
Best Line Offered: at William Hill