Australian Open, week 1 – Friday night’s matches

Tipsarevic v Gasquet:

Can’t wait for this one!  Two of my favourite players go head to head. Previous matches both went to the Frenchman but they were years ago and virtually irrelevant. Tipsarevic is now world number 9 and he has developed into one of the game’s toughest opponents.

Gasquet is one of the most talented players on tour with a natural flair for creative shotmaking. His best tennis is unfortunately played on the practice courts although he is capable of transferring that occasionally to the main stage. He has one of the best one handed backhands around and his touch around the net is usually excellent. He does have a tendency to crumble under sustained pressure though as was seen recently in his defeat to  Denis Istomin. He will be under real pressure throughout this match.

Tipsarevic has won both his matches this week in 4 sets with his opponent taking the opening set.  A slow start against Gasquet is likely to result in another first set loss.  However in this match the quality of his opponent can’t be underestimated as perhaps Duckworth and Tursunov were in previous rounds.

Tipsarevic’s serve could be the key here. It has been working well so far and he hit a massive 28 aces against Tursunov. It almost brought him victory in the Chennai Final against Raonic where he lost 1-2 with all sets being tie breaks.

I am going for Tipsarevic in 4 or 5 sets.

Update: What an anti-climax. This was Gasquet’s day and Tipsarevic has no reply. The Frenchman brought his A game to the court and Tipsarevic couldn’t handle it. He seemed to be sulking in the third set as nothing was working for him.

Gasquet won 6-3, 6-3, 6-1.

 

Lisicki v Kuznetsova:

Lisicki starts as favourite in this one.  She has had just 1 loss from 5 matches in 2012 which was when she retired against Kerber. Her style of play is pretty much shit or bust. She doesn’t really have a finesse game. Having said that when her shots are landing in the court she can be devastating.

Kuznetsova showed some excellent  form earlier in the month with 6 wins and 2 loses. Like Lisicki, one of her losses was when she retired.  Her form this week hasn’t been exceptional but she has done enough to get the job done.

This is one to trade in play as we need to know whether Lisicki’s shots are hitting the lines. If they do then Kuznetsova will really struggle to cope with her power. If the shots aren’t finding their targets then the match is much more even.

Lisicki won the only previous meeting though that was on her favoured grass.

Having watched Lisicki steam roller Peer for the loss of just 3 games I have to assume that her form will continue and she is my pick to win, perhaps in 3 sets.

Update: Both struggled with serve in the opening set and there were more breaks than holds. Lisicki didn’t manage a single hold in that set. Things improved a little in the second set and lisiscki levelled the match at 1-1.

Lisiscki took the third to win 2-6, 6-4, 6-2.

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