Australian Open Day 4 picks, including Dimitrov vs. Lu and Cilic vs. Simon

The Grandstand’s Ricky Dimon and Joey Hanf of The Tennis Nerds preview and pick the best men’s singles matchups on Day 4 of the Australian Open. This is the fourth of 13 installments of expert picks during the season’s first Grand Slam.

Yen-Hsun Lu vs. (22) Grigor Dimitrov

Ricky: Don’t look now, but Yen-Hsun Lu is one of the hottest players on tour. Chinese Taipei’s top player boasts a 6-1 record this season and he was the best man–by a decent margin–from start to finish in Auckland (John Isner struggled all week but served his way out of trouble against Lu to win a competitive final). Lu, who destroyed countryman Jimmy Wang on Tuesday, should benefit in hot conditions against Dimitrov. The Bulgarian’s fitness has always been a question mark, as is his ability to play five-setters. Lu 6-4, 2-6, 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-2.

Joey: This one should be fun to watch. It pits Grigor’s new “no-nonsense” approach with coach Roger Rasheed against one of the most in-form players on tour, Rendy Lu. The key factor for Lu is to get in as many backhand-to-backhand rallies as possible, in which he has the advantage. Everywhere else Dimitrov holds the edge, and in the end I think the Bulgarian’s big serve will win him a lot of free points in big moments. Dimitrov 7-6(4), 6-3, 2-6, 7-5.

Marin Cilic vs. (18) Gilles Simon

Ricky: Simon transformed Melbourne into Sparta on Tuesday evening. The Frenchman arrived at the Australian Open on crutches, but–after being expected to withdraw from the event–he turned in an absolute warrior performance against Daniel Brands. Incredibly, he saved seven match points before prevailing 16-14 in the fifth. Cilic also needed five sets, but he arguably has even more momentum after storming back from two sets down against Marcel Granollers. Simon should not be doubted after what he did in round one…but I’m going to doubt him anyway. Cilic 7-6(3), 3-6, 6-4, 6-1.

Joey: I didn’t think Simon would be playing his first-round match against Daniel Brands, let alone winning it 16-14 in the fifth. Cilic came back from two sets to love down to beat Granollers. This one has five sets written all over it–if Simon can manage his ankle injury. Cilic has been playing more aggressively to start 2014 and his serve should be the difference in this one, which could take a very long time. Cilic 6-4, 6-7(4), 7-5, 4-6, 7-5.

(27) Benoit Paire vs. Nick Kyrgios

Ricky: The future may be now for the 18-year-old Kyrgios. He has a huge game and a great draw Down Under. The Australian already capitalized once by dismissing Benjamin Becker and although Paire is way more talented than Becker, the Frenchman rarely maximizes his talent. Kyrgios is going to want this one more, and what is sure to be a raucous crowd will be quick to jump on any unnecessary antics by Paire. Kyrgios 7-6(6), 2-6, 6-1, 7-6(5).

Joey: The crowd will be rocking in this one. The young Kyrgios has some serious game. A big serve and monstrous groundstrokes make him extremely dangerous. Paire might be the most up-and-down player I’ve ever seen; if nothing else, he’s exciting to watch. Expect Paire to drop-shot the teenager without end. The only thing that concerns me about Kyrgios is a shoulder injury he is nursing. But in front of his home crowd, the adrenaline should minimize that pain. Kyrgios 6-4, 7-6(5), 6-2.

(24) Andreas Seppi vs. Donald Young

Ricky: Speaking of warriors saving match point, Seppi surprised the home crowd by holding off an in-form Lleyton Hewitt on Tuesday afternoon. The Italian survived 7-5 in the fifth after thwarting a match point with an ace at 4-5 in the decider. That effort may take just a little bit out of Seppi, but he rarely has trouble staying on the tennis court all day long. He is content to play long point after long point and should have too much consistency for an erratic Young. Seppi 5-7, 6-3, 6-3, 6-4.

Joey: After taking out Hewitt in a five-set marathon, you might think Seppi will have some sort of letdown in this one. However, he is playing the much-denounced Young, so anything could happen. Young has been playing well on the Challenger circuit for the last seven months and he’s started 2014 well, taking a set off David Ferrer in Auckland. The lefty forehand could give Seppi some trouble, but Young doesn’t have anywhere near the composure and confidence of the Italian. Seppi 6-4, 3-6, 7-5, 6-1.

6 Comments on Australian Open Day 4 picks, including Dimitrov vs. Lu and Cilic vs. Simon

  1. @vamosrafa says; January 16, 2014 @8:01 pm

    “Who are these pundits who have delpo as a ‘firm favourite’ to win the slam and upset rafa on his way?! They must be out of their mind to have delpo as a strong favourite…”

    Ehh, Delpo must be out of his mind then……because he considered HIMSELF a favourite to win!

    ““I like the tournament,” del Potro said. “I think this year the courts are faster than years ago. For Bautista’s game is much better. But I’m still confidence playing this tournament. I think sometimes the favorites lose very early in a Grand Slam, like Federer in Wimbledon or Rafa, and then other ones in the US Open. Here is my chance to get out very early in the tournament.”

    http://www.tennis-x.com/xblog/2014-01-16/14540.php#comments

    Who needs pundits when you’ve got the man himself?

    Side note: I like how he brackets himself in with Fed and Rafa. You gotta give the man credit: what he lacks in Slam results since that lone USOpen victory he makes up in chutzpah.

      • Sorry, don’t understand what playing with confidence has to do with considering oneself a favorite. I am sure Bautista Agut is playing with confidence but I doubt he considers himself one of the favorites.

  2. There’s nothing wrong with a player having confidence. In a hard court slam, Delpo is always going to be in the discussion or as a dark horse.

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