Australian Open R3 previews and picks: Djokovic vs. Istomin, Wawrinka vs. Pospisil

Novak Djokovic and Stanislas Wawrinka are two rounds away from a rematch of last year’s Australian Open epic. They first have to get past Denis Istomin and Vasek Pospisil, respectively, on Friday.

Denis Istomin vs. (2) Novak Djokovic

Djokovic and Istomin will be going head-to-head for the fourth time in their careers when they collide in the third round of the Australian Open on Friday. All three of their previous encounters have gone Djokovic’s way, but the most recent one was competitive; the Serb prevailed 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 last summer in Montreal. Djokovic, the three-time defending champion Down Under, is off to a solid start this fortnight and has extended his winning streak to 26 with routs of Lukas Lacko and Leonardo Mayer.

Istomin may not be a huge name on tour, but he is no stranger to the big stage. The 49th-ranked Uzbek is through to the last 32 of a Grand Slam for the sixth time in his career and he has been to the fourth round twice. Istomin lost a four-setter to Andy Murray in the fourth round of last summer’s U.S. Open and he battled Rafael Nadal in an extremely entertaining second-round U.S. Open showdown in 2010. The underdog will believe he can be competitive, but he won’t believe–nor should he–that he can actually win.

Pick: Djokovic in 3 losing 11-13 games

(8) Stanislas Wawrinka vs. (28) Vasek Pospisil

Wawrinka does not need to be told that Pospisil is a serious question mark heading into this clash; the Swiss knows first-hand. They faced each other two weeks ago in the Chennai semifinals, when Pospisil’s back issues began. Trailing 6-4, 5-5, the 30th-ranked Canadian retired from that match and threw his Australian Open campaign in doubt. Pospisil recovered in time to dismiss both Samuel Groth and Matthew Ebden, but he struggled physically against Ebden.

Meanwhile, Wawrinka is riding high and in complete cruise-control. The eighth-seeded Swiss booked his spot in this stage of the event with routine scalps of Andrey Golubev (via second-set retirement) and Alejandro Falla. Wawrinka is now 6-0 in 2014, having captured the title in Chennai. Pospisil would be a considerable underdog in this one even at 100 percent, so an in-form Wawrinka has to be the pick.

Pick: Wawrinka in 3

15 Comments on Australian Open R3 previews and picks: Djokovic vs. Istomin, Wawrinka vs. Pospisil

  1. RT @NeilHarmanTimes: “Can’t recall Djoko often losing serve when serving for the match under previous management.”


  2. Very poor from Djokovic. Even the Commies are chiding him for it. Let out an almighty roar after breaking Istoman to serve again for the match.

    Istoman is a journeyman,he is injured and you are winning comfortably in spite of the last wobble, really necessary to do that?

    • ….and the camera pans to Coach BB who beaming and clapping. Commies say maybe that is the kind of ‘tude BB told Djoko he wants to see.

  3. why is he so excited???!!! he is going to beat some nobodies through to final! I mean what the hell wrong is with him!?

  4. there are a lot of boos and whistles for djokovic at the end of that match. Cant remember a number 1 that evoked such crowd dislike than djokovic.

  5. just watched Istomin-Djoker. Istomin may have done Rafa a solid by helping to get the crowd against Djoker.



    • Still do not understand what the fuss was all about from Djokovic. I would have thought he had learnt his lessons from that Madrid debacle.

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