Australian Open R3 previews and picks: Murray vs. Lopez, Nishikori vs. Young

Andy Murray will continue his Australian Open campaign on Saturday against Feliciano Lopez. Kei Nishikori and Donald Young are also in search of a spot in the fourth round.

(4) Andy Murray vs. (26) Feliciano Lopez

Who knew Murray would be on any kind of streak going into the third round of the Australian Open? After all, the fourth-ranked Scot did not play another 2013 tournament after last year’s U.S. Open and he got unceremoniously bounced from his return in Doha by Florian Mayer two weeks ago. Murray, though, won a shocking 23 points in a row to end his second-round match in Melbourne against qualifier Vincent Millot. That’s right; the No. 4 seed trailed 5-1, 40-30 in the third set and did not lose another point the entire rest of the way.

Speaking of streaks, Murray is 7-0 lifetime against Lopez, his Saturday opponent. The favorite is 17-2 in overall sets in the head-to-head series, but their most recent encounter was their most competitive. Murray prevailed 7-6(5), 7-6(5), 4-6, 7-6(4) in the fourth round of the U.S. Open. At 32 years old, Lopez remains in fine form at No. 27 in the world. He booked his spot in this showdown by dismissing Somdev Devvarman and Michael Berrer in straight sets. Lopez is dangerous when he serves well, but Murray is one of the best returners in the world–which is one easy explanation for their past history against each other. Murray may not be all the way back in peak form, but he is clearly playing well enough to hold off Lopez.

Pick: Murray in 4

Donald Young vs. (16) Kei Nishikori

Occasional doubles partners Young and Nishikori will be squaring off for the second time in their careers at the ATP level on Saturday. They battled early last season on the indoor hard courts of Memphis, where Nishikori cruised 6-3, 6-3 on his way to the title. The world No. 17 kicked off his 2014 campaign with a semifinal performance in Brisbane and he has advanced so far in Melbourne with defeats of Marinko Matosevic and Dusan Lajovic. He needed five tough and somewhat controversial sets to get past Matosevic in round one.

Young is the last American left in the draw following victories over Robin Haase (via fourth-set retirement with Young leading 6-7(4), 7-6(2), 6-2, 1-0) and Andreas Seppi, the latter via a 6-4, 2-6, 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 decision. Although he is still ranked down at 91st in the world, this did not come completely out of nowhere for Young as he enjoyed plenty of Challenger success last fall. The underdog actually may have more variety in his game that his opponent, but Nishikori is ruthless from the baseline and should be able to dictate the majority of play and find Young’s backhand more often than not.

Pick: Nishikori in 4

45 Comments on Australian Open R3 previews and picks: Murray vs. Lopez, Nishikori vs. Young

    • LOL! That’s a great question! See Ricky’s prediction for the match above. Young played Haase who had to retire. Young was up two sets to one at the time. Then there was that match with Seppi. I had Seppi pegged to win that one, but Young managed to get the win in five sets.

      As far as I am concerned, this is where the road stops for Young.

  1. Hey, RITB, NNY, long time no see! Completely lost track of this site, then found it again. You guys have probably forgotten me, so missin old days on TT!

    muzz back and swinging again:-) but what about rafa!!! can’t believe what he’s done since I last chatted with you guys.

    • Hey @alex, welcome, good to see you! I certainly have not forgotten you. Fantastic to have you back with the ol’ TT gang, and yes, we need a Muzza fan perspective, poor ol’ @deucy was in danger of getting drowned out on her lonesome self!

      Yes, really good to have Muzza back swinging and appearing to be in good health. Hopefully Fed also starts putting some decent results together so that we have a balanced Big 4 again, otherwise we end up with a shambles of a draw like we had at Oz 2014.

      Do you know where Twinge’s hanging out? Hope he also finds his way to Tenngrand! Also the Nole fans………………..

      RT @scambers73: “Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Roger Federer have all reached the last 16 of @AustralianOpen without dropping a set”

      • Oops, feel bad about deserting deucy, No, haven’t seen anything of twinge since TT. Rafa, nole, muzz and roger all gonna reach QFs without dropping a set too … well, except for roger – he’ll need 4 to get past JW.
        deucy, if you’re out there, Happy New Year! – as ricky says, better late than never.

    • Well hallo there Alex. I kept asking Deucy if she knew where you were hiding!
      Good to see you back in the fold.

    • alex,

      You are not forgotten at all! In fact, I have been thinking about you and hoping that you would come back and join us here! πŸ™‚

      You have to be here to cheer on Andy!

      I also welcomed you back in another comment below this one.

    • alex,

      Where have you been? I was wondering why we haven’t seen you here!

      Please keep posting!

      Murray’s back and so are you! πŸ™‚

      • Great to be back, nny, thanx for the welcome, I’ve been missing you too. Can you believe, after coming on here once or twice initially, I completely forgot the name of the site. been trudging along visiting other sites but so dull – there’s no guys like the old TT-ers. I assure you, while muzz has been out I’ve been absolutely glued to the titanic struggle between rafa and nole. what can I say about rafa – every time rafa gets injured and written of he comes back more emphatically than ever. was so happy for him ending the year number 1, but equally impressed by nole coming back at him again. Neither one willing to accept second place. Have to say though, not to sure about becker, not sure nole needs him as he was already winning everything be the end of the year again anyway. anyway, so much to catch up on! so glad I’ve found everyone again πŸ™‚

    • alex,

      Andy has a good draw. He has looked better than I expected. I know that abhirf predicted that he would make the semis. I said at the time that I wasn’t sure, given that he is returning from the back surgery but that it certainly wasn’t out of the realm of possibility. He has a chance to play himself in some good form with these early round matches.

      It is great to have him back and healthy.

      Last year was crazy with Rafa. What a ride!

      • Yep, NNY, after going out so early in Doha Andy needed a good week of matches against lower ranked players to find his stride again and, as you say, the draw has been kind to him, although nole’s would have been even nicer;)
        Seeing what rafa did last year, and nole did in 2011, should really have given muzz something to aspire to. Muzz used to regularly win MS and tour events then fall in the majors, but since he started winning majors he’s rarely been winning the lesser events. What’s awesome about rafa and nole (and fed in his best 5 years) is that they’ve just gone on these endless winning sprees. That’s the next step for muzz if he’s ever to reach #1, which would be nice … even for a week! … just to say he’s been there.
        I think the main reason why the young guns haven’t been breaking through is because the guys at the top, like rafa last year, just seem to keep getting better when it didn’t seem possible. Trying to catch these guys for the second tier players must be like climbing a mountain only to discover another peak over the top of the ridge.

  2. sooo good to have you back alex! a warm welcome ! πŸ™‚

    so we have our two awesome muzz fans together with us πŸ˜€ keep posting alex

  3. “Trying to catch these guys for the second tier players must be like climbing a mountain only to discover another peak over the top of the ridge.”

    perfectly put

  4. alex, welcome. Now we have a bit of an edge with deucy holding up the Nole/Muzz end, you hanging your hopes on Muzz and Ricky playing the devil’s advocate to counter the overwhelming Rafa representation. We do need a few Fedfans

    Thankfully, TT TennisWarehouse gives me plenty of anti-Rafa sentiments to get my teeth into. Loads of Rafans there too.

    • Yeah, it would be nice if we got Nole, Fed, Muzz fans and fans of any other players of course here. That’s what I miss here, the jousting with other players’ fans. Hope they come!

    • thanx nadline. come on you fedfans, what’s up with you, given up the ghost or what πŸ˜‰ but what’s this about deucy holding up the NOLE/muzz end? … deucy been splitting allegiances since I’ve been away?? Deucy, say it’s not true.

  5. @Rick and RITB
    This site is still newish. I expect more fans to turn up eventually.
    @ed
    Haven’t seen u posting so much lately. U in Spain?
    @alex
    Said “”Hello” day 3 picks, but gr8 to c u and Andy back.
    #Back

    • DEUCY!!!! great to get back and find you again. I feel a bit guilty, like a prodigal returning to find you’ve been holding the muzz fort on your own just about. (but tell me it’s not true you’ve been splitting allegiances between muzz and nole?)

  6. I never got the chance to say to Twinge – I told you so. That Rafa would be back strong and at the top.

    I miss Cheryl too. She never rated Rafa on h/c and I disagreed with her many times dismissing Rafa’s h/c prowess, but I never had the chance to say Rafa proved her wrong.

  7. I said some time ago that I really want to see more fans of other players. We has such great diversity on TT. That was part of what made the site so great. Lots of different opinions and great discussions.

    However, as Ricky said, this is the full full year of TG. So it takes time to get fans of different players. I have seen some new people occasionally and that’s a good thing!

    We really need Djoker fans here to stand up for their man.

    I am for anyone who wants to have a lively and respectful discussion of all things tennis. No trolls need apply!

    • I agree, NNY7. I rarely contribute to some of the other websites because of the hateful vitriol that’s spewed by some of the members. It’s one thing to strongly disagree, or even to mock or tease; it’s another to spout insane nonsense or hateful/racist/threatening comments. Some of the comments I read on other websites about Serena after her loss yesterday were simply appalling. I still comment on ESPN once in awhile, especially since most of the trolls dropped out once they started using Facebook profiles as the venue for comments.

      • Jpacnw,

        I am in complete agreement with you! Well said! Many of us here know what happened to our beloved TT when trolls invaded and took advantage of the lack of moderation at that time. It was terrible.

        I think that some sites have made changes to try to weed out those who are there for the wrong reason. It’s unfortunate that anonymity online gives some people the ability to say things that they would never say to someone’s face. There is no accountability.

        I have confidence that fans of other players will find this site.

  8. Sorry, typos in my last post. We HAD such great diversity on TT.

    This is the FIRST full year of TG.

    I wish there was an edit button here.

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