Australian Open R3 previews and predictions: Murray vs. Querrey, Wawrinka vs. Troicki

Andy Murray is has been in cruise control through two rounds of the Australian Open, but things could get trickier in the form of Sam Querrey on Friday. Stan Wawrinka and Viktor Troicki are also aiming for a place in the last 16.

(1) Andy Murray vs. (31) Sam Querrey

Murray and Querrey will be squaring off for the eighth time in their careers when they meet in round three of the Australian Open on Friday. The head-to-head series stands at 6-1 in favor of Murray, who has taken care of Querrey twice in a row since losing to the American 5-7, 7-6(2), 6-3 in the 2010 Los Angeles title match. They most recently collided in a clay-court Davis Cup tie in 2014, when Murray went on the road to San Diego, Calif. and prevailed 7-6(5), 6-7(3), 6-1, 6-3.

This setting should be far more advantageous for the world No. 1, who has never lifted the winner’s trophy in Melbourne but has been to the final on five occasions. Murray’s 2017 campaign Down Under is off to a flying start with straight-set defeats of Illya Marchenko and Andrey Rublev. Querrey benefited from an outstanding draw to book his spot in the last 32, taking out wild cards Quentin Halys (four sets) and Alex De Minaur (straight). The world No. 32 is dangerous because of his serve and forehand–just ask Novak Djokovic, who lost to him at this same stage at Wimbledon last summer. But Querrey has all but disappeared since that massive upset and there is no reason to think lightning will strike again.

Pick: Murray in 3 with no tiebreakers

(4) Stan Wawrinka vs. (29) Viktor Troicki

Between the two of them, Murray and Wawrinka boast a career Grand Slam. What Wawrinka owns that Murray lacks are Australian Open and French Open titles. The fourth-ranked Swiss has appeared in just one Aussie Open final to the Scot’s five, but he made the most of that opportunity when he beat Rafael Nadal in 2014. Wawrinka also reached the quarterfinals in 2011 and the semis in 2015. This fortnight got off to a rocky start on Monday, when the No. 4 seed needed five sets to outlast Martin Klizan. But Wawrinka treated that as the wake-up call that it was and he hammered Steve Johnson 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 in round two.

Up next for the three-time Grand Slam champion on Friday is an eighth career contest against Troicki, who is a hopeless 0-7 in the head-to-head series. The two veterans just faced each other in Brisbane, where Wawrinka got the job done 7-6(5), 6-4. Troicki’s two-year reign in Sydney ended the following week at the hands of eventual champion Gilles Muller, but he has done well to battle into the Aussie Open third round. Troicki has advanced with consecutive five-set wins over Damir Dzumhur and Paolo Lorenzi. Ten sets in his legs and zero wins in seven tries against Wawrinka do not bode well for the underdog.

Pick: Wawrinka in 3

8 Comments on Australian Open R3 previews and predictions: Murray vs. Querrey, Wawrinka vs. Troicki

  1. Muzz rolled his ankle and seemed really upset, muttering to himself. Later he said it was not serious. Hope that is true.

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