Australian Open Day 7 picks, including Federer vs. Nishikori and Wawrinka vs. Seppi

Ricky Dimon of The Grandstand and Steen Kirby of Tennis Atlantic preview and pick the three best men’s singles matches on Saturday at the Australian Open. Fellow Swiss stars Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka are back in action with quarterfinal spots at stake.

(17) Roger Federer vs. (5) Kei Nishikori

Ricky: Like he often does in majors, Federer mostly sleepwalked past two qualifiers in the first two rounds. But when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Actually, it wasn’t even tough even though the 35-year-old Swiss got a bad draw on paper in the form of Tomas Berdych in the third round. It was supposed to be; but it wasn’t. Federer hammered Berdych 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 in a lightning-quick one hour and 30 minutes and the 17-time Grand Slam champion was every bit as awesome as the scoreline suggests. He is 3-0 in his last three matches against Nishikori and 4-2 overall. As good as Nishikori is (No. 5 in the world), he is–with a few exceptions–one of those guys who rarely loses when he isn’t supposed to lose but rarely wins when he isn’t supposed to win. Well, just watch Federer’s last three sets of tennis to know that Nishikori isn’t supposed to win this one. Federer in 4: 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Steen: Federer leads the head-to-head series 4-2 and should his hopes should be boosted further by a confident round third-round showing against Berdych. The Swiss Maestro dismantled the Czech and is looking fresh and fit. Nishikori earned his second straight straight-set victory when he thrashed Lukas Lacko after being tested in round one. Nishikori is consistent enough to beat Federer, but Federer has more upside in this matchup and I don’t trust Nishikori’s serve. Federer in 4: 7-5, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

(4) Stan Wawrinka vs. Andreas Seppi

Ricky: By his own admission, Wawrinka is way better at the latter stages of Grand Slams than he is at the beginning. So it should come with no real alarm bells that the 2014 champion went to five sets with Martin Klizan in round one and came within one point of going to five sets with Viktor Troicki on Friday. Seppi’s run to the last 16 has come from just about out of nowhere, as the veteran Italian was a borderline disaster throughout 2016. And the road hasn’t been easy. Back-to-back tough tests against Nick Kyrgios (Seppi saved one match point) and Steve Darcis may have taken something out of him. Now into the proverbial second week, Wawrinka should pick up the pace. Wawrinka in 3: 7-6(5), 6-4, 7-5.

Steen: They haven’t met since 2014, but Wawrinka leads the head-to-head series 10-5 and he is facing an opponent who has spent a lot of time on court through three rounds. Wawrinka has not been at his best thus far, but he generally plays great in Melbourne and in the second week his game should improve accordingly. Seppi’s consistency has allowed him to sneak into the fourth round, but Wawrinka should win. Wawrinka in 3: 7-6, 6-4, 6-3.

Dan Evans vs. (11) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

Ricky: Evans was no stranger to the third round of Grand Slams, and he played like someone who had been there before against Bernard Tomic on Friday night. The stage will be even bigger on Sunday, even though he is not facing an Aussie this time around. Although Tsonga is by no means the toughest possible fourth-round draw for Evans, it won’t be easy. The 2008 runner-up is a proven force Down Under and he made relatively convincing work of a red-hot Jack Sock in round three. Evans is playing by far the best tennis of his career these days and he won’t end his best slam run ever without a fight, but Tsonga will be too fearsome of a foe. Tsonga in 4: 6-3, 7-6(4), 3-6, 6-1.

Steen: Tsonga’s ability to attack the ball is likely to trouble the in-form Evans. The Frenchman is playing quite well at the moment, with just two sets dropped through three rounds. Evans has pulled two upsets to make it this far, though, and his form is better than it’s ever been. I’ll go with the unseeded Brit to make it a third upset in four matches. Evans in 5: 6-4, 4-6, 6-7, 7-5, 6-4.

52 Comments on Australian Open Day 7 picks, including Federer vs. Nishikori and Wawrinka vs. Seppi

  1. What an amazing tennis from Maestro right now! He came back from two breaks down and is now leading 5:4 in the first set! He is playing superb, Nishi has no answers! This really is Fed of old!

  2. What is Nishi doing? He was leading 4-1 at one stage and now he has to play a TB? He allowed Fed into the set by serving so poorly. Nishi is turning into another Birdbrain; he’s so nervous playing against the big four (he admitted it himself) that he couldnt think clearly as the match progresses.

  3. Seriously, the top guys now are just so so, top two already out, the no.5 guy at age 27 having problem with a 35yo guy who just came back from injury? What are they doing?

  4. Has a lot to do with the quality of roger too. Roger for his age brings it at the slams.
    I think zverev has a better shot of defeating roger with his surprise factor than anyone else in the draw

  5. Fed is clearly a better player out there! He is outsmarted Nishi by his intelligent play! It’s something Rafa used to talk about how tennis nowadays is nothing but hitting the ball hard from the baseline without point construction. Guess what, it won’t work against Fed!

    • Fed just takes time away from his opponents by always moving forward and plays very quickly. Rafa knows how to deal with Fed by not playing to Fed’s pace; also Rafa’s heavy topspin FH will trouble Fed’s BH. A top form Djoko (like the one at AO2016 SF) can deal with this Fed I’m sure. However on quick HCs, Fed is still better than Djoko.

      Fed’s opponents made the mistake of playing to his pace; I do notice that another ‘slow’ player Delpo, could also deal with Fed when he beat Fed at Basel one year. Fed will dictate play if you play to his pace. Kei makes that mistake I feel.

      Kei’s weakness is his serve, not good enough to win him free points.

      • good points. Rafa thwarts Fed’s rhythm like nobody else can! The thing with DJokovic is that he is the master of changing direction so even in defensive positions he can target Fed’s backhand. Also, Djokovic is very quick and deals with pace himself very well.

        Kei’s first serve is a weakling. He let fed win 42% points on second serve but Fed’s first serve was there to close the doors on so many occasions.

  6. Fed making a mistake to engage in the long rallies with Nishi! Now in the fifth set Fed may end up losing because of his age although Nishi’s fitness has always been a big question mark! Let’s wait and see…

  7. But Sir Andy Murray, WTF? lol. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the scoreline. The stats say Murray hit 76 winners and UE count was really low as well. What the hell happened!!!

    Fed has done extremely well to stay with Kei in long rallies. His serve is very very strong at the moment. I still think Murray’s baseline and return game would have been enough to beat Fed but now Fed has a great chance to reach the final.

    Fed will roll over M.Zverev and then Tsonga/Wawrinka will be a challenge but Fed has a great shot. Only an on-fire Stan can stop him now.

    Rafa has Raonic and Dimitrov on his side. I think if Rafa gets past Raonic, he will reach the final.

    For now, let’s focus on tomorrow’s match was Monfils. Gael is a focused player now and he can challenge Rafa in baseline duels.

    It is encouraging to see Rafa serving well. That gives me confidence that he will triumph in 3 or 4 sets tomorrow.

    • Stan is not on fire yet vamosrafa…He is playing okay

      He has hardly beaten Fed outside clay. Will fold in front of him. We saw that in 2015 in usopen semi and world your final too

    • Murray has not been at his best this tournament, plus I don’t think he’s ever dealt with a really good dedicated serve and volleyer. There haven’t been any. I think Fed will eat Zverev the Elder alive. Stan could be another proposition, depending on which Stan shows up.

      I don’t generally like early upsets in a tournament because the winner usually cannot back it up. But this year’s an exception. The upsets have made the AO way more interesting than I had thought going in.

  8. Fed was excellent today. His serve was all dialled in and he made much less unforced errors too. With Murray out fed is surely in the final and I think number 18 comes here with stars aligning . Trivia pete was seeded 17 too when he won his last us2002

    • There are still tennis to be played. I won’t be surprised that it’s a Fedal final and Rafa finds a way to win the AO for a second time.

      Like I said, Rafa will not play to Fed’s pace and will make Fed play one more shot and make Fed run more. I think only a top form Rafa can beat this Fed unless Stan the Man has something to say.

        • Nah, he spent six months training, not just recovering from injury. Also, the court is a bit quicker this year. Kei has himself to blame for letting Fed back in the first set and wasted much energy wrestling back the set. When it has to go the distance, I know Kei will suffer (true enough, he called for the trainer) and it ended up the 35 yo guy was even fitter than him!

    • Fed can overpower Kei; I think if Stan plays his top form tennis, he won’t be overpowered. The thing about Stan is,will he be cowed by Fed? Or will he be Stan the Man?

  9. Rafa will hope his opponent is Fed and not Stan if he reaches the final.
    But it’s a big if that Rafa reached the final. Raonic can be tough but I am especially worried about Dimitrov.

    • Nah, Dimi not as worrying as Raonic. Dimi is error prone,he’s still not hit top form yet. Dimi also has Goffin or Thiem to worry about; it’s not like he’s already there waiting for Rafa in the SF. Raonic has his big serve to earn cheap points; I really hope Rafa can beat all of them to reach the final.

    • If rafa has to reach the final I prefer Stan on the other side.
      Fed is looking great and there is no guarantee Rafa will beat him.

    • I also think dimitrov is his biggest threat. My prediction is that Rafa beats Raonic in a marathon five set QF then loses out to Dimitrov in five sets in the semis. The draw keeps getting better and better for Roger and it will continue that way to the final. At this rate, Stan losing to Tsonga wouldn’t be that shocking.

    • I thoroughly agree with you, Atul. We’ve been starving for things to be different on the men’s side for so damn long, and now we’re getting it! I heard today that this is the first time that the top two seeds have gone out before the quarterfinals since ROLAND GARROS 2004! Nearly 13 years?! That’s insane…

  10. To me Rafa has to overcome Raonic in the QF and he will reach the final if that happens. I’d surely favor Rafa over both Fed and Stan in the final .

  11. I am trying not to look ahead and just take this one match at a time. I think if Rafa gets past Monfils, then Raonic will be the big test in the quarterfinals. He’s playing well and beat Rafa in Brisbane. Best of five set matches are a whole other thing entirely. With each match Rafa will only get better, so if he can get through to meet Raonic then he should be ready.

    I just going to watch and see what happens, hoping that Rafa can keep it up.

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