Tennis Tips: Tipman’s in-depth Australian Open preview

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*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.

The Australian Open starts on Monday the 16th of January after the last qualification spaces have been claimed this week. The Australian Open, the first of four Major tournaments of the year, will be held at Melbourne Park. The first tournament for Men was hosted in 1905 with the first women’s tournament in 1922, originally the venue did switch before it was permanently settled on the hard courts of Flinders Park, which was then later renamed Melbourne Park in 1996, this then left Wimbledon as the only remaining major played on grass surface.

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128 men and 128 women have made it to the major and will be looking to fight their way through the 7 rounds of the tournament to reach their ultimate goal in lifting the first major of the year.

Starting with the men, Novak Djokivic, the undeniable favourite who is playing some scintillating tennis leading up to this tournament is also making his return to this major after missing last year’s due to the visa controversy. Last year’s defending champion Rafa Nadal has not been in the best form leading up to this but it would be no surprise to see him turn up for the big occasion as he has done on many occasions.

The draw is then split into 4 quarters with players unable to play anyone outside of their quarter until the semi final stages. This gives a rough idea and pathway to planning out who will make it through and who can meet who at certain stages of the tournament.

All 4 quarters consist of 8 seeded players, so let’s run through who they are and some possible players to watch out for during the first round…

Quarter 1 – #1 Rafael Nadal, #7 Daniil Medvedev, #10 Hubert Hurkacz, #16 Frances Tiafoe, #18 Karen Khachanov, #20 Denis Shapovalov, #29 Sebastian Korda, #31 Yoshihito Nishioka.

Rafa Nadal would be relatively happy with his draw with his biggest threat coming in the form of Russian Daniil Medvedev who’s two most recent defeats come at the hands of Novak Djokovic and talented American Taylor Fritz. One to look out for from this quarter of the draw is American Sebastian Korda who was narrowly beaten 2 sets to 1 in the Adelaide ATP Final against Novak Djokovic on January 8th.

Quarter 2 – #3 Stefanos Tsitsipas, #6 Felix Auger-Aliassime, #11 Cameron Norrie, #15 Jannik Sinner, #17 Lorenzo Musetti, #21 Borna Coric, #28 Francisco Cerundolo, #32 Botic van de Zandschulp.

Stefanos Tsitsipas, a semi finalist in 3 of the last 4 Australian Opens and top seed in this quarter of the draw looks to have a relatively trouble free passage to the quarter finals. The other side of this quarter does look a bit more open with Felix Auger-Aliassime and Cameron Norrie looking to fight out for a place to meet the number 3 seed Tsitsipas in the quarter final. Cameron Norie has been in really good form coming into this event on hard ground and has a couple of notable victories recently over Taylor Fritz and Rafa Nadal and can definitely make a deep run in this tournament.

Quarter 3 – #4 Novak Djokovic, #5 Andrey Rublev, #9 Holger Rune, #14 Pablo Carreno Busta, #19 Nick Kyrgios, #22 Alex de Minaur, #25 Dan Evans, #27 Grigor Dimitrov.

Novak looks to have been blessed with a more favourable side in this quarter of the draw but given the tennis he’s playing lately I am not 100% sure it would matter too much. The Serbian is showing no signs of slowing down and is noted for playing some of his best tennis at this event. The other side of the draw looks very open with Andrey Rublev and the always entertaining Nick Kyrgios who is finally starting to show some consistency after we all know how talented he is. Interestingly he dominated Rublev last time they met 6-3 6-0 and although Rublev looks in much better form now Kyrgios is coming back from his best year to date in 2022.

Quarter 4 – #2 Casper Ruud, #8 Taylor Fritz, #12 Alexander Zverev, #13 Matteo Berrettini, #23 Diego Schwartzman, #24 Robert Bautista Agut, #26 Miomir Kecmanovic, #30 Davidovich Fokina

Norwegian Casper Rudd missed out on this tournament last year through injury but looks to have a really good opportunity to go deep this year. His side of the draw shouldn’t pose too many problems as he should progress through to the last 16 with relative ease. Taylor Fritz although has more competitive matches on paper is still well fancied to meet Rudd in the quarter finals and given his current form you can’t rule him out from going one further than that. His route to the quarter final is not an easy task but he plays his best tennis on hard surfaces and should be well suited to this tournament.

The womens tournament looks wide open with a range of women looking to take home the first major with Poland’s world number 1 Iga Swiatek the favourite for the tournament. Defending champion Ashleigh Barty is absent this year and there is plenty of exciting players like Danielle Collins, last years finalist and Viktoria Azarenka, Petra Kvitova and Britain’s Emma Raducanu.

Let’s take a look at the women’s draw, who is placed were and some potential matchups.

Quarter 1 – #1 Iga Swiatek, #7 Coco Gauff, #11 Paula Badosa, #13 Danielle Collins

Iga Swiatek looks set to make a smooth passage to the quarter finals here at least but interestingly one of her biggest defeats in recent times come at the hands of Danielle Collins, so a rematch would definitely look tasty and give the world number 1 the chance to avenge that defeat. However, the American has solid chances herself if able to get past some talented players and on the day she can definitely cause an upset.

Quarter 2 – #3 Jessica Pegula, #6 Maria Sakkari, #10 Madison Keys, #15 Petra Kvitova

A very open looking draw which includes some of the top seeds who have faced each other recently here in Australia entertaining fans and producing some top tennis. It’s very difficult to separate them and on the day any of them can come out on top. Maddison Keys who was beaten by the eventual champion in last year’s tournament in the semi final has a favourable draw and is fancied to go deep again.

Quarter 3 – #4 Caroline Garcia, #8 Daria Kasatkina, #9 Veronika Kudermetova, #16 Anett Kontaveit

This quarter is the only quarter that has zero previous grand slam winners and for that reason looks very open and only 2 players have ever contested a major final. It’s very difficult to predict this quarter and even some of the unseeded players could spring a surprise. World number 4 Caroline Garcia is fancied to progress though as tough as it may seem with Veronika Kudermetova looking the biggest danger.

Quarter 4 – #2 Ons Jabeur, #5 Aryna Sabalenka #13 Belina Bencic

Ons Jabeur has become well known for her two Wimbledon final appearances and the US but this competition will always hold a special place in her heart as this is where the Tunisian made her breakthrough. She enjoys playing here but does have some difficult opponents to navigate past here. Aryna Sabalenka has some winning form in Australia and looks to be the main danger to the world number 2, they both avoid each other until the quarter finals and could be set for a big showdown.

*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.

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