While men’s tennis may not have all of the “Big 4” in action, what with Rafael Nadal out and all, that hasn’t slowed down the other three.
So far in Melbourne, everything is going according to plan. The top 5 seeds are all still alive going into the quarterfinals and #1 seed Novak Djokovic has been the only one of the “big 3” to be tested. As a matter of fact, both Roger Federer and Andy Murray have yet to drop a set and Federer has yet to even be broken.
Here are the next matchups for each of the big 3:
#1 Novak Djokovic vs #5 Thomas Berdych:
This matchup has not been a favorable one for Thomas Berdych in the past, who only 1 career win in 12 chances against Djokovic. Not only that, but Berdych is 0-10 against “Joker” on hard courts, winning only 3 sets. The good news for Berdych though, is that Djokovic is coming off an extremely physically tough match against Stanislas Wawrinka just 2 days ago. Also, Berdych has looked very sharp in his 4 matches, not dropping a set and only going to 1 tiebreak.
With all of that being said though, Berdych has yet to show us a reason to believe that he can beat Joker in a best of five setting on a hard court. Which is why it is hard to see a scenario in which “Joker” loses this match.
Jeremy Chardy vs #3 Andy Murray:
Giant killer Jeremy Chardy comes into this matchup having beaten 3 seeded players already at the Aussie Open this year (#30 Grannollers, #6 Del Potro, and #21 Seppi). However, Murray has been on quite a roll as of late and hasn’t even dropped a set this week. Not to mention that Murray has only given up more than 3 games in a set just twice in 12 sets.
The fact that Chardy beat Murray the last time they played on hard courts makes me give Chardy a fighter’s chance to get to the semis, but I would be pretty shocked if Murray gives up anything more than a set.
#7 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs #2 Roger Federer:
While “Jo-Willy” is always a blast to watch and is a threat to hit a winner from anywhere on the court, Federer just seems too hot right now to lose in a best out of five. Even by Federer standards, this has been an extremely dominating week thus far. Federer has yet to be on the court for more than 2 hours and hasn’t even been broken yet.
However, Tsonga is the only person to come back from 2 sets to none against Federer in a slam and win (Wimbledon 2011). Which means Tsonga has the belief that he can go out and beat Fed and will not be intimidated by the situation. I think Federer finds a way to set up a semi-final against Andy Murray, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this match gets dicey and some point.
Follow Cole Stevenson on twitter: @Cole_Stevenson