Australian Open Day 9: Could Federer make an improbable run to the final?



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Australian Open Day 9: Could Federer make an improbable run to the final?

With matches featuring veterans like Venus Williams and Roger Federer, could 2017 signal a resurgence for the older generation? Here are my picks for 5 matches to watch on day 9. Roger Federer (SUI) [17] v/s Mischa Zverev (GER) In a match that could be described as the sentimental match, crowd favorite, Roger Federer goes up against the story of the tournament, Mischa Zverev.

For not having played for 6 months, Federer showed great mental toughness and fitness to overcome the always tough, Kei Nishikori. Zverev pulled off one of the biggest upsets in tennis history as he brought back the (seemingly) ancient style of serve and volley to frustrate, world number 1, Andy Murray.

With confidence that he can compete with the world’s best, could Zverev pull off another major upset? In this match up, Federer will have to be a lot more creative with his return of serve. As most people are aware, he struggles when facing the lefty serve into his backhand.

He often chooses to punt the return in play but with an opponent that will come into the net constantly, Federer will need to make sure to keep his returns low over the net. Federer should also employ a lot of out wide serves because Zverev is not the fastest player when it comes to getting off of the mark.

Zverev has short, compact strokes and will be eager to take any second serves as early as possible. Zverev only knows one way to play and that is to attack the net. He will have to be very selective of the times when he does approach the net because the Federer passing shots are very accurate.

Zverev should also use his lefty serve to attack the Federer backhand, as the Swiss man is considerably weak off of the return. I expect this match to be an exciting and athletic encounter. In Federer, you have a player that has been able to merge both old and new school styles of play.

In Zverev, you have a player that is a throwback to the players of the 60’s and 70’s. I think that the first couple of sets will be close because it may take some time to for Federer to get used to someone who approaches the net so often.

That being said, Federer seems determined to win this match and will be the one stop the fairytale run of Zverev. Pick: Federer in 4 Stan Wawrinka (SUI) [4] v/s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) [12] This next match has the potential to be one of the matches of the year as two of the biggest hitters on tour, Stan Wawrinka and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga come to blows.

For Wawrinka, he has followed his usual pattern of shaky early round matches. In his last match, he displayed the type of form that will make him a real contender come the second weekend. For Tsonga, he has great memories of Melbourne Park and after recovering from a series of injuries, looks to be back at his best.

For Wawrinka, this is usually the round in the tournament where he steps up his game. When he is at his best, Wawrinka is hitting his serves with authority and pushing his opponents beyond the baseline with the sheer force of his groundstrokes.

Wawrinka needs to engage in as many backhand to backhand rallies with the Frenchman as possible because that is where he would have a major advantage. Wawrinka should also incorporate some sliced backhands into the Tsonga backhand because the Frenchman usually counters with a weak reply.

For Tsonga to win this match, he has to serve well. If he can win a couple of easy games and keep the score tight, he could win a few sets from Wawrinka. Tsonga also needs to run around his backhand as much as possible and hit hard penetrating shots into the Wawrinka forehand.

I expect this match to be rather evenly matched because both men love to play on these courts. Wawrinka comes into this match with the advantage because he has proven time and time again that he is a big match player. For Tsonga, he is going to need a little bit of luck in that he has to hope that Wawrinka is a little off of his game.

With that being said, I still expect the Swiss man to come through. Pick: Wawrinka in 5 Coco Vandeweghe (USA) v/s Garbine Muguruza (ESP) [7] This next match features one of the stand out players of the tournament, Coco Vandeweghe and the current French Open champion, Garbine Muguruza.

As I predicted, Vandeweghe came through the Kerber match by simply overpowering the number 1 player in the world. Muguruza has quietly made her way through the tournament by playing aggressive yet controlled tennis. In a match that is a little up in the air, could Vandeweghe make it into her first grand slam semi-final? Vandeweghe has really impressed me during this tournament by not only being aggressive but also knowing when to dial it back.

With improved fitness and a clearer understanding of her game, the young American seems to finally have found her footing. For her to win this match, she will need to continue being bold on her first and second serve. Muguruza is incredibly accurate with her returns and will not hesitate to take advantage of any and all second serves.

The American also needs to make Muguruza move as the Spaniard is not known for her speed around the court. For Muguruza, she will also need to be aggressive with her first and second serve. Vandeweghe swings freely on any ball that sits up.

Muguruza will also need to incorporate angles to get the American off of the court and disrupt her rhythm. I expect this match to be highly competitive as both Vandeweghe and Muguruza will view this match as highly winnable.

Vandeweghe has never been to the semi-finals and may have to fight some nerves to begin the match. Muguruza has obviously been to this stage of a major before but her form can be rather up and down. While Muguruza may be more of threat to Vandeweghe then Kerber, I still expect the American to come through this match. Pick: Vandeweghe in 3