Hey guys, the Sunshine Slam is here and the draw came out late last night UK time. Roger comes in as the #3 seed in Melbourne and has landed in the same half as Djokovic which means they would meet in the semi final if they were both to make it. I first saw the draw this morning and it's quite an interesting one on both sides, well balanced and a few potential popcorn matches if they can live up the billing. Roger actually has it pretty tough in his first few rounds though, as you can see below, but if he does meet all his projected opponents he's not facing anyone with an out and out destructive weapon until the Quarters against Berdych / Cilic / Kyrgios. You can see his potential path below:
Federer's Projected Opponents
- Round 1: Nikoloz Basilashvili
- Round 2: Alexandr Dolgopolov
- Round 3: Grigor Dimitrov
- Round 4: David Goffin / Dominic Thiem
- Quarter Final: Tomas Berdych
- Semi Final: Novak Djokovic
- Final: Andy Murray
Thoughts on the Draw
The one match that's so far set is against Nikoloz Basilashvili. I've only ever seen glimpses of him play and you only need to type his name into YouTube to see there's very little footage of him. He did however make the Third Round at Wimbledon last year, won a couple of challengers and came through qualifying at the US Open so he has at least some experience at slam level. Roger has never played him before, in fact it will be Basilashvili's first match against Top 10 opposition, and I think Fed will come through that one comfortably.
Round 2 is a potential tricky encounter against Dolgopolov. The Ukrainian is used to being a seed at the Slams but has slipped down into the mid thirties in the rankings. He's a much better player than that though and on his day can trouble anyone. Roger handled him easily in their last encounter in Indian Wells 2 years ago and you'd have to back him to come through again here. Straights most likely but Dolgo is more than capable of getting a set.
Dimitrov then looks most likely to make the third round, facing Paulo Lorenzi who has only won 2 matches in 20 attempts at Grand Slam level in his opener then a qualifier in Round 2. If their Brisbane match is anything to go by then it could be a tough one but I think Dimitrov played above his level and Roger below his in that one so Fed is the favourite. Could be interesting but Fed holds most of the aces in that matchup.
The Round 4 seeded opponents are either Goffin or Thiem. I think Leonardo Mayer has a good chance to come through that section though. Thiem retired in his last match in Sydney so I'm not sure on his fitness and Goffin's lack of firepower or serve means he gets turned over quite a lot by players ranked much lower than him.
Should Roger get himself into the second week the first big test, on paper at least, will be in the quarters with Berdych, Cilic and Kyrgios all in the mix. Any of those guys could come through that section and Bautista-Agut also deserves a mention as his solidity over 5 sets wins him a lot of matches.
Into the semi finals and this time it's Djokovic in the same half. His record in Australia is imperious so you'd have to be confident of him getting there. Tricky first round for him facing Chung who is an up and comer but you can't see him running into issues.
Final is then anyone's guess – Murray is the seed, Stan is in that section and Nadal too so it's wide open. As usual it's just 1 match at a time, last year saw Roger struggle vs. Bolelli then crash to Seppi so the first aim is surely to better his 2015 performance. I think he looked pretty good in Brisbane before playing the lacklustre final so I'm backing him to make the second week.
- Gasbashvili to beat Seppi
- Duckworth to give Hewitt the win 😆
- Pouille to cause Raonic Problems
- Nadal to straight set Verdasco, I hope it's like 2009 though.
- Busta to beat Kyrgios
What do you guys think of the draw? Let me know in the comments. Live chat will be running as usual for all matches so I'll see you guys on Monday or Tuesday for his first match.
Play The Tiger Mobiles Tennis Challenge
And finally Tiger Mobiles are again running their tennis bracket game for 2016 and there is also the peRFect Tennis Mini league which you can join and I'll give a prize to the winners after the Paris Masters. The prizes on offer from Tiger Mobiles are different this year and for Slams you can win an iPhone 6S and for Masters 1000 a 1 year subscription to TennisTV.
Check it out here: https://tennis.tigermobiles.com/