Australian Open 2011 Men’s Draw - Nadal and Federer Draw Early Tests

Australian Open 2011
By Hiland Doolittle, January 15th, 2011

The Qualifying Tournament is winding down in Melbourne as the world anxiously awaits Monday’s Opening play.  Rafael Nadal is the top seed, followed by Roger Federer (2), Novak Djokovic (3) and Robin Soderling (4).  If all seeds held, Rafael would battle Soderling in the semis and Roger Federer would battle Novak Djokovic.

The Soderling Bracket

In examining the quarterfinal brackets, it seems unlikely that all four seeds will stand up to the pressure.  Soderling looks to have the most difficult road through the quarters.  His is likely to face strong challenges beginning in the third round where he should meet Argentina’s rising, unabashed  star Tomaz Bellucci (30).  If he survives that battle, Jo Willy Tsonga will be waiting in Round Four. If form holds, Scotsman Andy Murray should be waiting for him in the quarters.  That mean that before he reaches the semis, he will have battled three quality opponents, on who was a finalist in Melbourne in 2008 (Tsonga) and last year’s runner-up (Murray).  Good luck Robin!

Fifth seeded Andy Murray will have his own difficulties reaching the quarters. The Scot’s third round match will likely be against Spain’s Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (32).  His fourth round bracket includes whoever emerges from a triumvirate of proven ATP stars unseeded Juan Martin Del Potro, Marcos Baghdatis (21) or Jurgen Melzer (11), all dangerous foes.

The Djokovic Bracket

Third seeded Serb and 2008 Australian Open Champion, Novak Djokovic, looks to have a fairly smooth ride past doubles partner Viktor Troicki (29) in the third round and 14th seed Nicolas Almagro in the round of sixteen.  In the quarterfinals, there is plenty of trouble at the top of the draw sheet.  Tomaz Berdych (6) may hold his seed but most likely either the always dangerous Nikolay Davydenko (23), much improved Croatian Ivan Ljubicic (17) or Spain’s talented left handed fireballer Fernando Verdasco (9) will emerge to pose a difficult quarterfinal challenge.

The Federer Bracket

The defending champion should face veteran Gilles Simon, more a clay court threat, in round two, Albert Montanes (25) in round three and either Mardy Fish (16) or Sam Querrey (18), two streaky Americans with vastly improved games, in round four.

The top of the bracket is filled with more potential potholes.  The eighth seed, Andy Roddick (8), would like a Grand Slam shot at his 2009 Wimbledon five set finalist conqueror.  To reach Federer, Roddick will have to hold back challenges from Juan Monaco (26) and Switzerland’s number two Stanislaus Wawrinka and inconsistent Gael Monfils (12) who finished 2010 in game fashion.

The Rafael Nadal Bracket

In his quest to hold all four Grand Slams at one time, the Australian Open is the missing link for top seeded Rafael Nadal.

Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal

To win, the tour’s dominant player in 2010 will not be able to blink.  He will most likely face Australia’s promising talent Bernard Tomic in Round Two in a noisy match with plenty of distractions.   Fellow Spaniard Feliciano Lopez (31) should be the opponent in Round Three and the winner of an anticipated match between Croatian Marin Cilic (15) and serving specialist John Isner (20) in round four.

Seventh seeded Spaniard David Ferrer will try to reach Rafael Nadal in the quarters but he will face deep potholes before getting there.  Among them is Argentina’s David Nalbandian, in round three, and the winner of a probable third round pairing featuring Michael Llorda (22) of France and Mikhail Youzhny (10).

The Men’s Draw in the Australian Open 2011 is the most balanced in recent recollection.  The tour has such high caliber players, that any number of surprises will occur, even in the early rounds.

Before the Draw was released, we liked Andy Murray’s chances to claim his first Grand Slam.  After checking the draw, we expect several upsets.  Of the top four seeds, Serbia’s Djokovic appears to have the most favorable draw, but of late, Djokovic has been slow to start.

The way The Swiss has been playing, we like his chances to claim his 17th Grand Slam title.  Once play begins on Monday, there will be excitement down under.  Let’s play some tennis!

For more details visit Australian Open 2011 Men’s Draw page on Australian Open website.


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