Australian Open Men’s preview Top Half Fourth Round
Australian Open top half fourth round preview
Novak Djokovic (1) Vs Daniil Medvedev (15)
Medvedev believes he has a chance versus Djokovic, a confidence he’s taken on the back of his fellow #NextGenATP player’s victories over the world no.1 (Tsitsipas Canada; Khachanov Paris-Bercy; A.Zverev WTF) and another force, one not even Novak Djokovic can fight- the ageing process.
While time may have meant Djokovic is not the player he once was, time has been a great help to the 22 year old Medvedev, giving the Russian the experience he needs to compete with the likes of Djokovic.
It’s time also that Medvedev feels will help him beat Djokovic, the Serbian, according to the Russian, giving you more time to hit the ball than other top players, a factor that would work in Medvedev’s favor, increasing his chances of hitting the powerful flat strokes that could potentially overwhelm the Serb.
Against the 31 year old Djokovic, Medvedev will need all the belief he can dig deep for. Djokovic may have looked less than impressive vs Shapovalov, but not much should be read into that performance other than it being another example of Djokovic’s advanced match management. Djokovic, like Murray, susses out the level of his opponent and adjusts his own accordingly, denying them the high level of tennis that can pick a struggling opponent’s level up, especially a sparky shot-maker like Shapavolov.
If Medvedev comes out playing as well as he has been of late, Djokovic will raise his own level a notch or two, be aggressive and consistent himself and when the lull comes, he’ll make sure it lasts.
Pablo Carreno Busta (23) Vs Kei Nishikori (8)
Carreno Busta is about as solid as a tennis player gets and if Nishikori is even a little bit compromised physically, and he is on a 9 match winning run, Busta has the game to take advantage.
If Nishikori’s body does hold up, Busta will be, in the Japanese’s words “tough” anyway, and the Brisbane champ expects extended rallies versus the 23rd seed playing in his second consecutive Australian Open fourth round, the furthest he has reached at that event.
This is the first match between the two and Nishikori, a three time Melbourne quarter-finalist, is the favorite.
Busta does have all the bases covered- he can serve well, move well, play from the back, build points and finish them at the net- but he doesn’t have any one shot which can really hurt the Japanese while Nishikori is the more aggressive and the more explosive of the two and if the rallies do get extended, Nishikori will look to win them with some of his shot-making skills and some inspired changes of direction.
Alexander Zverev (4) Vs Milos Raonic (16)
Sascha Zverev has made another slam fourth round, his third in all. In his first one, at Wimbledon in 2017, a five setter in which Zverev led by two sets to one, he was beaten by the Canadian, against whom he is 1-1, the German’s win a straight setter in Rome ’17.
At Wimbledon ’17, Raonic was on his way up, but now it’s Zverev in the ascendancy while Raonic tries to climb back to where he belongs, at the business end of medium fast slams.
This match will tell us a lot about how far Zverev really has come since hiring Lendl, if he can back up his fine play on the regular tour and meet his seeded position of four.
Zverev cannot be accused of not putting the work in. Like Raonic did to make the strides in his game, developing a solid less penetrable back court game, Zverev has worked on his weaknesses- his net play and mental toughness.
But those weaknesses are where Raonic is strong and what make the Canadian such a force on hard courts when in form, which he is.
Zverev is about to be asked some serious questions about just how mature and confident in moving forward he really is, and nothing but acing the test versus Raonic will do.
Borna Coric (11) Vs Lucas Pouille (28)
Coric is the sleeper in his quarter of the draw. Overlooked because of Fucsovic’s presence in his section, the Croatian has reached his second consecutive Grand slam fourth round under the radar, defeating Fucsovics in the process, in the second round, and in straights.
Pouille’s best results have come on faster courts and the former top tenner has reached his first slam fourth round since the US Open ’17, each match he has played to get there getting harder and harder, and this will be his toughest encounter yet.
Coric is the favorite in this match up, leading Pouille 2-0, both wins on hard (indoor and outdoor). With conditions suiting both men’s games in different ways- Pouille’s explosive shot-making and flat strokes; Coric’s movement, depth of shot and point construction-this match could go either way, but if it comes down to mental toughness, there’s no contest and it will be a first quarter-final at a slam for Coric.
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