With all the top ten mens seeds safely through to the second round expect no real surprises on day 4 as world no. 1 Novak Djokovic, defending champion Stanislas Wawrinka and the two young guns Kei Nishikori and Milos Raonic should sail into the round of 32. Ever since the seeding was increased to 32 from 16 in the year 2001; top players no longer have to worry about drawing dangerous opponents like the American John Isner and the Croat Ivo Karlovic till the third round thus ensuring that top draws remain till the business end of the tournament.
The only Australian in the top half; former world no 1 Lleyton Hewitt should get past the veteran German Benjamin Becker in a match that will be played on the Rod Laver arena even though both are unseeded. The former Wimbledon (2002) & US Open champion is the oldest remaining player in the draw but is still fiercely competitive should not disappoint a partisan and vociferous home crowd. Perhaps the most fascinating encounter of the day could be the one involving the mercurial Frenchman Gael Monfils and the 2013 Wimbledon semi finalist Jerzy Janowicz from Poland.
My projected round of 32 in the top half :
Novak Djokovic v. Fernando Verdasco
John Isner v. Roberto Bautista Agut
Feliciano Lopez v. Gael Monfils
Lleyton Hewitt v. Milos Raonic
Stanislas Wawrinka v. Jarko Nieminen
Vacek Pospisil v. Garcia Lopez
David Ferrer v. Gilles Simon
Santiago Giraldo v. Kei Nishikori
The women’s event should come to life when two former world number one Victoria Azarenko who won here in 2012 & 2013 faces Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki. That line up one would expect in the latter stages of a tournament but the Belarussian was sidelined for quite some time last year due to injury and is unseeded here. After her US Open runner up finish Wozniacki is no. 8 in the rankings and should extend her 4-3 head to head record against Azarenka who has slipped to no. 44. Two players who contested the 2010 Wimbledon final; the top ranked Serena Williams faces the Russian Vera Zvonareva. The 18 time grand slam winner who has five Australian titles prevailed 6-2,6-3 then but has shown erratic form in the lead up to Melbourne. However rule out any upset and the reigning Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova who is seeded fourth to meet Serena in the last four should progress easily.
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy. You can reach him at the email: sportzcosmos@ ]