On Day three of the Australian Open three out of Tennis’ BIG FOUR; Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray progressed in contrasting styles into the round of 32. While Andy Murray won in straight sets against the Aussie Marinko Matosevic who came through a five setter in the first round, Roger Federer dropped the opening set before storming back to beat the Italian Simone Bolleli. Rafael Nadal was taken to the distance by the 112th ranked Qualifier Tim Smyczek of USA who had never beaten a top ten player before. The Spaniard next faces the Israeli Dudi Sela who put out Nadal’s 2012 Wimbledon conqueror Lucas Rosol. They have been joined by Bernard Tomic (d. Kohlschreiber), Nick Kyrgios (d. Karlovic) & Sam Groth( d. Kokkinakis) – all Australians. Tomas Berdych, Grigor Dmitrov, Richard Gasquet and Kevin Anderson are the other remaining seeds in the bottom half after 2006 runner up Marcos Baghdatis put out Belgium’s David Goffin, Italian Andreas Seppi outlasted Jeremy Chardy and the Serb Victor Troicki continued his comeback after serving a 12 month ban winning his seventh match in a row beating the highest ranked Argentine Leonardo Mayer. Portugal’s Joao Souza and the Tunisian Malek Jaziri complete the line up.
They will be in action day five with my picks named first
Tomas Berdych v. Victor Troicki
Bernard Tomic v. Sam Groth
Richard Gasquet v. Kevin Anderson
Rafael Nadal v. Dudi Sela
Andy Murray v. Joao Souza
Grigor Dmitrov v. Marcos Baghdatis
Nick Kyrgios v. Malek Jaziri
Roger Federer v. Andreas Seppi
It remains to be seen how Nadal recovers after his 4 hour 12 minute marathon but he should come through. The match of the day could well be between Bulgarian Grigor Dmitrov and the hopefully resurgent Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus. Atleast one Aussie will remain in the fray as Bernard Tomic will play the big serving Sam Groth while Nick Kyrgios should face Federer next in the last 16 but would need an improved performance from Seppi who once took Novak Djokovic into five sets at Roland Garros in 2012 when he was ranked top 20.
In the ladies section the world no. 2 Maria Sharapova staved off two match points against her fellow Russian Alexandra Panova; a qualifier ranked 150. The winner of the Brisbane event almost joined the runner up there Ana Ivanovic on the sidelines as she lost focus after running away with first set 6-1. The other seeds among the top eight in action Simona Halep, Eugene Bouchard and Agnieska Radwanska all won in straight sets. The evergreen veterans Venus Williams and Sara Errani joined them in the last 32.
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy. You can reach him at the email: email@example.com]