Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Dolgo and the big boys

Nadal v Ferrer
Dolgopolov v Murray
Berdych v Djokovic
Wawrinka v Federer  

So, the 8 top seeds failed to all make it through. Wawrinka did indeed prove to be more than a minor spanner in the Roddick-works, but I think few expected to see Ukranian Dolgopolov put Soderling away and so comprehensively. 

So who is this upstart? I must admit, I watched the first set and thought it was a bit embarrassing him being so far into the tournament. He served 23% first serves and won only 20% of points on his second serve. He pulled those stats up to 50% and 44% respectively but was no doubt assisted in victory by Soderling's astonishing UFE count. The sets Dolgo won convincingly (3rd and 5th), Robin had a combined total of 32 unforced errors. That's gonna lose you the set. Put it this way, Murray has only committed 60 UFE all tournament. 

Dolgo has a bizarre and decidedly unorthodox technique, perhaps most obvious in his serve. His slingy forehands are quite dangerous and unpredictable but Murray will defend more than the naturally aggressive Soderling and it will leave Dolgo frustrated and we're likely to see an extremely error-strewn performance. In each of his matches so far, he's run away with a set or two (6-1, 6-2 against RS, 6-1, 6-1 against Tsonga, 6-0 against Becker, 6-2 against Kukushkin) which he's unlikely to be able to do against Murray.
Prediction: AD to have some dangerous moments, maybe the odd break and Murray is likely to concede more than 3 games in a set for the first time, but straight sets

As for the all Swiss match-up, Federer vs Wawrinka, although Stan seemed to be on great form and Rog struggling a touch, I can see the world number 2 coming through in 4 sets. Roddick and Monfils weren't able to offer anything different to their regular tactics and Stan punished them on the backhand time and again. No-one mixes it up and thinks on the court like Federer and that'll be enough to extend the 6-1 head-to-head

Not much of an adventurous prediction in the iberian clash either - Nadal hasn't lost to Ferrer since 2007 and takes an 11-3 head-to-head lead into the match. That said, David has won all 8 matches he's played this year (including the title at Auckland), dropping only 4 sets on the way - he's in exceptional form, but Nadal is Nadal. Straight sets

The quarter that intrigues me most is Djokovic-Berdych. Tomas is looking for a bit of consistency that might see him really challenge the top 5 - after his great Wimbledon performance, he fell off the wagon somewhat. Djoko put him away easily at the 02 and leads the head-to-head 4-1, but that 1 was the semi at Wimbledon. Don't think that Berdy will fold under the pressure. He's made serene progress, against some tough opponents and he has the potential to give Novak a good go. I'm gonna go for Nole though, I think the Aussie Open is special to him for some reason and he'll turn it up when he needs to. Another Federer Djokovic semi could be classic...

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