• Australian Open draw revealed

    1/14/11 3:06 AM | Cheryl Murray
    Australian Open draw revealed The draw for the 2011 Australian Open has been released and pits Andy Murray against Robin Soderling in the toughest quarter.

    In most Grand Slams, one quarter of the draw seems to be more difficult than the others. This year, that section is the second quarter, where Soderling and Murray as well as Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Ernests Gulbis and Marcos Baghdatis will battle it out for a shot at the semifinals. Juan Martin Del Potro is also in this section, but the Argentine is still finding his form and is not expected to be a factor.

    Rafael Nadal's quarter has some dangers as well. The Spaniard faces a possible fourth round encounter against American John Isner. Dangerous floater David Nalbandian lurks in this section as well as Nadal's countryman David Ferrer.

    Novak Djokovic, who defeated Roger Federer in the semifinals of the US Open, once again finds himself in Federer's half of the draw. The Serb's biggest obstacles in his path to the semfinals is No. 23 Nikolay Davydenko, who has re-found his form, Tomas Berdych and his own countryman Viktor Troicki.

    Federer's section, like Nadal's, contains some dangers. Federer would not meet Andy Roddick until the quarterfinals, but Federer has the in-form Lukas Lacko in the first round and a possible encounter with the tricky Xavier Malisse in the third. Besides Roddick, other seeds in the No. 2's section include Gael Monfils, Mardy Fish, Sam Querrey and Stanislas Wawrinka.

    First round matches to watch:

    Lleyton Hewitt vs. David Nalbandian - this one is a cracker and would make a worthy quarterfinal battle. Nalbandian seems to be's rotten luck for Hewitt.

    Lukas Lacko vs. Roger Federer - Lacko is only ranked 99 in the world, but he took a set off Rafael Nadal at love in Doha. He might make this match interesting for a set or two.

    David Ferrer vs. Jarkko Nieminen - This is actually a tricky first-rounder for David Ferrer. The Spaniard comes in off a deep run in Auckland...and Nieminen is always better at the beginning of the season.

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Lacko just gave Rafa a bagel and Roger has to face him in the first round. Definitely should be a good test, hopefully not as bad as Igor was last year.

Isn't Daniel the old guy Rafa faced in the first round at Paris 2 years ago? Easy one for him there. A break to avoid Murray/Soderling in quarters.

Might be a bit tough for both guys but expecting Rafa/Roger final still.

numero , 1/14/11 3:21 AM

Lacko can be tough, but Roger doesn't normally have trouble with his type of game. I expect Roger to win that one in straight sets.

cherylmurray , 1/14/11 3:36 AM

balanced draw

Nalbandian-Hewitt is rough. Former Grand Slam final.

RickyDimon , 1/14/11 3:52 AM

Roger has the easiest Quarter. This guy somehow manages to get cupcake draws. There are no bad matchups. Roddick is his bunny. He is lucky Murray or Berdych are not in his Quarter.
While Nadal is lucky not to have Murray in his Quarter, the no.1 seed has a few people who could give him trouble eg Isner ( Rafa has been uncomfortable against him) and Youzhny who is a good hardcourter and has troubled Rafa in the past. Also, the ever dangerous Nalbandian. Also Ferrer.Both Ferrer and Nalbandian are in form and have reached Auckland final now.
So, it is a tricky draw for Rafa and if he is still not 100% fit, could prove to be full of landmines. However, if he negotiates the Quarters safely, he should be lifting the trophy.
For Federer, there seem to be no obvious problems in the Quarters . His real test would start in the semis.

vij , 1/14/11 4:29 AM

Cheryl, with reference to your analysis, Rafa cannot meet Isner in the 3rd round. He can meet him in the 4th round. He can meet Lopez in the 3rd round.
And, referring to my own analysis, the consolation for Rafa is that in the Quarters, he can meet not more than one of Ferrer, Nalbandian and Youzhny ( or Hewitt or dangerous Berankis).

vij , 1/14/11 4:43 AM

Rafa having problems right up to the QF but no problem at the semi?? All those in his quarter are not good enough to trouble him. Youzhny? Didn't you watch the USO Sf last year? Ferrer or Nalby? Didn't you watch IW last year, when Rafa haven't even regained his confidence yet. Fair enough that Ferrer and Nalby are both in good form now, in fact they've reached the Auckland final, still they would have battled it out before meeting Rafa in the QF. Rafa will be ready for them. Isner - well didn't Rafa beat him time and again, even before Rafa became what he is now on the hard court.

The main problem for Rafa will come in the SF( if he gets there of course), though if everything goes by seeding, Murray will battle against Sod and we don't know how that turns out. If it is a long match then Rafa may stand to gain, unless he himself is involved with one too in his QF.

luckystar , 1/14/11 5:19 AM

Roger and Rafa both should be untroubled in their quarters. As said above, Sodering (Murray) has the toughest quarter followed by Nole.

As a Rafa fan I'm happy with his quarter and I certainly don't think that Federer has a "cupcake" draw. The second and third quarters are certainly the loaded ones.

That being said this is a major and anyone in the top 10, at least, has the potential to lift the trophy.

cal23 , 1/14/11 5:42 AM

The way I approach the draw is to focus on the early rounds, the players that Rafa could face in the first week. This is the most dangerous part of a slam. This is when we have seen top seeds taken out be lesser players who managed to raise their level on a given day.

Of course, I look at the latter part of the draw, but I always tell myself that Rafa has to get there and so do his potential opponents. There is no sense worrying about the quarters or semis at the beginning of the tournament. I always like Rafa's chances if he gets into the second week.

There are some potentially troublesome opponents, but that is to be expected. I think it definitely could have been worse. However, Rafa will not take anyone for granted. Nalby has always been a thorn in Rafa's side and seems to be in decent form, but I just don't think he can beat Rafa in a best three out of five match. Isner's big serving can be difficult, but he can be inconsistent. Ferrer seems to be in good form and is always a tough opponent who can make you work for a win.

On this hardcourt surface, which is favorable to Rafa's game, I think he has a decent draw. The only question in my mind now is if he has fully recovered from his bout with that nasty viral infection or flu or whatever. He said that he is not yet 100%, but feeling better every day.

I am always extremely nervous in the early rounds, even if the opponent doesn't appear to be a threat. You just never know. Rafa will be extremely focused and take it one match at a time, the way he always does, never looking ahead.

I am grateful that Murray and Sod have to battle it out to see who meets Rafa. Of course, that is if both of them even get that far and assuming Rafa gets there.

Now I say, bring it on! Vamos, Rafa for the win and a date with history! :)

Nativenewyorker , 1/14/11 6:54 AM

The draw looks even for both Fed and Rafa. I dont think any side can complain. had Murray been in Rafa's quarter like last year, then I would have been a monster draw for him....but he sud be fine this year...atleast the SF and possibly beyond

atul1985 , 1/14/11 7:16 AM

As a Federer fan I am hoping he can bring his A-game to the early rounds (anyone remember Wimbledon round 1 last year?). Lacko first up and then a rejuvenated Simon who he hasn't beaten in their two meetings so far.

woodenracquet , 1/14/11 7:36 AM

Federer definitely has an easier Quarter than Nadal.
In any case, Nadal usually looks vulnerable in the early rounds and combined with him not being 100% fit, I feel negotiating the Quarters would be tricky for him. If he reaches the second week, he will defeat whoever he meets in the semi and in the finals ( I assume he would have recovered fully by then).

vij , 1/14/11 7:42 AM

Federer vs. Malisse would be third round

Federer's potential opponent in R2 is Simon

RickyDimon , 1/14/11 8:14 AM

vij: Fed always has a cupcake draws? I think you mixed him with Nadal? Look at the stat of the last year - Nadal won 3 GSs by winning less matches against top players!

ystd , 1/14/11 9:31 AM

in general, Federer gets the easier draws

RickyDimon , 1/14/11 9:58 AM

ystd: don't be in denial. Roger has always had the easier draws, maybe not cupcake as such but definitely luckier with draws and always favoured in the schduling.

jean , 1/14/11 10:22 AM

and here we go again..
the Fed-cupcake draw bs.

bjawad , 1/14/11 10:30 AM

bjawad: yes, I've noticed this too, if u r Rog fan u think Raf has easier draw and vice versa :) Though I do agree with jean re scheduling, does seem to favour Rog.

deuce , 1/14/11 10:39 AM

Fed has the easiest draw IMO...Lacko's game is no threat to Fed and Simon has never been a danger to him either...and even later on he has nobody to trouble him as Americans are not in form and he may end up playing Hanesku or Stakhovsky in the 4th round...his quarterfinal match with Rodick (that is if Roddick reaches quarters; he may even end up losing to Monfils) will be the easy and fast one (I always say Fed is like a penicillin for Roddick-he ?treats him aggressively?), Fed will not even sweat reaching semis...however, in the semis he will most likely face Nole who could be of trouble to him but only if the conditions are favorable to Nole which means there are no extreme heats present which is, I must admit, unlikely to be. But again, given this match will most likely be played in the evening Nole might have the conditions in his favor...

natashao , 1/14/11 11:56 AM

For Rafa it all depends if he has fully recovered from the illness he was dealing with...he has the favorable draw as well, given that "big hitters" like Davy, Ljubicic, Troicki, Gulbis are in other parts of the draw...I am not saying this in the context that Rafa would by any chance lose to them, but that it may have required more time spent on the court to beat them...this is mainly why I like seeing Feli and Isner in his draw which means there will not be a lot of running on the court as it all gets down to the first serve and a few decisive points...this also means that I would like to see Feli beating Chardy or Tomic as the later guy tends to play AO with huge motivation (is atr somewhere out there for the prospective studies on Tomic? :) of course, having Nalby in the draw is never easy, but I am not sure he will reach that far given that he has both Ferrer and Youzhny in his part of the draw...we shall see...and I know it is early to speak of the semis but it does not take to be a prophet to realize that whoever from the second quarter comes to the semis will have hard fought place there and will be exhausted...


natashao , 1/14/11 12:24 PM

I find that it is hard to say that the draw is fairly balanced. Even as a hard core Rafa fan I find that both Rafa and Fed have way much easier draws than Nole (poor Nole!!) and Sod!! Yes, Rafa has some tricky players but Fed has players in his draw I have never even heard of!!! If I didnt know better, Id think the scheduling is deliberately tilted to a Rafa/Fed final!!!!

Anyway, I hope Rafa will be fully recuperated and wish Rafa all the match at a time!!!


Monalysa , 1/14/11 1:00 PM

nalbandian-hewitt is a first round match?!!? goodness, what a thriller that will be!

mriiidula , 1/14/11 1:10 PM

The draw is very interesting.

Last year Fed lost very set of the tournament and still lifted the trophy(Igor is a good player and not anyone who is just around #100).

This time he is playing Lacko , this might not be such a big threat but Simon has 2-0 record against Fed though Fed was not playing that well during that time but still it will be a good test.Simon is in the final of Sydney open.

Djoker will have a tough test again.

Troicki is playing well and even he has managed to reach sydney final.He could be tired after a long match (if final goes for 2+ hrs).

Nadal has got Marcos Daniel I think this should be a straight set match.

Even murray has got an easy first round..

champ00289 , 1/14/11 1:33 PM

Strange about saying Rafa having fewer matches against top ten players! Now whose fault was that? All top four players are sure to draw one of no.5 to no.8 ranked player as their QF opponent. Next they are sure to draw one of no.13 to no.16 ranked players as their 4th round opponent. If the top four guys go through the draw according to seeding, they'll then meet each other in the semifinal and two of them will then meet in the final. So the maximum no. of top ten players a top four guy will meet is three, if one or more of the top ten guys fall by the way side, then it will two or even one. If these top ten guys are not good enough to meet Rafa, why blame Rafa for their failures?

Rafa did draw Murray, the no.4 guy at the USO, its Murray not being able to come through to meet Rafa in the semifinal, why blame Rafa for it? Rafa did beat Verdasco, the no. 8 guy, in the QF and the no.3 guy, Nole, in the final. Its not Rafa's fault that Fed, the no.2 guy, didn't make it to the final.

Rafa did beat the no. 5 guy, Sod, at the QF of Wimbledon, the no. 4 guy, Murray, at the SF but its because of Fed's inability to make it to the final that Rafa had to beat Berdych at the Wimbledon final. Again why blame Rafa for Fed's inability?

The FO is even worst for those top ten guys, save Rafa and Sod. Only Sod and Rafa managed to live up to their seeding, Fed/Nole/Murray all fell at QF or even before that, with Verdasco, Roddick etc exited even earlier. Again not Rafa's fault!

To me, both Fed's and Rafa's draws are OK, definitely better than that of the no.3 and no.4 guys; rightfully so as they are the top two guys.

luckystar , 1/14/11 1:41 PM

croc , 1/14/11 1:41 PM

dustin brown competing for germany!


he wants to get into davis cup?? jamaica would grant him a place in the olympics for sure...?

croc , 1/14/11 1:59 PM

I took a quick look at the draw and looked at what opponent they will most likely encounter in every round until the quarters, it looks something like this:

Nadal: 1st rnd - Marcos Daniel, 2nd rnd - Gimeno Traver, 3th rnd - Lopez, 4th rnd - Isner or Cilic (don't think he'll get this far), QF - Ferrer or Youzhny or Nalbandian

Soderling: 1st rnd - Starace, 2nd rnd - Qualifier, 3th rnd - Istomin, 4th rnd - Tsonga, QF - Murray

Murray: 1st rnd - Beck, 2nd rnd - Marchenko, 3th rnd - Garcia-Lopez, 4th rnd - Melzer or Baghdatis or DelPotro (don't think that he got's what it takes yet), QF - Soderling or Tsonga

Djokovic: 1st rnd - Granollers, 2nd rnd - Karlovic, 3th rnd - Troicki, 4th rnd - Ljubicic or Almagro, QF - Davydenko or Berdych or Verdasco

Federer 1st rnd - Lacko, 2nd rnd - Simon, 3th rnd - Malisse or Montanes, 4th rnd - Fish or Querry or Stakhovsky, QF - Roddick or Monfils or Wawrinka

I think Soderling got the toughest route, followed by Djokovic, Murray/Federer are par with eachother I think and Nadal should sail through to the quarter final. I'm expecting Ferrer and Nalbandian running out of steam at the QF-stage.

Murray, Federer and Djokovic have got some tricky matches ahead, with Djokovic the most tricky ones, although it should help his returngame ;-)

Soderling got the route from hell from the third round on.... Istomin, Tsonga and Murray. Welcome to the top 4 ;-)

I think the semis will be: Nadal - Murray and Djokovic - Federer.
Murray (5 sets) and Federer (4 sets) will pull through with Federer winning the final in 5 sets, with Murray collapsing under the pressure of winning a Slam.

Bonker , 1/14/11 2:05 PM

Ricky and vij - sorry for the miscalculation. I was using an "unofficial" draw sheet because the official one wasn't up yet -- and the person who put it up forgot to add the qualifiiers. Sorry about that. Epic fail on my part. Duh.

Hewitt really got unlucky to draw Nalbs, but it will surely be THE match to watch in the opener.

Federer's early rounds are more difficult than Nadal's, but the seeds in his quarter shouldn't be a problem.

cherylmurray , 1/14/11 2:10 PM

Hewitt may beat Nalby, as Nalby may be tired after the Auckland tournament.

Bonker - why always assume that Murray will crumble under pressure? If he can beat Rafa in the semifinal, I think this time round, he'll be more prepared for Fed in the final. In fact, I venture to say that if Murray is able to beat Nadal, he'll go on to win the AO. I think he can outlast Fed or Nole, as I foresee another hard battle between Fed and Nole. Among the three, I think Murray is the fittest now, with Fed needing more recovery time than both Murray and Nole.

Anyway, I'm positive that Rafa will beat Murray or Sod in the semifinal, if they get there. Rafa knows how to beat Murray, as shown during that WTF semifinal match, and he is a better slam player than Murray. As long as Rafa is in tip top condition, ie no illness and confidence is sky high, he knows how to deal with Murray. Rafa vs Sod, I know Rafa will use his serve and his superb defensive skills again to make Sod runs till he drops.

luckystar , 1/14/11 2:31 PM

Andy showed how to beat Soderling at the WTF so I hope everyone was watching ;) that's right - dinky little volleys at his feet :) works against Isner too. Where is Haase in the draw, I wonder, now he's a dangerous player and Dolgopolov is very promising, also like the new improved marriage absconder, Wawa ;)

deuce , 1/14/11 2:56 PM

How is it that at all but French Open, Nadal and Murray are ALWAYS in the same half of the draw for the last FOUR years (at least), probably five (I can't dig back that far). That's 12 consecutive! Odds of that "randomly" occuring? Wait for it, drum roll please.....

1 in 4096 or 0.02%. (which means that there is a 99.8% that it is NOT random at all).

Yes, yes, I am a biased Rafa fan. But still, as a math fan, this doesn't add up!

-The Conspirator

Conspirator , 1/14/11 3:13 PM

Listen, the only way Rafa is going to lose this AO is to stop him b4 he reaches the semis. And if he reaches the finals................then hell no!!!!!!!!!!..........there is no stopping him!!!!!! See his win/loss record at GSlam finals!!!

VAMOS Rafa!!!!!

Monalysa , 1/14/11 3:19 PM

@ The me!!

@ luckystar , 1/14/11 1:41 PM..................great post, absolutely!!!!

Monalysa , 1/14/11 3:24 PM


Even Fed had a 10-0 GS Final Record before he lost his final against Nadal.

champ00289 , 1/14/11 3:27 PM

I am happy with the draw. All the better if Fed's draw is a cup-cake........that way he has to be in the final! Rafa will be in the final.

I want Roger/Rafa now so that Rafa can shut the naysayers up once and for all.

It's time.


rafaisthebest , 1/14/11 3:38 PM

croc , 1/14/11 3:51 PM

I don't know how Muzz keeps ending up in Nadal's section -- but I feel obliged to point out that Rafa wasn't complaining with the way the USO turned out...and I can guarantee that Federer did not enjoy that semifinal against Nole.

Just sayin'...

cherylmurray , 1/14/11 4:24 PM

@ champ00289...........point! But I still stand firm on my post!!!

Monalysa , 1/14/11 4:35 PM

croc: Sod tire the new slimline Andy out, ROFL. Actually their H2Hs r close 3-2 to Andy, however.
Personally, I'd much rather Andy meets Fed b4 any grandslam final I think he'd have a better chance. In Masters it doesn't seem to be the same problem.

deuce , 1/14/11 4:44 PM

u know only one player has beaten nadal in the grand slam finals and dat is federer
so u can't say dat nadal is not beatable in the finals

saxenanalin , 1/14/11 4:56 PM

I think it's written in the bye laws of tennis and Rafa goes with Muzz and Roger goes with Nole. It's happened 9 out of 10 times.

nadline , 1/14/11 4:59 PM

One problem with Rafa and Murray being in the same half is that their matches tend to clash and British Eurosport will always show Murray's match instead of Rafa's which is very annoying for a Rafa fan like me.

nadline , 1/14/11 5:14 PM

@ saxenanalin, yes thats true...............but I still stand firm by my post. So I guess Fed and Rafa had both better make it to the finals so we can put an end to this once and for all!!!!!!!


Monalysa , 1/14/11 5:26 PM

So does it mean that Murray perhaps has to go thru Rafa AND Roger to win the AO?!! If thats the case, deuce (or anyone), do you think Andy is on for a good chance?

Monalysa , 1/14/11 5:29 PM

See AOpen draw analysis below Open-Draw-Analysis.aspx

Monalysa , 1/14/11 5:56 PM

@Monalysa - there is a 1st time for everything and I believe that Andy could well end up beating fed in a GS final. Going by the past records, Andy's chances seem slim but you never know.

I am actually a little worried about a not 100% Rafa turning up at the AO.If he is not 100%, I dont see him getting past the SF's.

atul1985 , 1/14/11 5:57 PM

Cheryl hit it right . Fed's earlier rounds are tricky ... he is 0-2 against Giles Simon .. and Simon is in form now .. as the seeds go through .. no real danger .. all the dangerous floaters are away from Rafa's quarter .. no real hidden guns there ... all and all .. good draw ..

justtennis , 1/14/11 6:01 PM

Did Fed get to 10-0 in GS final before being beaten by Rafa in a slam final? I counted, it should be 7-0, starting from Wimbledon 2003, right up to AO 2006. Rafa beat Fed in the FO 2006 final. Fed beats Rafa at the two Wimbledon finals when Rafa was still trying to master the grass. Since then, it was all Rafa when they meet in slam finals. So Rafa went 2-2 with Fed in slam finals before surging ahead to 5-2, and then now he is 9-2 in slam finals overall. Fed is 16-6 in slam finals.

luckystar , 1/14/11 6:04 PM

Rafa's defensive sills and moon balls will work on clay .. but he needs to be 100% on hard courts .. if he is ill and not 100% .. it will be very tough .. Murray's defensively good .. WTF was a real dogfight .. but Rafa was 100% then and pulled through .. an encore when not 100% .. very tough ..

whats the latest with Rafa .. is he 100%???

justtennis , 1/14/11 6:10 PM

MonaLisa: Andy has to get past Soderling and Roger and Rafa :( All depends whether Mr Magic or Mr Tragic turns up :) That's not original btw, but neat and sums Andy up IMHO

deuce , 1/14/11 6:14 PM

Fed was 7-0 and then 10-1..

Before USO 2009 nadal was the only man who had beaten Fed on slam final but Delpo became second despite of being 0-6 on H2H.

champ00289 , 1/14/11 6:30 PM

I'd say Federer has an easier draw than Rafa's though Rafa's route to the semis is still a fairly comfortable on the assumption that hes 100% There are a few threats, Cilic, Isner but no guarantees that they'll make it through to meet him. A good break for him that Delpo is in the second quarter and that Davydenko is in the other half.

The real fascinating situation is Murray/Soderling in the quarters with the No4 ranking at stake.

Overall I think the chances of a Nadal / Federer final seems quite good...

lebsta2 , 1/14/11 7:50 PM

WTF was indoor, AO outdoor, that's the difference. Not forgetting Rafa was edgy throughout that WTF tournament, losing his temper at Carlos Bernades during that Berdych match, and while serving for the match at 5-4 in the third set against Murray, he managed to lose his serve while having match points. Such was the state that Rafa was in, mentally I believed, so not a good indication of where Rafa's game was against Murray.

Rafa should have recovered from his illness by now, and the AO outdoor hard court surface suits his game better, so he may be able to beat Murray again.

luckystar , 1/14/11 8:03 PM

Why is everybody still talking about Rafa's cold? If he stayed sick longer than he should have, it's his fault for playing too much last week. No way he had influenza because he wouldn't have been able to play plus that's prevelant during winter months; it looked pretty hot in Doha. He beat good players last week while sick so no reason to think he won't beat the scrubs in front of him early plus a day off between each match.

I expect to see him in the final with a very good chance to win, but if he doesn't it won't be because of a should-be 3-day cold he had last week. That's why I like NFL players who just go out and play, hurting or not. No excuses, no "I'm getting better but not yet 100%" BS. This from the toughest guy in the history of the sport.

numero , 1/14/11 8:23 PM

@ numero,

"I expect to see him in the final with a very good chance to win" do I but give the guy a break! The guys in the NFL are not alone in their game.......Rafa is all alone against the other guy on the other side of the net, so I think that makes a huge difference! But I agree, depending if Rafa was in a lot worst shape that he seemed to be, I would expect him to be 100% at least into the first week of AO!!!


Monalysa , 1/14/11 9:29 PM

i'd like to say it was an even draw, but once again, why is it that rafa gets the easier cup cake draws? Lacko in the first round for roger. The man is on fire, recently bageled rafa. unbelievable roll he was on. To say that fed gets the easier rounds, ricky, jean and viji? no way. Why is it that rafa always gets his spanish compatriots? Ferrer? AGAIN? Come on ricky. tell me this isn't so? Why is it that rafa always gets Ferrer? What is happening here?

ystd: don't be in denial. Roger has always had the easier draws, maybe not cupcake as such but definitely luckier with draws and always favoured in the schduling.
, 1/14/11 10:22 AM

i think this is very unfair. You are the one in denial Jean. What about Ferrer? Always drawn against Rafa. Always. There is no point in arguing it though. the best will out as they say.

'Roger has the easiest Quarter. This guy somehow manages to get cupcake draws. There are no bad matchups. Roddick is his bunny. He is lucky Murray or Berdych are not in his Quarter.

I suppose rafa must be breathing fresh air that he has Ferrer - AGAIN.

Monalysa why is it that rafa is in worst shape? He just won a doubles title in Qatar. Must have been in great shape to win that tournament.

maxi , 1/14/11 10:48 PM

Federer fans always think that Rafa gets the easier draw and Nadal fans always think Roger gets the easier draw. I think the truth is that Federer's early rounds are harder and Rafa's seeds are harder....and in the end it'll probably even out.

cherylmurray , 1/14/11 11:12 PM

I read somewhere that Rafa might be playing first this time before Fed. I hope this is true because Rafa will have an extra day of rest before the finale this time. Of cousre providing Rafa gets to the semi and wins (fingers crossed).

gamesetmatch , 1/15/11 12:39 AM

No. 2 seed and defending champ Roger Federer will have to keep his hands on the wheel to emerge from this quarter, because some of the guys he's lumped in with have shown they can play?when they want to. He may meet, in order starting with the second round, Gilles Simon, Xavier Malisse (who's enjoying a late career surge and still has talent to burn) and Albert Montanes. Should he survive?and I think he will?Federer most likely to meet Sam Querrey or Mardy Fish in the fourth round. Federer probably will survive, but he'll be tested.

- from a blog

russel , 1/15/11 1:46 AM

I don't think Fed and Rafa will have any problem with the draw, after all this is a slam. Please check, in the past two years, who are those guys who are able to beat these two players: Delpo, Sod, Murray, Berdych, Nole. Only the top few guys are able to beat Fed or Rafa, and so we see it is very difficult to beat the top two guys in a slam. Do you think a Lacko, a Simon, or whoever can beat Fed or Rafa so easily?

The real test for Fed and Rafa will come in the QF and after, where they will meet the top few guys. If it is Fed/Roddick, well we know who will win. If it is Fed/Monfils, then it can be interesting, depending which Monfils shows up. I think he won't beat Fed, but may stretch him for the benefit of Fed's semifinal opponent. If it is Fed/Stan, well don't expect Stan to beat Fed.

For Rafa/Ferrer, most probably Rafa will win; if it is Rafa/Nalby, things can be interesting, though I think Nalby by then may run out of gas.

My guess is that the top four/five guys will be the ones contesting in the semis, it's up to the top two guys to figure a way to get to the final then.

luckystar , 1/15/11 4:18 AM

I am a Rafa fan...but honestly I think that Fed has got a slightly more tougher draw especially in the early rounds.
Both thier QF opponents are exactly the ones they would have hoped for, so good for them. Will be very surprised if they both dont reach the SF's atleast.

atul1985 , 1/15/11 5:20 AM

It's great that the AO is live streaming the qualifying matches. Some of us (read Canadians) only get to see their players at this time.

smr , 1/15/11 6:29 AM

I am Fed fan , i think Roger's early rounds are tougher than Rafa's on paper .It's kinda rough but if he pulls through it will give the Maestro great confidence in the next rounds match at a time , thats how im looking at it this season

FedNatic , 1/15/11 8:33 AM

Rafa said in an interview that he is still struggling a bit with his fitness
feeling a little more tired than usual and sweating more than usual.

I have a bad feeling about this one, though his first match will throw more light on this. it might well be in his favour to start on Tuesday rather than MOnday

atul1985 , 1/15/11 9:26 AM

I think Rafa will be fine. A grand slam is something different, the adrenaline and everything can get a player going even if he doesnt feel all that great off-court.

I like the draw this time, mainly because this is the first time in like a zillion hard court grand slams that Roddick and Nole arent in the same quarter.

mriiidula , 1/15/11 9:55 AM

In his interview Rafa said:

In general, the conditions of Australia are a little bit more easy for me than US Open. The history says me that. The ball here is getting little bit more topspin, is a little bit slower. But seriously I start to think for me is better have faster courts or slower courts?

That's very encouraging!! I think he was saying he prefers faster courts to slower courts, so bang goes the theory that he likes slow courts.

nadline , 1/15/11 11:04 AM

^^^^I think Rafa was having a swipe at people saying he can't play on fast courts.

nadline , 1/15/11 11:06 AM

I wouldn't worry about Lacko upsetting Fed, especially at a grand slam. He was very impressive playing against Nadal, absolutely, but Nadal was really feverish and reduced to a much less powerful and fast etc player.

chlorostoma , 1/15/11 2:04 PM

Didn't Rafa give Lacko a pasting last year at the AO? I think Rafa allowed him only a few games. Grunted Lacko probably was star struck last year, playing against Rafa for
the first time in a slam. Lacko has game, as I remember him giving Youzhny plenty of problems at Dubai last year, stretching Youzhny to three sets before losing. Still he is no match for players of the caliber of Fed and Rafa. A Rafa without illness won't be bagelled by Lacko. I believe Lacko will receive a pasting from Fed at the AO this year. Poor soul, has the honor of meeting the two top guys in consecutive years at the AO.

luckystar , 1/15/11 2:21 PM

The grand slam draw works like this I think !!
Seeded players odd numbers eg 1-3-5-7- etc in the top
Seeded players even numbers eg 2-4-6-8- etc in bottom half of the draw
With number 1 it top quarter
Number 3 bottom quarter
number 2 bottom quarter in 2 nd half of the draw
number 4 at top quarter of 2 nd half of the draw
And all other seeded players are evenely placed in between
No where to hide for anyone in a grand slam!!!1
Even the qualifing players are a threat as they are used to the conditions and winnining matches to get into main draw
Good Luck to all the players and may it be played in good sportsship and crowd are in controlled behaviour

sals3 , 1/15/11 3:30 PM

sals, what are you talking about? The no.1 and no.2 players are always in opposite halves ofnthe draw. No.3 and no.4 are randomly drawn to face either no.1 or no.2, thus forming the four quarters. No.1 doesn't always go with no. 4, it is all randomly picked; so we have Nole at no.3 falling in Fed's half but sometimes Nole, still at no.3, may fall into Rafa's half. Fed was no.2 at AO 2009, No.1 at AO 2010 and no.2 at AO 2011, but Nole being no. 3 all along at those three AOs, still ends up in Fed's half.

luckystar , 1/15/11 3:43 PM

sals, as luckystar explained the only positions in the draw that are pre-determined are No. 1 in the first position in the first quarter of the draw and No. 2 in the last position in the 4th quarter of the draw.

Next, nos. 3 and 4 are drawn randomly, one placed in quarter 2 and one placed in quarter 3.

After that seeds 5-8 are placed, one in each of the 4 quarters and once again randomly. The rest of the seeds are assigned similarly up through No. 32.

cherylmurray , 1/15/11 4:39 PM

Link to Nadal's interview video: l-australian-open-pre-tournament-press-conference/

nadline , 1/15/11 9:59 PM

Current ATP-rankings

1. Djokovic 12 500 pts
2. Murray 8 750 pts
3. Federer 8 670 pts
4. Ferrer 6 970 pts
5. Nadal 6 385 pts

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