• Top 25 Australian Open contenders: Part 1

    12/23/12 7:17 AM | Ricky Dimon
    Top 25 Australian Open contenders: Part 1 As the offseason comes to a close and 2013 approaches, Tennistalk begins its countdown of the Top 25 contenders at the upcoming Australian Open. It begins with Nos. 21 through 25.

    It can be argued that eight players have something more than a 0.0 percent chance of winning the Australian Open, from world No. 1 Novak Djokovic to world No. 8 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. After those eight, the contenders will be ranked based on their chances of making an extended run Down Under. The group below will have realistic ideas of at least making it to the second week.

    25. Philipp Kohlschreiber – Kohlschreiber has been to the fourth round of the Australian Open three times, and his 2008 performance against Andy Roddick will go down as one of the best of his career. The German did nothing after a fourth-round showing at this summer's U.S. Open, but he will be well-rested in January and often begins his seasons in stellar form.

    24. Radek Stepanek – A potential problem for Stepanek is that he could miss out on a seed Down Under, although he is in position for one right now. If the 34-year-old gets overtaken, he will be at the mercy of the draw. If not, he could make a run. Stepanek has incredible momentum from clinching the Davis Cup title for the Czech Republic and he'll probably hang onto it through Brisbane, a tournament in which he has reach four straight quarterfinals—including one title and one runner-up finish.

    23. Martin Klizan – Eleven months ago, Klizan was losing in the first round of Doha qualifying and playing a Challenger event in Heilbronn, Germany during the season's first Grand Slam. Now, he will be seeded for the Australian Open. A favorable draw would give Klizan every chance of continuing his rise up the rankings.

    22. Marcos Baghdatis – Baghdatis probably won't be seeded in Melbourne, but he may not have to be. The Cypriot, a 2012 Australian Open legend with his racket-breaking tirade, is 20-8 lifetime at the event and was the runner-up in 2006. Never once has he lost in the first round. Baghdatis rounded into form late this season, and with a halfway decent draw Down Under he could make a legitimate run.

    21. Sam Querrey – Querrey has never played well in Melbourne; his first two appearances in 2007 and 2008 (which resulted in third-round exits) were his best. Armed with a clean bill of health, however, the 6'6'' American heated up this fall with quarterfinals in Beijing and Paris and a third-round showing in Shanghai. Querrey should snag a Top 24 seed, which means a friendly draw is likely.

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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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