• Top 25 contenders at the Australian Open: Part 2

    12/24/12 6:08 AM | Ricky Dimon
    Top 25 contenders at the Australian Open: Part 2 Tennistalk continues its countdown of the Top 25 Australian Open contenders with Nos. 16 through 20. Included in this group are three players who surfaced in the Top 10 in 2012.

    20. Juan Monaco – Monaco has never been good during the Australian summer. He's been bad at warmup events aside from one semifinal and another quarterfinal in Auckland, and he is 6-8 lifetime at the Australian Open. However, Monaco also has never been as good as he is right now. The Argentine went 39-19 in 2012 and he should get a Top 12 seed Down Under, which is the recipe for a great draw.

    19. John Isner – What the heck happened to John Isner in slams this year? Whatever it was, it certainly wasn't good. The 6'9'' American notched a 5-4 record and failed to make it past the third round in any of the four. Isner was borderline terrible the rest of the season following his title in Winston-Salem, so he comes in with more questions than answers (and a new coach). On the bright side, Isner owns a decent seven wins in his last three Aussie Opens, including a fourth-round appearance in 2010.

    18. Gilles Simon – Simon isn't the player he was in 2008 and 2009, but he quietly compiled 43 wins in 2012 and he could have won even more had in not been for injuries. The Frenchman should be well-rested and 100 percent for Australia, plus he should have confident having heated up this fall. Simon finished runner-up in Bangkok and reached the semis of the Paris Masters. Simon has a good chance of reaching round four for the second time, especially if he snags a Top 16 seed.

    17. Alexandr Dolgopolov – The question is which Alexandr Dolgopolov will show up? Will it be the one who reached the Australian Open quarterfinals in 2011 or will it be the one who lost his first match in eight of his last 16 tournaments in 2012—including a double-breadstick served to him by Nikolay Davydenko in Cincinnati? Part of the reason for the Ukrainian's inconsistency is Gilbert's Syndrome (a rare blood disorder), but part of it is his own game. Still, he has six wins in his last two trips to Melbourne and that bodes well for his 2013 chances.

    16. Nicolas Almagro – If there's any good news for Almagro in regards to his Davis Cup disaster, it's that it came at the end of the season. He will have had two months to recover by the time he arrives at the Australian Open. Furthermore, what better place to get back on track than in Melbourne? Almagro has been to the fourth round three straight times, including in 2012 when he destroyed Stanislas Wawrinka then lost to Tomas Berdych in four memorable sets. A Top 12 seeding will give him every opportunity to make it four in a row in the second week.

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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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