The Little Hawk

Predictions for the Grand Slam Down Under

With the Australian Open just two days away, here are Sports Editor Innes Hicsasmaz's predictions for the tournament.

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Predictions for the Grand Slam Down Under

Innes Hicsasmaz, Sports Editor

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In two days, the Australian Open will officially kick off the professional tennis season as the first Grand Slam tournament of 2015. For the past few weeks, pros have flocked to the southern continent to prepare and play in exhibition tournaments. Based on their performances in 2014, here are some predictions for Melbourne.

MEN’S

2015 promises to be an very interesting year for men’s tennis. The Big Four (Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Andy Murray) have dominated every major tournament for almost a decade. However, as the years pass and these four players grow old, it’s obvious that a new wave of fresh talent is soon to come.

This will be Nadal’s first Grand Slam after nursing wrist and back injuries and appendicitis. It’s not surprising that serious injuries are starting to affect him, considering the way he plays. Nadal is one of the only players that is able to play at such a high intensity for an entire match- the fact that he’s lasted so long without serious injury shows just how physically fit he truly is. However, he has said himself that he doesn’t feel completely confident in his chances at winning this tournament, given how little match play he’s had since recovering. Nadal is already off to a rocky start to 2015, as he was knocked out by little-known Michael Berrer in the first round of the Qatar Open, a smaller tournament earlier this year.

Returning champion Stan Wawrinka is seeded No.4 and could possibly meet Djokovic, seeded No.1, in the semis (much like what happened at last year’s Australian Open). Kei Nishikori stood out in 2014 as he propelled to semis and final rounds at multiple Grand Slams. He is chomping at the bit for a Grand Slam title and the coming weeks could be his time to shine. 19-year old Nick Kyrigios surprised us all when he defeated Nadal to reach the quarterfinals at Wimbledon this past summer, but it’s hard to say if he will be able to pull off a Grand Slam win this year. He’s still young and inexperienced, but he will definitely bring the same level of intensity. Juan Martin del Potro has been out for 10 months with a wrist injury, but despite a loss at Auckland a few weeks ago, he has been in great form.

The predicted quarter-final lineup, according to ausopen.com :

(1) Djokovic v (8) Raonic,(4) Wawrinka v (5) Nishikori, (7) Berdych v (3) Nadal and (6) Murray v (2) Federer.

WOMEN’S

No.1 ranked Serena Williams won the US Open in 2014, her 18th Grand Slam title. However, over the past couple of years, she has repeatedly been plagued by injury and illness, resulting in some major disappointments against easy opponents. Up-and-comer Eugenie Bouchard defeated Williams 6-2, 6-1 in Perth just two weeks ago. Bouchard is being groomed to become the next Grand Slam champion in women’s tennis, the “Maria Sharapova” of a new generation- but first she will have to actually beat Maria Sharapova, who won’t be giving up her No.2 ranking any time soon.

With Li Na retired and Sloane Stephens’ and Victoria Azarenka’s rankings dropping below the Top 20, the women’s draw seems to be wide open; anything can happen. Agnieszka Radwanksa and Madison Keys have hired former champions Martina Navratilova and Lindsay Davenport as coaches, respectively. With such powerhouses in their corners, these two players have an obvious advantage. Of course, what happens on the court is determined by the players, not the coaches.

The predicted quarter-final lineup, according to ausopen.com (via Li Na) :

Eugenie Bouchard v Maria Sharapova, Ana Ivanovic v Simona Halep, Petra Kvitova v Venus Williams, Serena Williams v too-hard-to-choose

To see the official first round draws and to keep up with the action of the Australian Open, go to ausopen.com or download the Australian Open app.

About the Writer
Innes Hicsasmaz, Media Editor

Don't mess with me. I was on homecoming court for my "sporty-hippy" aesthetic. I read at a 3rd grade level. I know enough words to subtweet almost all...

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Predictions for the Grand Slam Down Under