2020 @AustralianOpen Week 1 Men’s Preview, Predictions, Long Shot R1 Picks
Steve Fogleman, Tennis Atlantic
It’s a new year with the same pressing question: Will a Young Gun will snatch a major from the Big Three? It’s never felt more in their grasp, and yet it still feels like Groundhog Day. Like floodgates after a massive storm, you know that when the day comes when a young’un lifts that fat hardware, it will become a regular occurrence.Embed from Getty Images
Who is going to be the first? Zverev’s January form lends pessimism to his campaign. Daniil Medvedev tops his quarter with Zverev as the challenger-in-waiting. This is a shame for the youth movement. Assuming Zverev can get to a quarterfinal with the Russian, the winner should be exhausted enough to lose to #1 seed Nadal in the semifinal, unless fatigue has set in with Nadal as well. Nadal’s path is predictably easy into the fourth round. After that, he could draw dangerously unpredictable Nick Kyrgios and with another win, Dominic Thiem. Should he be forced to run this gantlet, Nadal may survive Thiem, but he will be a wounded warrior going after the winner of Zverev and Medvedev.
A wild card in Zverev’s section is Andrey Rublev, who has already picked up two titles in 2020. He’ll do well to advance to a fourth round match against Sascha, but the fatigue should have set in by then, allowing Zverev to advance to a Medvedev quarterfinal.
R4: Nadal d. Kyrgios
R4: Thiem d. Duckworth
QF: Nadal vs. Thiem
QF: Medvedev d. Zverev
Roger Federer never seems to have an easy draw, but he has to be pleased with this one. Young Canadian Denis Shapovalov in the fourth round would be his biggest test. On the other side of that quarter, I predict Berretini will be upset by Fabio Fognini, setting up a Federer-Fognini quarterfinal.
R4: Fognini d. Berretini
R4: Federer d. Shapovalov
QF: Federer vs. Fognini
Djokokvic’s quarter is counter-weighted by young gun Stefanos Tsitsipas, but before that quarterfinal match occurs, I’m taking Dusan Lajovic to meet the Serb in the fourth round. Roberto Bautista Agut will likely stand in the way of Tsitsipas in the fourth round as well. This is another quarter that should be upset-free, with the exception of Lloyd Harris taking out #14 seed Diego Schwartzman in the first round.
R4: Djokovic d. Lajovic
R4: Tstsipas d. Bautista Agut
QF: Djokovic vs. Tstsipas
So this is the moment where Elliot Benchetrit asks the ballkid to peel his banana. I’m glad the umpire (John Blom) stepped in and told him off. pic.twitter.com/TK1GET68pG
— Alex Theodoridis (@AlexTheodorid1s) January 19, 2020
And finally, it’s time for our new segment called “Potentially Worthy Picks”. These are big upset bets with big paydays. Remember that this is for amusement purposes only, and if you place a real bet and it doesn’t win, please don’t flame me on twitter. It’s not like I called you a liar on national television.
Potentially Worthy First Round Upset Picks
Lloyd Harris (+300) d. Diego Schwartzman
Elliot Benchetrit (+200) d. Yuichi Sugita
Yasataka Uchiyama (+300) d. Mikael Ymer