Let’s look at some of these brackets and potential match-ups.
We’ll start at the top for obvious reasons. World #1 is back in action at one of his favorite venues and we get, hopefully, a Djokovic vs Kyrgios 3R war to set the first week on fire.
Granted, Nick first has to get by Philipp, which should almost certainly happen. Kohlschrieber, however, isn’t probably too keen on the idea of getting run-over by a tool like Nick.
Nothing Nick does will surprise us. Think about that. Nothing. He could straight-set Djokovic (okay, that would be a little surprising) or he could lose in straights to the German.
Two things can be true:
1. His win in Acapulco was anti-climactic and he’s still not a very compelling game of tennis (you just have to make sure you catch him under that blue moon). Watching Nadal lose his shorts at 6-3 in that third set TB was the climax of Acapulco. But Nick playing that well is not that surprising. Someone somewhere made a pretty good point about Kyrgios: he plays the best against the Big 3 because he has nothing to lose; pretty obvious, but still.. Against a guy like Kohlschrieber, we might see Nick put-on one of his little acts. He’s last guy you want to bet on. What a waste.
2. He’s only 23, so, almost unbelievably, still so young. Can’t deny the potential.
Novak has a tough draw, potentially. If he gets a rampant Kyrgios, he needs to survive that to get to his 4R match against Monfils. Is he still in form from Rotterdam and Dubai? Did Tsitsipas tame the unpredictable Frenchman? Novak could get the best the tour has right now in Nick and Gael or he could get a clown show. Potentially a tough tough draw, which might only get Novak into business-end of the tourney focus a week early.
Interesting draw — though the Novak fanboys and girls have another adjective for it, I’m sure.
That first QF, then, has the winner of that top bracket (I put my kid’s college fund on Novak) squaring off against the survivor of Coric/Basilashvili/Thiem. I include the Georgian because A) he’s good and B) not sure about Dominic and Borna. Can Coric back-up his 2018 IW run with another, drawing all sorts of interest by booking a QF match against Novak? Then again, we’d love to see Thiem get off the schnide and play some big boy tennis, validate that top ten ranking. Looking forward to seeing the Austrian run and hit the fuzzy green ball.
The winner of that top QF gets a likely SF foe in Sascha/Raonic/Tsitsipas/Anderson. None of those names gets me too excited. Tsitsipas, of course, has been playing well.
He has FAA in his first match, the Canadian victorious today against the tough Brit Norrie, 3 and 2.
Can I be honest? I would love to see the 18 year-old blow that bracket to pieces. This kid’s athleticism is off the charts. On the other hand, Stefanos’ class and fight could come-in handy next week — imagine the one-hander taking opponents out round-by-round, finding some of that quality we’ve seen in the last 6-7 months, and set-up a SF with Novak. 😀
That’s the top.
From the bottom, Nadal has his first “test” against Schwartzman in the 3R, but could face a hopefully still dangerous Medvedev in the R16. Then again, the Russian has a tough little draw with young American McDonald lurking (played well a few weeks ago but could lose R1 vs Sousa), as well as Krajinovic and Goffin! So, Nadal gets one of those blokes in the R16. Medvedev may have played most of his hand at this point (solid in Melbourne and last month, winning Sofia, deep in Rotterdam, etc.). We may see Goffin come out of this hole.
Nadal will likely see Khachanov or Isner (or Berdych or Rublev — finally playing well again) in that QF. Folks, I don’t make this up. Nadal is a myth. He’s a storybook character, invented by the gods of clay and tournament directors galore.
Speaking of being honest, here goes: I was rooting for Nadal (sorta) vs. Kyrgios. Talk about having nothing to lose. Lol.
Which brings us to Federer’s draw. Everyone is looking at that 3R match with Wawrinka, but Stan has his hands-full in R1. Watch-out for Dan Evans. No joke. If Stan pummels Evans, we’re in good shape, but that could be a tough one for Wawrinka.
Federer should survive the winner of Wawrinka/Fucsovics/Seppi et al., and get an Edmund or Fognini in the R16. Not the most difficult draw for Federer. He should reach the QF to play Cilic/Nishikori/Shapo/Pouille.
Federer should reach the SF.
I will be at the SF in person. I should get Djokovic, Federer, Nadal and . . . Tsitsipas or Raonic (if the Greek survives FAA in that first match)?
Who knows. Looking forward to this, for sure, even the next few nights on the tele.
Enjoy the tennis!