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Ricky’s Picks | Previews 2019 Australian Open Tennis QFs, RAFA Nadal vs. Frances Tiafoe

Rafael Nadal of Spain in action against Tomas Berdych of Czech Republic during their round four men's singles match at the Australian Open Grand Slam tennis tournament in Melbourne, Australia, 20 January 2019. EPA-EFE/RITCHIE TONGO
Rafael Nadal of Spain in action against Tomas Berdych of Czech Republic during their round four men’s singles match at the Australian Open Grand Slam tennis tournament in Melbourne, Australia, 20 January 2019. EPA-EFE/RITCHIE TONGO

 

 

By Ricky Dimon

 

We are down to the quarterfinals at the Australian Open and they will be played on Tuesday and Wednesday. The lineup features a nice mix of top four seeds (Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal) and young upstarts (Stefanos Tsitsipas and Frances Tiafoe). Ricky previews the action and make his predictions.

 

Frances Tiafoe vs. (2) Rafael Nadal

Tiafoe is coming up with hands down the best tennis of his career and he is doing it at just the right time–in the season’s first Grand Slam. The 21-year-old American seems to like the big stage, but Nadal in Rod Laver Arena is most likely out of his league. Although Tiafoe has the weapons to challenge the Spaniard, he is coming off a five-setter against Andreas Seppi and a tough four-setter against Grigor Dimitrov. He is mentally and physically fried. Nadal in 3.

 

(22) Roberto Bautista Agut vs. (14) Stefanos Tsitsipas

Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain in action during his men's singles fourth round match against Marin Cilic of Croatia at the Australian Open Grand Slam tennis tournament in Melbourne, Australia, 20 January 2019.  EPA-EFE/HAMISH BLAIR AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT

Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain in action during his men’s singles fourth round match against Marin Cilic of Croatia at the Australian Open Grand Slam tennis tournament in Melbourne, Australia, 20 January 2019. EPA-EFE/HAMISH BLAIR

I had Bautista Agut in the quarterfinals when the tournament started. This is where I figured the run would end, but now he gets Tsitsipas instead of Roger Federer (against whom the Spaniard is hopeless). RBA’s borderline miracle run through the tournament will leave him low on energy, but Tsitsipas has endured four difficult four-setters and his emotional reserves also have to be on low following his stunner over Federer. RBA will be too consistent and too tough en route to another gutsy win. Bautista Agut in 5.

 

(1) Novak Djokovic vs. (8) Kei Nishikori

Djokovic vs. Pablo Carreno Busta wouldn’t have been good, but it still would have been better than this. Some points will be entertaining, but for the most part this is one of the least interesting matchups in all of tennis. Djokovic is dominating the head-to-head series 15-2 and has won 14 in  row at Nishikori’s expense. Throw in the fact that the world No. 9 has already played a trio of five-setters–including an absolute battle against Carreno Busta on Monday–and this has all the makings of (mostly) one-way traffic. Djokovic in 4.

 

(16) Milos Raonic vs. (28) Lucas Pouille

No one has been more impressive than Raonic this fortnight in terms of overall body of work. Nick Kyrgios? Gone with ease. Stan Wawrinka? A tough one, but check. Pierre-Hugues Hebert? Totally routine. Alexander Zverev? Straight-setter that included an improbable breadstick. Pouille has done well to emerge from a slump to reach the quarters, but this is where his favorable draw ends. Raonic will roll. Raonic in 3.

 

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @TennGrand.

 

Editors Note – Lovey’s Picks 
RAFA in 4 
Tsitsipas in 5 
Novak in 5 
Pouille In 4

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