The fortnight in Melbourne Australia for playing of the 107th Australian Open begins tomorrow night at 6 PM CT on ESPN2. ESPN2 will provide coverage for the Open up through the women’s semifinals on Wednesday, January 23rd @ 9 PM CT.
ESPN will cover the men’s first semifinal on Thursday, Jan. 24th at 2:30 AM CT, and the second semifinal on Friday, 1-25 at 2:30 AM CT. ESPN will also carry the women’s final on Saturday, January, 26th at 2:30 AM CT and then will broadcast the men’s final Sunday, 1-27, at 2:30 AM CT.
So who’ll win in Melbourne where temperatures on Monday and Tuesday will be 99 and 93 on Wednesday before cooling off for the rest of the fortnight, at least that is what is predicted. So early rounds will be a battle of endurance, will and survival for the men and women on the hard courts.
I like the way Naomi Osaka defeated Serena in that controversial U.S. Open final last September. She was booed loudly in a classless manner by the New York City fans after her victory over Serena who had exploded during the match at an official who had accused her of looking at her coaching box for coaching. Players have been warned repeatedly about this and Serena was looking at her box, so the call was made. The fans took Serena’s side though she acting very classless and out of control, not becoming of a female tennis player. It was typical Serena bad behavior yet Osaka controlled the emotions and was iron. I really like this 21 year old from Japan to excel on tour this year and in the future. She plays like a younger Serena and could dominate in years to come. But I do like Serena to emerge in the top half of the women’s draw, however I’m picking her to fall in the final to Angelique Kerber of Germany.
Kerber over Serena 7-5, 4-6, 6-3
She’s got the strokes to be elite. She has felt a lot of pressure since winning the U.S. but I see her stepping up in Melbourne.
On the men’s side, it’s hard to pick against Novak Djokovic. I like Novak to play Roger in the finals on January 27th and hoist his 7th Australian Open title trophy and his 15th all time major. He’s creeping up on Rafa, who has 18, and Fed, who has 20. Fed is 37 years old, and Rafa and Djoker are 31.
Djoker over Federer, 6-4, 5-7, 6-2, 6-3
Sleeper, Kei Nishikori
I like the 29 year old Japanese player to have a shot. He just won at Brisbane a couple of weeks ago, and is playing really excellent tennis.