Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: ATP Tour 2020: Australian Open Preview

ATP Tour 2020: Australian Open Preview

ATP Tour 2020: Australian Open Preview - Round of 32

Damien Kayat takes a look at the selected round of 32 matches from the ATP Tour's Australian Open taking place at Melbourne Park. 

ATP Tour 2020 | Australian Open | Melbourne Park
Selected Round of 32 Matches - 24 January 2020

Andrey Rublev (11/20) 
vs David Goffin (27/20)
Andrey Rublev has quickly transformed his fortunes and become one of the hottest properties in men’s tennis. He has emerged from the shadow of Danil Medvedev and is finally fulfilling the potential he showed at the NextGen event a few years back. Back-to-back titles in Qatar and Adelaide have demonstrated his wonderful ability on these surfaces. He has actually won three of his last five events dating back to last year’s Kremlin Cup. His massive forehand has always been a major weapon. But an area of massive improvement for the Russian has been his serve. He now gets plentiful cheap points on his first serve while his 2nd serve has improved dramatically. He surprisingly dropped a set over Aussie O’Connell in his opening match but was far more clinical in dispatching of Sugita in the 2nd round. This equals his best-ever Grand Slam run and the Russian is primed to go beyond that point this year.

The proverbial Energizer Bunny of men’s tennis, David Goffin seemed to be on a steady decline heading into 2019. He has perhaps become the victim of a routinely masochistic schedule. But the Belgian surprised many with a series of strong results in 2019. He reached the quarterfinal at Wimbledon, his best ever result in that event.  He also reached his first-ever Masters 1000 final in a brilliant display at Cincinnati. He followed that up with a semi-final in Japan.  He started 2020 in encouraging fashion, accounting for Rafa Nadal in the ATP Cup. Things have been a bit topsy-turvy thus far in Melbourne. He sauntered through his opening match against Frenchman Jeremy Chardy. He continued the Gallic trend against Herbert, and he raced into a comfortable 2-0 lead in that match. But the Frenchman fought back to take the match to a decisive 5th set. He rallied to win, but what damage may have been done to the Belgian’s psyche?

This will only be their second-ever meeting, with Rublev winning their only encounter at the 2017 US Open: he won that match comfortably in straight sets. I think that Rublev is the right way to go here, despite Goffin’s experience. Rublev has more weapons from the back of the court while Goffin will be feeling slightly jaded after that epic second-round match.  

John Isner (11/10) 
Stan Wawrinka (7/10)
This should be a fascinating clash of styles between two 34-year-old veterans of the game.  Isner survived a tight first-round match against Monteiro but was far more clinical in his 2nd round match. The American has had a mixed bag this year, reaching the semi-final in Auckland but losing all of his matches in the ATP Cup. Isner had a slightly broken back season last year. The first half included semi-finals in New York, Delray Beach, and Mexico. He then reached the final of the Miami Open, the sight of his magnificent 2018 success.  But after winning a fairly tepid title at the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, Isner’s season really went nowhere. Isner will be hoping that his fabled serve goes into overdrive as he faces up to the resurgent talents of Stan Wawrinka.

Stan Wawrinka fought back from a plethora of injury concerns to have a highly competitive 2019 season. He lost the Rotterdam Final early in the season but really showed his continued relevance at the Grand Slams. He reached the quarterfinals of both Wimbledon and the US Open. He then went on to lose to Andy Murray in the European Open Final.  But what 2019 proved beyond a doubt was that Stan Wawrinka is anything but a spent force. The 2014 Aussie Open Champion is also a two-time semi-finalist in this event.  But it’s been a fairly rough week thus far for Wawrinka. It didn’t help that he was the beneficiary of a tricky draw. He battled past Dzumhur in the opening match and needed five sets to sneak past Andreas Seppi in the 2nd round. But he has also been battling sickness, needing to vomit twice during the Seppi match. So it will be interesting to see how he responds to the Isner barrage if he is still under the weather.

This will be their fifth career meeting. With Isner leading the head-to-head 3-1. But that counts for little when you consider they last met in 2017. Wawrinka and Isner are different players now, making this a tricky one to call. I ultimately have to go with my gut and pull for the American. If Wawrinka is still ill this match will probably suit him, with shorter points leading to less physical strain. But I just anticipate a serving masterclass from the American. 

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