I haven’t written about tennis in a while, mostly because it’s never on telly and I can’t come up with a very good analysis when it isn’t. The Australian Open is on TV though, at least when ESPN deign to show me the matches, and the quarter-final matches start tonight/tomorrow morning. There have not been a lot of surprises on the men’s side of the draw so far, the biggest story was a pair of unseeded Australians, Bernard Tomic and Lleyton Hewitt, making it to the fourth round. Unfortunately for the home supporters they had the misfortune of facing Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic respectively and rather unsurprisingly they both lost. The only upset that has had ramifications for the quarter-finals is Kei Nishikori defeating sixth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to face Andy Murray. It’s good news for those of us who want Murray to do well, because whilst I think he would have overcome Tsonga he should have a much easier time against the 24th seed than the sixth. The other quarter-finals on the men’s side are Djokovic v Ferrer, Del Potro v Federer and Berdych v Nadal. None of them really scream ‘upset’ to me, the best chance is probably for Ferrer who has played well, but I don’t see Djokovic giving him much of an opening. It would be bad news for Andy if I’m right, as there seems little chance of him overcoming Djokovic in the semi-finals.
There have been rather more upsets in the women’s draw, with two unseeded players in the quarter-finals. The more remarkable of the two is Ekaterina Makarova who beat the seventh and 15th seeds to book a match against Maria Sharapova in the quarters. The other, Italian Sara Errani, had a rather more favourable draw, but still had to beat 29th seed Nadia Petrova in the second round. It may also qualify as an upset that last year’s Champion Kim Clijsters won an incredible match against Li Na, saving three or four match points in the second set. Clijsters will face world number one Caroline Wozniacki in what I think will be the best of either the men’s or women’s quarter-final matchups. (Though I’m also really looking forward to the Makarova-Sharapova match.) In the other two matches, I doubt Perta Kvitova will have too much trouble getting past Errani and Victoria Azarenka v Agnieszka Radwanska might be a pretty good match, but I think Azarenka will win reasonably comfortably. Between this and the two cricket matches starting soon the next few evenings should be a lot of fun.