Australian Open 2016: Men's semi-final preview
The semi-finals of the Australian Open have blockbuster action in store. Here's what you should expect, with 3 of the Big Four playing.
It’s crunch time at the Australian Open as players vie to be the title winner in Melbourne in 2016. Two big matches are up for the semis, one of them the biggest of the Open.
A preview of the blockbuster action:
Novak Djokovic vs Roger Federer
Tomorrow will see the match of the Australian Open – and it’s not even the final. One of tennis’ most iconic rivalries will see its 45th iteration at the semi-finals in Melbourne as Novak Djokovic takes on Roger Federer.
The current and former no. 1 will lock horns again in a battle that at the end of last year evened out at 22 games apiece.
The Czech top seed has been in the form of his life of late, and won every Grand Slam in 2015 except the French Open, with his calendar slam hopes dashed by Swiss ace Stan Wawrinka.
Each is the only player to have beaten the other in every Major.
While Federer has done well on the masters circuit last year, and met Djokovic at the finals of two Grand Slams last year, scalping a set off the Serb each time, the fact remains that he has not won a Slam since Wimbledon in 2012 – with Djokovic consistently winning where it counts most.
It was Federer who dominated their rivalry in its early years – but of their last 22 meetings, Djokovic has won 13, with the Swiss winning 9 – a record that was exactly reversed in the years prior.
Federer was victorious over the Serb at two masters last year, and beat him in the round robin stages of the ATP World Tour Finals as well.
Although Djokovic would seem to be the clear favourite given his current form, Federer, with renewed vigour of his own and a new coach as well, could have a few weapons up his sleeve –displaying the dynamism the Swiss Maestro is known for.
While it is very likely that Djokovic will win tomorrow, Federer has found renewed form of late and will not go down without a fight.
In addition, the dynamic Swiss is known for changing up his strategies and having an ace up his sleeve when he needs it most; considering he now has a new coach in Croat baseliner Ivan Ljubicic, could he challenge Djokovic’s aggressive baseline defense and aggression?
With both players on their a-game, this is a must-watch for all tennis enthusiasts. Don’t miss the action of this epic match at any cost. The match is streaming LIVE on SonyLIV.com and is also available LIVE on the Sony LIV App.
Andy Murray vs Milos Raonic
With Djokovic and Federer in the same half, most would likely have predicted that a face-off between the two would be one semi-final.
Many expected the other semi-final to be between 2nd seed Andy Murray and fourth seed Stan Wawrinka, who was up against Canadian ace Milos Raonic in the pair’s fourth round match – and pulled off an upset to knock him out of the tournament.
Capitalizing on weak moments from the Swiss, Raonic brought out the big serve he is now quickly becoming known for, stretching Wawrinka to five sets in a thriller of a match that saw an ailing Wawrinka admit that his younger Canadian opponent had outplayed him on the day.
After winning the first two sets, Raonic dropped as Wawrinka fought back to take the next two in an absolute thriller of a match, the highlights of which you can watch on SonyLIV.com.
Murray and Raonic have played each other 8 times in the past. Although two of those were walkovers – each player with one in their favour, their record is dead even in the remaining 6 at 3 apiece.
The last time the two met at a Grand Slam was at the fourth round of the US Open in 2012, a match Murray won resoundingly in straight sets. The Scot also won both the pair’s last two meetings, each time in straight sets.
On the basis of experience alone, one would expect Murray – who has only dropped 2 sets on his way to the semi-finals – to win. He has shown a renewed aggression and drive on court, and that will stand him in good stead going into the semi-finals.
Raonic, however, will be reassured by the fact that he has this year beaten Federer in straight sets at the finals of the Brisbane international, a tournament the Swiss had been the reigning champion at.