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Champion, Darkish Horse, Early Exit

Forward of the primary Grand Slam of 2023, 5 Final Phrase on Tennis writers–-Vithun Illankovan (@VitIllankovan), Damian Kust (@damiankust), Jack Edward, Shane Black and Jakub Bobro–make their Australian Open predictions for the Males’s Singles match. We even have a separate roundtable for the Girls’s singles.

Males’s Champion

The participant we expect will win the Males’s Singles match

vithun: (4) Novak Djokovic [SRB]

The Serbian has gained the Australian Open 9 instances (together with his final defeat coming in 2018), which is extra instances than anybody else. Djokovic has gained his final 34 matches in Australia, together with a title in Adelaide this yr. On condition that he was unfairly denied participation final yr by the federal government, he may have added motivation to win. Due to this fact, I am sticking with my prediction on the finish of final yr that Djokovic will win the 2023 Australian Open.

damien: (4) Novak Djokovic [SRB]

Normally, I am all for gutsy picks and sudden picks, however generally you gotta know when to cease. The draw solely strengthens my perception that Novak Djokovic is the overwhelming favourite coming into Melbourne this yr. He ought to have just a few quiet rounds early on and whereas his quarterfinal de él may get tough, neither Andrey Rublev, Holger Rune, nor Nick Kyrgios have actually proven they’re able to defeating him in best-of-five play. On high of that, he is additionally landed within the weaker half with out Rafael Nadal, Stefanos Tsitsipas, and Daniil Medvedev. Would their presence change my decide? Probably not, nevertheless it must be famous that Djokovic’s already sky-high scores in my guide have solely risen since I noticed the draw.

Jack: (4) Novak Djokovic [SRB]

Apologies for the protected wager however I am left with no possibility. Novak Djokovic has gained 5 of the final six tournaments he is performed, 34 matches on the bounce in Australia and 9 of the final 14 Australian Opens he is performed.

The numbers overwhelmingly fall in his favor together with his biggest risk presently a dodgy hamstring. Nadal hasn’t crushed the Serb on a tough courtroom in ten years and Medvedev is simply too unreliable in the intervening time. If his strongest rival is Nick Kyrgios within the quarters, there seems to be no different logical decide.

Shane: (4) Novak Djokovic [SRB]

The nine-time champion of the Australian Open is again in Melbourne after being unable to defend his title final season. Novak Djokovic will assault this ATP season with vengeance as he appears to grow to be the all-time Slams chief. Djokovic holds an unfathomable 64-3 document on the Australian Open since 2011. Trying on the draw, the Serbian ought to cruise into the second week with no hassle. Even then, different match favorites similar to Rafael Nadal, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Felix Auger-Aliassime, and Daniil Medvedev, are on the opposite facet of the draw. As soon as Djokovic rounds into kind after just a few matches, it will likely be robust to cease him on his quest for Grand Slam No. 22.

Jakub: (3) Stefanos Tsitsipas [GRE]

After three semifinals in Melbourne since 2019, I consider Tsitsipas will break via and win his first slam title to begin 2023. The Greek went undefeated on the United Cup and the chance is there with some key gamers in robust spots. With Carlos Alcaraz out, Rafael Nadal out of shape and confronted with a troublesome draw, and Novak Djokovic’s questionable well being, this match might find yourself huge open. Tsitsipas has additionally been given a good draw with only a few threats within the first week.

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Males’s Darkish Horse

Which (different) participant exterior the Prime 8 seeds will go furthest within the Males’s Singles?

vithun: (9) Holger Rune [DEN]

Rune is a younger participant on the rise within the ATP. He has landed in the identical eighth as Andrey Rublev, the weakest of the Prime 8 seeds. Due to this fact, they need to meet within the 4th Spherical, I count on and Rublev to have a meltdown and begin crying angrily as Rune to advances to the quarterfinals.

damien: (16) Frances Tiafoe [USA]

Plenty of the excessive seeds on this draw appear fairly sturdy and it will likely be robust for somebody lower-ranked to beat them and go on an enormous run. That is type of associated to my early exit decide as I consider if Rafael Nadal is to satisfy Frances Tiafoe in Spherical 4 (the precise stage they performed one another on the US Open), he’ll have an excellent shot at beating him once more . Karen Khachanov is the most important impediment between the American and the final 16. Who can be the favourite for me in a hypothetical match between Nadal and Tiafoe? If it was tomorrow, the sixteenth seed, but when it occurs within the fourth spherical, I believe it is too early to inform and would depend upon how they (particularly the 22-time Grand Slam champion) had been performing till then.

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Jack: (29) Sebastian Korda [USA]

Nick Kyrgios would have been my decide however, with Holger Rune within the third-round Novak Djokovic possible mendacity in wait within the quarterfinals, it is robust to select him making a deep run with confidence. Sebi Korda’s sport has been getting increasingly dependable and a third-round upset of Daniil Medvedev is completely a risk. Following that, who is aware of what might occur in a quarterfinal with Nadal. Do not sleep on Korda’s extraordinarily excessive stage this fortnight.

Shane: (15) Jannik Sinner [ITA]

With Carlos Alcaraz’s rise to the highest of the game in 2022, I believe folks have been fast to neglect about Jannik Sinner. The 21-year-old Italian has as shiny of a future as anybody within the sport and has been on the precipice of breaking via at a Grand Slam a number of instances. Sinner reached the quarterfinals at this occasion final yr and has proven excessive consolation on slick exhausting courts. Though he didn’t end the 2022 season in the perfect kind, his confidence he appeared sturdy in three matches in Adelaide. The draw units up properly for him via the primary three rounds. If he can get previous Stefanos Tsitsipas in spherical 4, I consider the younger Italian could make a run to the ultimate.

Jakub: (13) Matteo Berrettini [ITA]

Solely the thirteenth seed because of his season being slowed down by accidents in 2022, Berrettini might be in for a really good run right here. The Italian has a troublesome draw to begin with Andy Murray within the opener and doubtlessly tough Thanasi Kokkinakis within the second spherical. After that, Berrettini has a neater highway with Roberto Bautista Agut as his possible third-round opponent and Casper Ruud the excessive seed in his part. I see Berrettini getting via to the quarterfinals on the very least and having a powerful likelihood to beat out Taylor Fritz for a spot within the semifinals.

Males’s Early Exit

Which Prime 8 seed can be eradicated earliest within the Males’s Singles?

vithun: (5) Andrei Rublev [RUS]

The ATP rating system favors dedication over competitors and consequently Andrey Rublev is a beneficiary. Opposite to what he believes, he isn’t within the Prime 8 gamers by way of Tennis capability. The Russian incessantly will get uncovered for being “mid” at Grand Slams and I believe it can occur as soon as once more on the Australian Open with one other pre-quarterfinal exit.

Damien: (1) Rafael Nadal [ESP]

The seeds that appear probably the most weak are, paradoxically, No. 1 and No. 2. If Rafael Nadal is to beat Jack Draper within the opening spherical, then I consider he’ll additionally make the fourth spherical, the place he might run into some points once more. However that is a reasonably large if and the younger Brit was actually the hardest unseeded participant he might face. Supplied he holds up bodily after a protracted week in Adelaide, I consider Draper has each likelihood of beating Nadal and taking part in him within the first spherical solely helps – he can catch him earlier than the Spaniard regains his mojo.

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Jack: (5) Andrei Rublev [RUS]

Andrey Rublev hasn’t impressed me with a ton of confidence in a very long time. He is appeared frazzled and harassed the previous couple of instances I’ve watched him play – nearly no person expects him to maintain a stage sufficient head to go all the way in which.

I am predicting worse than that. Although Rublev needs to be okay towards Thiem, Emil Ruusuvuori has sufficient parallels to his personal sport to trigger him hassle on a nasty day and Dan Evans might be a whole nightmare for him within the third-round if he hasn’t hit his stride de he.

Shane: (2) Casper Ruud [NOR]

The previous two seasons for Casper Ruud have been nothing wanting extraordinary. He completed 2021 and 2022 with a mixed document of 109-40 with eight titles and two runner-up finishes at Slams. Ruud has confirmed he can play at a really excessive stage on any floor. That mentioned, I’m intrigued to see how he handles the strain of being the No. 2 seed in Melbourne. Ruud is 1-2 on the younger season, dropping matches to Matteo Berrettini and Laslo Djere. A possible second spherical assembly with Jenson Brooksby might trigger some issues for the Norwegian. I, nevertheless, suppose he bows out in spherical three to American Tommy Paul. The 2 have had some epic battles previously, together with a five-setter on the 2022 US Open.

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Jakub: (2) Casper Ruud [NOR]

Regardless of the questions surrounding Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic coming into Melbourne, I’ve picked second seed Casper Ruud as my early out. The Norwegian confirmed splendid progress in 2022 however I believe he is nonetheless removed from a constant power on the tour exterior of clay. Ruud suffered a loss to Laslo Djere within the lead-up and has a troublesome draw early. He opens towards Czech expertise Tomas Machac earlier than doubtlessly going through Jenson Brooksby within the second spherical. Ruud will then must play certainly one of Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, Alexander Bublik, or Tommy Paul, all gamers he might lose to. If Ruud makes it out of that part, he’ll possible must play Matteo Berrettini within the fourth spherical.

Principal Photograph from Getty.

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