As the Australian Open’s start rapidly approaches, it’s time for us to engage in some useless efforts to prove our psychic abilities. Without further ado, your Changeover 2015 Australian Open picks:
Favorite R1 match
Amy: Andrew’s pick of Sloane Stephens vs. Victoria Azarenka is the one I’m most looking forward to, but Caroline Wozniacki vs. Taylor Townsend could be a lot of fun. Their match in Auckland was a tight, high-quality one.
Andrew: Sloane Stephens vs Victoria Azarenka…what else could you possibly pick?! That’s great, and will have the feel of a real grudge match. It also has the potential to be a complete disaster considering how out of form each of them are likely to be. I’m hoping that the whole thing will be packed with anguish, glistening with huge winners and nonsense errors and just SO disrespectful.
Amy: There’s not a whole lot of great match-ups in the first round for the men, but I’ll be paying close attention to Thanasi Kokkinakis vs. Ernests Gulbis and Nicolas Almagro vs. Kei Nishikori.
Andrew: Well I had picked Del Potro vs Janowicz, but sadly the Argentine has had to pull out with his ever-frustrating wrist injury (my condolences, Amy). Taking another look at the draw, I think Grigor Dimitrov vs. Dustin Brown has the potential to be fun – Brown is a flashy, entertaining player who can beat a big name on his day, and Dimitrov is always open to a bit of showmanship too. Could be a good’un.
Match we’re wishing for the most
Amy: I want another amazing five-setter between Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka in the semifinals. Those two have played some excellent tennis against each other in Australia.
Andrew: There is potential for a Serena Williams vs Alize Cornet quarterfinal in the top half of the draw. I want that. I want that a lot. Williams had so many struggles against the dramatic French player last year, losing to her on multiple occasions. Williams will go out there wanting to really assert herself. Let’s hope that match-up happens.
Wooden spoon candidates
Amy: Stephane Robert and Oceane Dodin. Sorry, France!
R1 – Alison Riske d. Oceane Dodin
R2 – Karolina Pliskova d. Alison Riske
R3 – Ekaterina Makarova d. Karolina Pliskova
R4 – Ana Ivanovic d. Ekaterina Makarova
QF – Simona Halep d. Ana Ivanovic
SF – Maria Sharapova d. Simona Halep
F – Caroline Wozniacki d. Maria Sharapova
R1 – Marcel Granollers d. Stephane Robert
R2 – Gilles Simon d. Marcel Granollers
R3 – David Ferrer d. Gilles Simon
R4 – Kei Nishikori d. David Ferrer
QF – Stan Wawrinka d. Kei Nishikori
SF – Novak Djokovic d. Stan Wawrinka
F – Roger Federer d. Novak Djokovic
Christina McHale and Kyle Edmund.
R1 – Stephanie Foretz d. Christina McHale
R2 – Carla Suarez Navarro d. Stephanie Foretz
R3 – Angelique Kerber d. Carla Suarez Navarro
R4 – Eugenie Bouchard d. Angelique Kerber
QF – Maria Sharapova d. Eugenie Bouchard
SF – Ana Ivanovic d. Maria Sharapova
F – Venus Williams d. Ana Ivanovic
R1 – Steve Johnson d. Kyle Edmund
R2 – Santiago Giraldo d. Steve Johnson
R3 – Kei Nishikori d. Santiago Giraldo
R4 – David Ferrer d. Kei Nishikori
QF – Stan Wawrinka d. David Ferrer
SF – Novak Djokovic d. Stan Wawrinka
F – Andy Murray d. Novak Djokovic
Most likely spoiler
Amy: Ernests Gulbis is always an easy pick for a potential spoiler. He could prevent the much-anticipated (by people who are not me) Fedal semi.
Andrew: Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova is in a prime position to spoil the party of whoever emerges from the Wozniacki-Townsend-Azarenka-Stephens cluster and then just go on carving her way through the draw. BZS is strangely entertaining to watch and I’m really enjoying her sudden run of form in the last few months, I think she’s a real value-adder, if you like your tennis with a little extra drama.
Three things we’re most excited to see
1. I just want a healthy slam appearance from Juan Martin del Potro. I know it’s a lot to ask. If he loses early, let it be because he’s rusty and not because he’s in pain. Scratch that! Ugh. Can I get a healthy tournament from Vika at least?
2. The WTA was absolutely fascinating in 2014. I look forward to continuing to watch the action unfold. There are so many fun players to watch, veterans and younger players alike. On the flipside, I felt that despite some of the more interesting results with Stan Wawrinka and Marin Cilic winning slams, 2014 wasn’t a great year for the ATP. There were hardly any compelling rivalries outside the usual suspects in the Big Four, and early round matches at slams were brutally boring and predictable.
3. There’s something so beautiful about watching the Australian Open each year. The late night hours, the young players ready to prove themselves, the injured players coming back fresh and/or rusty after the offseason, the gorgeous sea of blue courts. I love it so much. I can’t wait to get on a truly ridiculous sleep schedule and watch as much of it as possible.
1. The young Aussie guys trying to out-strut each other during week one. You KNOW that Tomic and Kyrgios want to outperform each other. I’d really find it very entertaining if they all crashed out in five set horror stories in the first round. But that’s just me, because I’m a bit of sadist at the slams.
2. Ivanovic vs Sharapova playing a tight three set match again in the semifinals, with plenty of cold stares and double-handed fist pumps. I’d also like to see this at every tournament ever UNTIL THE END OF TENNIS.
3. At the end of an exhausting campaign, with displays of talent and resolve, two extraordinary, teary-eyed athletes having their names carved in sporting history. Gets me every time.