Stay tuned to Nick's Pick throughout the 2010 Australian Open for in-depth coverage of the tournament!
Andy Roddick (USA) vs. Fernando Gonzalez (CHI)
After dropping the first set to Feliciano Lopez in the third round, Roddick bounced back to win the match in four. He has now reached the fourth round or better at the Australian Open in six out of the last seven years.
Gonzalez, a former finalist at the Australian Open, needed five sets to beat Russian Evgeny Korolev in the third round. Since advancing to the finals back in 2007, Gonzalez has failed to get past the fourth round in eight of the last 11 Grand Slam tournaments.
Roddick is 8-3 against Gonzalez, and he has won the last two times they have faced. I have been really impressed by Roddick's complete game. He has the great biting slice backhand to complement his killer forehand. He is in marvelous shape, is serving a really high percentage, and isn't afraid to come in towards the net. With the help of his outstanding coach, Larry Stefanki, Roddick is playing some of the best tennis of his career. Having said all that, Gonzalez is capable of beating anyone at anytime. When his strokes are on, he is deadly, but when they are off he makes a whole lot of unforced errors. Right now, I think Roddick is playing too well to lose this match.
Nick's Pick - Roddick in 4 sets
Ivo Karlovic (CRO) vs. Rafael Nadal (ESP)
Karlovic has only been to the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam once, and that was at last year's Wimbledon. He has already beaten two tough opponents at this year's tournament, taking our Radek Stepanek and Ivan Ljubicic. Beating Nadal at this stage would clearly be one of the biggest wins of his career.
Nadal didn't look like 100% comfortable against Kohlschreiber in the third round, but nonetheless, he got through. As the tournament goes on, Nadal always seems to get better and better so watch out for that.
Nadal is 2-0 against Karlovic, and in both of those matches there have been plenty of tiebreakers! People always ask me to compare Karlovic and Isner because they are both big boys with sonic serves. I would say that Karlovic's serve is better, but Isner is better once the ball is in play. The question here is can Karlovic's serve take down Nadal? He is going to have to have one of, if not, the best serving day of his life because Nadal will beat him on a majority of the longer points. Nadal's serve is no slouch and he will slide it out wide on the ad court to Karlovic's backhand and then come in and hit the easy winner whenever possible. If Karlovic is able to win his serve and get to the tiebreaker then you never know what will happen. I just feel that Nadal can do a little too much of everything in this match.
Nick's Pick - Nadal in 4 sets