Stay tuned to Nick's Pick throughout the 2010 Australian Open for in-depth coverage of the tournament!
Roger Federer (SUI) vs. Nikolay Davydenko (RUS)
Federer dismantled Lleyton Hewitt in the fourth round and since his tough first round match against Igor Andreev, Federer has looked brilliant. He has reached at least the semifinals in the last 22 consecutive majors, and of those 22, he has been to the finals of 17! That is truly remarkable.
Davydenko is making his fourth appearance in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open, and is looking to reach the semis for the first time in his career. Davydenko is playing some of the best tennis of his career and this is a great opportunity for him to win his first Grand Slam title.
Federer is 12-2 against Davydenko, but the Russian has beaten him the last two times they have faced including once already this year. There isn't much in this match that I can break down for you because everyone knows how these two play. I cannot and will not give my man Mr. Federer a thumbs down, but what I will say is that he needs to be careful because the almost invisible man, Davydenko, is on a mission. I don't care what time this match is on: WATCH IT!
Nick's Pick - Federer in 4 sets
Novak Djokovic (SRB) vs. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA)
Djokovic has progressed through the draw rather quietly and I think that's a good thing for him. His focus needs to be on tennis and tennis alone for him to have a chance to get back to the finals of where he won his one and only Grand Slam title.
Tsonga played his first career five-set match in the fourth round, beating Nicolas Almagro 9-7 in the fifth set! Tsonga really seems to thrive down under, because this is the only Grand Slam tournament that he has been able to get to the quarters of. Can he repeat his great run of 2008 and get back to the finals?
Tsonga is 4-2 against Djokovic, but Djokovic did beat him in the finals of the 2008 Australian Open. Djokovic is about as perfect technically in every aspect of the game as anyone. He seems to be focusing more on the tennis now than in the past and that is a big plus for him. On the other side, everything depends on Tsonga's health. If he is feeling okay physically than this will be a match, if not, Djokovic will run him off the court. I give the advantage to Djokovic, but this has the potential to be a great battle.
Nick's Pick - Djokovic in 4 sets
Andy Roddick (USA) vs. Marin Cilic (CRO)
Down two sets to one in the fourth round, Roddick dug deep and beat Fernando Gonzalez 6-2 in the fifth to advance. He's been to the semifinals down under four times previously, including last year, but he has never been to the finals. Could this be the year that Roddick makes an appearance on the final Sunday?
Cilic took down fellow young-gun Juan Martin Del Potro in five sets to advance to the quarters of a Grand Slam for the second time in his career. Cilic certainly stepped his game up during the big points and with a win here, he will reach the semis of a Grand Slam for the first time in his career.
Roddick and Cilic have played twice, with each player winning a match. They most recently met back in 2008 at Canada with Cilic winning in three sets. Both of the quarterfinal matches on this half of the draw are tough to call, but I'll do my best to break them down for you. Roddick is in fantastic shape, he's getting a high percentage of his first serves in, he mobility is excellent, his slice is now a weapon, he is in control of his emotions and he is a fierce competitor. Right now, he is playing some of the best tennis of his life and I truly feel he could beat anyone at this point. On the other side, Cilic is also playing great tennis. He has monster strokes from both sides, has a sonic serve and is brimming with confidence. With the way Roddick is playing right now, and with his complete game I have to give him a slight edge.
Nick's Pick - Roddick in 4 sets
Andy Murray (GBR) vs. Rafael Nadal (ESP)
Murray is the only man left in the draw who has yet to drop a set and he has done so rather quietly. He beat John Isner in the fourth round and is into the quarterfinals of the Aussie Open for the first time in his career. Murray has now been to at least the quarterfinals in every single Grand Slam.
Nadal needed four sets to get past big-serving Ivo Karlovic in the fourth round. Karlovic was able to test Nadal, but the Spaniard had too much for him in the end. He has been to the at least the semis of six out of the last eight Grand Slams and anything less for him is a disappointment.
Murray is 4-2 against Nadal, but has lost to him the last two times they have played. They actually met in the fourth round of the 2007 Australian Open and Nadal won that in five tough sets. Murray's movement is off the wall, he is both fast and quick. He is able to turn defense into offense better than just about anybody, and that is what really makes him stand out above his competition. His return of serve remind me of Andre Agassi. He has a very short backswing and comes forward into the court as he hits the ball. I think he is darn close to having everything to winning a Grand Slam, but the one thing he needs a little more of is power on his driving forehand. Nadal hasn't looked like the Rafa of old. He doesn't seem to have the same pop on his forehand or his serve, but Nadal at 90% is better than most players at 100%. He still has the ability grind out points and use his strength to keep his opponents pinned back.
I really feel like the longer this match goes, the more it favors Murray. In the past, I would have said Nadal, but right now I think Murray has the edge. I am going to go with the Scotsman, but it is very close.
Nick's Pick - Murray in 4 or 5 sets