Aussie Open: Day 9 preview and picks
Charles Bricker is a 42-year veteran of the news and sports writing
wars with distinguished service at the San Jose Mercury News in
California and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. He began annually
covering the French Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open in 1993. He also went
28-14 dishing daily picks for the 2009 U.S. Open for Covers.com and
29-16 at the 2010 Aussie Open. Check out his plays on Covers.com
throughout this year's Aussie Open.
Yesterday's record: 3-1
Tourney record: 22-8 (+13.44 units)
(1) CAROLINE WOZNIACKI (-396) VS. (6) FRANCESCA SCHIAVONE (+342)
Wozniacki is feeling loose enough to fake out reporters with a story about a kangaroo biting her on the leg, but she'll be extra serious for this match. Second week. More pressure. They're 2-2 head-to-head but Caro has won the last two matches, both in big hardcourt events. That, plus her excellent play thus far, rates her a winner in this quarterfinal.
(9) LI NA (-173) VS. (30) ANDREA PETKOVIC (+156)
Great run for the German, who is having her best Slam, and has really established her credentials with a straight-set win over Maria Sharapova. But Li is playing even better and she's got the second-week Slam experience that is meaningful. Li hasn't lost a set yet. Petkovic's game flows out of her big serve. If she's really on, she can win this but we'll stick with the more consistent Li.
(2) ROGER FEDERER (-406) VS. (19) STAN WAWRINKA (+360)
Federer is working on his fifth Aussie Open title and has had a few anxious moments. Wawrinka looked extremely dangerous in his win over Andy Roddick and if he can continue to crush his groundies the way he did against Andy, he's a real upset threat in this match. It's Swiss vs. Swiss, so no tactical surprises. It's all about execution. Federer holds a 6-1 career edge. Just a hunch, but . . .
Pick: Wawrinka (3) NOVAK DJOKOVIC (-285) VS. (6) TOMAS BERDYCH (+258)
This is a super toss-up with both players having relatively few problems to this point. Berdych, who lost something in the second half of 2010, looks a lot more like the guy who had a great first half of 2010. Djokovic, meanwhile, has quietly plowed through the first week, looking particularly good against Nicolas Almagro last round. The Joker leads the series 4-1, including 2-1 in 2010.
DjokovicOdds provided by PinnacleSports.com.