Best of 5 2017 Australian Open Day 8 Predictions Including Monfils-Nadal

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 21: Gael Monfils of France serves in his third round match against Philipp Kohlschreiber on day six of the 2017 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 21, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

(6)Gael Monfils vs. (9)Rafael Nadal

Steen: Despite being higher ranked, Monfils is a big underdog in this match. He’s lost his last four against Rafa, and has just two wins in 14 tries against the Spanish legend. The Frenchman simply seems to matchup poorly with Rafa. They are both defensively sound and fast on their feet. Nadal’s topspin is great at pushing Monfils back though. The Frenchman has dropped just one set this tournament, while Rafa comes off of a rather tiring five setter. Nadal should have enough game to prevail though, he’s playing great right now. Nadal in 4 sets

Yesh: Monfils has not had much success against Nadal in his career, but the Frenchman has pulled this upset twice. And yes, regardless of current ranking, it would be an upset. Monfils looks confident and is hitting the ball brilliantly, though, while Nadal is coming off a brutal match. This could be one for the ages. Monfils in 5

Manuel: Monfils has been cruising through the draw, while Nadal won a thrilling contest against Alexander Zverev in the third round. Monfils is also the higher ranked player in this matchup, on the back of a very strong 2016 season. But the safe money is still on Nadal in this matchup, Monfils struggles to play with the aggressive mindset that is required to beat a well-playing Nadal, it’s arguably his toughest matchup on the tour (even if not the worst head-to-head). Nadal in 4

(13)Roberto Bautista Agut vs. (3)Milos Raonic

Steen: Raonic having never lost to RBA (4-0 h2h) bodes well for the Canadian. Having the flu does not though, and that’s the wild card in this match. RBA hasn’t lost this season (7-0), and has dropped just two sets all season. Raonic dropped his first set in the third round, but his serve and groundstrokes have been confident thus far. RBA has better odds than normal in this one, but I can’t go against Raonic. Raonic in 4

Yesh: Bautista-Agut has had several breakout tournaments in his career, but this looks like it could be the real deal. Raonic has looked vulnerable at times in the first week, and the Spaniard has a good enough return to get into the big Canadian’s service games. Bautista Agut in 4

Manuel: Agut has made of living out of losing in R4 of Slams (0-6 at this stage) and he looks clearly set to continue in that vein. As previous matchups between the two have shown, Agut simply has no answer to Raonic’s cannon serves and is prone to throwing in some weak service games of his own. Raonic in 3

(8)Dominic Thiem vs. (11)David Goffin

Steen: Thiem has won three of their last four meetings, after Goffin won all four in 2014. The Austrian continues to improve, and another second week showing in a slam goes a long way to cementing his presence in the top 10. After struggling to start the season, Thiem has dropped a set in all three of his Melbourne matches, however there is something to be said for finding a way to win when you’re not playing your best. Goffin has looked great after a tough first round match, and should be the favorite to reach at least the last 8 here. Thiem’s shoulder is still injured from what I can tell, and Goffin should be good enough to exploit that and get a win. Thiem was struggling to serve with any pace against Benoit Paire in round 3. Goffin in 3

Yesh: Thiem and Goffin are both having strong tournaments, even though Goffin had some surprising struggles early. Goffin is more consistent, but Thiem has a much better upside. Thiem in 4

Manuel: A rematch of last year’s R3 matchup, where Goffin won in a tight 4-setter. On form, you’d have to go with Goffin again, he’s clearly been looking better, especially in his routine win over Karlovic in the previous round, while Thiem has been struggling all year.

But the stakes are very high for Goffin: a win would see him finally make the top 10 in the ATP rankings and give him a huge chance for his best ever Slam run. Goffin is known for wilting under pressure, so this certainly won’t be as easy as recent form could suggest, in fact it could go either way. Goffin in 5

(15)Grigor Dimitrov vs. Denis Istomin

Steen: Dimitrov was striking the ball cleanly and moving well against Richard Gasquet in his last match. Istomin has won two remarkable five setters in a row, and is playing some of the best tennis of his career. Istomin will have the crowd on his side, having captured Aussie hearts, but a fresher Dimitrov has to be the pick in this one. Istomin will need to serve his best to have a shot. Dimitrov in 4

Yesh: Grigor Dimitrov finally looks to be on the right track in his career this tournament. Istomin, meanwhile, is playing the greatest tournament of his life. He’ll play well, but two straight five-setters has probably taken too much out of him. Dimitrov in 5

Manuel: Istomin has been the biggest story of this year’s tournament. His upset win over Djokovic is still causing shockwaves throughout the tennis world, and he followed it up with another 5-set win over Carreno Busta in the third round. If he can repeat the level he showed in his win over Djokovic, he can advance further in the draw, but that’s highly unlikely given the fatigue and his normal level.

Dimitrov has started the year on-fire, is yet to lost a match and after dismantling Gasquet with ease will be fancying his chances for a very deep run here. Dimitrov in 3

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