5 possible outcomes from the 2017 Australian OpenJanuary 25, 2017
Roland Garros would be the likely venue of major upsets in professional tennis, as clay could test any player's endurance and patience. What happened in Melbourne Park wasn't like any other that fans have seen before. Novak Djokovic's bid for a record seventh men's singles title ended in dramatic fashion, as the winner of 12 major titles looked tentative and defensive against Denis Istomin. The top-ranked player from Uzbekistan played the match of his life, and if not for a back injury (after playing back-to-back five setters), he could have reached his first quarterfinal appearance in a Grand Slam tournament.
Djokovic's early exit turned Andy Murray into a clear favourite (to win his first Aussie title), but it seemed that the Scotsman would need Djokovic's presence to play his A-game. Mischa Zverev also played his finest game in Melbourne, denying the top seed his chance to win his fourth Grand Slam title. Murray admitted that it wasn't his day last Sunday, but fans witnessed the traits that the two-time Olympic gold medalist would show when things weren't going his way. Rod Laver relished a final between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal; the Swiss beat Tomáš Berdych in impressive fashion in the third round, and then hang on to edge Kei Nishikori in the fourth. Nadal, on the other hand, prevailed over Alexander Zverev in their third-round encounter.
The hard court in the Rod Laver Arena seemed to favour those who wanted quick points, and this might be a portent of good things to come for Federer. Could he win his 18th major singles title in Melbourne? Stan Wawrinka would be standing on his way to the finals. Nadal, who seemed to put his injury woes behind him, would test his fitness against Milos Raonic. This may be the Canadian's breakthrough year.
What would be the other possible outcomes from this year's Australian Open? Here they are:
Grigor Dimitrov will return to the Top 10 sooner than expected. He was the biggest beneficiary of Djokovic's early exit, and it took him a few years to mature on the court. The Bulgarian, who had success in the grass court season in 2014, could give Murray a run for his money at the All-England Club. His fine performance in Down Under would be a beginning.
Andy Murray won't be the only one to wave the Union Jack. Some fans would call it the Murray effect, as Dan Evans reached the round of 16 in Melbourne. It was the best from the Birmingham native, and some would predict him breaking the Top 20 later this year.
David Goffin will be a Top 10 player sooner or later. He seemed diminutive compared to his peers, which prompted pundits to recall Michael Chang. He may not have the game to go all the way, but he can find a way sooner or later. A little luck in the draw helped him break into the final eight of a major tournament for the second time.
Roberto Bautista Agut might be the top-ranked Spanish player by the end of the season. Raonic ended the Spaniard's campaign in Melbourne, but this would be Agut's continuation of his fine form. Conchita Martinez could count on him on Spain's future Davis Cup campaign. Don't be surprised if the Spanish squad would win the team tournament one more time.
Andre Agassi could have a change of mind. The Las Vegas native would relate to Nick Kyrgios, but he cited lack of time (for offering his coaching services to the troubled Canberran). But the four-time Australian Open champion would change his mind. Kyrgios could have a change of heart (and start looking for a coach).
On the women's side, Venus Williams turned the clock and reached the final four in Melbourne. She could be a Grand Slam champion at 36 if she would continue her impressive form. Serena Williams might be waiting for her in the finals. What do you think?
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