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Australian Open previews now available

You may have come across my Grand Slam tennis previews before, I've written them on various sites since about 2000. You can find the full articles here

Here are a couple of snippets:

Australian Open 2009 Men's Draw

The king has been deposed, the reigning champion oddly chose to take the cash and change racquets, a Brit is second favourite to win a Slam title and we have the most open market here in years. We all know the history of this event dishing up first-time winners or finalists, do we go for a shock again, or will undeniable class prevail?

Seeds: Men

1. Rafael Nadal (ESP) top ranked with Grand Slam titles to his name, but yet to reach a final in the hardcourt events. Reached the semi here last year but didn't beat anyone inside the top 25 to get there. Hardcourt doesn't suit him his knees have chronic problems already, his slices and spins aren't as effective as on the natural surfaces and he can get blown away by the big guns such as Gonzalez and Tsonga (conquerors here in 07 and 08), Roddick or even Monfils (who destroyed him in Doha 10 days ago). Then you have Djokovic and Murray , both with multiple hardcourt victories over him. Gasquet, Monfils and Simon all dangers to him before a semi with Murray. Can't have him. 10

2. Roger Federer (SUI) man on a mission this year, he won't be liking the announcer saying 'second seed'. Last year's loss to Djokovic in the semi is his only non-appearance in the last 14 Slam finals, and we later learned he had a light form of glandular fever at the time. Has played three weeks in a row leading in, the first time he has ever done that. Two losses to Murray are a little concerning, but there's a gear left for the Slams and he can only face the flying Scot in the final here. His draw looks comfortable until del Potro (leads h2h 3-0) in the quarters, followed by Djokovic (7-2) and probably Murray (2-6). The one to beat. 3.5



Australian Open 2009 Womens Draw



Is it just me or have we rewound six years to when the Williams sisters headed every market? At least this time they are only just favourites, not a mile clear. You can get better than evens about either of them winning. There are a lot of good young players poised right behind them to make an impact. Could we see a new face holding the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup?

Seeds: Women

1. Jelena Jankovic (SRB) - world no.1 but hard to genuinely think it while she's yet to win a Slam. Missed Sydney with a virus, but gets cushy draw here. Should be able to cruise along until the business end. Recommend watching her early rounds first if you want to back her, price can't move much against that opposition. Should go close. 9

2. Serena Williams (USA) - typical ungracious self when she lost to Dementieva in Sydney, but to be honest, I wasn't expecting her to win that one anyway. It's Slams or nothing for her and she's reported to be very keen to get to number one again. Week two looks tricky for her with possible matches against Azarenka and Radwanska before a semi against Venus or Dementieva, but she's up to that task. Recent record is she wins here in the odd years (03,05,07) and guess what, it's an odd year again. 4.25

Full length previews available here

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