At any other time of the year, I'm sure I would find the wildcard playoff for the Australian Open terribly, terribly dull and hardly worth paying attention to. It is a mark of how bored I am that I find it as fascinating as I do.
But fascinating I do find it, and there are some pretty intriguing match ups in there. The marquee match on the women's side would obviously have to be Alicia Molik and Jess Moore - if anyone, barring Casey Dellacqua, is going to topple Molik, I think Moore has got a good shot. I'll be watching keenly to see how that one goes. Dellacqua should, I think, have a slightly easier time of it with Shannon Golds, even though Golds is seeded above Moore. But then I haven't seen Golds play that much, so I'm basing it on pretty much nothing.
Sally Peers and Marija Mirkovic will also face off, but the match I'm really keen to see is Olivia Rogowska and Monika Wejnert. Wejnert - whom, as we all know, I think is pretty awesome - managed to topple Jelena Dokic here last year, and won the nation under-18s title last week. And Rogowska, top-seeded though she is, hasn't exactly been playing great guns... so there is some serious upset potential there, mark my words.
Over on the blokes side, the marquee match is Bernard Tomic and Greg Jones, no question. I like Tomic to win this tournament, but Jones has been playing awesomely this week - he hasn't dropped a match yet. And he's seeded above Tomic, and... yeah. If anyone's going to be Tomic, Jones is a good shot.
There's a match of pro tour stars in Matthew Ebden and John Millman (Ebden was the guy that took a match off Tomic); Kaden Hensel will play Matt Reid and second seed Nick Lindahl will face off against surprise package James Duckworth. The more I see of this kid (Duckworth, that is) the more I like him. He's only seventeen but he's got game - he's kind of a miniature Murray, in some ways. But awesome, and not annoying, like the Muzz. I look forward to seeing a lot more of him in the future...
4 weeks ago