Hoorah! The Australian Open draw was announced on Friday 14 January.
Often the great matches in the early rounds of the Australian Open aren’t the ones played by the top ranked players, instead the memorable play can come from the matches when lower ranked players get a chance shine.
Here are 7 players ranked outside the Top 10 that have the potential to create some great tennis over the next few weeks.
ATP Singles Ranking 83
Nishikori was out for 6 months in 2010 following elbow surgery but now he’s back and playing well at the World Tennis Challenge in Adelaide this week. With Brad Gilbert as his coach, who has coached Agassi, Roddick and Murray, he’s worth watching.
Nishikori has a pretty tough draw, playing Fognini in the first round if he gets through, then facing either Mayer or Davydenko in the second round.
ATP Singles Ranking 56
Country: South African
Anderson played well at the Brisbane International to make the semi final, losing to Roddick in 3 sets. He’s really really tall so has a height advantage. Here is a comment from Roddick on the subject:
“Well you can’t teach 6ft 7 that’s for sure. You don’t see a ball coming from that angle too often,”
Anderson has drawn a qualifier in the first round, and then probably Youzhny in the second round.
ATP Ranking 33
Although he only made it to the 2nd round of the Medibank International, I still think Garcia Lopez has potential.
He won an ATP Tour Title in Bangkok in October, and beat a lot of big guns along the way.
“As World No. 53 at Bangkok, he capped a momentous week by winning his second ATP World Tour title with a 64 36 64 win over Nieminen…Beat No. 8 seed Berrer, No. 4 seed Gulbis and saved a staggering 24 of 26 break points to beat World No. 1 Nadal in SFs…“It has been an unbelievable week for me, from the first round to the final. Every match is different. I think I played relaxed, enjoyed my game and everything was perfect. It’s hard to express what it means, I’m really happy inside”…On 4 October, he rose 14 spots to World No. 39…”
Garcia-Lopez faces Berrer in the first round, and then potentially Andy Murray in the third round.
ATP Singles Ranking 30
Troiki, a member of the Serbian team who won the Davis Cup recently, has shown his good form to make it through to the final of the Medibank International in Sydney this week, beating Mayer, Lopez, Chela and Gasquet along the way. Troiki lost in the final to Simon in 2 sets.
Troiki plays Tursinov in round one, and if he makes it to round three, potentially a tough match against his Serbian team mate Djokovic.
ATP Singles Ranking 24
Gulbis had a breakout season in 2008 and I’ve had high hopes for him ever since. From memory he was the only player to get a set off Rafa in the 2008 French Open, who beat everyone else in 3 sets on his way through to winning the final.
Gulbis played well in the Medibank International in Sydney this week, up until the point where he lost to Simon in the semi final in 2 sets, with Simon powering through to win the second set in only 16 minutes.
Gublis will have to be on form right from the start of the Aus Open if he’s going to do well, facing Ben Becker in round 1 and then possibly Dolgopolov in round 2 and Tsonga in round 3.
ATP Singles Ranking 14
Almagro is the highest ranked player on this list, and is definitely worth watching.
Almagro reached the 4th round of the Aus Open in 2010, losing to Tsonga in a huge five setter so hopefully this year he’ll do the same or better.
Yesterday he lost to Nalbandian in the semi final of the Heineken Open in Auckland.
Almagro has Djokovic and Berdych in his part of the draw, so it will be interesting to see how far he can go.
What other non Top 10 Men do you think have a chance to well at the Australian Open 2011?
Leave a comment and let us know.
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