Australian Open, Day 3: Matches to Watch
Tommy Haas (Ger) vs Rafael Nadal (ESP) 
Will Haas challenge Nadal? Probably not. But I just feel some sense of loyalty/respect for Haas, who is nearing the end of this career. He was one of those dangerous players who could beat anybody on his best days, even if he wasn’t going to ascend to legendary levels. Unfortunately he was hobbled by a serious injury in early 2010 and has struggled ever since. (He’s also a naturalized US citizen now; there was talk of him playing under the US flag but that didn’t seem to take for some reason.)
Prediction: Nadal in straights.
Sam Querry (USA) vs Bernard Tomic (AUS)
By all accounts Tomic played a memorable opener in his upset over Fernando Verdasco. Outside of the top four men, Tomic is one of the most talked about players at the tournament—it helps to be a hometown boy and a little weird and unpredictable. Querry had a crap 2011 but prior to that was a pretty promising player. He’s never done terribly well in slams, even in his best years. I haven’t seen him play lately so can’t say if he’s through his slump. When he’s hot, he’s hot, but I think Tomic has the edge here.
Prediction: Tomic in 4.
John Isner (USA)  vs David Nalbandian (ARG)
Where do I start with John Isner? On paper he’s the best of the young Americans, but in reality he’s got a limited game. Take away his serve and you’re not left with much. Does any player in professional tennis have a worse return game? Nalbandian’s past his years as a major spoiler, but he’s conceivably got enough in him to break Isner here and there. If he can break him three times, he wins. If he can’t, every set will go to a tiebreak and Isner will win. Eh, the more I think about it, that’s probably how it’ll go.
Prediction: Isner in straights.
Stanislaw Wawrinka (SUI)  vs Marcos Baghdatis (CYP)
I’d like to be more excited by this game than I am. Baghdatis, like Hass, is a once-dangerous player whose injuries have kept his career from peaking. He’s fared better than Haas in 2011, but not much. Wawrinka meanwhile seems to have plateaued as a player, consistenly making it to the early edge of the second week but rarely getting much further (I say, from memory only). He’s a great player but one I’ve lost enthusiasm for.
Prediction: Wawrinka in four.
Elsewhere… look for Nicolas Almagro to be challenged by Gregor Dimitrov, while the rest of the men’s seeds should roll. I don’t see any particularly noteworthy women’s matches today (maybe Victoria Azarenka vs local Casey Dellacqua, who had a charmed run in Melbourne a couple years back?). That said, I’m happy to start a betting pool for which seed will be upset today. Gonna throw a dart at the board and say Shuai Peng.