Top 4 Draws: Australian Open 2024

aldeayeah

G.O.A.T.
Zverev might be the strongest QF (debatable), but there's no backups there.
I know we like to pretend Ruud is not a legitimate player, but is he really that much worse than the other QF backups? Hell you've even listed Korda!
Especially as Medvedev can get a resurgent FAA
If you consider his run to the final in last week's depleted field a sign resurgence, power to you, but FAA has sucked for nearly a year now.
 

TripleATeam

G.O.A.T.
I know we like to pretend Ruud is not a legitimate player, but is he really that much worse than the other QF backups? Hell you've even listed Korda!

If you consider his run to the final in last week's depleted field a sign resurgence, power to you, but FAA has sucked for nearly a year now.
Ruud's last win in professional tennis came at the hands of Watanuki in the Japan Open. Since the Canada Open, his best match was a straight sets win against seeded Chris Eubanks in Shanghai. He's not playing top 20 tennis right now. He's playing top 50 tennis. He has the capability to come back, but in the last few months he has played on par with Korda. That said, I don't expect Ruud to perform worse than Korda. If I had to bet at the moment though, I'd say ADM would do better. And Fritz/Hurkacz definitely seem tougher.

I may have worded myself wrong on FAA. My point wasn't that FAA is resurgent, but that he could be. It's a big name in an early round, and not a washed up old timer like Murray but a young guy that just had a bad year. Similar to Ruud in that respect. If I saw Ruud in a R3 or R4, I would definitely rate the draw as tougher because Ruud, like FAA, has shown the ability to play well. Will he? Probably not. Basel last year shows some potential, but that was months ago. I'm also not aware of him making any final this year?
 

TripleATeam

G.O.A.T.
Djokovic
R1: Prizmic
R2: Popyrin
R3: Etcheverry
R4: Shelton
QF: Fritz/Tsitsipas
SF: Sinner
F: Alcaraz/Medvedev

Sinner

R1: Van De Zandschulp
R2: Cachin (de Jong)
R3: Baez
R4: Khachanov
QF: ADM/Rublev
SF: Djokovic
F: Alcaraz/Medvedev

Medvedev

R1: Atmane
R2: Ruusuvuori
R3: Auger-Aliassime
R4: Dimitrov
QF: Hurkacz
SF: Alcaraz
F: Djokovic

Alcaraz

R1: Gasquet
R2: Evans (Sonego)
R3: Bublik (Shang)
R4: Paul
QF: Ruud/Zverev
SF: Medvedev
F: Djokovic

Analysis to follow.

Djokovic - 4/10:
SFs probably slightly easier than Medvedev, but higher ceiling than Medvedev I'd say. QF easiest of the bunch with a fine backup. Trickiest R4 though, but with a break in the action of the QF it's probably better to get a tricky R4 and easy QF than the flip. Murray R3 could be interesting for name value, but unlikely to be challenged in the first 3 rounds.

Sinner - 4/10:
Harder SF in theory, but who knows how it turns out? Fairly good top 4 for a hardcourt slam, so SF/Fs are pretty much a wash. QFs aren't the hardest of the bunch but several consistent players that can show up there. If it's not a very good Sinner, could be a challenge. R1-R3 a wash though, and R4 fairly mediocre.

Medvedev - 8/10:
QF is Rune and Hurkacz which can be quite dangerous players. On top of that a resurgent FAA could deal damage and while Dimitrov isn't the biggest name in the draw he can put up a good fight.

Alcaraz - 5/10:
SFs are roughly the same, probably the most dangerous QF but not a very strong backup QF. Path to the QF is mediocre though. Not great but not terrible. Pretty easy R4 by comparison to others.

After R3 has concluded for the top half, we see something start to show.

Djokovic's draw has remained fairly intact. Every projected matchup has occurred so far, but Shelton lost his 5-setter to Mannarino. Each of his 3 opponents have seemed fairly strong. This is definitely rounding him into form, but it's seemed more difficult than I projected for him, though the missed Shelton matchup probably makes up for it. In hindsight, I think he would have switched his opponents with say, Sinner, if he knew how much trouble they'd be causing him until now. That being said...

Sinner's definitely the strongest Top 4 seed at the moment. He hasn't seemed vulnerable at all. He's made short work of each opponent, even a decently playing Baez. He's seeming invincible. To be fair, I hadn't expected the R1-R3 to cause him issues, but he's the only one that's proved my faith in him.

Moving on to the other 2, who haven't played their R3 yet so I reserve my right to pass further judgment until it's played.

Medvedev was within a TB of being sent home in his R2, and within 2 points during the 4th set (5-4 Ruus, duece). He additionally lost a set against Atmane (ranked 144). He's really not seeming in form. There's a chance to turn it around, but if his luck was just a little worse recently then he'd already be watching the tournament with the rest of us. R3 will show if he can bounce back and earn himself some rest. This is particularly notable because I rated his draw as tough, and that wasn't even based on the R1 and R2 much. Med is headed into matches against FAA then Dimitrov. If he doesn't show more fight, then he'll be out very soon.

Alcaraz had a very close set 1 with Gasquet (before he cruised in the rest of the match), and Sonego kept up with him surprisingly well. He hasn't seemed particularly vulnerable like Medvedev or even Novak in his R1 and R2, but he doesn't seem as rock solid as Sinner has. His draw, which some considered tough, has gone from Evans/Bublik to Sonego/Shang, which I'm sure Carlos is happy about. Paul and Zverev/Ruud are still upcoming, so his draw remains roughly where I thought. However, I think it's turned out to be easier than I even suggested. Sonego and Evans are fairly comparable players, but Shang is a far cry from a well-playing Bublik. We'll see what happens, but I'm sticking fairly close to my difficulty rating, maybe removing 0.5-1 points.

R4-F difficulty adjusted for forms coming up after bottom half R3 is played.
 
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TripleATeam

G.O.A.T.
Djokovic
R1: WC
R2: Popyrin
R3: Etcheverry/Murray
R4: Shelton/Wawrinka/RBA
QF: Fritz/Tsitsipas
SF: Sinner
F: Alcaraz/Medvedev

Sinner

R1: Van De Zandschulp
R2: Cachin
R3: Baez
R4: Tiafoe/Khachanov
QF: ADM/Korda/Rublev
SF: Djokovic
F: Alcaraz/Medvedev

Medvedev

R1: WC
R2: Ruusuvuori
R3: Auger-Aliassime
R4: Dimitrov/ADF
QF: Hurkacz/Rune
SF: Alcaraz
F: Djokovic

Alcaraz

R1: Gasquet
R2: Evans
R3: Bublik
R4: Paul
QF: Ruud/Zverev
SF: Medvedev
F: Djokovic

Analysis to follow.

Djokovic - 4/10:
SFs probably slightly easier than Medvedev, but higher ceiling than Medvedev I'd say. QF easiest of the bunch with a fine backup. Trickiest R4 though, but with a break in the action of the QF it's probably better to get a tricky R4 and easy QF than the flip. Murray R3 could be interesting for name value, but unlikely to be challenged in the first 3 rounds.

Sinner - 4/10:
Harder SF in theory, but who knows how it turns out? Fairly good top 4 for a hardcourt slam, so SF/Fs are pretty much a wash. QFs aren't the hardest of the bunch but several consistent players that can show up there. If it's not a very good Sinner, could be a challenge. R1-R3 a wash though, and R4 fairly mediocre.

Medvedev - 8/10:
QF is Rune and Hurkacz which can be quite dangerous players. On top of that a resurgent FAA could deal damage and while Dimitrov isn't the biggest name in the draw he can put up a good fight.

Alcaraz - 5/10:
SFs are roughly the same, probably the most dangerous QF but not a very strong backup QF. Path to the QF is mediocre though. Not great but not terrible. Pretty easy R4 by comparison to others.
After R3 has concluded for the top half, we see something start to show.

Djokovic's draw has remained fairly intact. Every projected matchup has occurred so far, but Shelton lost his 5-setter to Mannarino. Each of his 3 opponents have seemed fairly strong. This is definitely rounding him into form, but it's seemed more difficult than I projected for him, though the missed Shelton matchup probably makes up for it. In hindsight, I think he would have switched his opponents with say, Sinner, if he knew how much trouble they'd be causing him until now. That being said...

Sinner's definitely the strongest Top 4 seed at the moment. He hasn't seemed vulnerable at all. He's made short work of each opponent, even a decently playing Baez. He's seeming invincible. To be fair, I hadn't expected the R1-R3 to cause him issues, but he's the only one that's proved my faith in him.

Moving on to the other 2, who haven't played their R3 yet so I reserve my right to pass further judgment until it's played.

Medvedev was within a TB of being sent home in his R2, and within 2 points during the 4th set (5-4 Ruus, duece). He additionally lost a set against Atmane (ranked 144). He's really not seeming in form. There's a chance to turn it around, but if his luck was just a little worse recently then he'd already be watching the tournament with the rest of us. R3 will show if he can bounce back and earn himself some rest. This is particularly notable because I rated his draw as tough, and that wasn't even based on the R1 and R2 much. Med is headed into matches against FAA then Dimitrov. If he doesn't show more fight, then he'll be out very soon.

Alcaraz had a very close set 1 with Gasquet (before he cruised in the rest of the match), and Sonego kept up with him surprisingly well. He hasn't seemed particularly vulnerable like Medvedev or even Novak in his R1 and R2, but he doesn't seem as rock solid as Sinner has. His draw, which some considered tough, has gone from Evans/Bublik to Sonego/Shang, which I'm sure Carlos is happy about. Paul and Zverev/Ruud are still upcoming, so his draw remains roughly where I thought. However, I think it's turned out to be easier than I even suggested. Sonego and Evans are fairly comparable players, but Shang is a far cry from a well-playing Bublik. We'll see what happens, but I'm sticking fairly close to my difficulty rating, maybe removing 0.5-1 points.

R4-F difficulty adjusted for forms coming up after bottom half R3 is played.
I didn't do it before because I'm bogged at work but wanted to throw something out here still.

After the QFs have concluded, let me first show the real road to semifinal and critique my analysis.

Djokovic
R1: Prizmic
R2: Popyrin
R3: Etcheverry
R4: Mannarino (did not play any of the projected R4 - real draw approx. 0.5 points weaker than projected.)
QF: Fritz (Fritz beat Tsitsipas and is another top 10 player. Draw panned out)
SF: Sinner
F: Zverev/Medvedev (Still projected, will be slightly weaker than hypothetical Alcaraz, but not enough to make a difference in draw difficulty.)

Overall - 3.5/10. Sinner's become the clear 2nd favorite to Djokovic in this tournament, and his form might be on par with Djokovic going into this SF. As expected, Djokovic was not challenged by his first opponents for very long. Some hiccups, but overall I think Djokovic is still the favorite and my analysis was pretty spot-on other than my tricky R4 comment. I said Sinner could reach a higher ceiling than Medvedev/Alcaraz here and it's looking to be that way.

Sinner
R1: Van De Zandschulp
R2: De Jong (worse than Cachin, but not enough to influence difficulty. Cachin wasn't a speed bump.)
R3: Baez
R4: Khachanov (panned out)
QF: Rublev
SF: Djokovic
F: Zverev/Medvedev

Overall - 4/10. Not much to say here. Panned out pretty much as expected. And yes, harder SF definitely. I was spot on.

Medvedev
R1: Atmane
R2: Ruusuvuori
R3: Auger-Aliassime
R4: Borges
QF: Hurkacz
SF: Zverev (with the way Zverev was playing, might even turn out worse for Med than predicted).
F: Djokovic/Sinner

Overall - Still 8/10. Went through the ringer in FAA and Hurkacz. Both playing decently, despite Medvedev also just being poorer than expected. Hurkacz almost took him out, as expected. FAA resurgent, as expected. Just didn't get the Dimitrov loss to Borges right.

Alcaraz

R1: Gasquet
R2: Evans (Sonego)
R3: Bublik (Shang)
R4: Paul (Kecmanovic)
QF: Zverev (lost)
SF: Medvedev
F:
Djokovic

Overall - 4/10. At practically every step here, his opponents failed to reach him. Gasquet played well then wilted. Sonego was good and approximately Evans' level. Shang was barely a match. Outclassed in every way and even injured. The Kecmanovic match was a good show from Alcaraz, but still not the matchup issue that Paul could potentially be. It came up Alcaraz in practically every way, but then he just came up against a Zverev that peaks once a year and it happened to be against him. I was correct that Alcaraz had the most dangerous QF, after all, he GOATed and played a 80%+ First Serve match with huge BP conversion.


Final insights:
Djokovic is the favorite, with Sinner right behind. Both seem very strong. Medvedev looks weak, Zverev played the match of the tournament but also had 2 matches where he was taken to a deciding tiebreak. One from Klein, one from Norrie. Norrie's understandable as that was a strong match, but the Klein one was weak. So Djokovic Sinner are 1A and 1B, then Zverev way down, then Medvedev further beyond. With a Zverev masterclass he could win the tournament, but he could Zverev it up at any point.
 

nolefam_2024

G.O.A.T.
Aces in first five matches by semifinalists


Djokovic : 69
Sinner : 38 (lost 0 sets)

Medvedev : 64
Zverev : 72

Zverev is hugely dependent on his serve. Medvedev is clearly hardest guy to ace.
Zverev is also tired and having blisters which need treatment after each round. Medvedev is almost 20 lbs lighter than him.

I am taking Medvedev in 4.

Djokovic is not dependent on serve but in pressure points he definitely needs them now. Sinner is also not dependent on serve but vs Djokovic he needs to serve as good as he can. I think fritz played amazing for his game style and Djokovic returned every serve at his feet. This will be issue for Sinner as well. He has not faced anyone close to Djokovic's level.

I am taking Djokovic in 5 over Sinner here. I think he is going to serve godly just like all the matches at the end of the year. He hit 34 aces vs Sinner in ATP finals 2 matches. And he went too big on second serve because he respects Sinner's game. I think his serve is going to be the big factor in this match.

Sinner has great return game but he still gets aced a lot by Djokovic. This court looks good for Djokovic's slice serves.
 

nolefam_2024

G.O.A.T.
But he would much rather have faced Rublev or Fritz than the Peak Big Z he got today
He had so much left in the tank and Zverev was playing after exhausting 13 hrs in first four rounds.

I think Djokovic and Sinner would both have won vs Zverev today. Maybe in 4.
 
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