Who Will Win The Men’s Australian Open Title?

So we are at the half way stage of the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of the 2012 season, so who is going to win the title at the weekend?

In the men’s draw it is hard to see anyone outside the top four walking away with the prize and no one has been more impressive over the first week than Novak Djokovic.

The defending champion and world number one has barely broken sweat in his opening rounds, although it is fair to mention that he is yet to play anyone of note.

Up next for the world number one is Lleyton Hewitt – and while the Aussie could ask a few question it is unlikely that he will cause an upset.

However with the way that Hewitt has played this week he deserves to not go down 6-2 6-2 6-2.

Tougher tests are ahead for Djokovic as he will face either Richard Gasquet or David Ferrer in the quarters while Andy Murray is a potential semi-finalist.

But the no nonsense manner that Djokovic has shown on the court so far this week has sent out a message to the rest of the guys that he is ready to defend all the titles that he amassed last season.

He looks sharp and refreshed and his serve and return game really have been on top form.

Talking of Andy Murray it was a laboured start for the British number one as he was pushed to four sets by American Ryan Harrison – but since then he has been getting better and better.

His match against Michael Llodra in the third round was his best performance to date as he was aggressive from the very start and didn’t let up even when he was comfortably ahead.

Mikhail Kukushkin awaits Murray in the fourth round after the player from Kazakhstan saw off fourteenth seed Gael Monfils.

Kukushkin pushed Murray to three sets when they met in a warm up tournament earlier this season before the Scot prevailed so it has the potential to be a tough encounter.

And it’s only set to get more challenging for Murray as he could face Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the quarter before a semi-final clash with Djokovic.

And, I don’t know about you, but I quite fancy Murray’s chance against Djokovic in the final four. Murray always seems to have a mental block when it comes to semi finals where he usually face Rafael Nadal – this time around he doesn’t have that problem and may just well make the most of it.

Rafael Nadal is another player who has made it to the quarter final without dropping a single set he has also only had his serve broken four times.

There was little talk about the Spaniard as a potential winner of the Open before the tournament began after he revealed that has been suffering from a shoulder injury.

However he is yet to show any problems with the shoulder or a knee problem that flared up before his opening match.

Tomas Berdych is his quarter final opponent while either Juan Martin Del Potro or Roger Federer will be waiting in the semis.

Now I don’t know about you but a Rafa/Roger semi-final is a mouth-watering prospect and Federer going into that match as the favourite will suit the Spaniard just fine.

Much like Murray the sixteen Grand Slam champion has been improving with every round – seeing off Bernard Tomic in straight sets earlier today.

But the semi-final clash with Juan Martin Del Potro will be less than straight forward as the Argentinean got the best of him the last time they met – which was the U.S. Open final back in 2009.

Djokovic & Federer may be the first and second favourites for the title but I fancy Nadal & Murray may have something to say about that. Murray vs. Nadal in the final anyone?

Helen Earnshaw