Saturday, March 29, 2008

Grab some popcorn for these

Perusing the order of play at the Sony Ericsson Open at 10:45 on a Saturday morning (What else would I be doing on a Saturday morning?), three matches in particular caught my eye that would be entertaining to watch. I'm gonna just think of these from a fun standpoint. Yesterday, I flagged some matches I thought could be "tricky" for some, and were they ever, with the underdogs winning all four. Today, these are my "Popcorn Matches of the Day":

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (12) vs. Jurgen Melzer: Now, if you've looked here in the past, you know Jo-Willie is my man. The dude's game is big-time—a potent mix of power and athleticism. Melzer (left), whose career numbers should definitely be better than they are, could give Tsonga some fits, particularly with his ability to pull one of the best drop shots on tour out of his hat at any time. If Jo-Willie can impose himself on Melzer right away, then he should have a pretty easy time of it. He can't let Melzer hang around and get comfy in the rallies because the Austrian veteran has enough game to frustrate him. I'm going with Tsonga in three.

Andy Murray (13) vs. Mario Ancic: I actually picked Murray (with Miami Dolphins cheerleaders in tow) to make the finals here, knocking off R-Fed in the semis, but I also picked Novak Djokovic to win the whole tournament, so what do I know? : ) This will be a good test for Andy because even though he's not all the way back from illness and injury, Mario's serve is still huge enough to worry anyone. I think Andy's one of the best returners in the game, though, and should be able to handle whatever bombs Ancic delivers. Scoreline on this one: 7-6, 6-2.

Roger Federer (1) vs. Gael Monfils: Roger will win this one pretty handily, I feel, but technically, he shouldn't—if that makes sense. Monfils (left) is somebody, by now, you should consistently lump in there with the top Young Guns on the ATP, but whether it's physical or mental problems with him, it just hasn't happened. He is a good enough shot-maker, though, to keep things entertaining from that aspect. I'm going with Roger in straights.

(Photos: Getty Images)