Federer vs. Roddick, Tsonga vs. Djokovic, and Murray vs. Verdasco – we’re in store for some tantalizing quarterfinal matches at this week’s Sony Ericsson Open! (I didn’t forget about del Potro vs. Nadal, I’m just not that enticed by it.)
Here’s what I’m so excited about:
Federer vs. Roddick: After watching Federer play Taylor Dent yesterday, in a match that was tighter than the 6-3, 6-2 scoreline suggests, I think Andy Roddick has a chance. Yeah, yeah, Roger “owns” Roddick, but Andy did beat him here last year and has been playing impressive, attacking tennis this week in Miami. The guy was volleying like a doubles specialist against Gael Monfils in the Rd. of 16 – and winning most of the points at net. Roger better not underestimate the new and improved “Stefankized” Andy.
Tsonga vs. Djokovic: I haven’t seen these guys in action this week (damn you, FSN!) but I’ve watched their previous matches against one another. Tsonga’s played Murray to Novak’s Federer, beating the Serb the last four times they’ve played with his last loss being in the finals of a Major – the 2008 Australian Open. But Djokovic dismantled Berdych yesterday in straights (6-3, 6-2) while Tsonga needed three against countryman Gilles Simon, making it anyman’s match. (Who am I kidding? Allez, Tsonga!)
Murray vs. Verdasco: Murray’s seeking revenge after Verdasco beat him in the Rd. of 16 at this year’s Australian Open. And the Scot still has a 5-1 record against the Spaniard. Basically, this match depends on Verdasco – will we get the headcase or the raging bull? It’s a tough call. Either guy would be fun to watch against Nadal in the semis.
Nadal vs. del Potro: I have a feeling that last night’s Nadal vs. Wawrinka match (won in two tiebreaks) was more exciting than this one will be. Is del Potro really ready to step it up?
On the WTA side: I’m especially curious to see how Victoria Azarenka fares in her semifinal against Svetlana Kuznetsova (who just split with her coach, btw). Victoria destroyed Sam Stosur in the quarterfinals last night, (6-1, 6-0), similar to how she’s gone through the entire draw so far. She’s a woman on a mission, while Sveta is often a woman on mental “walkies.” But at her best, I think the Russian has more game than the teenager.
On the other side of the draw, everyone’s waiting for Serena to beat Na Li and Venus to beat Iveta Benesova in the quarters so we can have that Williams vs. Williams semi. Come on girls, make it happen!
Here’s today’s order of play, just to keep you in the loop:
All times EST
Not Before 1:00 PM
 S Williams (USA) vs N Li (CHN)
Not Before 3:00 PM
 J Tsonga (FRA) vs  N Djokovic (SRB)
Not Before 7:00 PM
 I Benesova (CZE) vs  V Williams (USA)
Not Before 9:00 PM
 A Roddick (USA) vs  R Federer (SUI)
Nadal vs. del Potro and Murray vs. Verdasco play tomorrow.
Enjoy! And tell me what you think of the matches. . .
Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images at Yahoo Sports