AusOpen 2017: Round 4 Review

The above image is a screen grab from the official ATP Rankings page. It shows the current status of the Top #10 players in the Men’s Singles tournament. This latest update is slightly out of date compared to previous updates to the AusOpen 2017 tournament. The focus is also slightly different which is why this final version is really the result of three complete re-writes.

Prediction Modelling for Round 4

When I look at my model, it can be confusing to read because the alignment for each round reflects the game players themselves, and the outcome displays in the next round, where the winner becomes the entrant/competitor for the next round.

In my opinion, the Round 4 exit of Andy Murray was an upset of equal significance to the tournament as Djokovic’s in the previous round, His loss cascades through my model in a similar fashion to Djokovic’s – and as a result I pick Roger Federer, a champion from the pre-Djokovic era of AusOpen dominance, to be the 2017 Champion. My predictive modelling has thus been torn to shreds since the two biggest upsets of the tournament have really created an open Open. Pun intended.

In not picking Federer, that Round 4 line-up between Roger and Kei was really one of flippant selection. For that Sunday evening match, I watched it with great expectation for sensational tennis playing. The winner was not of real concern to me since both players are my personal favourites of the tournament. Having first noticed Kei’s rising star back in 2015, it was a shame that this show-down was a mere Round 4 play-off rather than a final. Kei’s standing in the ATP rankings will not dramatically change given his Round 4 loss, which is technically a decrease in performance compared to 2016 when he progressed through to a quarter-final.

With Round 4 wins predicted correctly for half of the eight matches, the round 4 predictive performance of 50% highlights the danger that this approach brings. David Goffin’s triumph over Dominic Thiem was not straightforward, at least for the first two sets of their Round 4 match. Hoiwever, Thiem lost steam and the final two sets emphatic loss as summarised by the score makes my prediction perhaps more understandable and excusable??? Istomin’s journey through his Round 4 match against Dimitrov also began strongly with a dominant first set win. However, with Dimitrov fully warmed up, the hard-fought second set that went down to the tie-breaker really changed the momentum for Istomin who never really managed to come back into the match, losing in four sets. My prediction that the Djokovic slayer could have built momentum was probably a shared view that has been disproved.


With the first semi-final now defined as being an all-Swiss showdown between Federer and Wawrinka, Federer’s quarterfinal demonstrated that the (former?) King of Tennis is back in form. His demolition of Zverev was a clear show of his rehabilitation from the noticable six-month rest and recuperation. Wawrinka’s quadrant of the draw is interesting given my faith and expectation that both he and Tsonga were the real contenders of this branch was 100% accurate. Should Wawrinka best his countryman in the first semi-final, then he should win the tournament. Let us not forget that Wawrinka has previously claimed the Australian Open crown once.

Today’s quarterfinals – Nadal vs Raonic and Goffin vs Dimitrov will be interesting battles each in their own right. Similar to the Wawrinka and Tsonga consistency and “reliability”, I maintain my confidence that Nadal will become the third semi-finalist. As to who the last semi-finalist will be, to face Nadal, originally that should have been the champ Djokovic. I suspect David Goffin will get to face the Spaniard but is unlikely to cause the final potential upset to beat Nadal. In this way, I expect the final quarterfinal to be won by Goffin, at the expense and loss by Dimitrov.

AusOpen 2017 Impact on Rankings

Grand Slam Points

Firstly, before reviewing the impact of results on the ATP rankings. a quick reminder and refresher for us on the points system utilised:

  1. Winning a grand slam attains 2000 points (currently being “defended” by #2 Djokovic)
  2. Being the runner-up results in 1200 points (Andy Murray)
  3. Semi-finalists win 720 points (Roger Federer and Milos Raonic)
  4. Quarter-finalists win 360 points (Kei Nishikori, Gael Monfils, Romas Berdych & David Ferrer)
  5. Round 4 – 180 points (Stan Wawrinka, David Goffin, Jo-Wilfred Tsonga, Roberto Bautista Agut, John Isner, Giles Simon, Bernand Tomic, Andrey Kuznetsov
  6. Round 3 – 90 points
  7. Round 2 – 45 points
  8. Round 1 – 10 points

#1 Rank/Top 2 Seeds

Going into the Australian Open 2017 tournament, the current World #1 is Sir Andy Murray, who has held the ranking for 11 weeks since 7 November 2016. Whilst #1, a mere 780 points separates him from World #2 and the 2016 defending Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic. Should my prediction of a Djokovic win with Murray runner-up play out, the status quo for the two players and their respective ranks will be the outcome.

In order for the ranks of our two premiere players to swap, Djokovic would have to win, and Murray would have needed to lose in or before the semi-final. As at Day #8, with the completion of Round 4 underway today, both the 2016 Champion and Runner-Up in Djokovic and Murray respectively, are out of the tournament. Given their Round 2 and Round 3 exits, the outcome is locked in:

  1. Andy Murray, on 11540 points remains #1
  2. Novak Djokovic, on 9825 points remains #2

The gap between #2 and #3 decreases but even if Raonic in #3 rank were to win the tournament – an outside chance given the way top seeded players have performed in the last week – he will remain #3 in rank overall.

The Mid Section (#3 – #5)

The rank positions of #3 through #5 all fall within the low 5000 points; with the range being 280. In this way, any player in these ranks (Raonic, Wawrinka, or Nishikori) who is able to get the best result will emerge with the #3 ranking and the other two will shuffle accordingly. Nishikori’s loss to Roger Federer in Round 4 sees him with a net loss of 180 points, given he previously made the quarter-final at the 2016 Australian Open. Should Stan progress to be a semi-finalist, by beating #12 Tsonga, Stan will move to an outright #3 ranking; the sole player with points in the 5000s. This will provide a slight buffer from the lower ranking players. With Wawrinka and Raonic final position/standing to be determined at this point in time, whoever performs best will likely ascend to #3 position. For example, should Raonic become the champion then he will claim the #3 rank. Should Nadal win the tournament, he will rise to become the #5 seed.

Ranks #6 and below

In the best case Roger Federer, currently ranked #17 during the tournament, will improve his ranking to re-enter the Top 10. In the worse case that he loses before a semi-final, his ranking is likely to drop further since he has 720 points to defend from his 2016 Australian Open semi-finals result. Positions #7 through #9 are all pretty much locked in now give the exit of both Thiem and Monfils in the Round4 matches played out last night. Thiem’s improvement from 2016 in making it a further round helps him to rise to #7 from his previous. Tsonga’s quarterfinal loss is an improvement from his 2016 Round 4 exit, and thus, his points improve for the season, but his ranking at #12 is likely to remain the same.


In summary, as per the above table, Raonic and Wawrinka’s potential swap depends on how they both perform. Both Federer and Nadal look to rise in the rankings, with Cilic and Thiem making way for the Spaniard whilst Federer remains just outside the Top 10. David Goffin looks set to replace Berdych as #10 and Grigor is likely to remain unchanged at #15.

My predictions have not been that successful as a whole but my hope in Federer remains – Wawrinka currently stands in his way to a finals showdown which is most lilkely to be Nadal. A Federer versus Nadal final would thus be reminiscent of the 2000s before the more recent Murray versus Djokovic head-to-heads. All the best to all tennis players.