Canadian No. 2 Vasek Pospisil is the first of three seeded Canadian competitors to begin his run in Melbourne, as he is scheduled to meet Australian wildcard entrant Samuel Groth in the opening round of the season-opening Grand Slam event. The two met once on the ATP Challengers circuit, in a contest that Pospisil won in straight sets, bringing their official FedEx head-to-head series to 0-0.
23-year-old Vasek Pospisil arrived in Chennai, India and quickly worked his way through the draw. The Canadian defeated Kyle Edmund, Auckland finalist Yen-Hsun Lu and Yuki Bhambri before losing to Stanislas Wawrinka in the semi=finals, when he was forced to retire in the second set due to a back injury. He dropped the opening set to the Swiss No. 2 6-4 and it appeared the second set was to end in similar fashion before Pospisil broke back to level the score at 4-4 but it would not last long before he had called a trainer on court to check on his back. Minutes later, he was walking off the court, disgruntled at the anti-climatic conclusion to the match.
While his fellow countryman Milos Raonic is in the top half of the draw that features No. 1 Rafael Nadal and No. 5 Juan Martin del Potro, Pospisil is in the bottom half of the draw with No. 2 Novak Djokovic, the defending champion.
World No. 157, Samuel Groth, began his season in Brisbane as a wildcard entrant, where he defeated American Ryan Harrison and no. 151 Pierre-Hugues Herbert before succumbing to Jeremy Chardy in the quarter-final stage of the event. Aiming for more warm-up matches ahead of the Australian Open, Groth travelled to Auckland, where he lost a close three set match to Czech no. 2 Radek Stepanek.
This contest in intriguing for a variety of reasons: It is the first time these two competitors will meet on the professional tour, but more importantly, the main factor will be Pospisil’s health heading into the opening round and whether he is fully fit to perform at the tournament. While the Canadian holds a significant edge over Groth, a back injury could almost certainly slow him down and even cost him the match.
Prediction: Vasek Pospisil in Four Sets