Wimbledon Preview

rafaelkneepainNadal/del Potro’s Quarter
Winner: Andy Roddick emerges after Rafa Nadal makes an early exit leaving the one seed blank. Del Potro capitalizes on the opportunity to theoretically take the number one seed, but loses to Andy Roddick, who is much more battle tested on the grass. Andy has as much confidence as anyone on the tour right now, and will be hungry for a third showdown with Roger Federer in the final of Wimbledon.
Dark Horse: Lleyton Hewitt’s exhibition victory over Rafael Nadal will give him a lot of confidence heading into Wimbledon even though the defending champion pulled out. He faces a very tough task it Juan Martin del Potro, however, in the second round. Del Potro hasn’t played any grass court warmups, but has been Mr. Consistent during the past year. Dmitry Tursunov is fresh off a grass court championship, but he played a depleted field. He’s also the type of guy to have a major let down, after winning a championship, even if it is Wimbledon. He more accurately should be called the “wild card” in this section since he could go down in the very first round, or he could be very challenging for del Potro in round 3. Paul-Henri Mathieu can also potentially make a little run since he would have to face Tomas Berdych, Mr. Inconsistent, and Nikolay Davydenko, who missed his grass court warmup tournament because he couldn’t get a visa in time.
Early Exit: David Ferrer and Radek Stepanek have their own mini-section, but both seem to be likely to make an early exit. Ferrer has been dropping steadily in the rankings since the middle of last year, while Stepanek has been battling injuries and age. If you had to bet – and tennis absolutely wants none of this anywhere near their sport! – it’s more likely Ferrer goes down before Stepanek.
Best potential match: We just need to look at the second round to find the upcoming del Potro against Lleyton Hewitt. Whoever wins this match should also have a great match against Andy Roddick in the quarters, but Roddick will prove to be too much.

murraymountMurray’s Quarter
Winner: Mount Murray will be as rowdy as ever, and will their man to make in through this quarter of the draw. Andy Murray has the fate of the entire nation resting on his shoulders. He will rise to the occasion, get revenge against Fernando Gonzalez for Roland Garros, and find himself in the semifinals against the other Andy.
Dark Horse: Taylor Dent looks to be in good form after winning in straight sets of all his qualifying matches. He also has a pretty manageable draw that could allow him to make the third round. Ernests Gulbis has the game to potentially pull off the biggest upset of the tournament in the second round against Murray. His big hitting could be tough task for Murray to counter on the grass. Finally, and I’m going to sound like a homer here, Bobby Reynolds plays Gilles Simon in round one. Anyone who plays Simon can be a potential dark horse since Simon is out of his element when he’s not on the pavement.
Early Exit: Gilles Simon has been awful since the Australian Open this year. He is just praying for the U.S. summer hardcourt season to begin. Also watch out for an early exit from Marat Safin. He is quite unpredictable throughout the course of his matches, but quite predictable if you look at his results – he’s been losing all season.
Best potential match: Fernando Gonzalez against Andy Murray in a rematch of the French Open quarterfinal is the obvious answer here, but also look at Gulbis vs. Murray, Kiefer vs. Gonzalez, and Murray vs. Stanislas Wawrinka. Murray is only 4-3 lifetime against Wawrinka.

djokowimDjokovic’s Quarter
Winner: Surely Novak Djokovic will rebound after a listless performance at the French. He made the final of Halle, where he lost to Tommy Haas, but has spun it to be a good thing that he made the final.
Dark Horse: Speaking of Mr. Haas, he is the best dark house in the tournament. He won Halle, he played well at the French, and he has a pretty manageable draw with the departure of del Potro. Funny enough, James Blake jumped into the five-spot. Blake has been everything, but good on grass, yet you get the feeling he should go deep looking at his draw. Janko Tipsarevic will be another dangerous floater. Look for him to take out Mardy Fish.
Early Exit: Blake should be the standard answer here, but I think he’s going to step his game up after being awarded the five seed due to Nadal withdrawal. Fish will have an early exit, but he’s really not a premiere player. Look for Ivan Ljubicic to upset countryman Marin Cilic. Cilic may have extra nerves against a guy he’s looked up to his entire life.
Best potential match: Djokovic vs. Haas in a rematch of the Halle final. Ljubicic-Cilic, Fish-Tipsarevic, and Blake-Haas should also be very intriguing.

1federer_wimbledon_400_dpaFederer’s Quarter
Winner: Roger Federer period. He’s a lock to make the semifinals of a grand slam. I don’t want to jinx him or anything, but his draw actually looks decent too. The second highest seed in this quarter, Fernando Verdasco has been awful on the grass.
Dark Horse: Ivo Karlovic has a nice chance to make the quarters. Verdasco hasn’t been good, nor has Tsonga proven to be a force on the grass. Karlovic is the biggest dark horse in the history of dark horses. A major dark horse could be Nicolas Mahut. He’s a serve and volley type of a guy, who has had good results on the grass in the past. He would play a struggling Verdasco in the second round where he may be able to upset the #7 seed.
Early Exit: Fernando Verdasco based on his 1-2 record on grass this season. Feliciano Lopez has been terrible all season long, look for him to go down to Andreas Beck in the first round. Finally, and this is the least likely to happen, Gilles Muller is always a tricky out in a major. He has drawn Robin Soderling, who hasn’t played a grass warmup tournament and may be a bit complacent after getting to the final of the French made his year.
Best potential match: Federer vs. Soderling in a rematch of the French Open final. What’s funny is the Swede should actually be better on this surface than the clay, so maybe, just maybe Federer will be challenged before the semifinals. Verdasco vs. Tsonga if they both can get that far. That would be a great battle between two top 10 players.

Semifinals: Andy Roddick beats Andy Murray in four. Roddick was injured at Queens Club, but he retired for precautionary reasons. Roddick believes, while Murray will just be facing too much pressure being the top seed in that half of the draw and making it all the way to the semis. Roger Federer beats Novak Djokovic in three. Djokovic hasn’t impressed in big matches this year. Federer also hates the Djoker, so don’t be surprised if he routs the Djoker in straight sets.

Final: Roger Federer beats Andy Roddick for the third time in a Wimby final in straight sets. Roddick can never get over the Fed hump no matter what. Roddick will implode if he faces Fed in the final, but will be very happy with a semifinal at the Aussie, a round of 16 at the French and a final at Wimbledon.


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