Wimbledon Week 2 Lookahead

Taking the traditional day of rest today on the middle Sunday of Wimbledon; the mini-break gives the lawn courts a chance to recover and tourney organizers a chance to re-configure the order of play a bit. Monday will be the most action packed day of the tourney with all sixteen Round 4 matches in the Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s draws being contested. From there we get:

  • All four Ladies' quarterfinals will go on Tuesday
  • The 4 Gentlemen’s QFs on Wednesday
  • Ladies' semifinals on Thursday
  • Gentlemen’s semis on Friday
  • Ladies' Final on Saturday
  • Gentlemen’s Final Sunday

If you were only casually following the matches during Week 1, you didn’t miss much on the Men’s side in terms of upsets or drama except for Nick Kyrgios who retired in Round 1 and promptly fed the tabloids by late night romping with British teens. The top two favs in the Ladies’ draw were upset but the field was wide open to start with and remains wide open with at least 10 of the 16 players having a legit shot at the title. Nadal and Federer are still on a collision course for the Final despite Nadal’s road shaping up to be as tough as possible and Fed looking a little shaky against some lesser competition.

Since there are eight excellent Men’s matches on tap for tomorrow we’ll give them all a mini-breakdown:

  • Murray-Paire The Great Scot Andy Murray made it to Round 4 via two easy wins and one narrow escape against Fabio Fognini. Benoit Paire is a head case who was in the mood to try last week and used his top-ten talent to secure his deepest run in a tournament he vocally detests. Murray has the h2h advantage at 2–0 in the last couple years and we are likely to see a replay of the Murray-Fog match were Paire seems like the better player but is easily flustered and gets dispatched 3–1 by the clinical Murray.
  • Querrey-KAndo Acapulco champ Sam Querrey is the last remaining American and played his best match since Acapulco against Jo-Willy Tsonga to get to the 4th Round. The 31-yr old South African Kevin Anderson hasn’t really been tested yet and comes in a small fav at shops across the board. Both men are serving lights out and if we see 4 Tiebreaks it won’t be shocking, Querrey having faced tougher competition to this point would be a nice look as a dog to win 3–1 or 3–2 early tomorrow.
  • Nadal-Muller The draw didn’t break well for Rafa, he’ll have to face the tough-on-grass Muller in R4 and likely the red hot Cilic in the QF. Nadal has picked up right where he left off at RG continuing his outstanding level of tennis and extending his set winning streak to 28 with nine straight so far. As noted in the preview, the second week of Wimby is typically where Nadal becomes especially dangerous as the surface wears down and plays more like clay. This has added significance this year because rather than the typical wet weather we’ve had a week of dry hot conditions with another of the same expected and players, like Gilles Muller, are making public statements about the slow speed of the courts. In response, this tournament is now fade Nadal at your own risk; Nadal takes Muller 3–0 tomorrow.
  • RBA-Cilic Potential here for a decent match, at least a closer match than the Bookmakers expect. Cilic has carried his excellent spring form into the summer and finally snapped his losing streak in grass tiebreakers last week. RBA pulled off a nice upset of Nishikori to make the 4th round and continues to be underrated generally. Pulling for RBA to create some more magic but it’s more likely Cilics power carries him to his QF death match against Nadal. Expecting Cilic to advance in 4 or 5 sets.
  • Raonic-AZverev The 3rd Quarter Draw went perfectly for the fans, all four stars are alive and in competitive form. Surprised that Milos opened a small favorite here with Sascha taking their only head to head decisively in Rome back in May (albeit on clay). It will be interesting to see the strategy employed by Raonic as he’s largely gone away from the serve-and-volley heavy style that got him to the Finals last year. If he revives this style of approach for this match it would be tougher for Zverev to adjust but if he’s content to hit ground strokes from the baseline Sascha will eat him alive. Zverev ML as a small dog is a great look for tomorrow, expecting him to prevail 3–1 or better.
  • Dimitrov-Federer The popcorn match of the day featuring the greatest player of all time against a man who was once projected as his heir apparent. Despite not dropping a set so far Federer has looked kind of vulnerable; is fairness the bar was set too high driven by how outstanding Nadal played at the French. Dimitrov on the other hand has been superlative even though he’s beaten three of the weaker players in the draw. This has a distinct feel of a back-and-forth contest and would expect Grigor to threaten Federer over stretches of the match and take one or more sets. The total games over looks like the best angle to attack this match, if Federer had a title in him he needs to turn up his game right now and get stronger every round because it’s about to get real tough. Fed heads to the QF with a 3–1 win.
  • Thiem-Berdych This one is the toughest cap of the day. Thiem is not good on grass historically and it’s been impressive to see him get this far. On the other hand this is the exact spot Berdy has let down all season. As noted above, the courts are playing very slowly this year and that’s helping Thiem big time. Thiem needs time on the ball to set up his shot and he’s getting it this year. Regardless it’ll be tough to break Berdys serve and the match will likely come down to whoever wins the Tiebreaks. For the record the prediction is Thiem 3–1 but the Thiem handicap might be the best angle on this one.
  • Mannarino-Djokovic The draw gods were smiling on Nole this tourney, Klizan, Pavlasek, Gulbis and now Mannarino feels more like a Challenger draw than a slam. Mannarino has proven pesky and has played well lately on grass but unless he steals the opening set this has 3–0 Djokovic written all over it.

BOL and look for another post later this week!