Wimbledon: Men’s Quarter-Finals Day

29 Jun

The men’s draw has progressed mostly as expected with the biggest upsets being attained over three-time former finalist, Andy Roddick, and another former finalist, Robin Soderling. Roddick went out to a spirited performance by the Spaniard who favours grass, Feliciano Lopez, while Soderling was dispatched by the young Aussie gun, Bernard Tomic.

 Other than these two matches, affairs have been fairly simple and straightforward with few truly exciting matches or upsets yet to occur. The only other upset victory perhaps worthy of a mention is the Mardy Fish win over defending finalist, Tomas Berdych. As reported in Part 1 of The Top 10: Wimbledon, only four of the 56 matches played in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th round of the men’s draw went to five sets. This has resulted in the tennis being quite bland other than a few brilliant sets here and there in matches involving the top players in the world. Hopefully the players contesting the quarter-finals against the big four of tennis will play at a high enough level to make the matches absorbing affairs. It would be a great coup for tennis fans if the quarter-final matches were of a competitive nature throughout.

 Quarter-Final 1: Rafael Nadal vs. Mardy Fish

 It seems unlikely that Fish will be able to provide the world number one with a challenge too great to overcome. These two men last played each other three years ago with Fish losing all five matches contested between them. While he is now ranked 20 or so spots higher than he was back then, he is an inferior player to Nadal, and will have to play the match of his life to have an effect on the outcome of this match. Nadal’s form has been steadily improving with him playing some eye-catching tennis in his fourth round match against Juan Martin Del Potro despite injury fears which have since been allayed. It seems the result is to a large extent on Fish’s racket. A great performance from him and Nadal could lose not only the match, but also his number one ranking. This is however the first time in nine attempts that Fish has progressed beyond the 3rd round at Wimbledon. With his grass court pedigree in question, the defending champion has to be heavily favoured to win. 

The winner: Rafael Nadal in four.

Quarter-Final 2: Andy Murray vs. Feliciano Lopez

 The UK tabloids will undoubtedly lead with speculation about who Judy Murray will support in this match, what with her appreciation of Lopez’s appearance. It is unlikely that the players will be concentrating on anything other than their opponent’s on-court play. Andy Murray will be heavily favoured to win against the 29-year old who is making his third appearance in the quarter-finals at Wimbledon this year; Lopez could at the very least make it difficult for Murray.

Lopez’s excellent serving is likely to continue, this in addition to his serve-and-volley play and the fact that he is a lefty could cause Murray some problems should the Spaniard execute his game plan well. Murray has however made the semi-finals at Wimbledon for two years running, and has been playing some of his best grass court tennis. As such he is likely to win and the match could very likely turn into a rout should he take the first set.

The winner: Andy Murray in three.

Quarter-Final 3: Roger Federer vs. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

History and rankings heavily favour Federer to win their quarter-final encounter. Federer leads their head-to-head record by 4-to-1, and is ranked 16 spots higher than his opponent. The Frenchman who is famous for wearing his heart on his sleeve is however a great competitor who will certainly walk out on to Centre Court at Wimbledon thinking that he can leave as the winner. His form of late has been of a high level with a final run at Queen’s Club on his record this year. If the Frenchman serves at his best he could no doubt make the match a closely contested one. Despite the Frenchman’s best efforts he could still lose to Federer quite easily if the Swiss man’s form improves slightly on his not bad displays in the earlier rounds.

The winner: Roger Federer in four.

Quarter-Final 4: Novak Djokovic vs. Bernard Tomic

Despite being the player to drop the least amount of games in the Championships thus far (41) Djokovic has been the member of the big four who has looked most frail in his early matches. He struggled to hit the ball cleanly against Marcos Baghdatis and was clearly frustrated at his play, going so far as to slam his racket to the ground in a display of anger reminiscent of his earlier years on the tour. Despite this low level of form, Djokovic has been fairly lucky with regards to the draw, playing Michael Llodra in the fourth round – no disrespect meant to the Frenchman whose serve-volley style I love to watch; he has simply never displayed the class or results of a Gasquet, Del Potro or even Youzhny. Djokovic now faces the world number 158 in Bernard Tomic. While these matches aren’t too much of a challenge for the Serb, they do provide him with an opportunity to find some form; the Serb’s expectations should be as high as those of the other top 4 players come the weekend. Tomic has had a phenomenal run at Wimbledon in which he took out Igor Andreev in five sets and former finalist Robin Soderling. The Australian’s success has been the fairy tale story of the tournament. He has however yet to come up against a player of Djokovic’s class in what is only his second entry into the main draw at Wimbledon. He is a man for the future, while Djokovic’s time is very much now.

 The winner: Novak Djokovic in straight sets.

Should these predictions be realized it will be the first time in the open era of tennis that the top four seeds have all reached the semi-finals at two consecutive majors. While this might make the men’s quarter-final day slightly boring, it will certainly provide some excellent drama in the semi-finals and finals respectively. Something I think we have to look forward to.

Vote for your FOUR semi-finalists below. And feel free to share your picks in the comments below.

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2 Responses to “Wimbledon: Men’s Quarter-Finals Day”

  1. vibhu batra June 29, 2011 at 1:01 AM #

    I reckon , today also, u wil get 3 out of 4 correct :)… Thats a strong statement I know, cant say for sure, who will lose, but, I reckon any 1 of these top 4 will lose :)…

  2. idiaDega June 29, 2011 at 1:32 AM #

    Great analysis! I have to say I have a soft spot for Fish and Tsonga, but I think your spot on. I am not at all a fan of Murray so hope Lopez can pull out the win.

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