This is Andy Murray’s first attempt at defending a grand slam title. He has a decent record there with a semi final in 2011 and another final appearance in 2008. Nadal goes into this event in excellent shape and will be a lot of people’s favourite for the title.
Not many will be expecting Federer to challenge for the title although a quarter final with Nadal is a real possibility. Djokovic hasn’t been in the best of form by his own high standards but champions often find a way to lift their game for the big stage.
Lets look at the 4 sections of the draw.
This is Djokovic’s section and normally he would be pencilled in for the quarter finals without too much doubt. This year he has potential stumbling blocks in the shape of Rosol who loves the big matches and Dimitrov who may well be his opponent in the third round. I’m not a huge Dimitrov fan but he has shown the ability to mix it with the big boys even though he rarely puts several wins together.
Del Potro is at the other side of this section but he will have to be at the top of his game to reach the quarters. There are several players in this section who can produce one off superb performances. Youzhny, Melzer, Fognini and even Granollers and Hewitt won’t be rolling over easily if they find their A games. I’d put Tommy Haas above that group as he does perform consistently well as long as he is fit. I would expect Haas and Del Potro to reach the 4th round.
If Djokovic makes it to the 4th round his opponent could be any one of Fognini/Granollers/Paire ( although Paire is the outsider of that trio ).
Predicted Quarter Final : Djokovic v Del Potro. although both will have to work harder than normal to get there.
Murray’s section. He hasn’t had the best preparation. Since Wimbledon he has had 2 losses. Gulbis and Berdych beat him in straight sets. Losing isn’t a massive issue but the performances in those matches were well below par. If he can reach something like 75% of his best then probable opponents Hanescu, Monaco and Seppi (or maybe Almagro) shouldn’t be troubling him.
At the other end of the section is Berdych. He would have to have a crap week if he isn’t going to reach at least the 4th round and once there he will probably meet Anderson who has been getting closer to beating him but isn’t likely to be able to do so over 5 sets.
Predicted Quarter Final : Murray v Berdych.
This is the section Federer would have been in if he hadn’t been pants lately. I’m not complaining as I backed Gulbis at 440 before the draw was made. He went down to 170 after the draw and traded as low as 110 thanks to the weakness of the section.
Ferrer is the top player and he hasn’t been impressing anyone since he lost in straight sets to an injured Del Potro at Wimbledon. Ferrer and Gulbis are likely to meet in the third round and I’ll be sticking with Gulbis to win that one and also to beat Tipsarevic for a place in the quarter finals. Yes that’s right. Tipsarevic. That’s how bad this section is.
The top half of this section is dominated by Gasquet, Raonic and Tursunov. Gasquet would normally be my pick from that threesome but he hasn’t shown any real fight in recent weeks.
Predicted Quarter Final : Raonic v Gulbis
Federer is in the top half of this section with Nadal at the bottom. It is hard to find anyone in there that can prevent a Fed/Nadal quarter final. Isner is the obvious one. Tomic will be hyped up and will fail miserably again. Kohlschreiber and Verdasco are likely to beaten in the third round by Isner and Nadal respectively. Monfils is set to meet Isner in the second round. That is if the Frenchman isn’t forced to withdraw following his extended run this week.
Predicted Quarter Final : Federer v Nadal
Predicted Semi Finals : Del Potro v Berdych and Gulbis v Nadal
Predicted Winner : Nadal