First round matches kick off tomorrow ( weather permitting ). We haven’t seen many surprises as far as the tournament winner goes in recent years. Maybe this year one of the top 3 won’t take it. Murray’s prep for the tournament has been dire but maybe, like the England football team, this means there is a little less expectation on his shoulders.
The first section of the draw has Djokovic at the top of the list. Perhaps his toughest test en route to the quarter finals could be Monaco in the fourth round but it will need an exceptional performance from Monaco to trouble the Serb.
There’s a good chance we see Almagro v Gasquet in the third round which should be one hell of a match. I’d favour Gasquet on grass. His 4th round opponent is most likely to be Berdych. To get there Berdych will meet the winner of Florian Mayer and Petzschner. Mayer has a tough task there if his fellow German can continue his form from last week.
This section looks fairly unremarkable other that the above matches.
Probable quarter final is Djokovic v Berdych.
The second section has Federer. His third and fourth round opponents could well be Benneteau and Simon. Whilst Simon has the ability to push him it would need a below par performance from Federer to allow the Frenchman to put him out.
A few interesting (potential) matches in this section. Not least Isner v Mahut in round 2. I wonder how many times the media will talk about their marathon 3 day match in last year’s tournament.
The third round could give us Verdasco v Simon and Tipsarevic v Youzhny. I’d have Simon and Tipsarevic to come through. As I said above Simon would meet Fed and Tipsarevic would come up against Isner.
Probable quarter final is Federer v Isner.
The third section is Andy Murray’s. His first potential banana skin come in his first match in the form of Davydenko. Davy hasn’t been able to string many wins together but if Murray isn’t at his best this could be the biggest shock of the first round.
This section of the draw is just about the toughest. Roddick seems to have found some form. Ferrer is always in form and Del potro, Cilic and Raonic aren’t the sort of player you look forward to playing on grass. There’s also Querrey although his retirement last week ought to hand a third round spot to Raonic. Anderson can be dangerous on grass and faces Baghdatis in the second round. The winner of THAT match would face Murray IF he got past Davydenko and IF he then got past Karlovic.
If this was a football tournament this would be called the group of death.
Probable quarter finalists aren’t easy to predict. With Murray’s recent form I would be surprised if he gets there.
If Del Potro is fit I think he will knock out Ferrer in the fourth round and either Cilic or Raonic will fill the other position.
Probable quarter final is Del Potro v Raonic.
In section 4 Nadal has a chance for revenge over Dodig in the second round. The other big names in this section include Tsonga, Wawrinka, Fish and Dolgopolov. We also have Tommy Haas and Brian Baker. Tomic is also there but he has been poor recently and illness isn’t helping his chances of defending his quarter final points from last year.
Nadal v Haas is one to look forward to in the third round. I’m sure a lot of people will be interested to see how Brian Baker does. He will probably face Lopez in the second round. I think he will outsmart the Spaniard in that one which would give us the interesting match up with Dolgopolov. The winner of that one faces Nadal in the next round.
Tsonga and Wawrinka look set to meet again in the third round. Tsonga would be a strong favourite for me this time.
The remaining branch of this section is hardest to predict as it contains Tomic, Fish and James Ward. Fish has been poor recently, as has Tomic so there is a chance for Ward if he can find some home-court form. However you would possibly expect Tomic and Fish to meet in the third round. Whoever wins that would probably meet Tsonga in the 4th round.
Probable quarter final is Tsonga v Nadal.