Well here we are again. Strawberries and cream, Murray and Federer, rain delays and umbrellas.
This year’s draw has an imbalanced look that we haven’t had for a long time. Murray, Federer and Nadal are all in the same half of the draw. This would appear to have given Djokovic a great chance to reach just his second Wimbledon final.
Djokovic is in the first section of the draw. He has Florian Mayer in the first round and it would need a particularly bad performance from the world number 1 for his tournament to end there. Probable opponents after that are Johnson and Harrison and it isn’t until the 4th round where Tommy Haas will be his first real test.
There’s an outside chance that Lopez could upset Haas but with the Spaniard winning a rare title last week he may have run out of gas before their potential 3rd round meeting.
The bottom half of this section looks more competitive. Tomas Berdych heads the list and probable third round matches are Berdych v Anderson and Gasquet v Tomic. I would go for Gasquet to reach the 4th round where he will hit his mental wall and fail in yet another grand slam 4th round regardless of who he pays.
The winner of Berdych v Anderson isn’t as easy to call. Anderson hasn’t managed to take a single set in any of their 4 matches in 2013 but in their last 2 meetings the South African should have taken the opening set but late recoveries from Berdych snatched it away. Will it be third time lucky? If Anderson can get a set on the scoreboard he has a chance.The best of 5 set format clearly favours Berdych though.
Predicted quarter finalists: Djokovic, Berdych.
Section 2 is probably the weakest headed by Ferrer who has no realistic chance of lifting the trophy. His opponents contain several under achieves and wannabes. On paper there are some decent grass court players. Raonic should be a contender on the turf but has made a terrible start to the grass season losing in straight sets in Halle and Eastbourne. If he reaches the third round he probably meets Dodig who beat him last week.
Del Potro and Dimitrov have a decent chance of making the quarter finals and look set to meet in round 3.
Other alleged contenders include Dolgopolov whose most consistent achievement is to waste his considerable talent. It would be unfair to call Nishikori an under achiever as he is making excellent progress up the rankings. He is the 12th seed and is likely to meet either Seppi or Llodra in round 3. Llodra is a tough opponent on grass but his return game lets him down. I’d expect Nishikori to meet Dimtrov or Del Potro in the 4th round.
Predicted quarter finalists: Ferrer, Dimitrov.
Section 3 is where we find Nadal and Federer. Nadal being seeded 5th means he doesn’t head his own section at a slam for the first time in a good few years.
Who can prevent the expected quarter final? Isner should be good for a few rounds in any grass tournament but faces Donskoy in round 1. They met in Holland a week ago and Isner lost in 3 sets. The best of 5 format usually allows quality to come through but Isner’s place in round 2 is far from certain.
Wawrinka could be a strong prospect. He probably meets Garcia Lopez in the second round. They played in the semi final last week and won easily. Wawrinka could meet Isner in the third round ( if Isner survives round 1). The winner of that match would meet Nadal in the 4th round as I don’t see Paire being able to trouble the Spaniard in their 3rd round meeting.
Federer will need to be on his game to get to the quarters. Hanesscu and Stakhovsky are unlikely to put up too much resistance but a potential encounter with Rosol in round 3 could get interesting if the Czech player goes into the match with the same attitude as he did against Nadal last year. The winner of that match will most likely meet either Almagro or Janowicz. My money’s on Almagro although he will need to perform better than he has been recently.
Predicted quarter finalists Nadal, Federer.
On that bombshell we move to section 4. The pressure on Andy Murray is now a little different. In the lead up to Wimbledon in the past he has always been Britain’s only hope of having a player in the second week. He made it to slam finals and then the pressure was for him to win the title. Last year he lost to Federer in the final but then beat him on the same court in the Olympics final. So he goes into this year’s tournament with the nation expecting nothing less than for him to win the thing.
If Murray is at his best then there is no one to trouble him before the quarter finals but it is unusual for the top 5 players to sail through without at least one scare along the way. Mahut put him under pressure at Queens and could push him close for a couple of sets if they meet in the third round. If Youzhny can keep playing the way he has been on the grass he will provide the stern test that Murray will need to sharpen his game before he reaches the business end of the tournament.
I don’t expect Robredo to get past Mahut in the second round and it is hard to take Tipsarevic seriously right now and he would have to beat Youzhny if he is to take on Murray in the 4th round. Montanes might even knock Tipsarevic out in the second round!
The other half of section 4 has Tsonga and Cilic who look likely to meet in the 4th round. Tsonga has the toughest draw though with Gulbis in round 2 and either Verdasco or Benneteau in the third round. Cilic should have no issues getting to the 4th round with only Monaco in round 3 likely to prove tricky.
Predicted quarter finalists: Tsonga, Murray.
Predicted Semi Finals:
Djokovic v Dimitrov
Federer v Murray
Djokovic v Murray