One rainy week down at Wimbledon, one more rainy week to go. Thus far things have gone pretty much according to plan at the Big W. Top guys are beating up on everyone; top gals are doing much of the same. Only real surprise first week is that we had few days of NO RAIN! But onto the players…
Roger Federer is well on course to the semifinals. After Tommy Haas bailed today with an ab problem, Fed now faces the winner of Janko Tipsarevich and Juan Carlos Ferrero. Regardless of who wins that one – I’ll tab Tipsy – Federer wins in straights putting him in the semifinals where he should face Andy Roddick in that semi.
Actually, there is another surprise. Just how lousy Roddick looks. Ok, lousy may be strong, but he’s not looking like a world beater. And I think if his match against Paul Henri Mathieu was played on any surface other than grass P-Mat takes him down. On grass the Frenchman still might, but I think Roddick will pull thru setting up a showdown with Gasquet for a semifinal berth. Should that match happen it would be the best contest of the quarters, but while Gasquet is the superior player overall I am not convinced of his ability to return Roddick’s serve and his handle the situation of being in his first Major quarterfinal. That said I’ll stick with Andy.
Onto the rain-drenched bottom half, which is far more of a mixed bag. At the top you got Nikolay Davydenko against Gael Monfils to play David Nalbandian or Marcos Baghdatis. I think Monfils should get thru, and in the second match…I’ll lean ever slow slightly with Nalbandian, who then takes out Monfils. Gotta hand it to Nalbandian, the guy’s fat, only shows at Slams but is incredibly talented. And I mean incredibly. Wish he would just put in the time.
I like Hewitt to emerge and then take out Nalbandian. Canas should present little trouble to Lleyton while Djokovic is indeed a tougher task, but the Aussie should get by. A 100% Kiefer would beat Djoko, but I don’t think the German can win after having been off the circuit for a year.
In the bottom quarter, I still think Rafael Nadal looks vulnerable to guys Robin Soderling and Jarkko Nieminen, who should edge Mikhail Youzhny. Either way, I still like Berdych to get through that last quarter beating Hyung-Taik Lee and then Wayne Arthurs, who continues his Cinderella run with a victory over fellow 35+ Jonas Bjorkman. (For Pete Sampras fans, or Pete himself, again, if guys like Jonas and Wayne can go this far, how far would he go. Certainly have to wonder, and I really beat Pete is wondering himself. But that’s for another blog post!).
So that leaves my original final four of Fed beating Roddick, Hewitt beating Berdych and then in the Fed destroying Hewitt for the title.
As for the much-discussed Fed outfit. I was fine with the jacket last year, but this year the whole ensemble of the sweater, pants, luggage, etc., is getting to be too much. You want to bring a few racquets, jam a few shorts and shirts into a bag, etc, and walk onto the court, that’s fine. But two bags and a suit? I thought Fed was boarding a yacht or something. In light of the weather Fed, how about a yellow rain slicker and an umbrella. Maybe thrown on some galoshes with that swoosh. Maybe next year.
Like the men, the women’s draw is also going according to form. I still think the Justine Henin-Serena Williams winner will take the title. I still like Henin to pull that out, and \complete her career Slam maybe over Maria Sharapova in the final. Maria is not at her best, but let’s face it, she still reached the French semis on her worst surface so if she pull that result on the clay she should do better on the grass.
Also keep an eye on that 16-year-old Tamira Paszek. I saw her at the French and she’s got a wicked backhand. A future Top 10 for certain in the next 18 months, probably sooner.
Despite all the rain, and some inconsistent, jerky, ESPN converage, we did get to see a great week of tennis. Henman-Lopez, Henman-Moya. Davydenko-Guiccione and the run of Wayne Arthurs, which we really didn’t see but it is a great story!
Now let’s focusing on getting this rain out of the way.
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