The Wimbledon men’s draw has been released and six-time champion Roger Federer has to be pleased with his section, at least through the early going. 2008 winner Rafael Nadal figures to have a much tougher task, while Andy Murray has the easiest of the Top 4 seeds.
Federer opens (again) with Alejandro Falla with his third round seed in the form of Tommy Robredo. In the fourth round Federer could meet either Jurgen Melzer or Feliciano Lopez and in the quarterfinals his likely opposition would come from Tomas Berdych, Stan Wawrinka or Nikolay Davydenko. All in all, Federer has to like what he sees from his quarter.
The toughest section I think is the Novak Djokovic, Andy Roddick quarter. Not only are those two former Slam champs in there but so too are Lleyton Hewitt, Marin Cilic, Ivan Ljubucic, Gael Monfils and even Mardy Fish. Djokovic begins with the dangerous and diminutive Olivier Rochus. Then could face Taylor Dent, then a breather in the third round before running into Hewitt in round four.
Roddick will also be tested. After Rajeev Ram in the first round, the 2009 finalist may get Michael Llodra in the second then the pesky Phil Kohlscrhrieber in the third followed by Cilic, Ljubicic or Fish in the 16s.
The third quarter is all Murray’s. The Scot will be the heavy favorite in group with high seeds Fernando Verdasco, Jo Tsonga, Juan Carlos Ferrero and Sam Querrey. Murray could meet Simon in the third round, Querrey in the fourth before Verdasco or Tsonga in the quarters. Tsonga could be the biggest obstacle for Andy.
While Nadal’s section isn’t necessary loaded with top contenders, it is home to players who have fared well against the Spaniard. Nadal begins his journey against Kei Nishikori, then against sometimes crutch James Blake followed by Ernests Gulbis. In the fourth round Mikail Youhzny or John Isner could await with Robin Soderling lurking in the quarterfinals. Not an easy road at all for Nadal with guys like Blake, Gulbis, Youhzny and Soderling in his way.
So the draw looks good for Federer and Murray while Roddick and especially Nadal are in for a serious battle. And Federer v. Roddick would be a semifinal this year.
Fourth round by seeds: 1 Federer v. 16 Melzer, 12 Berdych v. 7 Davydenko, 3 Djokovic v. 15 Hewitt, 11 Cilic v. 5 Roddick, 8 Verdasco v. 10 Tsonga, 14 Ferrero v. 4 Murray, 6 Soderling v. 9 Ferrer, 13 Youhzny v. 2 Nadal.
Quarterfinals: Federer v. Davydenko, Djokovic v. Hewitt, Cilic v. Roddick, Verdasco v. Murray, Soderling v. Nadal.
Semifinals: Federer v. Djokovic, Murray v. Nadal.
Some quick initial thoughts. First Federer look very strong out to the semifinals. The only players in his section who can beat the Swiss on the grass are Berdych (quarterfinals) and maybe Lopez (16s). I think Murray should also breeze at least until the fourth round where he could end up with Querrey and then Tsonga or Verdasco, but like Federer he’ll be the heavy favorite in just about every match.
I think the Djokovic/Roddick section is really tough to call with Cilic and Hewitt also in there. Any of the four could get through. Right now I’m almost think about Hewitt as the guy.
And the draw really did Nadal no favors with potential matches against Gulbis then Youzhny/Isner with Soderling possibly in the quarterfinals. I like Soderling’s draw, and I think he might just be the class pick in that section.
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