I said earlier this week that for Roger Federer to successfully defend his 2012 title he’ll need some luck and a good draw. Well, he certainly didn’t get that good draw. That said, it doesn’t look great either for Rafael Nadal who as the fifth seeded wildcard of the draw landed in the Federer quarter on Andy Murray’s half.
Boy oh boy!
To win a record eighth title, Federer might have to beat Nadal, then Murray and then Novak Djokovic. Not impossible but at 31 and off his peak, it’s improbable.
Meanwhile on the top half Djokovic doesn’t have a deathly path, but it’s still a tricky section with Tomas Berdych in his quarter along with Tommy Haas, Richard Gasquet, Gilles Simon and Sam Querrey who plays Bernard Tomic in maybe the marquee first round match. Still, I like Djokovic to get through it unscathed. He’ll open with Florian Mayer who I believe is the highest ranked guy not to get seeded. The German has some grass prowess but likely not enough to upset the Serb. Novak could meet another German, Haas, in the fourth round in a good match before the Berdych meeting in the last eight. Novak’s been flaky this year but this looks like a good draw him.
The second quarter is absolutely wide open and honestly, it’s too wide open. It’s underwhelming. There’s nary a clear favorite with David Ferrer, Juan Martin Del Potro, Phil Kohlschreiber and Milos Raonic the top names. None of them are favorite worthy nor are the other contenders like Grigor Dimitrov, Kei Nishikori and Alexandr Dolgopolov. Had Nadal been seeded four, this is where he would have landed but now it goes to Ferrer. And right now can’t pick David out to a semifinal. In fact I can’t pick anyone. Dimitrov and Raonic are enticing and if one of them wanted to breakout this is the draw. So maybe I put my hope for now with Del Potro.
The Nadal-Federer quadrant isn’t home to just those two giants. Also in the mix are John Isner, Jerzy Janowicz, Lukos Rosol and former champion Lleyton Hewitt who plays Stan Wawrinka in his opener. Fortunately for Federer and Nadal, the first week should be a breeze before what could be tricky fourth rounders. I think Nadal could meet Hewitt and Federer facing Nicolas Almagro or Janowicz. And if that quarterfinal showdown happens, which I think it will, I have to go with Rafa over Roger.
Second seeded Murray got just what he wanted: a great draw. In his bid for a first Wimbledon title Murray won’t face much opposition really until the quarterfinals were he’ll face a test in JW Tsonga. Before then it’s chums like Mikhail Youzhny, Janko Tipsarevic, Nicolas Mahut and Ben Becker in the opener. It’s very much like his Queen’s draw which was also easy. It’s awfully hard not to see Murray making the semis here.
So of the draws, it’s no surprise Murray has by far has the easiest, Federer/Nadal the toughest.
As for my picks, earlier in the week I made Nadal my favorite. But now for him having to beat Federer, Murray and then Djokovic I think is just too darn tough, even if it’s warm and dry. So I might actually change my pick to Novak to beat Murray in the final. Novak’s draw isn’t great but he won’t have to deal with a tough semifinal and he plays well against Murray. But like I said before if anyone can navigate a brutal draw it’s Nadal.
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