This Wimbledon is going to be interesting. Before the draw there were two clear favorites: Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray. But the drawmakers did them no favors today suddenly making the event a wide open affair.
Djokovic could face a bevy of big servers while Murray might have to navigate a brutal path through his Big 4 mates to win another Wimbledon.
First to the top where defending champion Djokovic opens against Phili Kohlschreiber in a first round cracker on Monday. Kohlschreiber is a very tough player, especially so on grass, and given this will be Djokovic’s first match on the surface, there’s just that hint of danger. I think the German will get a set but the Novak prevails. Djokovic could then meet former champion Lleyton Hewitt in the second round. The Australian might not have the game that took him to the top, but he’s still a heady player who often plays way above his ranking. Then it’s Bernard Tomic in the third, Kevin Anderson in the fourth with possibly either John Isner or Kei Nishikori in the quarters. It’s not the worst draw for Novak, but it’s not a nice one either.
In the second quarter, we find 2014 breakthrough semifinalists Grigor Dimitrov and Milos Raonic who are projected to meet in the fourth round. Before the two collide, they will have to get through tough third rounds. Dimitrov could face former Wimbledon semifinalist Richard Gasquet while Raonic might have Nick Kyrgios, a stunning quarterfinals from a yer ago. Really, none of those players inspire much confidence right now for various reasons, so I’ll go with the main man Stan Wawrinka who has the best draw of any of the top guys. Unless the Swiss has lapse, I think the French Open champions beats Raonic to get to the semi. Recall a year ago he was given Federer all sorts of fits before coming undone. I think he can do one better this year.
Now to the loaded bottom half. In the third quarter sits Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal, JW Tsonga, David Ferrer, Viktor Troicki and Ivo Karlovic. Wow. Ferrer and Nadal could clash in the fourth round, Murray and Tsonga in the other. I like Ferrer’s draw out to that spot and I like Murray’s, also. Nadal, though, could have a tough one with big-serving Dustin Brown and further issues with Troicki in the third, but I think Rafa summons his best and gets to the Murray match a week from Wednesday. Since Murray already beat Rafa on clay, I have to think he’ll do it to the Spaniard on grass. But what a match that would be.
The final quarter is the home again of 7-time champion Roger Federer. I like his draw the first week – he should school young American Jack Sock – but trouble lies ahead with Feliciano Lopez in the fourth round and then Tomas Berdych likely in the quarters. The Czech does have Jeremy Chardy in his opener, then Nicolas Mahut followed by Lukas Rosol, so not a sure thing, but Tomas has been Mr. Consistent this year. That said, Berdych beating Federer? He did it a few years ago at Wimbledon, can he do it again? He certainly can. But right now I’ll go with Roger.
So my semifinals:
Djokovic d Wawrinka: Stan’s got a great draw but Novak gets revenge for Paris.
Murray d Federer: Murray is just the better player.
Murray d Djokovic: Murray finally ends skid against Djokovic to win his second Wimbledon title.
Reviewing the draw again, the end result could go any number of ways. I could really see any of the top guys getting picked off before the semifinals. Djokovic could lose to Kohlschreiber or Anderson. Wawrinka is not a solid pick on grass. Murray and Nadal could be on the wrong side of a hot Tsonga or Karlovic and Lopez or Berdych could very well knock out Roger.
And my gut tells me we’ll see at least one of the Big 4 fall before the quarters.
So with all the uncertainty and intrigue – at least in my mind – this should be a fun Wimbledon. Matches begin on Monday with Djokovic and Wawrinka in action.
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