Considered by many to be the greatest day in all of tennis, the second monday at Wimbledon is packed full of great matches. All round of 16 matches in both the men’s and women’s are on the slate, so there will be no shortage of quality tennis. Once we get to this point of the tournament, qualifiers and unseeded players are usually pretty rare, but after one of the craziest weeks in Grand Slam history, there are still 6 unseeded players remaining. Let’s preview all 8 matches! (In order of most interesting to least interesting)
Novak Djokovic vs Tommy Haas- This one should be good. Of the remaining players in the draw, Tommy Haas might be the toughest player for Djokovic on his half of the draw. Haas beat the Djoker here in 2009 in a memorable match, and he owns a 2-0 record against him on grass. Haas made the semi’s that year, where he lost to the eventual champion Federer. Djokovic has played extremely well thus far, and has yet to lose serve, but expect that to change Monday. Haas’ variety and court knowledge have given Djokovic trouble in the past, and Tommy has the belief that he can win this match, unlike many others. For me it’s all about the serve in this match. Whichever player can get a higher percentage of first serves in, and defend their second serves more effectively. I will be rooting for Haas, but I think Novak is too determined after not winning the French, so I’m taking Novak in 4 very close sets.
Tomas Berdych vs Bernard Tomic- Bernie has had quite a run this fortnight, after looking a little sluggish in his first match against Sam Querrey. His best win was definitely in the last round against Richard Gasquet, a polished grass court player. Berdych has looked very sharp thus far, only dropping 1 set en route to the 4th round. The only thing that worries me about the Birdman is that he has a little bit of a shoulder problem, and nobody knows how serious it is. Even with that, I still think Berdych should win this match in 3 sets.
David Ferrer vs Ivan Dodig- Ferrer has looked anything but perfect to this point, dropping at least 1 set in each match he’s played. However, he started to look like the little beast he is when he came from 2 sets to 1 down against a good player in Dolgopolov. Dodig will likely get written off by most in this match, but I advise you all to not ignore him. I’ve been critical of him in the past, but he’s looked excellent this year. He took out Phillip Kohlshreiber in the first round, and then cruised by Denis Kudla and Igor Sijsling in straight sets. I watched 2 of those matches, and his serve was dominant. If he serves well, look out for this one to be close. Dodig’s backhand is solid, but his forehand can break down under pressure. In the end, that will probably be the difference. Ferrer in 4.
Juan Martin Del Potro vs Andreas Seppi- Andreas Seppi never really gets much attention, but over the last 2-3 years, he has been remarkably consistent. Grass isn’t his best surface, but he adapts well to pretty much any situation. Del Potro has yet to drop a set, but there are major concerns over his knee. He took a rough fall, and it looked like he might have hyper-extended it. If he did not have the injury, this pick would be a no-brainer, but it’s not that way. I’m going out on a limb and taking Seppi in 5.
Lukas Kubot vs Adrian Mannarino- Yeah, those names are not misprints. Both guys are ranked outside the top 100, and have the opportunity of a lifetime to reach the quarterfinal of a grand slam. Kubot benefitted from the pullout of Steve Darcis, and then surprisingly took Benoit Pair to the woodshed. Mannarino only had to play 2 games before John Isner was forced to retire with injury, and then took advantage of a favorable draw to defeat the high flying Dustin Brown. Both guys must be very nervous heading into this one. Kubot has a good serve and volley game, but from the backcourt he suffers. Mannarino has a good serve of his own, and experienced a lot of serve and volley against Brown. He’s better off the ground, so that’s why I’m taking Mannarino in 5 sets.
Jerzy Janowicz vs Jurgen Melzer- Although these guys aren’t the highest of seeds, they are both very good players. Melzer has reached the quarters in slams before, and Janowicz game can be dominant on this surface. It’s a very interesting matchup, because while Jerzy has the huge serve, Melzer has had a lot of success against big servers in the past. I remember him beating Raonic in Memphis(fast indoor court) back in 2012, where he read the Canadian’s serve remarkably well. I’m a big fan of Janowicz, but I think he is in major danger in this match. It’s going to come down to how well Melzer serves, because if he serves well, things will tip in his favor. Still I’m taking Jerzy in 4 sets.
Fernando Verdasco vs Kenny De Schepper- Another surprising matchup that is due to the destruction of the the bottom half of the draw. Verdasco is was having a very poor year until he beat Raonic in Madrid. That match seemed to kickstart a resurgance for the former top 10 player, who is now playing some really good ball. De Schepper is a tricky customer, as he stands at 6’8 in stature. His big serve could prove troublesome for the Spaniard, but I think Verdasco’s huge advantage in experience will propel him to win this one in 4.
Andy Murray vs Mikhail Youzhny- The British crowd will be rocking for this one. Murray even tweeted that he wanted the fans to show up in flocks for this match. He knows Youzhny is the real deal on grass, and you can bet he’s ready for a battle. In one of my only correct picks of the tournament, Youzhny has made to the round of 16 in impressive fashion. He can hang with Murray off the ground, and he’ll come into this match with plenty of confidence. However, his serve has been very inconsistent in his matches, and that will prove costly in this match against one of the top returners in the world. I’ll be rooting for the Russian to make this one interesting, but Murray is playing way too well right now. Murray in 3.
Should be an epic day of tennis, what do you guys think is going to happen?!