Manic Monday at Wimbledon

Wimbledon Championships

 

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?!

 

 

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Day 6 In a Nutshell

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Hey guys, sorry I wasn’t able to get my preview and picks up, something came up last night and I was unable to get to a computer. With that said, Day 6 was a very busy day, with 12 third round matches being played. The quality of tennis really rises at this point of the tournament, so it was a joy to watch. Let’s take a look at some of the best matches from Saturday.

Ferrer Comes Back In Style- Before the match even started, many knew that this match would be a good one. Alexandr Dolgopolov is a lot of fun to watch, with his vary spins and paces. He’ll hit one extreme slice backhand, and then the next ball he’ll step up and crush it flat. On grass, that extreme slice stays extra low, and his flat shots get through the court a little quicker. The first two sets went to tiebreakers, where the players each took one. Ferrer served for the first two sets, but got abnormally tight and was broken each time. Dolgopolov raced through the third set winning in 6-2, as Ferrer’s ankle appeared slightly hampered. Ferrer came right back however, taking the 4th set 6-1. After being down 1-2 in the 5th, Ferrer rallied to win 5 straight games and take the epic match.

Djokovic Clinical- Jeremy Chardy was the first seed Djokovic has faced thus far, and he made him look like a chump. Through two sets, he had lost less than a handful of points on serve. He took the mtach 6-3 6-2 6-2, and made an incredible 3 unforced errors. The stats at Wimbledon are a little more generous than other tournaments, but that stat is still unreal. He will have his first real test in the round of 16 when he faces Tommy Haas.

Bernie Gets a Big Win- I’ve been very critical of Bernard Tomic in the past, but I was actually impressed by his performance today. Richard Gasquet is a very capable player on grass, but Tomic took out the #9 seed in 4 tight sets. The final scoreline was 7-6(9) 5-7 7-5 7-6(7), but Gasquet actaully won 13 more points than Tomic. That just shows how much better Bernie played he big points. He will play Tomas Berdych next, who got through a tough 4 setter against Kevin Anderson.

Seppi Flying Under the Radar- As I’ve watched the ESPN coverage all week, I’m not sure if they talked about Andreas Seppi once. He came back from down 2 sets to 1 today, in an impressive effort over the young Kei Nishikori. Final Scoreline was 3-6 6-3 6-7(4) 6-1 6-4. He gets Juan Martin Del Potro in the 4th round.

My Picks… since I wasn’t able to make picks for Saturday’s matches, I guess I was 0 for 8.

Day 4 Preview

James Blake

 

After the major carnage on day 3, let’s hope day 4 at Wimbledon can restore some order. The seeds in the top half have fared much better than those of the bottom half. There are many good matches on the schedule for tomorrow, so lets take a look.

Tomas Berdych vs Daniel Brands- After taking out a tricky first round opponent in Martin Klizan, things don’t get any easier for Tomas Berdych. The Birdman takes on the big serving Daniel Brands, whose game fits the grass well. Berdych has never played Name Brands, but he’ll be aware of his opponents talent. Look for a few tiebreaks in this one. I’m taking Berdych in 4.

James Blake vs Bernard Tomic- Theses two players are at the opposite ends of their career. Blake has never played very well at Wimbledon, but he’s got an opportunity to make the third round for the first time in 5 years. Bernie Tomic apparently can’t play that well unless his dad is in the stands, and he won’t be their due to his ban from the ATP for headbutting Bernard’s hitting partner. Tomic has the talent, but doesn’t seem to have the passion to be a top player yet. I’m taking Blake in 5.

Denis Kudla vs Ivan Dodig- Most people aren’t talking about this match, but I love Kudla. He also has a great opportunity, after Dodig took out Phillip Kohlshreiber in the first round. Dodig is very up and down. He beat Nadal in 2011, but I’ve also seen him play some horrible matches. I’m thinking Kudla continues his run and wins in 5 grueling sets.

Novak Djokovic vs Bobby Reynolds- Djokovic’s mouth must have a smile on his face after all the top seeds going down early. However, he knows that he has to make sure he doesn’t catch the upset bug. He shouldn’t have a problem with Bobby Reynolds. The American is a journeyman with not too many weapons, so Novak should win 3 routine sets.

Juan Martin Del Potro vs Jesse Levine- Delpo in 3.

David Ferrer vs Roberto Bautista Agut- Ferrer in 3.

Richard Gasquet vs Go Soeda- Gasquet in 3.

Grigor Dimitrov vs Grega Zemlja- Dimitrov in 3. (I’m pulling for Grigor bigtime now that Fed is out)

Tommy Haas vs Jimmy Wang- Haas in 3.

Kei Nishikori vs Leonardo Mayer- Nishikori in 3.

Santiago Giraldo vs Alexandr Dolgopolov- Dolgopolov in 4.

Milos Raonic Igor Sijsling- Raonic in 4.

Michael Llodra vs Andreas Seppi- Llodra in 4.

Jeremy Chardy vs Jan-Lennard Struff- Chardy in 4.

Feliciano Lopez vs Paul-Henri Mathieu- Lopez in 4.

Kevin Anderson vs Michal Przysiezny- Anderson in 3.

Who do you guys have on upset alert?

Day 2 Recap

Nole

 

Wimbledon Day 2 had it’s fair share of story lines. Although there were no huge upsets like day 1, there were way more 5 set matches. The World Number 1 was in action, and the American Men had a very up and down day.

Djokovic Sharp In Opener- I predicted that Florian Mayer would play 2 tight sets against Novak Djokovic, and that was a pretty good pick. He was close for about a set and a half, as Novak won in straight sets 6-3 7-5 6-4. Mayer played well, mixing it up between topspin, flat, and slice shots. Djokovic was way too good though, and he never dropped serve. His next two rounds will probably be easier than this match.

The Americans: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly- There were 9 American men in action Tuesday, and many of them struggled. We’ll start with the good. Denis Kudla continued his torrent run with a 5 set win over another qualifier James Duckworth, 6-1 in the fifth. Kudla will play Ivan Dodig next, and that’s a really good opportunity for the young Virginian to make the third round of a grand slam for the first time in his career. Another positive came on the other end of the spectrum, as 32 year old James Blake won his first match Wimbledon in 3 years. He beat Thiemo De Bakker in straight sets.

Now the bad. Ryan Harrison had a great opportunity against the 28 seed Jeremy Chardonnay Chardy, who has never had good results on grass. The first set went on serve until Harrison had a break point to serve for the set, but he missed an easy forehand. Chardy took the tiebreak, but Harrison rebounded to take the second set. He was the better player, but he didn’t take the numerous chances he had and eventually lost in 4 sets. Harrison falls to an atrocious 6-13 on the year. In an all-American match, Steve Johnson led by a break in the fifth set, but fell to the journeyman Bobby Reynolds.

The ugly. Sam Querrey had a tough first round opponent, Bernard Tomic. However, Tomic was not playing well, and quite frankly, it didn’t look like he cared. Querrey squandered 7 sets points in the first set, and went down 2 sets to none. After easily taking the next two, Querrey choked and lost fifth. Both players showed nearly no emotion, and Bernie seemed more fired up in his post match interview when he was defending his dad.

Young Guns Move On- Grigor Dimitrov, Milos Raonic, and Kei Nishikori all advanced to the second round with straight set wins. Each of these players are in David Ferrer’s Quarter of the draw, so look for at least one of them to make a run.

My Picks- Not quite as good today, as I went 22 for 32. Looking back, I have no idea why I picked Michael Russel to win.

Day 2 Preview and Picks

dkokowi

 

Day 1 was stunning, and as Day 2 approaches, there is still a buzz rocking the tennis world. Rafael Nadal is gone, and there are a lot of questions surrounding his future. However, Wimbledon will move on with Rafa as if he was never there. Day 2 features the world number 1, and his half of the draw.

Djokovic vs Mayer- The Djoker begins his Wimbledon campaign with a tricky first round match. Florian Mayer has reached the Quarters at Wimbledon twice, and his game fits the grass well. Even though Djokovic won here in 2011, grass is probably his worst surface. He lost to Federer in the semi’s last year, and looked pretty bad doing so. Still, Djokovic should reach the final and get by Mayer today. I think Mayer will play 2 tight sets, but Novak will win in straights.

Tomas Berdych vs Martin Klizan- The Birdman lost first round last year to Ernie Gulbis, but he has played very well on grass in the past, reaching the final at Wimbledon in 2010. Martin Klizan is good young lefty who just took a set off of Rafa in Paris, but he’s having a pretty poor year. It should be an entertaining match, and I’ll go with Berdych in 4 sets.

Sam Querrey vs Bernard Tomic- It was around this time last year that Querrery really started to play well and move up the rankings, after he lost a marathon 5 setter to Marin Cilic in the third round. Bernard Tomic has been in the news a lot lately, with his dad currently on trial for abusing Tomic’s hitting partner. Bernie can play very well on grass, but his mental game has been truly horrible outside of Australia the last two years. He has a lot of expectations, and I think he’ll play okay, but Querrey will win in 4 sets.

David Ferrer vs Martin Alund- Ferrer in 3.

Juan Martin Del Potro vs Albert Ramos- Del Potro in 3.

Tommy Haas vs Dimitry Tursanov- Haas in 3.

Richard Gasquet vs Marcel Granollers- Gasquet in 4.

Gilles Simon vs Feliciano Lopez- Simon in 4.

Ryan Harrison vs Jeremy Chardy- Harrison in 4.

Milos Raonic vs Carlos Berlocq- Raonic in 3.

Ivan Dodig vs Phillip Kohlschreiber- Kohlshreiber in 3.

Grigor Dimitrov vs Simone Bolleli- Dimitrov in 3.

Denis Istomin vs Andreas Seppi- Seppi in 4.

Bobby Reynolds vs Steve Johnson- Johnson in 4.

James Duckworth vs Denis Kudla- Kudla in 4.

Ricardis Berankis vs Paul Henri Mathieu- Mathieu in 5.

Leonardo Mayer vs Aljaz Bedene- Bedene in 4.

Horacio Zeballos vs Santiago Giraldo- Giraldo in 3.

Guido Pella vs Jesse Levine- Levine in 3.

Daniel Brands vs Daniel Gimeno Traver- Brands in 4.

Blaz Kavcic vs Jan Lennard Struff- Struff in 4.

Alex Kuznetsov vs Igor Sijsling- Sijsling in 4.

Wayne Odesnik vs Jimmy Wang- Odesnik in 3.

Grega Zemlja vs Michael Russel- Russel in 3.

Kevin Anderson vs Olivier Rochus- Anderson in 3.

Michael Llodra vs Jarko Niemenen- Llodra in 4.

Kei Nishikori vs Matt Ebden- Nishikori in 4.

Andreas Haider-Maurer vs Go Soeda- Soeda in 5.

James Blake vs Thiemo De Bakker- De Bakker in 4.

Gastao Elias vs Alexandr Dolgopolov- Dolgopolov in 3.

Phillip Petzschner vs Michal Przynsiezny- Petzschner in 3.

Roberto Bautista-Agut vs Teymuraz Gabashvilli- Baustista-Agut in 4.

Here we go!