Renowned Names of Roehampton

Tommy Paul in action at Roehampton. Photo courtesy of Ben Rothenberg.

Tommy Paul in action at Roehampton. Photo courtesy of Ben Rothenberg.

A week before the most prestigious tennis tournament in the world is played, 128 players gather for a chance to qualify into Wimbledon. Unlike each of other three major tournaments, Wimbledon’s qualifying matches do not take place on site at the All England Club. In an effort to the protect the grass courts before main draw play begins, all qualifying rounds(including doubles!) are played at a the cozy if not cramped tennis club in Roehampton.

For passionate nerds and diehards, Roehampton is often considered the pinnacle of tennis viewing: there is a fantastic combination of finesse, grinding, choking, and overall drama. Players compete at vastly different stages of their careers; from young guns(#NextGen?) to journeymen, every year there a more than a few great stories that go unnoticed. Before final round qualifying begins Thursday, let’s dig into a few of the more compelling players left in the field. To provide some perspective, we’ll attempt to paint a picture of each player’s style of play, career highlights and realistic potential going forward.

In effect, this list will have no real order, but the best stories will told last.

Franko Skugor(CRO) 

Have your heard of him? This writer had seen Skugor’s name in draws, but never actually watched him hit a ball. After some digging, the Croatian’s story is pretty remarkable. At 28, his two straight set wins have put him into Final Round Qualifying for the first time in his career.(never played main draw) He had played 11 times prior in slam qualifying, with an overall record of 4-11. He has won one challenger title in his career, all the way back in 2010. In recent years he has found some success in doubles, with a career high ranking of 92. Skugor began playing professionally in 2005, and has earned just under $400,000 in prize money in his career.

Based on some youtube searching, it appears that Skugor is a decent player on fast surfaces. His service motion is strange but somewhat effective. His strokes are pretty flat which should help on the grass. His movement does not seem to be…elite.

Realistically, this is the probably the best chance he will ever get to play in major singles draw. He will have his hands full with Gerald Melzer, who possesses a fair amount of talent. Can you imagine waiting 10 years to realize a dream, and then having one match to potentially decide your fate? #Pressure

 

Bjorn Fratangelo(USA)

On the other side of the spectrum, Bjorn Fratangelo could possibly be playing his final year of slam qualifying. After a strong 2015, the 22 year old American has impressed this season, notably taking World #1 Novak Djokovic to three sets in Indian Wells. After earning a Wildcard into the French Open, Fratangelo made good on it and took out Sam Querrey in straight sets. That result, however, was not all too surprising. Clay is Fratangelo’s favorite surface, and he would definitely tell you that Grass is his worst. Typically players like Fratagelo who play with a lot of spin tend to struggle on grass. He picked up a good win over Ryan Harrison(solid on grass) in the first round, and rolled in sets 2 and 3 over Michon.

Here’s a recent interview with Fratangelo in Surbiton: 

Fratangelo recently cracked the top 100 for the first time, and while he currently sits just outside, an FRQ win could serve as a gateway to automatic main draw entries for some time to come. With his new coach Brad Stine, Fratangelo is trending upward quickly, and could be a full time Tour-Level player as soon as this year.

Luke Saville(AUS)

Saville is as much a grass court specialist as there is in the draw. A former Junior no. 1, the Australian won the Wimbledon Junior title in 2011 and was the runner up in 2012. After turning pro, however, Saville has struggled mightily. Some of the small weaknesses in his game have become large holes. His forehand is at times mechanical, and his movement is laborious on other surfaces. But the second he steps back on a grass court, he is dangerous. I still haven’t quite figured out why, but he always seems to look way more confident on the green stuff. He has a good slice, and overall plays very smart on grass. His only main draw win came at Wimbledon in 2014, where he beat now a top 10 player, Dominic Thiem.

He has not lost a match in his career at Wimbledon quallies, and he’ll need to continue that trend if he wants to springboard his career back to where many thought it belonged-the top 100. I would consider him the favorite over Bachinger in FRQ.

Edward Corrie(GBR)

British players in Wimbledon qualifying are always great to watch, and the fans in Roehampton rally behind them strongly. Ed Corrie, 28, is an interesting story; he’s never cracked the top 200. As a WC, Corrie has picked up quality wins over Tommy Paul and Michael Berrer. Corrie was a two time All-American at Texas, and has continued to grind it out on the lower circuits for a few years now. It’s always cool to see the college guys having success on the tour. He has a pretty good serve and forehand, but tends to counterpunch.

Fun fact: he was the guy Darian King was playing before his infamous default in Charlottesville: 

Corrie will have the opportunity of his tennis career in FRQ, as he has never played in a slam main draw. His draw is not bad at all, with Olivetti having just played a marathon, 8-6 in the third match on Wednesday.

Mohamed Safwat(EGY)

These last two names are the most interesting in Roehampton. Safwat pulled off a shocking upset over the talented Georgian Basilashvili in the second round. The Egyptian #1 had never even won a match in slam quallies until this week, no less the main draw. Safwat has played the majority of his tennis on clay courts, and before this week he hadn’t played *ONE* match on grass. Tamer El-Sawy was the last Egyptian player in a grand slam at the 1996 US Open.“It’s such a passion to be participating in such a big tournament. And Wimbledon in Egypt is very big, so that’s the ultimate,” Safwat said after the match.

Here’s a fairly epic (and loud) video of Safwat playing Gulbis in Davis Cup: 
Once again, a win in FRQ would likely change Safwat’s career. The amount of nerves these guys are facing is pretty remarkable, and that’s exactly why it’s great to watch.

Marcus Willis(GBR)

On both a personal and public level, this is by far the best story of Roehampton. Hopefully some of my readers have heard of Willis, who I will now refer to as Cartman for the rest of this piece. Cartman, a nickname from the famous “South Park” character, came about during the U.S. Challenger swing in 2014, when Willis had a fair amount of success, and fired back at the haters on twitter who were commenting on his weight. Cartman is pretty much a complete legend, and one of the funniest guys on the challenger circuit. His ability to make fun of himself is unmatched.

Here’s a taste.

Cartman is an incredible player to watch. No really, he is. His feel around he court is truly incredible. He plays the most deft half volleys, and will slice the opponent to oblivion when he’s on. He’s the definition of crafty, and his serve is left serve is very effective. Obviously movement is not the strongest part of his game, but he anticipates really well and can be extremely frustrating to play against.

Many will forget that Cartman actually started a crowd funding campaign in 2014 labeled, “Willis for Wimbledon”. Willis wrote that playing in the main draw of Wimbledon has always been his childhood dream. Well, he’s one match away. #AllezCartman

Advertisements

A Conversation With Stefan Kozlov

Kozlov and good friend Noah Rubin pose with the American flag after the Wimbledon junior final. (PHOTO CREDIT: Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

Kozlov and good friend Noah Rubin pose with the American flag after the Wimbledon junior final. (PHOTO CREDIT: Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

It’s no secret, American tennis(especially on the men’s side) has struggled mightily over the last ten years. So, naturally, everybody is looking for the next big American star. A name that has been talked about heavily is Stefan Kozlov, a 16 year old from Pembroke Pines, Florida. The American lost a tight three setter to big serving Sam Groth 6-3 6-7(5) 4-6 in the first round of qualifying at the Citi Open.

Born in Macedonia, Kozlov lived overseas until the age of one, when his family made the move to the United States. His game is a change of pace for American tennis fans. He doesn’t possess an enormously powerful serve, and although his forehand is a very good shot, but he is very solid in all aspects of the game. His biggest strength may well be his two handed backhand, which he can take very early. Kozlov recently reached the final of the Wimbledon Junior champaionship, losing out to good friend Noah Rubin in three sets. The Tennis Nerds(Joey Hanf) had a chance to sit down and talk with Stefan about a wide range of tennis subjects.

The Tennis Nerds: So you lost a tough three setter to Groth on Saturday, and you also lost a close three setter to Michael Pryzniezny last year in Newport. How much different is the level of play on the ATP tour?

Stefan Kozlov: I think it’s more about maintaining a high level. Whenever I get an opportunity to play in these tournaments my level rises so much. I think that I’m there with these guys to be honest. I should have beat Groth, and I think I maybe even should have qualified. Once you put yourself in that spot, you never know what can happen. My goal is to train hard and put myself in more positions like that

The Tennis Nerds: It seems like you’ve started to get a little more emotional on the court recently. Are you making a conscious effort to fire yourself up?

Kozlov: Recently I’ve been really focused, trying to win more matches. At this Wimbledon I put an emphasis on playing well and going deep in the tournament. I’ve gotta keep moving forward because this is my last year of Junior slams. Every match gets more and more important. I’ve always been emotional, it just depends what match I’m playing. Ever since I was a little kid I’ve been an emotional guy. I feel like especially at tournaments like here it helps me a lot, I can get the crowd involved.

The Tennis Nerds: You, Francis(Tiafoe), and Michael(Mmoh) have been playing together for a very long time now. What’s it like to compete alongside two friends as you try to make your mark on the ATP World Tour? How much do you guys push each other.

Kozlov: I think it’s great that it happened. Every one of us wants to do better than the other. It’s really just a natural habit; we want to do better than each other. It’s been a lot of fun.

The Tennis Nerds: Last year you got the quarters of Wimbledon(Juniors) and this year you reached the final. How much do you like the grass?

Kozlov: I’m really comfortable on grass. I think it’s one of my best surfaces. Actually, I think it is my best surface. I’ve always felt comfortable on it. There’s not too many weeks on grass for me, only two, so hopefully I’ll be able to play more(grass court tournaments).

The Tennis Nerds: You and Jared(Donaldson) recieved at wild card to play doubles in the main draw, and you drew the Bryan Brothers. How excited are you about that?

Kozlov: The first day I found out I was really excited. Now it’s kinda sunk it a little bit, and it’s still pretty surreal. I’m just excited to play. I’m not really happy(about drawing the Bryans) because I know it’s going to be a tough match, but I honestly think we can win. So that’s how confident I am in myself and Jared. If we play well, you knew never know.

The Tennis Nerds: I assume with this being your last in junior slams that you won’t be going to college?

Kozlov: No, I’ve already turned pro.

The Tennis Nerds: With your ranking in the 800’s…..

Kozlov: I haven’t really played too many pro events yet, so I think I’m much higher than my ranking shows.

The Tennis Nerds: Yeah you’re still playing some juniors. What’s your plan for the future, what events are you going to be playing?

Kozlov: I’m going to play the US Open(Juniors), Kalamazoo–hopefully I’ll do well in Kalamazoo so I can get a Wild Card into the Open. But yeah I’m trying to play more ATP events, hopefully get into some qualifying draws, and then some challengers and futures.

The Tennis Nerds: The state of American men’s tennis has been discussed a lot obviously, and everybody wants to know who is next. How much pressure do you feel being perhaps the most talked about name for the future?

Kozlov: I feel zero pressure. We don’t have that many top Americans, but I don’t compare myself to them. I compare myself to the best in the world. I think the fact that we don’t have a top American motivates everyone, but I don’t really feel pressure because of it you know what I mean?

The Tennis Nerds: Yeah I understand what you’re saying.

Kozlov: It’s kinda weird, I just try to focus on what I need to do to become number one in the world. I don’t really look at the top 100 to see how many guys we(United States) have there. I know we’re going to get better and better, and we’ll have more guys there soon.

The Tennis Nerds: What part of your game have you worked on the most over the last six months? It looks like you’re fitness is improving.

Kozlov: Yeah, me and my dad have tried to get after that. Moving forward, tennis is a very physical sport, and with my height and size matches are going to be really physical. So I’ve definitely worked on my fitness, but others things as well.

The Tennis Nerds: About that, it seems like you’ve grown a little bit. How tall are you?

Kozlov: 6 feet

The Tennis Nerds: Are you still growing?

Kozlov: Yeah I think I’m definitely still growing. I’m trying to grow everyday, you know.{laughing}My dad is helping me out, giving me a lot of vitamins, and we’ve been focusing on stretching.

The Tennis Nerds: The typical American game these days usually involves a big serve and a big forehand. You play much more of an all court game. How did that come about?

Kozlov: You’re going to have to ask my dad that{laughing}. I had no control over that to be honest. Whatever my dad taught me, I listened. So yeah, you’ll have to ask him.

The Tennis Nerds: About your dad, I know he coached you for most of your life. How much a balance do you have right now between your dad and the USTA?

Kozlov: I’ve been with Gully(Tom Gullickson–USTA) the last two weeks. My full time coach is Nicolas Todero, but his wife is having a kid so he hasn’t been traveling. I would say it’s a 70/30 ratio. 70 percent with the USTA, and 30 percent with my dad. I think me and my dad have a really good connection, so everything is working well so far.

The Tennis Nerds: Thanks Stefan.

Kozlov: My pleasure.

 

The Final 8

cancankubot

My picks were pretty good for the Round of 16, as I only picked one match wrong. Lucasz Kubot beat Adrian Mannarino in a tough 5 setter, and his signature celebration is in the picture above. Yes, he is doing the Can-Can. As we look ahead to the quarterfinal, it’s time to realize that we only have a few more days of this great tournament left. Let’s preview the last 8.

Novak Djokovic vs Tomas Berdych- It won’t be the first time these two have played. To say that these players know each others games is an understatement. Djokovic owns the head to head record 13 to 2. However, one of those two wins for Berdych came the last time these two played. After being up a set and 5-2 in Rome, Djokovic crumbled and eventually fell to the Birdman. The other match Berdych won was at Wimbledon in 2010, the year he made the final. Djokovic has looked unreal this fortnight, making little to no unforced errors. The first time he looked human was when Tommy Haas broke him as served for the match. Berdych has been no slouch this year either, taking out two talented players in Kevin Anderson and Bernard Tomic in 4 sets. The problem for Berdych is that Djokovic loves the pace Tomas gives him. Djokovic is a great counter-puncher, and Berdych’s big strokes don’t really bother the Djoker. Berdych can win the match, but a lot of things have to go right. Ultimately, it will come down to his forehand. Almost every match he plays is on his racket, and it will come down to whether he can hit enough winners off of the forehand side. I see Berdych playing sick for a set or 2 but not enough to win the match. Djoker in 4.

David Ferrer vs Juan Martin Del Potro- Delpo has surprised me throughout this tournament. The ball stays low, yet he has been willing to get down and still spank the ball. He hasn’t dropped a set, while Ferrer has dropped at least 1 set in each of his matches. Still, this is a bad matchup for Delpo. Ferrer owns the big hitters, with a record of 12-5 against Delpo and Berdych combined. Ferrer gives you nothing, absolutely nothing, and in the end Delpo’s knee might suffer because of that reason. He will be able to play 100% for 3, maybe 4 sets, but not 5. I’m taking Ferrer in 5 sets, but rooting for Delpo.

Jerzy Janowicz vs Lucasz Kubot- Most people are going to write Jerzy into the Semi’s, but don’t do it too fast. Although nearly everything points to Janowicz winning this match, Can-Can Kubot has a few things in his game that bother Jerzy boy. First, Kubot serves and volleys. This is a good play against Jerzy because his worst shot might be his passing shots. He hits just about the flattest ball in the top 100, and so that makes passing shots a little tougher. Kubot also goes for it on his return, which is pretty much the best strategy against the huge serve of Janowicz. With all that in mind, I’m still taking and rooting for Jerzy boy Janowicz in 4 tight sets.

Andy Murray vs Fernando Verdasco- Yes, Fernando has been playing great these past few weeks. Yes, he’s beaten Murray before. Yes, he has a big forehand. But, no, he’s not winning this match. Murray is way too good on grass, and he looks more focused than I’ve ever seen him. It was good run for Tabasco, but Murray is taking this one in straight sets.

Thoughts?

Wimbledon – Manic Monday Recap

Fernando

 

It’s good to  be back! Chris Hayes has returned from his job with the USTA to please all our viewers again. I have been working a futures event here in Rochester and will get to that later in the week, probably after Wimbledon. I will share my experiences as press aide and player liasion and watching some of the future stars of men’s tennis. But let’s get back to Wimbledon!

If you told me that the Polish duo of Jerzy Janowicz and Lukasz Kubot would be the quarterfinal matchup instead of Nadal and Federer, I might have punched you in the face. Alas, here we are and that is exactly what we have. Lukasz Kubot, Wimbledon quarterfinalist. Just doesn’t sound right coming out of my mouth. Joey and I have seen the talent in Janowicz and this is a real opportunity for him. Jerzy has actually had some solid wins over Almagro and Melzer while Kubot had to through Adrian Mannarino to get through the quarter. ADRIAN MANNARINO. Roger and Rafa really left a gapping hole in this draw. Jerzy defeated Melzer in an epic 5 set marathon, and Kubot also defeated Mannarino in 5 sets.

The top half of the draw is much more straight forward. Novak Djokovic looked very strong again against Tommy Haas, defeating him in straight sets. Nole will play Berdych in the quarters. Berdych had to work hard to get by Australian youngster Bernie Tomic. That was a very entertaining match with 2 big servers and could not have been much closer. Berdych got by in 4 sets. David Ferrer looked like he was in trouble again against Ivan Dodig after dropping the first set again, but it turned out the second set tiebreaker was all he needed as he cruised in the third and fourth sets. I am still most impressed with Del Potro. He defeated a crafty Italian in Seppi in straight sets and has yet to drop a set in this Wimbledon. Ferrer should be very wary of the big Argentinian in the quarters.

As for the British man Andy Murray, he did not look spectacular against Russian veteran Mikhail Youzhny yesterday. Murray was lucky to get through that in straight sets. Youzhny served for the second set up 5 – 3 and was up 4 – 2 in the second set tiebreaker. After he came back from that, Youzhny went into his usual disposable self and got crushed in the third. Murray’s quarterfinal encounter is an intriging match with Fernando Verdasco who defeated Kenny De Schepper in the fourth round.

Joey will preview all of these quarterfinal matches later today!

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?!

 

 

Day 6 In a Nutshell

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

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 5: Ordinary at Best

andyyyy

 

It was one of the more anti-climactic days thus far at Wimbledon, with not too many exciting matches or upsets. But at The Tennis Nerds, we thrive on the so-called “boring” days of tennis!

Murray Strong to Quite Strong- In his first real test thus far, Andy Murray passed with flying colors. His opponent, Tommy Robredo, is playing some of the best tennis of his life at 31, and he was on top form coming into the match. He had no answer for Murray however, who dominated in a straight sets victory. The final scoreline was 6-2 6-4 7-5, but the match was never really in doubt. Murray returned exceptionally well, winning 64% of Robredo’s second serve points. The pressure seemed to have no effect on him, but we’ll see if that changes as the tournament goes on.

Jerzy Looking to Make a Deep Run- Jerzy Janowicz pulled off a minor upset over Nico Almagro Friday, but many people including myself thought that Jerzy would win this match. The most surprising thing was how easily he won it. Jerzy usually has some lapses in concentration, but today he was rock solid mentally. He won in straight sets 7-6(6) 6-3 6-4. Pretty impressive for him to break the spaniards serve that many times, as Almagro is currently the tour leader in aces. Janowicz huge serve serves him very on the grass, and his flat groundstrokes react well to the surface. He has a real shot to make the semi’s of a slam at only 22 years of age.

Haas Quietly Taking Care of Business- Tommy Haas is back inside the top 15 in the world, and he has quietly taken care of business thus far. He took out Jimmy Wang in his postponed second round match by a score of 6-3 6-2 7-5. He’s made the semi’s here before, and grass may be his favorite surface. His awesome one-handed backhand excels on the surface because of how early he takes the ball. His strong serve and nice slice fare well also. Look for him to set a blockbuster quarter with Novak Djokovic.

My Picks- This Wacky Wimbledon has not treated my picks well. I successfully picked Jerzy over Nice, but whiffed on Dustin Brown. Overall, I was 3 for 4, but 4 matches were postponed due to rain.