Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, and Cilic All Ready to Roll at Wimbledon 2018
Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
Wimbledon has arrived and for fans of men’s tennis it’s a great time to tune in as most of the ATP’s best are on hand to compete. Here is your full preview, with predictions.
Roger Federer, 8 times a Wimbledon champion, should ease into the second week. Dusan Lajovic, Lukas Lacko and one of Leonardo Mayer/J.L. Struff/Mikhail Youzhny/Ivo Karlovic look set to be his first three opponents. On a good day they could trouble Federer but in best 5 Federer should advance into the second week.
I’ll back Borna Coric to make a run. The young Croat met Federer in a recent final (defeating him) and presuming he beats Daniil Medvedev I also have him getting past Guillermo Garcia-Lopez and Adrian Mannarino to reach the second week. Mannarino can be great on grass but Coric has the most upside.
Richard Gasquet and Sam Querrey highlight the third section. Gasquet will have to get past his talented countryman Gael Monfils in round 1, but presuming he does that (and beats Laslo Djere), he’ll draw Querrey, another solid grass court player, in the third round. Querrey has to beat Jordan Thomson and Sergiy Stakhovsky/Joao Sousa. While Querrey is a trendy pick I’ll back the veteran Gasquet to win this section.
The fourth section of the draw features a host of veterans. Kevin Anderson is perhaps the favorite against Norbert Gombos, J.P. Smith/Andreas Seppi, and either Gilles Muller or Philipp Kohlschreiber. Kohli has also had some success on grass but beating Evgeny Donskoy and a struggling but competitive Muller is a tough task. Overall Anderson should survive.
A finalist last year, Marin Cilic could win it all this year. Yoshihito Nisihoka, Guido Pella/Jason Kubler, and most likely MacKenzie McDonald in round 3 are not difficult opponents in the early going (McDonald should surprise and get past Ricardas Berankis and Nicolas Jarry/Filip Krajinovic). The challenge will come for Cilic in later rounds.
Milos Raonic played great in the warm up to Wimbledon and presuming he’s fit he should ease past Liam Broady, John Millman, and the Lucas Pouille/Denis Kudla winner in round 3. Kudla is in great form but Pouille should have enough to get past him. Raonic should win the section.
With Pablo Carreno Busta struggling, the section should open for John Isner. Yannick Maden, Steve Johnson/Ruben Bemelmans, and either Cam Norrie or Radu Albot/Carreno Busta should be his first three opponents. I have the Brit Norrie making a run but Isner coming out ahead in round 3.
Grigor Dimitrov is a solid grass court player and should get past Stan Wawrinka in round 1, Wawrinka is in terrible form. However I have Stefanos Tsitsipas, the rising young gun, winning this section. Tsitsipas opens with Gregoire Barrere, Jared Donaldson should follow, while Dimitrov should win his first 2 matches before falling to Tsitsipas in round 3.
Alexander Zverev is struggling, and although he’ll probably beat James Duckworth, Lorenzi Sonego/Taylor Fritz, and most likely recent grass court titlist Damir Dzumhur to reach the fourth round. Dzumhur faces Max Marterer, and Ernests Gulbis/Jay Clarke to reach round 3.
Nick Kyrgios is in good form and always a threat on grass, I’ll back him to serve past Denis Istomin, Marius Copil, and Kei Nishikori. Nishikori needs to beat Bernard Tomic in round 2 in an interesting match. Nishikori could win the section but on this surface Kyrgios should be favored.
Novak Djokovic started slow coming back from injury earlier this season. That said, he’s rounding into form now just in time for Wimbledon and he should defeat Tennys Sandgren, Guido Andreozzi/Horacio Zeballos, and Kyle Edmund (or Yuichi Sugita) to reach the second week.
Dominic Thiem has never been a factor on grass, but he has a decent section if he can get past David Ferrer or Karen Khachanov in round 2 (Marcos Baghdatis is up in round 1). Fernando Verdasco is in the same section and will face a tough test against Frances Tiafoe before running into Julien Benneteau or Marton Fucsovics. Thiem should win the section but not get further.
Rafael Nadal hasn’t gone very far at Wimbledon in quite some time, but perhaps this will be the year he’s a factor on grass again. Rafa opens with Dudi Sela, Mikhail Kukushkin/Vasek Pospisil will be up in round 2, with rising star Alex De Minaur likely to feature in round 3. De Minaur is in great form on grass and should defeat Marco Cecchinato, and Pierre-Hugues Herbert/Mischa Zverev before getting his crack at stunning Nadal. I’ll back Rafa but not with confidence.
The section above Rafa is rather weak, Fabio Fognini likely reaches round 3 with wins over Taro Daniel and Pablo Cuevas/Alexandr Dolgopolov. I have Jiri Vesely winning the section over Florian Mayer and Diego Schwartzman, then past Fognini. Schwartzman has never won a match at Wimbledon and Vesely is good enough on grass to make it through.
David Goffin and Jack Sock are the seeds in the next section, but Sock is in terrible form and Goffin isn’t doing so great either. I’ll back the in-form Matt Ebden to surprise Goffin in round 1, then get past Albert Ramos and Nikoloz Basilashvili to claim his best ever result in a major. Basilashvili takes on Gilles Simon, then Sock or Matteo Berrettini and could also win the section.
With Andy Murray out, a lucky loser will meet with Benoit Paire in round 1, Jeremy Chardy or Denis Shapovalov are in decent form and should follow. Chardy should take advantage of the section before falling to big hitter Juan Martin Del Potro though. JMDP faces Peter Gojowczyk, and Feliciano Lopez, a solid grass court player, in round 2.
Round of 16
Federer d. Coric
Gasquet d. Anderson
Cilic d. Raonic
Tsitsipas d. Isner
Djokovic d. Thiem
Kyrgios d. A. Zverev
Del Potro d. Ebden
Nadal d. Vesely
The bottom half is far weaker than the top. Cilic vs. Raonic should be a great match, while I have Tsitsipas surprising into the quarters and Kyrgios doing the same. Federer should get revenge in best of 5 against Coric.
Federer d. Gasquet
Cilic d. Tsitsipas
Djokovic d. Kyrgios
Del Potro d. Nadal
These 4 look like four of the top five contenders in the draw. Djokovic is back in form enough to do damage while Del Potro on grass should be better than Rafa.
Federer d. Cilic
Djokovic d. Del Potro
Cilic and Del Potro will have chances, but Djokovic and Federer should be the favorites to reach the final. At this time I’ll back Federer to win again, until proven wrong he’s a smart choice.
Federer d. Djokovic