Wimbledon 2014 Week 2 Men’s Preview, Predictions
Steen Kirby, Tennis East Coast
Tastes Equally Delicious in Newport
Week 1 is (almost) in the books at Wimbledon, and here is a look at the men’s round of 16 matchups, featuring some traditional top players and a few dark horses who have already exceeded expectations through their first three matches.
Novak Djokovic vs. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
Djokovic has looked strong this week with wins over Andrey Golubev in straights, Radek Stepanek in 4 and Gilles Simon in straights. Though he took a nasty fall against Simon, he should be fine against Tsonga, who has been pushed to five sets twice this week, in round 1 against Jurgen Melzer and round 2 against Sam Querrey (a match he won 14-12 in the fifth that stretched over a couple of days). In round 3, he had an easier time against Jimmy Wang winning in straights, but Djokovic just dismantled him at the French in Paris and has a 2-0 overall grass h2h.
Thus, I don’t see this being that much of a match.
Djokovic in 3 or 4 should be the result.
Jeremy Chardy vs. Marin Cilic
Chardy has reached the second week of a slam for the third time in his career, but he will be a big underdog against Cilic, who is playing well again. To some extent, Cilic is now playing like he did earlier in the season, seeming like a man on a mission.
Chardy has wins over Dan Cox in 4, Marinko Matosevic in an exciting 5 sets, and Sergiy Stakhovsky in 4.
Cilic has wins over Paul-Henri Mathieu and Andreas Haider-Maurer in 4, before that set 3 win over Tomas Berdych in an upset that finished in the dark.
Chardy could trouble Cilic for a bit, but with his new-found mental fortitude, the Croat should advance in 3 or 4 sets.
Andy Murray vs. Kevin Anderson
Murray has 17 straight wins at the Wimbledon venue (2012 Olympic gold medalist and 2013 Wimbledon champion), and he looks to extend his winning streak to 18 against the big South African Kevin Anderson.
Anderson is three out of three in reaching the round of 16 in grand slams this year, even while having inconsistent results at smaller tournaments. The h2h is 1-1 with both meetings taking place on hard court and Murray’s wins this week were over David Goffin, Blaz Rola, and Roberto Bautista Agut, all without dropping a set.
Anderson beat Aljaz Bedene in straights, Edouard Roger-Vasselin in 4 and the combustible Fabio Fognini in 5.
Murray should win this in 3 or 4 close sets.
Grigor Dimitrov vs. Leo Mayer
Dimitrov is on a 7 match winning streak, which is also 7 straight on grass, and he survived a five set battle with Alex Dolgopolov in round 3 last, along with previous 3 set wins over Ryan Harrison and Luke Saville in rounds 1 and 2.
Mayer, who is normally a clay specialist, has shockingly reached the second week of a slam for the first time in his career. He scored a five set win over Andreas Seppi in round 1, a 4 set win over Marcos Baghdatis in round 2, and a straight sets win over Andrey Kuznetsov, who knocked David Ferrer out of the tournament with a great performance in round 2.
Mayer really doesn’t have the weapons or the game to trouble Mayer, and I like Dimitrov to advance easily in 3 sets.
Stan Wawrinka/Denis Istomin vs. Feliciano Lopez/John Isner
Rain postponed some of the matches on Saturday at Wimbledon, and with no play on Middle Sunday, Wawrinka/Istomin and Lopez/Isner must complete their third round matches tomorrow, then play their fourth round meeting on Tuesday.
I like Wawrinka to get past Istomin, and Isner to defeat Lopez, so Wawrinka/Isner is the expected Tuesday matchup.
Wawrinka has wins over Joao Sousa in 3 and Rendy Lu in 4 thus far. Istomin beat Dmitry Tursunov in 4 and Julian Reister in 3. Lopez is on a massive hot streak and extended it with wins over Yuichi Sugita in 3 tiebreaks and Ante Pavic in 3.
Istomin did beat Wawrinka at Wimbledon in 2010, but the Swiss looks better than he did at Roland Garros, and then Lopez-Isner should be a great match. I think John just edges that one out. I’m going with my prediction at the beginning of the week, which is Isner in the quarters, so I like him to beat both opponents and reach that stage.
Roger Federer vs. Tommy Robredo
Fed has looked textbook against Paolo Lorenzi, Gilles Muller and Santiago Giraldo, surrendering just 23 games total, while Robredo beat Lukas Lacko in 4, Adrian Mannarino in straights and Jerzy Janowicz in 5. He avoiding collapsing from 2 sets to love up against the Pole. This is already Robredo’s best ever result at Wimbledon, at an advanced stage in his career no less, and Federer should win this comfortably in 3 sets.
Milos Raonic vs. Simone Bolelli/Kei Nishikori
Milos Raonic has suddenly played well on grass, not dropping a set to Matt Ebden, Jack Sock and Lukasz Kubot, while Nishikori rolled past Denis Kudla and Kenny De Schepper before finding himself in a war with the qualifier Simone Bolelli, a former top 40 Italian who has done well on the challenger circuit this year and is now back performing well in the slams.
Bolelli pushed the Japanese number 1 to five sets before the match was suspended due to darkness on Saturday with the score 6-3 3-6 6-4 6-7 3-3. It really is a toss-up who will win the match, but one would have to think Nishikori, being the better player, has an edge to get through.
Bolelli did defeat Tatsuma Ito in 4 and then upset Philipp Kohlschreiber in 5 sets to reach the third round in a poor showing from the German.
The real question to me is whether Nishikori will be fresh enough on Tuesday to deal with Raonic, who has found the formula on grass for the moment. It should be a close match, but I originally favored Nishikori and I’m sticking with that: Nishikori to dispatch both Bolelli and Raonic and reach the final 8.
Rafael Nadal vs. Nick Kyrgios
Nadal did as I predicted, surviving the first week, but dropping a set in all 3 of his contests, as he dropped the first set against Martin Klizan, Lukas Rosol and Mikhail Kukushkin. Meanwhile, my dark horse pick Nick Kyrgios did make the second week, in amazing fashion no less: he beat Stephane Robert in 4 sets, then saved an incredible 9 match points, tying a grand slam record first set in 1982, against Richard Gasquet to prevail 10-8 in the fifth set in round 2. All those match points were saved in the span of a few games in set 5 (including a hold from 0-40 down, and a match point saved by challenge), and on top of that, he came back from 2 sets down. The scoreline 3-6 6-7(4) 6-4 7-5 10-8 shows you how close the contest was, a heartbreak for Gasquet who has lost 6 matches from the position of 2 sets to love ahead in his professional career.
Kyrgios followed that up by beating fellow rising young gun Jiri Vesely in 4 sets.
This is a huge opportunity and a big stage for Kyrgios, who seems to up his game under pressure and against top opponents. Now that he should be fresh, with this match not taking place until Tuesday, he should be ready for a renewed push.
But Rafa is Rafa, and I like the Spaniard in 4 or 5 because again, I see him finding a way to win, behind his grit and experience, even while his movement on grass isn’t as good as it was and his consistency with groundstrokes sometimes escape him.
Kyrgios’ rising is great for the game and he will bring more fans to the sport, but I don’t think he’s quite up to grand slam quarterfinal level yet. It’s a match worth watching, regardless.
Djokovic d. Cilic in 3
Murray d. Dimitrov in 5
Federer d. Isner in 3
Nishikori d. Nadal in 5
Djokovic has defeated Cilic every time they have played, including twice this year, and nothing suggests that he won’t do so again.
I said Murray-Dimitrov would be a battle going into the tournament and that appears to continue to be the case, but Murray should have the experience edge to prevail.
Fed looks strong and shouldn’t have trouble reaching the semis.
Though Nishikori struggled against Bolelli, I’m going to stick with my guns and go with him over Rafa in the quarters.
Murray d. Djokovic in 5
Federer d. Nishikori in 4
Again, sticking with my original picks: Murray to survive Novak on grass, Fed to prevail over Kei.
Murray d. Federer in 4
Going with the original prediction since both players haven’t had any trouble in their first three matches and are still alive and healthy. There will be a lot at stake should they meet in the final.