2012 Wimbledon Week 2 Men’s Preview
By Steen Kirby, TennisEastCoast.com
Week 1 at “The Championships” has finished up, and the story of the week has to be upsets, the biggest one being Lukas Rosol. The world no. 100 overcame Rafael Nadal in what was an absolutely thrilling 5 set shocker that will be forever embedded in the memory of tennis fans. Tomas Berdych fell to Ernest Gulbis in the 1st round and Roger Federer also suffered a near upset as Julien Benneteau gave him a scare, but Fed survived in 5 to carry on. Here is a breakdown of the remaining field round of 16 match ups.
Novak Djokovic vs. Viktor Troicki
Djokovic, who lost a set against Radek Stepanek in his 3rd round match but has otherwise looked quite sharp will take on his countryman Troicki, who has been a pleasant surprise, notching wins over Marcel Granollers and Martin Klizan in 5 and Juan Monaco in straights. While Troicki has played well, the fatigue of the long matches he has played will likely catch up to him and it is unlikely he will have the game to dispatch Djokovic, who can already see the final.
Richard Gasquet vs. Florian Mayer
Gasquet has won all his matches in straight sets while Mayer needed 5 sets to finish off 2nd round opponent Phillip Petzschner (who gave a good account for himself) and Polish surprise Jerzy Janowicz. Janowicz beat the man who beat Berdych, the lovable underachiever Ernest Gulbis in the previous round. Gasquet will be a favorite, but the German Mayer has a sharp game that could give Richard trouble.
Roger Federer vs. Xavier Malisse
As mentioned earlier, Federer needed 5 sets and came back from a 2-0 deficit to beat Benneteau in the previous round but won his other 2 matches in straights, while Malisse one of the picks for dark horse this week has done his job beating, Marinko Matosevic and seeded players Gilles Simon (who might have been a bit distracted thanks to his own mouth) and Fernando Verdasco in 5. X-Man is a wily vet, but Federer will likely put the pedal to the metal in this one, hoping to avoid another scare.
Denis Istomin vs. Mikhail Youzhny
Istomin is the first Uzbek man to ever reach the round of 16 at Wimbledon and did so by beating the seeded Italian Andreas Seppi, Igor Andreev, and Alejandro Falla. Youzhny has had a nice career resurgence recently and took out the 8 seed Janko Tipsarevic to make the round of 16. Youzhny might be a slight favorite in this one but it could go either way.
David Ferrer vs. Juan Martin Del Potro
Ferrer outhit Andy Roddick to advance, along with winning his 2 other previous matches in straights. Del Potro beat Robin Haase in 4, Go Soeda in 4 and another man from Japan, Kei Nishikori, who did well coming off an absence, in straights to advance. Ferrer will be the favorite but Del Potro has the ability to get the win if he can play consistently and keep pressure on Ferrer.
Marin Cilic vs. Andy Murray
Marin Cilic outlasted Sam Querrey in a 5 set, 5 1/2hr epic that finished 17-15 in the 5th, making it the 2nd longest match in Wimbledon history. Cilic will now face Andy Murray. He also beat Cedrik-Marcel Stebe and Lukasz Kubot. While he is playing well, the question is: Will he have anything left in the tank to pull it off? Murray, meanwhile, handled Nikolay Davydenko and Ivo Karlovic before sending off Marcos Baghdatis in 4 under the gun of the dreaded Wimbledon 11 pm curfew.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs. Mardy Fish
Tsonga dispatched his 3 early round opponents and is looking very strong, while Fish has done remarkably well after a long absence from the tour. He needed 5 sets to beat Brit James Ward, but he knocked off wunderkind David Goffin (who beat Tomic earlier in the week). If he has his game in top shape, there is a chance of a win against Tsonga. Still, Jo-Willie will be the favorite.
Brian Baker vs. Phillip Kohlschreiber
Both these guys have done remarkably well to reach the round of 16, but they got a lot of help from Lukas Rosol, who knocked out big dog Nadal. Kohli was able to outlast a likely lightheaded Rosol to advance and also beat Malek Janziri and countryman Tommy Haas in 5 sets in the 1st round. Baker, who continues his red-hot play dispatched his 1st 2 opponents in straights and needed 4 sets to take down Benoit Paire. Peppo is the seeded player, but Baker is playing so well right he might be the slight favorite.
Djokovic d. Gasquet
Federer d. Youzhny
Murray d. Ferrer
Tsonga d. Baker
Djokovic d. Federer
Tsonga d. Murray
Djokovic d. Tsonga
If this somewhat surprising final occurs, it would be a rematch of their French Open battle and Tsonga’s 2nd Grand Slam final appearance, the other being at the 2008 Aussie open which he lost to Djokovic.