Roger Federer Concludes Another Magical Run With Wimbledon Title #8 Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
Roger Federer hasn’t dropped a set since he began his run to the title in Halle, and he just finished up the grass court season with Wimbledon title #8, and Grand Slam title #19 (his second of the season), thumping Marin Cilic in another magical performance 6-3 6-1 6-4 in less than two hours. Cilic, playing in a second slam final, was never really in the match, he was broken twice in the first set, twice in the second set, and once in the third set. By contrast, he only generated one break point chance the entire match, and that came early in the first set, as the Croatian seemed nervous facing the 35 year old legend, while Federer eased his way into the match and finished smooth as silk, with 23 winners. Federer won three quarters of his points on serve, while Cilic’s own serve was much weaker in the match, despite serving him well all tournament.
Federer moved to 31-2 on the season, as his tournament run saw straight set wins against Alexandr Dolgopolov, Dusan Lajovic, Mischa Zverev, Grigor Dimitrov, Milos Raonic, and Tomas Berdych, who was playing well defeating Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem in previous rounds. Cilic beat Philipp Kohlschreiber, Florian Mayer, Steve Johnson, and Roberto Bautista Agut, Gilles Muller required five sets, and Sam Querrey required four for him to reach the final.
Muller had upset Rafael Nadal in the previous round, clearing a possible hurdle for Federer, while Querrey knocked out defending champion Andy Murray, who didn’t appear fit, and succumbed to Querrey’s powerful groundstrokes.
Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo won a classic doubles final, 13-11 in the fifth set over Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic, as the veterans celebrated with the joy of first time pros after their victory.
The “big four” men are into Wimbledon week 2 on the men’s side, will one of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray or Roger Federer take home the Wimbledon title? Here is your full week 2 preview.
Round of 16:
Andy Murray vs. Benoit Paire
The defending champion has again found form, Murray dropped a set against Fabio Fognini in round 3, but won easily against Alexander Bublik and Dustin Brown. He now faces another junkball hitter, Benoit Paire, Paire is a surprise in week 2, but he hasn’t faced a difficult draw. Rogerio Dutra Silva, Pierre-Hugues Herbert, and Jerzy Janowicz was his path to week 2, and he only dropped a set against RDS, edging the big servers in rounds 2 and 3. Murray has a backhand that can compete with Paire’s, and a better all-around game, he should win this match with relative ease. Murray in 3
Sam Querrey vs. Kevin Anderson
Two great grass court players, After wins over Thomas Fabbiano and Nikoloz Basilashvili, Querrey upset Jo-Wilfried Tsonga over two days of tennis, winning a fifth set. Anderson eased past Fernando Verdasco, Andreas Seppi, and Ruben Bemelmans, as Daniil Medvedev upset Stan Wawrinka to open up this section. This is a great opportunity for both players, and I expect them to peak, Anderson’s serve should help him through though. Anderson in 5
Rafael Nadal vs. Gilles Muller
Nadal is 5-1 against Muller and hasn’t dropped a set this Wimbledon. Muller is in great form and should bother Rafa a bit, but his topspin should keep the veteran serve and volleyer pinned to the baseline. Nadal beat John Millman, Donald Young, and Karen Khachanov, Muller beat Marton Fuscovics, Lukas Rosol (in five sets), and Aljaz Bedene and deserves much credit for reaching the second week of Wimbledon at his age. A renewed Nadal should prevail. Nadal in 4
Roberto Bautista Agut vs. Marin Cilic
RBA is here after stunning Kei Nishikori in round 3, he also scored wins over Andreas Haider-Maurer and Peter Gojowczyk, it’s a bit of a surprise he’s playing this well, but Cilic has been lights out and should score a punishing win in this one. Cilic has slayed Philipp Kohlschreiber, Florian Mayer, and Steve Johnson all without dropping a set, which is quite an accomplishment on grass. Cilic in 3
Milos Raonic vs. Alexander Zverev
Unlike his performance in Paris, Zverev is playing really well in a slam, he has wins over Evgeny Donskoy, Frances Tiafoe, and surprise qualifier Sebastian Ofner without dropping a set. Raonic beat Jan-Lennard Struff, Mikhail Youzhny, and Albert Ramos in his bid to repeat as a finalist or take the title this season. Raonic’s serve and skill coming forward almost ensures he’ll take a set here, but Zverev is a better mover and should be able to hit his marks to win this. Zverev in 5
Grigor Dimitrov vs. Roger Federer
Federer has never lost to Dimitrov, who plays a somewhat similar style of tennis, and he just dismissed Mischa Zverev in straights, after defeating Dusan Lajovic and Alexandr Dolgopolov. The maestro is in some of his best grass court form, and Dimitrov shouldn’t be able to match him shot for shot. Dimitrov beat Diego Schwartzman, Marcos Baghdatis, and Dudi Sela to get this far. Federer in 3
Dominic Thiem vs. Tomas Berdych
Both players have had a great tournament given they entered in shaky form, Thiem defeated Vasek Pospisil, Gilles Simon, and Jared Donaldson. Berdych defeated Jeremy Chardy, Ryan Harrison, and David Ferrer, the win over Ferrer coming in straights, even though Ferrer upset an injured Richard Gasquet in the opening round. Thiem has the game to win this match, but Berdych’s power on grass should disrupt his timing enough to help the veteran Czech reach the quarterfinals. Berdych in 5
Adrian Mannarino vs. Novak Djokovic
After winning via retirement against Feliciano Lopez, Mannarino has won long matches against Yuichi Sugita and Gael Monfils. His grass form is great and he should be proud of what he’s accomplished in week 1. That said, Novak Djokovic has taken care of business in the opening week, Martin Klizan retired against him, Adam Pavlasek and Ernests Gulbis also succumbed, even though Gulbis had found form to upset Del Potro and reach round 3. If Djokovic is going to lose this tournament, it won’t be against Mannarino, Djokovic is too physical and will bully the Frenchman around the court. Djokovic in 3
Quarters: Murray d. Anderson in 4
Cilic d. Nadal in 5
Federer d. A. Zverev in 4
Djokovic d. Berdych in 3
Cilic is playing well enough that I’ll stick by my prediction of him defeating Nadal in the quarters, the other big names, Murray, Federer, and Djokovic should shrug off challenges to reach the semifinals.
Semis: Murray d. Cilic in 4
Federer d. Djokovic in 4
Murray and Federer are the two best grass court players right now, they are worthy of meeting in the Wimbledon final, and I give Federer a clear edge in that final as long as he can keep himself fit and fresh.
World number one Angelique Kerber is still searching for her best form, but perhaps the motivation of potentially losing her ranking this week could change her fortunes. The German opens against a qualifier but could have a tough round two against former Wimbledon semi finalist Kirsten Flipkens. The dangerous Lucie Safarova is projected for the third round. Garbine Muguruza has also landed in this section as she also searches for her grand slam winning form. The Spaniard is working with Conchita Martinez for the tournament, will that make a difference to her form? Muguruza has some tough matches ahead with Yania Wickmayer potentially a second round foe followed by Kiki Bertens. It could all lead to a monster round four clash with Kerber on manic Monday.
Grass had never been Svetlana Kuznetsova’s best surface, but she is a former three time quarter finalist at SW19. Can she go any further in 2017? A qualifier should not be much trouble in round one, but a round two against fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova will be interesting. If Kuznetsova survives then she is projected to face American Lauren Davis in the third round. Grass has always been a good surface to Agnieszka Radwanska, but her struggles may leave the Pole prone to upsets. Jelena Jankovic is first up for the ninth seed, then possibly Christina McHale in round two. Timea Bacsinszky is scheduled for round three, but the Swiss has drawn the ever dangerous Monica Puig in her section, meaning Radwanska could face the Puerto Rican in round three.
Karolina Pliskova enters Wimbledon as arguably the pre tournament favourite after her win in Eastbourne. The Czech comes into the tournament in good form and will be hoping to convert that into a first grand slam title. Evgeniya Rodina is her first opponent followed by a tricky proposition in Magdalena Rybarikova or Monica Niculescu. Shuai Zhang is the first seed Pliskova may come across, but the Chinese player may be beaten by Julia Goerges in the second round. A fourth round against the streaky Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova will be interesting, and the Russian has a good draw with Daria Gavrilova being her toughest opponent.
Caroline Wozniacki is in good form herself after reaching the Eastbourne final, and she would love a shot at revenge on Pliskova for the final defeat. The Dane has a tough draw ahead though, starting with the big serving Timea Babos who could be dangerous on this surface. Tsvetana Pironkova is a potential round two opponent, with Daria Kasatkina possible for round three. The Russian has a tough draw against Annette Kontaveit though and the Estonian could be the round facing Wozniacki in round three. Kristina Mladenovic is projected for round four, but the Frenchwoman could lose out to Coco Vandeweghe who is a good grass court player.
Grass is the weakest surface for fourth seed Elina Svitolina, and a tough draw could see the section open up for a surprise quarter finalist. The Ukrainian has a tough start against Birmingham finalist Ashleigh Barty, a match that could spring the first major upset of the tournament. If Svitolina can pass the Aussie, then she could run into the dangerous Mirjana Lucic-Baroni in round three before facing either Jelena Ostapenko or Madison Keys in round four. Needless to say, it is going to take a lot from Svitolina to just make the last eight. Keys could be a dark horse depending on her form and fitness, whilst Ostapenko is the current French Open champion and will be eager to repeat that success at Wimbledon.
Dominika Cibulkova has struggled for form all season so the Slovakian could also be a contender for an early exit. Andrea Petkovic is her first opponent, with Danka Kovinic her second. The third round is scheduled to face Ana Konjuh, but the Croatian faces Sabine Lisicki who is seemingly tailor made for Wimbledon courts. Venus Williams could end up being the favourite to make it out of this section when it is all said and done, but the American has some difficult tests herself. The up and coming Elise Mertens is her first round opponent, then she could face Barbora Strycova in round three. But with form being an issue for many of the top seeds in this section, do not be shocked to see it fall apart.
Simona Halep heads into Wimbledon not only searching for a her first grand slam, but also the world number one ranking. It will be interesting to see how she has recovered from another final loss at Rolland Garros last month, and she has a good draw ahead of her. A qualifier lies first with Laura Robson possible for round two. Carla Suarez Navarro is projected for round three, but the Spaniard could be ousted by Eugenie Bouchard or Shuai Peng before then. Elena Vesnina is the seeded fourth round opponent, but her section has some dangerous floaters including Victoria Azarenka who she could face in round two. Anastasija Sevastova, fresh off her Mallorca success, is also in this section alongside Britain’s Heather Watson who played well in Eastbourne.
Petra Kvitova’s comeback story continues, and thus far it has gone better than expected. The Czech won the Birmingham title and has put herself among the favourites for the title again. She has a good draw to the fourth round with Caroline Garcia being her toughest test in the third round, and It could lead to a blockbuster fourth round match with Johanna Konta. The Brit has a decent draw herself and will look to take revenge on Su Wei Hsieh and Donna Vekic in the opening rounds. Roberta Vinci is projected to be her first seeded foe, but the Italian could fall to Kristyna Pliskova in the first round.
Muguruza is so hard to predict these days, so it is tough to back her beating Kerber. Radwanska’s grass court prowess should be enough to get past Kuznetsova. Pliskova will keep her form going against Pavlyuchenkova, and I see an upset with Vandeweghe beating Wozniacki. Venus should have enough to down Cibulkova, and I can see Ostapenko going well here and ending Barty’s run. Kvitova vs Konta is so hard to predict, but if Petra hits her best form then she should win. Halep should have enough to get past Vesnina.
With the world number one ranking on the line, I can see Kerber finding some form this fortnight and defeating Radwanska. Pliskova will end Vandeweghe’s run, and Venus will do the same to Ostapenko. Kvitova is a difficult prediction to make, but her best on grass is better than Halep’s.
Pliskova, being the player in better form, should have enough to get by Kerber. It is hard to call Kvitova vs Venus, but I can sense a big story coming over the two weeks with Kvitova.
Pliskova def. Kvitova
That said, I feel like it might be Pliskova’s time this tournament. It is not a confident prediction by any means because anything can happen, but I feel the third seed is in the best form and is the favourite to go all the way.
2017 Wimbledon Men’s Preview and Predictions Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
The peak of summer has arrived, and with it Wimbledon in London will begin again on Monday. Here is your complete preview, with predictions.
July 3-16, 2017
London, Great Britain
Prize Money: £14,840,000
Top 8 seeds (ATP ranking in parentheses)
1: Andy Murray (1)
2: Novak Djokovic (2)
3: Roger Federer (4)
4: Rafael Nadal (5)
5: Stan Wawrinka (3)
6: Milos Raonic (6)
7: Marin Cilic (8)
8: Dominic Thiem (9)
The biggest player missing is David Goffin, dirtballers Pablo Carreno Busta and Pablo Cuevas are also out, as is Britain’s Daniel Evans, who failed a drug test.
First round matches to watch:
Denis Shapovalov vs. Jerzy Janowicz
Talented young Canadian Shapovalov makes his slam debut with a winnable but difficult contest against the big hitter Janowicz. The Polish player is a former Wimbledon semifinalist, but his lack of work ethic has crushed his ATP level talents and he’s still languishing outside of the top 150. Janowicz has enough game to win this, but don’t count Shapovalov out, he’s a hard worker and plays well beyond his years.
(31)Fernando Verdasco vs. Kevin Anderson
Both Verdasco and Anderson have reached the second week at Wimbledon before and are solid on grass. These veterans could use a bit of form though and we could be in for a long and shaky contest. Verdasco has more upside, but Anderson’s serve is a steady weapon on fast surfaces, and he should secure tiebreaks to win.
(5)Stan Wawrinka vs. Daniil Medvedev
Wawrinka has made two Wimbledon quarterfinals, and some are calling him a dark horse this year, but his form has been terrible on grass the past couple of seasons, and it seems his long backswing really disadvantages him on the grass. Medvedev has been in red hot form with a 9-3 record on the grass this season. The young Russian is due for a breakthrough win, and I’ll back him to get it on a fast surface that suits his game. Look for Wawrinka to be the first major Wimbledon casualty.
(7)Marin Cilic vs. Philipp Kohlschreiber
Both players have reached the quarters at Wimbledon, but Cilic has done it three years in a row and he’s in better form, with a legitimate shot to be the dark horse contender for the final, and possibly the title. He’ll need to go against the h2h in this matchup though, as Kohli has won 6 out of 9 meetings in this matchup. Cilic’s form is a bit better though, and the Croatian should find his way.
(27)Mischa Zverev vs. Bernard Tomic
Despite struggling this season, the former quarterfinalist Tomic just beat Zverev on grass rather easily, and Wimbledon is his best slam, as it suits his funky game. Zverev is a late bloomer with a lethal serve and volley game when he’s clicking though and this could turn into a very long match. Tomic is the favorite, but I’ll go with Zverev to keep his mettle and win a likely five setter, Tomic’s inconsistency is a great worry.
(8)Dominic Thiem vs. Vasek Pospisil
Thiem is just 1-2 on grass this year and has never played well at Wimbledon. Pospisil is 9-3 and once reached the quarters at SW19, the Canadian has fallen in the rankings, but his serve is still dangerous, and given how awful Thiem’s game has looked in his two grass court outings, I’ll go with Pospisil in the upset, in what should be a big boost to his confidence. Pospisil has the talent to win this.
(19)Feliciano Lopez vs. Adrian Mannarino
A three-time Wimbledon quarterfinalist, the 35 year old Lopez is in some of the best form his career on grass with a 9-1 record that includes a final and a title at Queen’s club. Mannarino just reached the final in Antalya on grass and also has talent on this fast surface, but fatigue could play a factor in his performance. Look for the veteran Lopez to get this win, and take his serve and volley game deeper into the tournament, where he will threaten some of the top players.
(29)Juan Martin Del Potro vs. Thanasi Kokkinakis
Both players are comeback kids, having overcome injuries to return to the ATP tour. Kokkinakis is still easing his way back but his game is suited for fast surfaces, Del Potro has not had grass court prep but he’s look competitive in his return to the game, and of course the former semifinalist has lethal power on grass. Del Potro is a worthy favorite, but we’ll see if this match turns into a larger battle.
The defending and two-time Wimbledon champion Andy Murray has struggled at the ATP level this season but he rose up to reach the semis on clay at the French Open, and on a better surface for his game he should presumably be able to survive the early rounds and get himself into form. He’ll start with lucky loser Alexander Bublik, with Dustin Brown/Joao Sousa to follow, Brown can be dangerous but he’s far from consistent. I have Jiri Vesely as Murray’s opponent in round 3, Vesely will face qualifier Illya Marchenko, with Dmitry Tursunov/Fabio Fognini to follow, it’s a weak section on grass Vesely likely has a slight edge before falling to Murray.
Nick Kyrgios has been unfit, but his game is great for grass. He’ll have to get past the serve and volleyer Pierre-Hugues Herbert, and if he does that he should be favored against Benoit Paire/Rogerio Dutra Silva in round 2. I have Lucas Pouille defeating Malek Jaziri and Shapovalov/Janowicz, before falling to Kyrgios in the third round. Pouille has been improving on grass as of late.
I have Kevin Anderson defeating Verdasco, then the recently in-form Andreas Seppi (who opens with Norbert Gombos), Anderson should reach the second week, and I have him doing so against Tommy Haas. After Tomic, Haas will face Wawrinka/Medvedev, and despite his age he remains a threat at Wimbledon.
Despite two career Wimbledon semifinal appearances, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has struggled lately and isn’t a threat this tournament. He’ll open with Cam Norrie, Simone Bolelli or Rendy Lu will follow, and Sam Querrey is his likely third round opponent. Querrey has a game suited for grass, he should defeat Thomas Fabbiano and Carlos Berlocq/Nikoloz Basilashvili to reach the third round. Neither player is in great form, but Tsonga has a higher ceiling so I’ll back him for round 4.
The two-time Wimbledon champion Rafael Nadal has struggled on grass in recent years, but his form has come back in a big way this season and he’s worth backing early on against John Millman, Donald Young/Denis Istomin and Karen Khachanov in the third round. Khachanov has shown great form on grass and is rising rapidly in the rankings, the young Russian should defeat his countryman Andrey Kuznetsov, plus Andrew Whittington/Thiago Monteiro before falling to Rafa.
Big servers Ivo Karlovic and Gilles Muller look set for a third round clash, Karlovic opens with Aljaz Bedene, Muller faces Marton Fucsovics, then big hitter Lukas Rosol or Henri Laaksonen. Karlovic faces Damir Dzhumur/Renzo Olivo in round 2, with Muller in great form on grass and having a solid season, he’s a favorite to reach the second week.
After Kohlschreiber, I have Marin Cilic catching fire and defeating Viktor Troicki/Florian Mayer, and Steve Johnson to reach the second week. Johnson opens with dirtballer Nicolas Kicker, then Radu Albot or Facundo Bagnis. Cilic should have too much power for the forehand centric Johnson.
Both Roberto Bautista Agut and Kei Nishikori have made the second week at Wimbledon before, and they look set for a third round clash. RBA opens with Andreas Haider-Maurer, then Marius Copil or Peter Gojowczyk, Nishikori will look to overcome a hip injury against Marco Cecchinato, and then Sergiy Stakhovsky/Julien Benneteau. With fitness a concern for Kei and his somewhat pedestrian play this year, I have RBA reaching the fourth round.
A seven-time champion at Wimbledon, Roger Federer won the title in Halle and again finds himself the favorite at his favorite Grand Slam. The legend will begin his journey against erratic shotmaker Alexandr Dolgopolov, then Dusan Lajovic/Stefanos Tsitsipas, I have him facing Mischa Zverev round 3, but Tomic is also an option. Taro Daniel/Mikhail Kukushkin are the other players in this section, I’d be surprised if Federer dropped a set through three matches.
A former Wimbledon semifinalist, Grigor Dimitrov should defeat Diego Schwartzman, James Ward/Marcos Baghdatis, and John Isner to reach week 2. Dimitrov has been up and down this year, but right now seems closer to up than down, and Baghdatis is injured. Isner opens with Taylor Fritz, with Dudi Sela/Marcel Granollers to follow, he’s good enough to win two rounds with his serve but I don’t trust his form this season.
Defending finalist Milos Raonic has been flat in his return from injury, he should serve and volley past J.L. Struff, then defeat Nicolas Mahut/Mikhail Youzhny, and Jordan Thompson in this week section, but he’s another name that is not in good form to challenge for the title. The Aussie Thompson stunned Murray at Queen’s, he faces Albert Ramos, who prefers clay, then Andrey Rublev or Stefano Travaglia.
Young gun Alexander Zverev rebounded from disappointment at Roland Garros to go 6-2 on grass, he should find form this slam against Evgeny Donskoy and Robin Haase/Frances Tiafoe to reach round 3. Jack Sock opens with Christian Garin, Thomaz Bellucci or Sebastian Ofner will follow, and with Sock not playing his best, Zverev should reach round 4.
Three-time Wimbledon Champion Novak Djokovic just won in Eastbourne on grass and heads into his match with Martin Klizan holding positive momentum. Djokovic should ease past Ernesto Escobedo/Adam Pavlasek in round 2, and then defeat Del Potro in the third round. After Kokkinakis I have Del Potro beating Ernests Gulbis/Victor Estrella in round 2, before succumbing to Djokovic.
Feliciano Lopez will face Antalya Champ Yuichi Sugita or Brydan Klein, presuming Gael Monfils knee is alright he should defeat big hitter Daniel Brands, then Kyle Edmund/Alex Ward in round 2. I have Lopez over Monfils in the third round to reach week 2.
I have Vasek Pospisil making a run to round 4, after Thiem, a struggling Gilles Simon or Nicolas Jarry will be up in round 2, one of Janko Tipsarevic/Jared Donaldson or Horacio Zeballos/Paolo Lorenzi will be up in round 3. Tipsarevic could make the the third round as Donaldson and neither Zeballos/Lorenzi are good on grass, this is a very weak section.
Richard Gasquet is in great form, Gasquet should thump a struggling David Ferrer, Steve Darcis/Ricardas Berankis, and Tomas Berdych. The former Wimbledon semifinalist Gasquet looks to be a real threat to go deep into the tournament. Berdych faces Jeremy Chardy and then Borna Coric or Ryan Harrison, his power should give him an edge.
Dark Horses (one for each section): Kevin Anderson, Gilles Muller, Jordan Thompson, and Vasek Pospisil
Anderson, Muller, and Pospisil have dangerous serves, while Thompson is skilled enough on grass that they all have a chance to rise up and make a big impact despite their non-elite ranking.
Round of 16 Murray d. Kyrgios
Anderson d. Tsonga
Nadal d. Muller
Cilic d. Bautista Agut
Zverev d. Raonic
Federer d. Dimitrov
Gasquet d. Pospisil
Djokovic d. Lopez
I have Anderson beating Tsonga based on form, Murray, Nadal, Federer, and Djokovic should be good enough to reach the last 8. Cilic and Zverev should be favorites on form, while Gasquet benefits from a favorable draw.
Quarters Murray d. Anderson
Cilic d. Nadal
Federer d. Zverev
Djokovic d. Gasquet
On grass Nadal remains at a disadvantage, and I’ll go with Cilic in an upset, the other big three should be somewhat safe as Federer just beat Zverev in Halle rather easily in the final.
Semis Murray d. Cilic
Federer d. Djokovic
The defending champion against the best grass court player of all-time is a fitting final, Federer’s form should see him capture a victory.