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  • Wimbledon full tournament picks: Djokovic vs. Nadal in final

    2013-06-23 21:07:51


    First round
    Djokovic over F. Mayer in 3, Johnson over Reynolds in 4
    Struff over Kavcic in 4, Harrison over Chardy in 5
    Simon over Lopez in 5, Berankis over Mathieu in 5
    Odesnik over Wang in 4, Haas over Tursunov in 3
    Gasquet over Granollers in 3, Soeda over Haider-Maurer in 4
    De Bakker over Blake in 4, Tomic over Querrey in 5
    Anderson over Rochus in 3, Przysiezny over Petzschner in 4
    Brands over Gimeno-Traver in 4, Berdych over Klizan in 3


    Ferrer over Alund in 3, Bautista Agut over Gabashvili in 4
    Giraldo over Zeballos in 4, Dolgopolov over Elias in 4
    Raonic over Berlocq in 3, Sijsling over Al. Kuznetsov in 4
    Kudla over Duckworth in 4, Kohlschreiber over Dodig in 4
    Nishikori over Ebden in 3, Bedene over L. Mayer in 5
    Nieminen over Llodra in 5, Seppi over Istomin in 3
    Dimitrov over Bolelli in 3, Zemlja over Russell in 4
    Levine over Pella in 3, Del Potro over Ramos in 4


    Nadal over Darcis in 3, Kubot over Andreev in 4
    Falla over Robert in 4, Paire over Ungur in 3
    Isner over Donskoy in 4, Andujar over Mannarino in 4
    Brown over Garcia-Lopez in 5, Wawrinka over Hewitt in 5
    Almagro over Zopp in 3, Matosevic over Rufin in 4
    Stepanek over Reid in 4, Janowicz over Edmund in 4
    Melzer over Fognini in 4, Rosol over Reister in 4
    Stakhovsky over Dutra Silva in 4, Federer over Hanescu in 3


    Tsonga over Goffin in 3, Gulbis over Roger-Vasselin in 4
    Malisse over Verdasco in 5, Benneteau over Kamke in 3
    Monaco over Knittel in 3, Ram over Lacko in 4
    De Schepper over Lorenzi in 5, Cilic over Baghdatis in 4
    Troicki over Tipsarevic in 5, Montanes over An. Kuznetsov in 4
    Pospisil over Gicquel in 4, Youzhny over Haase in 3
    Robredo over Bogomolov in 3, Mahut over Hajek in 4
    Lu over Ward in 4, Murray over Becker in 3


    Second round
    Djokovic over Johnson in 3
    Harrison over Struff in 4
    Simon over Berankis in 4
    Haas over Odesnik in 3
    Gasquet over Soeda in 3
    Tomic over De Bakker in 3
    Anderson over Przysiezny in 3
    Berdych over Brands in 3


    Ferrer over Bautista Agut in 3
    Dolgopolov over Giraldo in 4
    Raonic over Sijsling in 4
    Kohlschreiber over Kudla in 3
    Nishikori over Bedene in 4
    Seppi over Nieminen in 5
    Dimitrov over Zemlja in 3
    Del Potro over Levine in 3


    Nadal over Kubot in 3
    Paire over Falla in 4
    Isner over Andujar in 4
    Wawrinka over Brown in 3
    Almagro over Matosevic in 3
    Janowicz over Stepanek in 4
    Melzer over Rosol in 4
    Federer over Stakhovsky in 3


    Gulbis over Tsonga in 5
    Malisse over Benneteau in 4
    Monaco over Ram in 4
    Cilic over De Schepper in 3
    Troicki over Montanes in 4
    Youzhny over Pospisil in 4
    Robredo over Mahut in 4
    Murray over Lu in 3


    Third round
    Djokovic over Harrison in 3
    Haas over Simon in 3
    Gasquet over Tomic in 4
    Berdych over Anderson in 3


    Ferrer over Dolgopolov in 3
    Kohlschreiber over Raonic in 4
    Seppi over Nishikori in 4
    Del Potro over Dimitrov in 5


    Nadal over Paire in 3
    Wawrinka over Isner in 4
    Almagro over Janowicz in 5
    Federer over Melzer in 3


    Gulbis over Malisse in 4
    Cilic over Monaco in 3
    Youzhny over Troicki in 4
    Murray over Robredo in 3


    Fourth round
    Djokovic over Haas in 3
    Berdych over Gasquet in 4
    Kohlschreiber over Ferrer in 5
    Del Potro over Seppi in 4


    Nadal over Wawrinka in 4
    Federer over Almagro in 3
    Gulbis over Cilic in 4
    Murray over Youzhny in 3


    Djokovic over Berdych in 4
    Kohlschreiber over Del Potro in 4


    Nadal over Federer in 5
    Murray over Gulbis in 3


    Djokovic over Kohlschreiber in 3
    Nadal over Murray in 4


    Djokovic over Nadal in 4

    Comments and your own predictions are appreciated!


    Comment | 97 comments

  • Wimbledon draw analysis: Federer, Nadal in same quarter

    2013-06-23 16:17:15

    Last year the story was Novak Djokovic landing in Roger Federer’s half of the draw for a 16th time in the last 20 Grand Slams. Not so much this time around.


    The story of the 2013 Wimbledon bracket is an absolutely loaded bottom half, which Djokovic obviously avoided as the No. 1 seed. Getting the short end of the stick were Federer, Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal, and two-time semifinalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Federer and Nadal could collide as early as the quarterfinals in what would be a rematch of the 2006, 2007, and 2008 Wimbledon finals. Murray, a runner-up for the first time in 2012, finds himself in the same section as Tsonga.


    Djokovic's quarter


    Overall, Djokovic has an extremely favorable draw being on the side away from Federer, Murray, Nadal, and Tsonga. That being said, his path to the semis may not be entirely straightforward. An in-form Tommy Haas looms large as a potential fourth-round opponent and Tomas Berdych is Djokovic’s likely quarterfinal adversary. Haas beat Djokovic earlier this season in Miami, while Berdych’s two wins over the Serb came at Wimbledon in 2010 and at the Rome Masters earlier this year.


    Haas and Berdych should not have too much trouble playing their ways into those potential showdowns. The 35-year-old German, a recent semifinalist in Halle before succumbing to Federer, opens with Dmitry Tursunov and could face Gilles Simon in the third round. As for Berdych, the sixth-ranked Czech is on a collision course with personal pigeon Kevin Anderson for the third round. One interesting first-round matchup to watch in this section is Simon vs. Feliciano Lopez. They just faced each other in Saturday’s Eastbourne title match, which Lopez won 7-6(2), 6-7(5), 6-0.


    Best first-round matchup — (21) Sam Querrey vs. Bernard Tomic


    Ever since the Australian Open, 2013 had been a nightmare for Tomic both on and off the court until last week in Eastbourne. The 20-year-old advanced two rounds before bowing out to Simon in two competitive sets. Tomic generally performs well on grass and he made it to the Wimbledon quarterfinals as a qualifier in 2011. Querrey reached the fourth round in 2010 and the third round last season before losing to Marin Cilic in a memorable 7-6(6), 6-4, 6-7(2), 6-7(3), 17-15 affair. The 6’6’’ American is looking to bounce back from a third-round Queen’s Club loss to Lleyton Hewitt.


    Best potential second-round matchup – (7) Tomas Berdych vs. Daniel Brands
    Best potential third-round matchup – (13) Tommy Haas vs. (19) Gilles Simon


    Possible surprises — Ryan Harrison’s well-documented stretch of facing top players in the first two rounds of Grand Slams won’t be extended at Wimbledon. He has a good chance of making it to the last 32 of a major for the first time in his career…at which point he would face a familiar foe in the form of Djokovic. Don’t be shocked if Tomic builds on his Eastbourne showing with another deep run at the All-England Club. If he can get past Querrey, his two highest-seeded potential opponents are Berdych and Richard Gasquet. Both would be tough but they are in no way unbeatable.

    Ferrer's quarter


    The last two Grand Slam draws are like something made out of a dream for David Ferrer. With Djokovic and Nadal in the other half of the bracket at Roland Garros, Berdych was Ferrer’s nearest top eight seed and Federer was his projected semifinal opponent. The Spaniard ended up facing neither en route to his first major title match (lost to Nadal). At Wimbledon, the 31-year-old Spaniard avoided Federer, Nadal, and Murray and he is in the weakest quarter along with Juan Martin Del Potro. A remarkable number of seeds in this section are either slumping, not at their best on grass, or both.


    Talk about surprise semifinalist potential…. Contenders like Philipp Kohlschreiber, Milos Raonic, Andreas Seppi, and Grigor Dimitrov have to be licking their chops with Ferrer and Del Potro as their two highest seeds. Ferrer is in fine form and he was a Wimbledon quarterfinalist in 2012, but that was the only time he had ever made it past the fourth round. Del Potro has been dealing with both injury and illness and he has won a grand total of four matches since Indian Wells. The time may be now for a breakout performance from one of the aforementioned quartet of players ranked outside the Top 15 in the world.


    Best first-round matchup — (16) Philipp Kohlschreiber vs. Ivan Dodig


    Kohlschreiber is no stranger to Grand Slam success. He capitalized on Nadal’s 2012 loss to Lukas Rosol and emerged from that section of the draw into the quarterfinals. The German has reached at least the fourth round in three of the last four majors and four of the last six. Dodig, meanwhile, is a worthy opponent. The 54th-ranked Croat is coming off a semifinal appearance at Queen’s Club, where he upset Raonic in the second round. Based on current form and the way their games translate to grass courts, this has high-quality showdown written all over it.


    Best potential second-round matchup – (23) Andreas Seppi vs. Jarkko Nieminen
    Best potential third-round matchup – (8) Juan Martin Del Potro vs. (29) Grigor Dimitrov


    Possible surprises — The question is not if there will be a surprise semifinalist at Wimbledon. Ferrer has never made it to the final four and Del Potro has never even reached the quarters. The question is who will become that surprise. A third-rounder between Kohlschreiber and Roanic would not only be big in and of itself, but the stakes would be raised with a realistic shot at a semifinal awaiting the winner. Dimitrov has not exactly been on fire since upsetting Djokovic in Madrid, but there is no reason to think that he can’t compete with Del Potro on grass in the third round. Also don’t forget about Seppi, who is deceptively dangerous on the green stuff and whose nearest seed is an unimposing Kei Nishikori.

    Federer's quarter


    It sure isn’t good for Federer and Nadal…but it’s not necessarily terrible, either. The going gets tough with a likely quarterfinal clash against each other followed by a likely semifinal date with either Murray or Tsonga in store for the winner. Prior to the last eight, though, week one may not present much of a problem for either one of the former Wimbledon champions. Federer’s first three matches should be a breeze (no, he is not going to get Rosoled like Nadal did last year) and Jerzy Janowicz has shown no signs of being ready to pull off a win as monumental as beating Federer at Wimbledon. Nadal can sleepwalk into a fourth-round matchup with Hewitt, Stanislas Wawrinka, John Isner.


    Isner and Evgeny Donskoy at least have more than the two days between meetings that Lopez and Simon will enjoy, but they are set to play each other for the second time in as many weeks. Donskoy upset Isner in ‘s-Hertogenbosch and will attempt to do it again on Monday. Wawrinka has to face Hewitt, the 2002 Wimbledon champion, in what is the best matchup on paper in the entire first round. So it’s safe to say a possible Wawrinka-Isner collision in the last 32 is far from a sure thing.


    Best first-round matchup — (11) Stanislas Wawrinka vs. Lleyton Hewitt

    Wawrinka’s 2013 campaign has been outstanding, but his Grand Slam draws have not been overly kind. He was in Djokovic’s eighth in Melbourne, he was in Nadal’s quarter in Paris, and now he has one of the most dangerous unseeded contenders in the Wimbledon first round. Hewitt has been to at least the quarterfinals at the All-England Club on five previous occasions and he recently advanced to the Queen’s Club semis after taking out three seeded opponents. Grass is advantageous to the 32-year-old Aussie in this matchup, although Wawrinka did well to reach the ‘s-Hertogenbosch final last week. Count on inspiring tennis for the duration of what could be a marathon match.


    Best potential second-round matchup – Lukas Rosol vs. Jurgen Melzer
    Best potential third-round matchup – (15) Nicolas Almagro vs. (24) Jerzy Janowicz


    Possible surprises — In all probability, the proceedings in this section of the bracket are not going to end well for anyone except Federer or Nadal. The world No. 5 may be playing better tennis at the moment, but if a surprise comes it won’t be at the expense at the seven-time Wimbledon winner. Federer’s slam quarterfinal streak may come to end at some point, but it won’t be at the All-England Club. Nadal has every reason to reach the quarters, too, but it’s not an absolute lock. While Isner is generally a huge underachiever on grass, you never know when he will suddenly serve his way to huge win. If Wawrinka gets past Hewitt and eventually faces Isner, the winner of that showdown will not go down lightly against Nadal.

    Murray's quarter


    Don’t be fooled by the fact that Murray landed in the second toughest quarter of the draw. The Scot’s path is a favorable one until at least the quarterfinals. His nearest seed is Tommy Robredo, who is in resurgent form but is no real threat on grass. Murray’s nearest 13-16 seed and potential fourth-round adversary is a slumping Janko Tipsarevic. More likely opponents for the world No. 2 are ‘s-Hertogenbosch champion Nicolas Mahut and Halle runner-up Mikhail Youzhny.


    The carnage comes on the other side of the section and the possible victim is Tsonga. Up first for the Frenchman is David Goffin followed by a likely battle against Ernests Gulbis, arguably the most talented unseeded floater in the field. If Tsonga manages to play his way into the last 32, he will await either Julien Benneteau, Fernando Verdasco, or ‘s-Hertogenbosch semifinalist Xavier Malisse. Cilic, a Queen’s Club finalist, is the likeliest fourth-round opponent. Should Tsonga survive all of those roadblocks plus Murray in the quarters, his reward would be Federer or Nadal.... Brutal.


    Best first-round matchup — Fernando Verdasco vs. Xavier Malisse


    These two veterans faced each other in the Wimbledon third round last season, with Malisse emerging from an entertaining contest on the winning end of a 1-6, 7-6(5), 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 scoreline. The 32-year-old Belgian is a former Wimbledon semifinalist (2002), he has advanced to the last 16 in each of the past two installments of the Championships, and he has not lost prior to the third round since 2009. Verdasco is not in great form nor is he quite as accomplished at the All-England Club, but he is no slouch on grass. The Spaniard reached the Wimbledon fourth round in 2006, 2008, and 2009. This one should have just about everything—bouts of stellar play interspersed with some tomfoolery from both headcases, and it would be a disappointment if it did not result in another five-setter.


    Best potential second-round matchup – (6) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs. Ernests Gulbis
    Best potential third-round matchup – (14) Janko Tipsarevic vs. (20) Mikhail Youzhny


    Possible surprises — Gulbis’ draw is not a great one, but none of the seeds in his eighth of the bracket is anywhere close to unbeatable. Although the Latvian has generally been a massive failure at majors since reaching the Roland Garros quarterfinals in 2008, he upset Berdych in last year’s first round and he won a match at the French Open last month before losing to Gael Monfils in an exciting four-setter. Gulbis is 0-3 lifetime against Tsonga, but each of their last two encounters was a three-set thriller (including one that featured three tiebreakers, zero breaks of serve, and only one break point). The Tsonga-Gulbis winner may be favored to reach the quarters…even if it’s Gulbis.


    Comment | 147 comments

  • Approach Shots: Players prep for Wimbledon

    2013-06-16 16:45:15

    "Approach Shots" is Ricky's weekly look at what's ahead on the ATP Tour.

    The grass-court “season” just started and now it’s about to end with Wimbledon on the immediate horizon. First, though, players get one last chance to fine-tune their games at 250-point events a week before the year’s third Grand Slam. A pair of Top 10 players is in action; David Ferrer is attempting to defend his ‘s-Hertogenbosch title, but he could be challenged by Stanislas Wawrinka. Eastbourne, meanwhile, features four men ranked between 15th and 20th in the world. By the standards of weeks leading up to majors, this one has already overachieved.


    Aegon International


    Where: Eastbourne, Great Britain
    Surface: Grass
    Prize money: 468, 460 Euros
    Points: 250

    Top seed: Milos Raonic
    2012 champion: Andy Roddick (not playing)


    Draw analysis: Milos Raonic is looking to get his game on track—under new coach Ivan Ljubicic—in time for Wimbledon. In an effort to emerge from a minor slump, the top-seeded Canadian cannot be disappointed with his draw. His nearest seed is Fabio Fognini, who is far more capable on clay or slow hard courts. Potential seeded semifinal opponents for Raonic are Juan Monaco and Alexandr Dolgopolov; neither is on fire at the moment and both would rather face Raonic on a slower surface. The world No. 15’s toughest test prior to the title match may come right away against the winner of a first-rounder between Ivan Dodig and Denis Istomin.


    A deeper, more difficult bottom half of the bracket features Gilles Simon and Philipp Kohlschreiber with opening-round byes. The only former Eastbourne champion in the entire field is Andreas Seppi, who is on a collision course with Kohlschreiber for the quarterfinals. Simon should cruise into the quarterfinals before likely meeting the winner of a difficult first-round matchup between Kevin Anderson and Julien Benneteau. Also in the last quarter of the draw is Bernard Tomic, who is enduring a mighty struggle both on and off the court right now.


    First-round upset alert: Fernando Verdasco over (6) Alexandr Dolgopolov. Verdasco is actually starting to play decent tennis. He has advanced at least one round in each of his last three tournaments and all of his losses in that span went the distance—including a 7-6(3), 6-1, 3-6, 5-7, 8-6 setback against Janko Tipsarevic at Roland Garros. It is Dolgopolov who has been even worse of late. Not counting walkovers, the Ukrainian has won back-to-back matches at ATP tournaments only once since Memphis is February. He is coming off a second-round showing at Queen’s Club, where he was ousted by Benjamin Becker. The only previous encounter between these two ended in Dolgopolov retirement after Verdasco had won the first set 6-0 last year on the clay courts of Rome.


    Hot: Kevin Anderson, Jarkko Nieminen


    Cold: Milos Raonic, Alexandr Dolgopolov, Martin Klizan, Radek Stepanek, Bernard Tomic


    Semifinal predictions: Milos Raonic over Fernando Verdasco and Philipp Kohlschreiber over Julien Benneteau


    Final: Kohlschreiber over Raonic

    Topshelf Open


    Where: ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands
    Surface: Grass
    Prize money: 410,200 Euros
    : 250

    Top seed: David Ferrer
    Defending champion: David Ferrer


    Draw analysis: Ferrer and Wawrinka do not have terrible draws at the Topshelf Open, but their opening matches could be extremely difficult. The top-seeded Spaniard will begin against accomplished grass-courter Xavier Malisse, who advanced one round at Queen's Club before losing to Juan Martin Del Potro 7-5 in the third. Wawrinka is going up against big-hitting Dutchman Igor Sijsling, who played well on clay and also won two main-draw matches at Queen’s Club before succumbing to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-5, 5-7, 6-3. Ferrer, whose nearest seed is a slumping Marcos Baghdatis, should have no trouble reaching the semis and maybe even the final as long as he gets past Malisse. The case may be similar for Wawrinka, who is on a collision course for the quarterfinals with Jeremy Chardy.


    For several reasons, the match of the first round is Benoit Paire vs. Michael Llodra. They are both playing well, the draw will open up for whoever wins, and—best of all—they do not like each other. The Paire-Llodra winner will be expected to reach at least the semifinals. In the top half of the bracket, Ferrer vs. John Isner would pit an intriguing contrast of styles against each other in the semis. Isner has a good chance to advance that far, but a possible second-rounder against Robin Haase would not be easy.


    First-round upset alert: Michael Llodra over (4) Benoit Paire. These two Frenchmen have already faced each other twice this season. Paire prevailed in three sets on the indoor hard courts of Montpellier before Llodra won 7-6(7), 6-2 in Miami. The more recent meeting featured bad blood right from the start, never improved, and did not end with any kind of handshake or acknowledgement. Reports are that things have improved since then, so anyone hoping for fisticuffs during this one may be disappointed. At the same time, you can be sure Paire and Llodra won’t be going to dinner afterward. Paire has an edge in current form, but grass should favor Llodra and the underdog even played relatively well in his last two clay-court tournaments.


    Hot: David Ferrer, Stanislas Wawrinka, Benoit Paire, Igor Sijsling


    Cold: Marcos Baghdatis, David Goffin, Thiemo De Bakker


    Semifinal predictions: David Ferrer over John Isner and Benoit Paire over Stanislas Wawrinka


    Final: Ferrer over Paire


    Comments and your own predictions are appreciated!


    Comment | 73 comments


Sun 23/06 21:07
Wimbledon full tournament picks: Djokovic vs. Nadal in final

Sun 23/06 16:17
Wimbledon draw analysis: Federer, Nadal in same quarter

Sun 16/06 16:45
Approach Shots: Players prep for Wimbledon

Sun 09/06 19:04
Approach Shots: Murray returns, Federer headlines Halle

Sat 25/05 16:47
2013 French Open picks: Nadal over Federer

Fri 24/05 20:38
French Open draw analysis: Djokovic, Nadal on same side

Thu 23/05 20:25
One-hit wonder list could grow at French Open

Sun 19/05 18:12
Approach Shots: Local flavor to French Open tune-ups

Mon 13/05 04:24
Approach Shots: All hands on deck for Rome Masters

Sun 05/05 05:51
Approach Shots: Federer back for Madrid title defense

Mon 29/04 19:09
Approach Shots: Relative calm before the clay-court storm

Mon 22/04 03:44
Approach Shots: Nadal looking to bounce back from Monte-Carlo loss

Mon 15/04 05:08
Approach Shots: Djokovic, Nadal headline Monte-Carlo Masters

Mon 08/04 00:56
Approach Shots: Houston field loaded for start of clay-court swing

Thu 04/04 22:02
Approach Shots: Djokovic headlines Davis Cup action View all posts

Current ATP-rankings

1. Djokovic 12 500 pts
2. Murray 8 750 pts
3. Federer 8 670 pts
4. Ferrer 6 970 pts
5. Nadal 6 385 pts

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