Monday, 2 July 2018

Wimbledon preview - men’s singles

Notwithstanding his loss to Borna Coric in the Halle final a week or so ago, Roger Federer must start favourite to defend his eighth Wimbledon title and possibly win a ninth.

Once again the tennis gods have granted Roger the softer half of the draw, and his first match will be hitting practice against Dusan Lajovic of Serbia.

The first seed scheduled to meet Federer is Leonardo Mayer (32) in the third round, but Ivo Karlovic, with his game suited to grass, could intervene and reach that point, but it would be pointless. 

Federer has won 13 of their 14 meetings, with Ivo’s only success coming 10 years ago in Cincinnati.

In fact, Roger has not lost to anyone who he might meet in the third round, apart from Karlovic.

Federer is seeded for a rematch with his Halle conqueror, Borna Coric (16), in the round of sixteen.

In a best of five sets match I believe Coric would fall short of another upset of the Fed Express.  Kevin Anderson (8) is drawn as Roger’s opponent in the quarters and the man he beat in last years final, Marin Cilic (3), is set for battle in the semis.

Cilic has Milos Raonic (13) as a hurdle in his path to the semis when they are likely to meet in the round of sixteen, but beyond that the draw is reasonable for the Croatian. He is in good touch too, coming off a title win at Queens Club over Djokovic.

So from the top half of the draw I am tipping a Federer / Cilic semi final, as per the seedings.

Things are not so calm in the bottom half.

Although Marco Cecchinato (29) is seeded to make the third round, and expected to play Rafa Nadal (2), Mischa Zverev is lurking in the same area of the draw, and coming off his first ATP title in Eastbourne at the weekend, early success at Wimbledon is on the cards.

Rafa should be able to navigate through to the round of sixteen, as too should Novak Djokovic (12), although he has the tougher task.

Djokovic is drawn to face Kyle Edmund (21) in the third round, remembering that Edmund won their last clash in Madrid in May this year, albeit on clay.

Since that loss, Novak has found form, and although losing the Queens Club final, he appears to be in good shape for Wimbledon.

Assuming he manages to find a way past Edmund, Djokovic will likely run into Dominic Thiem (7) then Sascha Zverev (4).

If successful against those young guns, the semi final opponent would be none other than Rafa Nadal.

Nadal will have reached the semi, possibly with wins over two from Argentina - Diego Schwartzman (14) in the round of sixteen, and Juan Martin del Potro (5) in a mouth watering quarter final.

My semi final selections from the bottom half are Djokovic / Nadal.

Not a particularly outrageous prediction for the final four, but I can’t see anyone overcoming these players - challenging hard yes.

I feel that Federer has another Wimbledon in him and that he may just outlast a long Djokovic fight in the final.

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