Saturday, June 20, 2009

Wimbledon: Men's Preview

Five-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer begins his quest to break Pete Sampras' record of 14 Grand Slam wins after tying Sampras a few weeks ago when he won his first French Open title. With the defending champion and world no. 1 Rafael Nadal withdrawing from the tournament, Federer has become the default frontrunner for the win just as he was when Nadal loss early at the French Open.

Federer is in the same side of the draw as 4th seed Novak Djokovic who lost last year in the second round. But before Federer gets a chance to meet Djokovic, he might have to get through Phillip Kohlschreiber in the third round and then Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or Fernando Verdasco in the quarterfinals. But in the twist of fate, Federer is slated to have a rematch with fellow French Open finalist Robin Soderling in the same round that Soderling took out Nadal at the French Open.

Djokovic could meet fellow Serbian Janko Tipsarevic or American Mardy Fish in the third round. He can meet James Blake, Marin Cilic, or more likely Halle champion Tommy Haas in the quarterfinals. Haas recently defeated Djokovic at Halle just a few short weeks ago.

On the other side of the draw, the two highest seed are 3rd seed Andy Murray and 5th seed Juan Martin Del Potro who took Nadal's spot when he withdrew. After a tought test of Arnaud Clement in the first round, Del Potro will meet the winner of Lleyton Hewitt/Robby Ginepri in the second round. Radek Stepanek or David Ferrer loom in the fourth round with Nikolay Davydenko or 6th seed Andy Roddick slated to meet him in the quarterfinals. These players were in the same quarters as Nadal so most of them are probably relieved, especially Roddick who now has his best chance to get that elusive second Grand Slam title.

Murray are many people's pick to win after Federer. He recently won a grass court tournament, his first, and he's going into Wimbledon with raucous home support and lots and lots of confidence. He could meet unseeded Ernests Gulbis in the second round, but then it should be easy until the fourth round where he is slated to meet either Stan Wawrinka or soon-to-be-retired Marat Safin. 10th seed Fernado Gonzalez, 7th seed Gilles Simon, or perhaps unseeded Mikhal Youzhny await in the quarterfinals.

Roger Federer d. Tommy Haas
Andy Murray d. Andy Roddick

Roger Federer d. Andy Murray

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