Wednesday, July 04, 2012

2012 Wimbledon: Men's Quarterfinals Preview

Here are my predictions for the women's quarterfinals at the Wimbledon Championships for 2012. Last year I  correctly predicted 3 of 4 men's quarterfinals and correctly predicted 4 of 4 women's quarterfinals.

Novak Djokovic SRB (1) vs. Richard Gasquet FRA (18) Florian Mayer GER (31). The World #1's inevitable march to a mouth-watering semifinal showdown with 6-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer continues. His opponent is a German journeyman who is playing in his first ever major quarterfinal playing the best tennis of his life. Mayer's just happy to be here, and although he has a decent grass court game, he simply does not have the arsenal to match what Djokovic brings to the court. Mayer will be lucky to win even a handful of games. PREDICTION: Djokovic.

Roger Federer SUI (3) vs. Mikhail Youzhny RUS (26). Roger Federer has played Mikhail Youzhny 13 times and never lost a match to the mercurial Russian. Youzhny is a talented grass court player, having reached the round of 16 at Wimbledon seven times in his career, with his first quarterfinal appearance occurring this year. The two have played 5 times on grass, and last year at Wimbledon Youzhny won the first set in a tiebreak but ended up losing to Federer in 4 sets. Objectively, Federer is not playing as well this year as he did last year, as evinced by his Houdini-like escapes in the two previous rounds against Xavier Malisse in 4 sets and Julien Benneteau in 5-sets. Youzhny on the other hand, by definition, is playing better here than he has previously, since he has never advanced this far in the tournament before. This could be a very tough match for Federer, especially with the prospect of another historic semifinal showdown with defending champion Novak Djokovic to look forward to. Youzhny knows that no one expects him to win, but he definitely has the tools and mental fortitude to achieve the upset if Federer does not play well. I do think Federer will get through (who would bet against a 16-time champion on his favorite surface?) but it will be quite difficultPREDICTION: Federer.

David Ferrer ESP (7) vs. Andy Murray GBR (4). This is a repeat of a quarterfinal matchup at the French Open from a few weeks ago where the Spaniard dirt baller demolished his higher ranked British opponent. However, this  match will be at Wimbledon where Ferrer is playing in his 1st ever quarterfinal after having manhandled an opponent a full foot taller than he is while Murray is attempting to reach his 4th consecutive semifinal. This should be the most interesting match of the quarterfinal round; t he two are actually evenly matched in their career head-to-head at 5-all with Ferrer winning all 4 clay court meetings and Murray winning 5 of their 6 hard court clashes. They have never met on grass before, and one would have to give Murray an edge because he has hometown advantage and he has the bigger serve, which grass rewards. But later in the tournament Wimbledon's grass in recent years has been playing more like a clay court, which partially explains Rafael Nadal success here. This year, however, the weather has not cooperated to bake the lawns into something resembling the dirt of Roland Garros. In addition, if it does rain and the roof is closed then an indoor court would also give Murray an advantage, who is on a historic quest to end the decades-long absence of Briton in the finals of Wimbledon. With the Spaniard who had reached his last six Wimbledon finals now missing from the tournament due to an unfortunate 2nd round meeting with a Czech thunderbolt, Murray should be able to ride the hopes of a nation to his date with destiny on the final Sunday. PREDICTIONMurray

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga FRA (5) vs. Philipp Kohlschreiber GER (27).  Germans have been doing well at Wimbledon for decades, with greats like Steffi Graf and Boris Becker etching their names into the record books and memories of tennis fans around the world. Since Graf's last appearance here more than a decade ago German tennis went through a sever drought which appears to be ending. A full one-quarter of all the quarterfinalists in the men's and women's draws were from Deutschland this year (Angelique Kerber, Sabine Lisicki, Florian Mayer and Kohlschreiber)Tsonga has only lost once against Kohlschreiber, and that was several years ago. If a 6-time major Wimbledon champion couldn't win a Wimbledon quarterfinal match against the Frenchman last  year despite being two sets up, what chance does a 1st time Wimbledon quarterfinalist have? Exactly. PREDICTION: Tsonga. 

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