Friday, June 20, 2014

2014 WIMBLEDON: The Draw Is Released: Nadal-Federer, Murray-Djokovic Semis Possible

The 2014 Wimbledon Championships start on Monday and the draw was released today. Wimbledon uses a seeding system which rewards results on grass, so even though he is ranked World #2, Novak Djokovic is seeded #1 (since he made the final last year, something #2 seed and World #1 Rafael Nadal has not done since 2011). If he thought winning the Wimbledon title was hard, how will #3 seed Andy Murray defend it, especially since he has not won a tournament since and after his break after surgery, has not even reached a final this year. And there's still 32-year-old 7-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer, playing quite well this year, and Raja is usually up to bringing his best to the grass courts (last year's 2nd round upset notwithstanding). The bad news for Federer is that he is in Nadal's half of the draw and he has not beaten Nadal in a major tournament in over 5 years, including 3 straight losses on the hard courts of Australia. Of course, the last time they played in 2008 Nadal won what most people call the "greatest tennis match of all time." Nadal actually likes the grass and the 5 times he played this tournament from 2006 to 2011 he reached 5 consecutive finals in a row, but only won 2 titles.

However, will Nadal even reach the final this year? He just won his 9th French Open title and has 14 majors now, but he lost in the first round in 2013 (to Steve Darcis) and in the 2nd round in 2012 (to Lukas Rosol). He also last week in his 1st grass court match to Dustin Brown so his confidence on the surface can not be high. Nadal has  a tricky draw overall starting with lefty Martin Klizan and then could face a rematch with Rosol in round 2 and after that Ivo Karlovic looms. Milos Raonic or Kei Nishikori are also possible threats. Federer has a much kinder draw with only his 2nd round match with Julian Benneteau (who came within 2 points of beating him in 2012) potentially causing any agitation. Jerzy Janowicz and Stan Wawrinka are in his half of the draw but both are slumping this year. Djokovic has an okay draw, although he faces always-dangerous-on-grass Radek Stepanek in Round 2 and possibly Jo-Wilfried Tsonga later, but the Frenchman would do well to reach the 4th round with Nole. Ogf the Top 4, Murray was blessed with easiest draw, since the only other top seed in his half of the draw is David Ferrer who is not at 100% fitness right now. I believe Murray will repeat in the final, and I suspect Federer or perhaps someone surprising will face him there (possibly Raonic or Nishikori), but I would not be surprised if it is Nadal.

1 comment:

carter said...

Interestingly you discuss Andy, Rafa & Raja regarding their chances on reaching the semis, not Novak's.
To me, this is Novak's tournament to lose.
And none of the draws are all that tough for those 4 players. For Rafa not to reach the semis, he has to play down to the last 3 years, which he has been capable of, yet I suspect only Radek to really give him a challenge until then. The most unlikely of the 4 might be Federer of all people!


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