Wednesday, July 12, 2017

2017 WIMBLEDON: Men's Quarterfinals Preview

Here are my predictions for the men's quarterfinals at the Wimbledon Championships for 2017. Last year I correctly predicted 3 of 4 men's quarterfinals and correctly predicted 3 of 4 women's quarterfinals. I also predicted 4 of 4 this year's women's quarterfinals.

Andy Murray (GBR) [2] vs. Sam Querrey (USA) [24].  The defending champion has looked stronger every round (except for when he faced an on fire Fabio Fognini in the 3rd round and nearly dropped two sets). His draw is actually not too bad, since he plays Sam Querrey, a person he has not lost to in nearly 7 years, instead of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga[12] or Stan Wawrinka[6]. And with Nadal's absence from the draw he will not have to face another member of the Big 4 until the final, which is something no one would expected at the beginning of the tournament. Somehow Murray is finding a way to get to the business ends of these slams even though he is not playing anywhere near his best tennis. Hopefully, he can summon his best when he needs it.  PREDICTION: Murray.

Marin Cilic (CRO) [7] vs.  Rafael Nadal (ESP) [4] Gilles Muller (LUX) [16].The veteran from Luxembourg just had the biggest win of his career, beating the 15-time major champion in a 28-game deciding fifth set where he outhit, outplayed and outlasted Rafael Nadal! There's no doubt he will have a letdwn, the only question is will it matter. Cilic is playing some of his best tennis, reminiscent of the form he displayed in 2014 on his way to claiming his first major in New York City. There's no question that he is good on grass (he has not dropped a set so far) and he is in his 3rd consecutive quarterfinal at the all-England Club. Muller has not beaten Cilic in two meetings, and even lost to him just a few weeks on grass in the semifinals of Queens. I expect a similar result  on Wednesday. PREDICTION: Cilic.

Roger Federer (SUI) [3] vs. Milos Raonic (CAN) [6]. This is a reprise of last year's blockbuster Wimbledon semifinal, which despite Federer's distinct head-to-head advantage (which is now 9-3 but last year was 9-1). This year Federer is in a very different position than he was last year. He has only lost two matches all year (and had a match point in every match he played). Last year, he had barely recovered from a freak knee injury which  is very different from where he is this year. And Raonic is also in a different position. He has not had a very good 2017, and he has a huge number of points to defend since he reached the final here last year. He has been playing as if he has a lot to lose, not like he has a lot to gain. Federer has still not dropped a set in the tournament, and with Nadal out of the tournament I believe he will feel less pressure to succeed.  PREDICTION: Federer.

Novak Djokovic (SRB) [1] vs. Tomas Berdych (CZE) [11]. The head-to-head is overwhelmingly in Novak's favor, an astonishing 25-2 (which includes)12 in a row spanning back to 2013. It's amazing these two have met so often on the tour and pretty surprising that Novak has such a decisive edge. One thing which could raise some doubts is that Berdych has beaten him at Wimbledon before, in 2010 but at this point the match-up is mental and that's unlikely to change in a hurry. PREDICTION: Djokovic.

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