Wednesday, July 11, 2018

2018 WIMBLEDON: Men's Quarterfinals Preview (and Predictions)

Here are my predictions for the men's quarterfinals at the Wimbledon Championships for 2018. Last year I correctly predicted 2 of 4 men's quarterfinals and correctly predicted 4 of 4 women's quarterfinals. I also predicted this year's women's quarterfinals.

Roger Federer (SUI) [1] vs. Kevin Anderson (RSA) [8].  The defending champion has looked nearly flawless so far. He has not dropped his service in any match and has faced less than a handful of breakpoints in four matches. However, those  breakpoints did all come in his last match against Adrian Mannarino so maybe he is getting more vulnerable? One thing that may take him off his stride against Anderson will be the fact that he is playing on Court 1, not his beloved Centre Court. But I expect this will actually redound to his favor because the crowd will be so appreciative to be getting a Federer match I suspect it will be like a home Davis Cup venue in favor of the Swiss. The fact that he is playing a big server is somewhat problematic, but Federer has taken dow big servers before, especially when they have movement issues. However despite the fact that Federer is 4-0 against Anderson I suspect this match will be tighter than expected and  I would not be surprised if the South African wins a set in his very first major quarterfinal at Wimbledon. Despite playing the best grass court player of all time, I believe Anderson has some confidence earned from his 2017 US Open final run to believe he at least has a chance of winning the match and he does. But I still think that he won't  PREDICTION: Federer.

Milos Raonic (CAN) [13] vs. John Isner (USA) [9].Somewhat surprisingly, the older Isner has a 3-1 head-to-head advantage on Raonic. Unsurprisingly, 7 of 9 sets the two have played so far have gone to tiebreaks, with Isner leading 4-3. Raonic has better pedigree at the all-England Club, having reached the 2016 Wimbledon final (losing to Murray but beating Federer in the semifinals) while Isner is playing in his first Wimbledon quarterfinal and only the second in his career while Raonic is in his 8th. However, at age 33 Isner is playing some of his best tennis, having won his first ATP Masters shield in April in Miami and has been demonstrating a more aggressive style of play that his coaches have been urging for years. This will certainly not be the most scintillating of matches, but one of of these players will be reaching a Wimbledon major semifinal. PREDICTION: Isner.

Kei Nishikori (JPN) [24] vs. Novak Djokovic (SRB) [12]. It's hard to believe that just two years ago, Djokovic had just completed the Nole slam, having won 4 consecutive slams and he bestrode the tennis world like a Collossus, with a gaudy haul of 12 major titles before the age of 30. However, it was here at Wimbledon where he suffered a stunning upset to Sam Querrey in the third round as the defending champion. Remember, Djokovic has won this tournament three times (2011, 2014, 2015) and it looks like he is starting to get his groove back after a long injury break from the game. Luckily for him, he plays someone who he has an excellent head-to-head of 13-2 although of course one of those losses came famously in the 2014 US Open semifinal. Nishikori is playing in his first Wimbledon quarterfinal and he just looks to me that he is happy with that result and is not hungry to go further, while Djokovic is very motivated to return to his pedestal at the top of men's tennis. PREDICTION: Djokovic.

Rafael Nadal (ESP) [2] vs. Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG) [5]. The head-to-head is strongly in Nadal's favor at 10-5 which includes 2 grass courts win. Many people have been saying Del Potro has a good chance of beating Nadal but they said that at the US Open after he beat Federer in the quarterfinal and the Spaniard just rolled over the big Argentine on his way to his third US Open title. Del Potro did not look mentally tough in his match against Gilles Simon, needing 5 match points and an extra day to dispatch the tricky Frenchman to reach his first Wimbledon quarterfinal since 2011. Nadal is playing exceptional tennis and is in his first quarterfinal here since 2011 as well. It's amazing that a decade after they played the Greatest Match of all Time here in 2008, Federer and Nadal are just two matches away from a reprise. PREDICTION: Nadal.

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