For the second year in a row, Roger Federer is on course to equalize Pete Sampras’ record of seven Wimbledon titles. Defending champion Rafael Nadal is also through to the second week as he goes for his third French Open-Wimbledon duo. While Novak Djokovic, the hottest player this season, is in great form through three matches.
The world’s top three players are still the ones to beat heading into the round of 16 while world number four and hometown pick Andy Murray is also alive with an outside chance. Here’s a review of the past few days and a look at the rest of the tournament.
Federer has looked superb through the first three rounds of play. The Swiss dominated his third round match against a less than 100% David Nalbandian who’s had his number previously.
In the fourth round, Federer takes on Mikhail Youzhny. Federer has won all ten of their prior meetings and the Russian has never been beyond the round of 16 at this event.
David Ferrer tied his best showing at the All England Club by reaching the round of 16 and will face Jo-Wilfried Tsonga who was a quarterfinalist last year. The winner of that contest will probably battle Federer in the quarterfinals.
After straight sets triumphs his initial two matches, Djokovic had to bear down against Marcos Baghdatis to move on in four in the third round. On Monday, Djokovic meets Michael Llodra in the fourth round. Although Llodra is sensational on grass, he should be no match for Djokovic.
Eighteen year old Australian qualifier Bernard Tomic is the unforeseen name in the second week. In the first round, Tomic took down veteran Nikolay Davydenko. Next, he erased a 2 set to love deficit to topple another veteran Igor Andreev.
In the third round, Tomic stunned an ailing Robin Soderling in straight sets. The teenager clashes with veteran Xavier Malisse in the round of 16. The one left standing will probably see Djokovic in the quarterfinals. Consequently, a Djokovic-Federer semifinal seems a done deal.
Although Nadal was pushed his first three rounds, the Spaniard still dispatched his opponents in three sets. Juan Martin Del Potro was also tested in his second and third round matches by Olivier Rochus and Gilles Simon respectively but came through. As a result, the anticipated duel between Nadal and Del Potro will occur in the round of 16.
Since Del Potro’s return from wrist surgery, the two only tussled once at Indian Wells. Del Potro has improved considerably since that meeting. Yet, with his previous success on this surface, Nadal will squeak by.
With three time Wimbledon finalist Andy Roddick’s shocking exit in the third round to Feliciano Lopez, Mardy Fish is the sole surviving American. In his maiden fourth round showing at the All England Club, Fish collides with 2010 runner up Tomas Berdych.
Berdych and Fish have never played. Considering his 2010 breakthrough, Berdych has underachieved this year. Therefore, Fish has a tremendous opportunity to cinch his primary quarterfinal at Wimbledon where he will stare at either Nadal or Del Potro.
Twice a quarterfinalist at Wimbledon, Lopez encounters Lukasz Kubot in the round of 16. The 29 year old qualifier in his second main draw at this tournament ousted Arnaud Clement, then Ivo Karlovic and subsequently upended Gael Monfils in the third round.
With Murray’s erratic performance so far, his fourth round rival Richard Gasquet should be able to capitalize. However, twice, Roland Garros in 2010 and Wimbledon in 2008, Gasquet blew a 2 set to 0 lead against the Brit. That is a gargantuan psychological hurdle for Gasquet to overcome. As such, Murray should make it to the quarterfinals.
Murray prevailed in all four meetings against Lopez and appears to have a comfortable road to the semifinals. The question is whether Nadal or Del Potro will be his adversary.
Similar to the French Open, the top four players have a good chance of colliding in the semifinals. With Federer ending Djokovic’s perfect season, the latter will be looking for revenge. Djokovic is hungry for this distinctive prize which can work in his favor or his detriment.
On the other hand, Federer has the pressure of wanting to make history. The same applies to Murray with his nation hoping to claim its home trophy for the first time since 1936. Nadal is playing with fewer expectations which sets up the perfect scenario for him walking away with the championship for the second straight year.