Wimbledon 2015: Men's Round of 16 preview
It has been a week since the Championships started. After six days of completely enthralling tennis, we now have a condensed draw, where each player nurtures the desire to hold aloft the silverware another week hence. Despite all that the rest do, the top four seeds present a strong picture with the top three being the firm favourites. Here;s a look at the matches that will decide this year’s quarter-finalists.
In the top half, the top two seeded players Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka are still unhurt, youngsters Milos Raonic and Kei Nishikori have bowed out. Now a set of eight players are left standing, ready to battle for the four quarterfinal spots, the two eventual semifinal spot at more importantly the prized final spot.
1. Novak Djokovic vs Kevin Anderson
Head to Head overall: 4-1
Head to Head on grass: 1-0
Novak Djokovic has had another regular first week at Wimbledon, with no major threat, no drama and without the loss of a set. He will face Kevin Anderson on Monday. The lanky South African could shoot some booming serves, but with the game that Djokovic has, it would not be a difficult match to pull through for the Serb. His fourth round is likely to be akin to his first three rounds where he faced little trouble.
Prediction: Novak Djokovic to win in straight sets
2. Marin Cilic vs Denis Kudla
Head to Head: First meeting
There are many things that make Wimbledon a unique tournament. One among them is the recognition of performers at grass court events. The seeding are skewed in their favour. Lower ranked players who are unable to meet the cut-off rankings, but perform well at the Challenger tournaments leading to Wimbledon are presented with Wildcards. Many such entrants have proven the organisers correct.
The last man standing among them is American Denis Kudla. The 22-year-old downed three higher ranked players, including a seeded one, to reach this stage. He will meet the defending US Open Champion Marin Cilic in the next round. Cilic has shown little of what took him to the podium at Flushing Meadows last year ever since his victory. Yet, he has managed to squeeze through the draw, overcoming tightly fought matches to progress this far.
In fact, his previous match against John Isner was played for two days. It would be a great opportunity for the American to pull an upset over a Grand Slam Champion. For Cilic, a win would give him an opportunity to reach his second consecutive quarterfinals at SW19. Cilic gears up for another marathon match.
Prediction: Marin Cilic to win in five sets.
3. Stan Wawrinka vs David Goffin
Head to Head overall: 2-0
Head to Head on grass: First meeting
The French Open Champion, Stan Wawrinka looks to extend his good run of form at the grass-court major too. Having brushed aside any show of resistance until now, he runs into David Goffin in the round of 16. Goffin is another player who is enjoying the best phase in his career. Given that the Swiss is now a two-time major champion and even otherwise, this match should be one for him to win. Goffin could probably pull away a set or two or stretch the sets into decisive breaks. That said, Wawrinka’s inconsistency is a matter to ponder over. Now that he has reached so far unscathed, it might not be difficult to see him to unleashing some of those dreadful backhands and booking a last eight spot for the second consecutive year.
Prediction: Stan Wawrinka to win in four sets
Richard Gasquet faces a tough task against Nick Kyrgios, who defeated him last year at the Wimbledon
4. Richard Gasquet vs Nick Kyrgios
Head to Head overall: 2-1
Head to Head on grass: 0-1
Two of last year’s semifinalists, Grigor Dimitrov and Milos Raonic were ousted in the third round, and their conquerors now face each other in the fourth round. Richard Gasquet and Nick Kyrgios have both crossed this round and will be eyeing a spot in the quarters when they square off on Monday. This could be one of the most unpredictable matches on Monday. Despite both players being in good form, Gasquet could have the extra edge with his experience helping him trump Kyrgios.
Prediction: Richard Gasquet to win in four sets
The bottom half has also had its share of drama during the course of the week. David Ferrer pulled out while Rafael Nadal lost to an unranked player for the fourth straight year. The likes of Feliciano Lopez and Nicolas Mahut failed to impress while favourites Roger Federer and Andy Murray established their class pronouncedly.