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Wimbledon Day 9: Men's quarterfinal preview

Arvind Sriram
SENIOR ANALYST
Preview
720   //    08 Jul 2015, 14:32 IST

After a hectic eight days of blockbuster tennis, we have finally reached the business end of the tournament.

Day 9 of the Wimbledon Championships features several potentially entertaining clashes featuring all of the world’s top four players. Here is a preview of the men’s quarterfinals to be held today:

1. Andy Murray vs Vasek Pospisil

Murray playing Croatian Ivo Karlovic at Wimbledon 2015

First up on Centre Court, Murray will be looking to extend his winning record over the young Canadian to 4-0. In fact, in their three previous meetings, Pospisil has ben unable to even manage a set.

Murray has been in fine form this entire tournament barring the occasional loss in concentration which has been a feature of his game since his emergence as a powerhouse in men’s tennis. One of the best returners on tour, Murray effectively neutralized the Ivo Karlovic serve and would be expected to do so again tomorrow.

Vasek Pospisil, however, is not to be underestimated. After accounting for Fabio Fognini in the second round, the Candian has been on the right side of two five-set accounters. Fighting back from 2 sets to 1 down against British hopeful James Ward, Pospisil then went a step further and rallied from 2 sets to love down against Viktor Troicki to book his place in his first ever grand slam quarter-final.

Considered something of a doubles specialist after his win at Wimbledon last year along with Jack Sock, Pospisil will be keen to prove he is no one trick pony. But a lot will hinge on the Canadian’s fitness and recovery after having played 10 sets of tennis just 1 day before.

Prediction: Murray to win in straight sets

?2. Novak Djokovic vs Marin Cilic 

Djokovic celebrates his win over Kevin Anderson

Following Murray onto Centre Court will be World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, who will consider himself slightly lucky to still be in the tournament after rallying from 2 sets to love down to beat hard-hitting Kevin Anderson. The bookies’ favourite for the tournament, Djokovic finds in his path a 6 foot 6 giant in the form of Marin Cilic.

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Cilic, the reigning US Open champion, has finally regained top form after a few months out with a shoulder problem. His serve is firing on all cylinders and his confidence is high, after having come through two very tight five-set wins. Djokovic, however, boasts a remarkable 12-0 head-to-head record over the Croat and will use this to his advantage as he guns for a second successive Wimbledon crown, his third in all.

Cilic will focus on the fact that Anderson, who possesses a very similar arsenal to the Croat, pushed Djokovic almost to breaking point. The Djoker has himself admitted that he is not playing his best tennis, but managed to produce it just at the right moment in his previous round. He will hope for a much easier encounter against Cilic, but if the Croat comes out all guns blazing and is aggressive from the get go, a major upset could be on the cards.

Prediction: Djokovic to win in 4 sets

?3. Roger Federer vs Gilles Simon

Federer strikes a forehand during his match against Groth

It is not often that Federer is forced to ply his trade off Centre Court, but this will be one of those occasions. Court 1 fans, though, can expect a treat. Federer has looked in remarkable form this entire grasscourt season.

Building on a win at Halle, he has carried that momentum into the Championships and has looked completely unstoppable. Roberto Bautista Agut was severely dealt with in the 4th round and now Federer has his sights firmly set on Simon.

The Frenchman is in good nick himself, having effectively disposed of countryman Gael Monfils before delivering a hiding to the higher-ranked Tomas Berdych. Not many are giving the Frenchman much of a chance in the build up to this match, but Simon will draw on the fact that he has beaten the Swiss Express twice in the past.

Not possessed of the flair of a Monfils or the power of Berdych, Simon relies on consistency and grit which he will need plenty of if he is to stand any chance of keeping up with Federer.

Prediction: Federer to win in 3 sets

4. Stan Wawrinka vs Richard Gasquet

Gasquet reaches for a forehand in his match against Dimitrov

It is the battle of the two best backhands in the sport. Wawrinka has carried his stunning French Open form onto the grass and looks eager to add to his tally of Grand Slams. Currently the only man not to have dropped a set in the entire tournament, Wawrinka has been striking the ball as firmly as ever. This is all the more surprising considering grass is his least favourite surface. 

Gasquet, however, will look to play spoilsport to Wawrinka’s plans of a third Major title. After disposing of the underperforming Grigor Dimitrov comfortably, he raised his level to deal with the volatile Australian Nick Kyrgios, who beat him the previous year. His backhand has been working like a charm.

Gasquet has the game to take down the Swiss, and will be looking to cause a major upset. Their head-to-head, locked at 1-1, could be a sign of things to come. 

Prediction: Wawrinka to win in 4 sets

For exact order of play and timings click here.

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