The Men’s draw is divided into four quarters – with the top four seeds in each of them. Here are our predictions of who will make the last 8—the quarterfinals – at Wimbledon 2014, by diving each quarter into two halves.
Novak Djokovic is the name that stands out. He won’t have it easy though. He could face Stephanek (who beat Murray a few weeks ago at Queens) in the second round, Simon in the third round and Frenchman Tsonga – the dark horse as always on these quicker courts – in the fourth round. Still, the Serb should see himself through without a major scare, and will be battle-fit and ready in the quarters.
The second half of his quarter has Tomas Berdych, who is always a favorite to reach the last 8. But he is vulnerable in the early rounds, and will be wary after Verdasco crashed out on the first day in an upset. He could face Tomic in the second round and Cilic in the third, any of who can beat him on their day. They are inconsistent players who have never fulfilled their promise, but this could be their year. Gulbis is the other name, fresh from a semifinal appearance at Roland Garros. This part is open, and I’m putting my money on Berdych – who is an ex-finalist.
Andy Murray is most vulnerable at this stage of his career, but has the easiest draw to reach the quarters. His only minor challenge is Fognini – seeded at 19. This is exactly the tonic he needed before taking on the big guns in the last 8.
The other half of this quarter is more interesting and most open with Ferrer, Dimitrov, Dolgopolov, Seppi and Baghdatis fighting it out. Despite Ferrer’s doggedness, I’m going to put my money on rising star Grigor Dimitrov – fresh from his first grass court title and on the verge of breaking into the top 10.
Prediction: Murray v/s Dimitrov
Australian Open Champ Stan Wawrinka is the favorite to reach one side of this quarter, with his biggest opponent being perhaps Isner in the fourth round. The big-serving American is erratic on grass, and holds the record for the longest match ever played three years ago here, but has to overcome Spaniard Feliciano Lopez before he reaches Wawrinka.
Roger Federer will, in all probability, face his compatriot in an all-Swiss quarterfinal. He will have to overcome familiar foes like Hewitt or Robredo on the way, but on grass, Federer still retains some of that old-school magic that got him 7 Wimbledon titles – the last in 2012. An upset here could mean that he may not play this tournament again, reminiscent of Sampras back in 2002.
Prediction: Wawrinka v/s Federer
Canadian star Milos Raonic is favorite to reach the quarters, but he will face Asian hope Nishikori in the fourth round, in what could be the most unpredictable match of the tournament.
Nadal is in the other half of this quarter, and is heavily favored to reach the last 8, but one must remember that he hasn’t gone past the second round in his last two attempts. He faces his 2012 conqueror Rosol in the second round here again, after which he could face Karolovic and then Gasquet in the 4th round. It won’t be easy and he usually is spent by the time he plays Wimbledon – as demonstrated by his tame loss at Queens – but will be raring to go after his 14th Grand Slam title in Paris. A French-Wimbledon double at this stage of his career could seal him as the best of the generation, and the debate about Federer OR Nadal could be thrown wide open again.
Prediction: Raonic v/s Nadal