Friday, June 24, 2016

Wimbledon 2016 Preview

Wimbledon is right around the corner and while both brackets have their definite favorites, there is plenty of room for grass court specialists and other hot players to pull some upsets and go very deep in this tournament as the second tier of players look very vulnerable.


Only 3 men have contested the final the past 3 years, and they are the top 3 seeds this year.  One of those men, Federer, has been injured much of the year and was beaten on grass this year by Thiem and Zverev, so I would be surprised to seem him seriously contend for the title, although it wouldn't be a shock to see him reach the semis.

The other two, Djokovic and Murray, have contested the past two major finals, with Djokovic winning both, completing the Career Grand Slam in the process, bagging his 12th major altogether, and by the way, he now holds all 4 titles, in case you haven't heard.  I feel like Djokovic may be in for a minor letdown after all that he accomplished at Roland Garros and Murray goes deep at Wimbledon every year.  I feel like a Djokovic/Murray is almost a given, and despite Murray's struggles recently against Djokovic, he did beat the Serb to win both his majors, and he has Lendl is his corner again.  I certainly wouldn't be shocked for Djokovic to his 5th Wimbledon and 5th straight major, but I think Murray will pull it out this year for his home fans, against a slightly less motivated Djokovic.

That really leaves this discussion to the merits of any potential semifinalists.  Federer got a nice draw and it's certainly conceivable he'll advance to play Djokovic, but at this point no one would be surprised to him lose to say Monfils in the 4th round.  The Wawrinka quarter is wide open especially because it has Thiem at the top, but also Berdych, who seems to have avoided news this entire year, Zverev, and Tomic, who been to the quarters here before, albeit 5 years ago.  There's plenty more questions than answers regarding other high seeds Gasquet (at 7?), Nishikori, and even Raonic, so there's opportunity for other players to reach the quarters.  Kyrgios is unfortunate to have been drawn near Murray.  Cilic, Karlovic, Anderson, and Goffin are among those who I feel have a good shot at a quarterfinal.

I feel like this is setting up to be a real disappointment for Americans.  Isner had a poor grass season although he did reach the 4th round in Paris, Querrey is in decent form but near Djokovic, and Sock has been underwhelming.  Johnson has a nice draw with Jaziri but then possibly Monfils, and you wonder if he'll be tired after his exploits in Nottingham.  Fritz has drawn Wawrinka in round 1.


50 weeks ago Serena had won Wimbledon and held all four majors.  Now she is a loss this fortnight away from holding none.  Can she hold it together at the end at this tournament and with the job?  Again, the volatility among the other top players benefits her, but she's ran into in form Kerber and Muguruza in Australia and France and lost. That could be the case again.  However, I do think she'll find a way to get it done this time and tie Graf's record.

Again, the other top women have their issues and few can relied upon to absolutely go deep.  Muguruza made the final last year but just won Roland Garros so her mind will likely be elsewhere.  She just lost in the first round in Mallorca.  Azarenka has pulled out, Radwanska has been up and down this grass court season, Kvitova has not been good this year, Kerber is maybe a contender?  My commentary would be similar for almost any woman in the top 25.  In case you're wondering, the grass court winners this year have been Keys, Pliskova, Garcia, and Vandeweghe.  Maybe that's where you look to find some quarterfinalists?  Certainly possible, especially for the 2 American women as they were both in the quarters last year and both have decent draws (Vinci and Halep nearby).  Now we're forgetting about a certain 5-time champion, and Venus has a nice draw as well (unless the Kasatkina we saw in the spring reemerges) and some are predicting a sisters final.  I think it's possible but just when you think Venus will do something she goes out meekly in round 1 or 2.

This could be another crazy tournament for the women but a fun one, as there are so many middling players who can catch fire and beat someone.  And for an American fan, I think it's very possible to see 4 Americans in the quarters.  There will certainly be some breakthroughs as there are 18 Yanks in the draw including qualifier Boserup, making her slam debut at age 24, and Duval after battling back from cancer.  One first round match to watch is grass courter Riske against out of form Vinci.

2015 Results

Djokovic def. Federer
SF - Murray, Gasquet
QF - Wawrinka, Cilic, Simon, Pospisil

Serena def. Muguruza
SF - Sharapova, Radwanska
QF - Azarenka (w/d), Keys, Bacsinszky, Vandeweghe

Former champions in the draw:
-Federer, Djokovic, Murray
-Venus, Serena, Kvitova

Former junior champions in the draw:
-Federer, Mahut, Monfils, Chardy, Young, Dimitrov, Kuznetsov, Saville
-Flipkens, Bondarenko, A.Radwanska, Wozniacki, Robson, Kr.Pliskova, Bouchard, Bencic, Ostapenko

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