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10sBalls Shares Ricky The “Dimonators” Wimbledon 2017 Draw Analysis


Roger Federer is the odds-on favorite to win his eighth Wimbledon title, but it is not because of any sort of favorable draw. Rather, Federer is already a seven-time champion in SW19 and he is 24-2 this year with a quartet of titles that include the Australian Open, Indian Wells, and Miami. But Federer may have to go up against either Grigor Dimitrov or John Isner in round four before a potential quarterfinal showdown with Milos Raonic.

The Swiss is on a collision course for the semifinals with Novak Djokovic, who could meet Juan Martin Del Potro as early as the last 32. Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray, meanwhile, headline the other side of the draw.

Murray’s quarter

There is one lucky loser in the main draw at the moment, and Murray is playing him. But a date with Alexander Bublik is just about where the good news ends for the top-seeded Scot. Dustin Brown looms large as an intriguing second-round foe, while Murray could also run into Nick Kyrgios in the last 16 and either Stan Wawrinka or Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the quarters. That’s a tough road even at 100 percent—and the world No. 1 does not appear to be 100 percent from a physical standpoint these days.

A motley crew of characters can be found in this section of the bracket, led by home hope Murray, Tsonga, Kyrgios, Brown, Fabio Fognini, Benoit Paire, Jerzy Janowicz, and the retiring Tommy Haas. Sam Querrey, the man who stunned Djokovic last summer at the All-England Club, is nearer to Tsonga in the draw this time. Kyrgios vs. Paire is a possible second-round collision and what could be the final event of Haas’ career may see him meet Wawrinka in round two.

Best first-round matchup — (31) Fernando Verdasco vs. Kevin Anderson
Best potential second-round matchup – (5) Stan Wawrinka vs. Tommy Haas
Best potential third-round matchup – (12) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs. (24) Sam Querrey

Nadal’s quarter

On paper, Nadal’s quarter is not a difficult one. Three potential adversaries who could give problems to the reigning French Open champ include ‘s-Hertogenbosch champion Gilles Muller, ‘s-Hertogenbosch finalist Ivo Karlovic, and 2014 U.S. Open winnerMarin Cilic. Muller and Karlovic will likely square off again in the third round, with the winner potentially to spar with Nadal on manic Monday. Cilic, who lost a heartbreaker in the Queen’s Club final to Feliciano Lopez, should not have too much trouble making a return trip to the Wimbledon quarterfinals.

But Nadal first has to make it to week two in order to face either Muller or Karlovic. After surely bulldozing a rusty John Millman, things could get tougher in round two against an in-form Donald Young. Also playing stellar tennis in 2017 is Karen Khachanov, who could run into either Nadal or Young in the third round. But Khachanov is unproven on grass and seemingly prefers a slower, higher-bouncing surface that gives him time to set up for his forehand and hit balls in his strike zone. Kei Nishikori, on course to clash with Cilic in round four, saw his physical problems continue when he retired against Khachanov in Halle because of a hip injury.

Best first-round matchup — (7) Marin Cilic vs. Philipp Kohlschreiber
Best potential second-round matchup – (9) Kei Nishikori vs. (Q) Sergiy Stakhovsky
Best potential third-round matchup – (16) Gilles Muller vs. (21) Ivo Karlovic

Federer’s quarter

It really should not matter whom Federer faces throughout this fortnight in London; he will be a considerable favorite against anyone with the misfortune of facing him. That being said, the 35-year-old may have to dodge bullets as he dances his way through the draw. Initial foe Alexandr Dolgopolov is one of the most talented unseeded players in the field of 128, potential third-round opponents Tomic and Mischa Zverev are strong on grass, either Dimitrov or Isner would present some second-week difficulty, and Raonic beat Federer last summer at the All-England Club.

Of course, this is a much different Federer. Although the 18-time major champion lost his 2017 grass-court debut to Haas after missing the entire clay-court swing, he erased any concerns by securing the Halle title—complete with a straight-set demolition of Alexander Zverev in the championship match. No one else in this quarter (not Raonic, not Dimitrov, not Isner, and neither Zverev brother) is in the kind of form that suggests an upset of Federer is in the cards.

Best first-round matchup — (23) John Isner vs. (Q) Taylor Fritz
Best potential second-round matchup – (13) Grigor Dimitrov vs. Marcos Baghdatis
Best potential third-round matchup – (10) Alexander Zverev vs. (17) Jack Sock

Djokovic’s quarter

A recent champ in Eastbourne, Djokovic appears to have two roadblocks standing in his way of the Wimbledon semis. A big one—literally—will likely come in the third round, just as it did last year when Querrey sent the then-world No. 1 and title favorite packing. This time it would be Del Potro, who should coast through two matches against Kokkinakis and then either Victor Estrella Burgos or Ernests Gulbis. If Djokovic gets past Del Potro, the test two days later could come in the form of Lopez. The veteran Spaniard’s Queen’s Club success marked the third grass-court title of his career and he is an outstanding 32-15 lifetime at Wimbledon with three quarterfinal showings.

Djokovic once again finds himself in the same quarter of a slam bracket as Thiem, but the scenario is a much different one from what transpired at the French Open. Another Thiem over Djokovic upset is simply not happening on the green stuff, and it would be shocking if the Austrian even makes it to the quarters. Instead, Djokovic should anticipate a quarterfinal date with either Tomas Berdych, Richard Gasquet, or Vasek Pospisil.

Best first-round matchup — (8) Dominic Thiem vs. Vasek Pospisil
Best potential second-round matchup – (15) Gael Monfils vs. Kyle Edmund
Best potential third-round matchup – (2) Novak Djokovic vs. (29) Juan Martin Del Potro

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.