Monday, June 22, 2009

The return of the King (Wimbledon quarterfinal predictions, men's edition)

As the saying goes, the show must go on!

Our Rafael Nadal-less Wimbledon kicks off in a matter of hours. It's a shame because I really thought he was going to make a go of it. The draw's been reshuffled to accommodate his absence, but even if he were there, I was still going with Roger Federer to pick up his sixth title. Andys Murray and Roddick might have other things to say about it, but that's my call!

Anyway, I have to do a little bit of bouncing back after my disastrous French Open quarterfinal predictions, so here's my lineup:

Radek Stepanek (23) vs. Andy Roddick (6): Juan Martin del Potro got shuffled up to Rafa's spot in the draw, but I don't think he's ready to make a mark on the grass yet. Someone has to come out of that part of the draw, so I'm going with Stepanek. Lleyton Hewitt's a threat up there, but I'm just not feeling it with him here. I think Roddick should be in pretty good shape for his quarter, but he has to be wary of Ordina Open champ Ben Becker and always-dangerous Tomas Berdych.

Andy Murray (3) vs. Fernando Gonzalez (10): Murray's supposed to have clear sailing to the finals, according to a lot of folks, and I agree with that. I don't think anyone in his section is particularly worrisome. I'm going with Gonzo as his QF opponent just because I see that section as so weak and unpredictable. Gilles Simon is a nonfactor as far as I'm concerned. Nicolas Kiefer could make a run, especially with being the most accomplished grass-court player in that section, but you never know with him. The whole section's a crapshoot, so I'm putting my stake on Gonzalez.

Marin Cilic (11) vs. Mardy Fish (28): I picked Cilic to go far at the French a few weeks ago (and we see how that turned out!) and I'm going to do it here at Wimbledon, too. Halle champion Tommy Haas, who's really been playing well lately, is around in his section, but I'm going with the rising star in their potential third-round match. I like James Blake to finally make the fourth round here, but he'll also fall to Cilic, I feel. As for Fish, you might be asking yourself, "Dude, what about Novak Djokovic?" I think he's ripe to be upset here and I believe Fish is the one to take advantage of that in the third round. Janko Tipsarevic is lurking in that quarter, but he's someone you never really know what is going to happen.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (9) vs. Roger Federer (2): You know who should be dominating on grass? Ivo Karlovic. However, I just don't think he has the mentality to do well in Slam tennis. That's really why I like Jo-Willy to come out of that section. Federer's Federer. 'Nuff said on that.

For the semis:
Murray over Roddick; Federer over Cilic

For the finals:
Federer over Murray: I know Murray's really eager to win a Slam, but this is Roger's time. Sampras, book your ticket to London and get ready to watch Fed take the Major title record.