With the first week of Wimbledon over and done with (a fantastic week of tennis, by the way), I preview (and predict) the upcoming men's Round of 16 matches, all to be played on "Manic" Monday.
(1) Novak Djokovic vs Viktor Troicki
After only having dropped one set in the first three rounds, and looking very good so far, Djokovic takes on his compatriot Viktor Troicki. The #2 ranked Serbian player has given Djokovic trouble before, including nearly beating him at the 2010 US Open, but he never seems to be able to get the job done in the end. Expect a straight sets win here for the #1.
Djokovic wins 6-3, 6-4, 6-2.
(3) Roger Federer vs Xavier Malisse
After narrowly escaping defeat on Friday, Roger will be looking to re-assert his dominance and good play over Xavier Malisse, who has played well up to this point. Fed cannot take him lightly, of course, but if history has told us anything, it is that Roger comes out strongly the match after a tough nail-biter the round before. I see it being a tight straight sets win for Fed. Should he win, it will be his 33rd straight quarterfinal.
Federer wins 7-5, 6-4, 6-1
(4) Andy Murray vs (16) Marin Cilic
Andy Murray really benefited from completing his 3rd round match against Marcos Baghdatis on Saturday. If he had not, he would have had to finish his match on Monday, which would give Cilic an extra day to recover from that incredible 5 and a half hour long match he won against Sam Querrey. Having two days off instead of three could be all the difference in the end. Marin does have a Grand Slam win over Murray, though.
Murray wins 6-2, 3-6, 6-2, 7-6(3)
(5) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs (10) Mardy Fish
Fish's run to the 4th round has been inspirational. After coming off problems with his heart and having not played a tournament since April, what he has done is remarkable. Unfortunately, I see the run coming to an end here as he plays Wimbledon semi-finalist Jo-Willy Tsonga. The two played in the 4th round of the US Open last year, which Jo won in 5. I expect another tight match similar to that one.
Tsonga wins 7-5, 4-6, 6-4, 6-7(4) 8-6
(7) David Ferrer vs (9) Juan Martin del Potro
This match is more or less a toss up. Delpo has flown under the radar in the first week but he is playing some great tennis. Ferrer is playing well also. It will be a very tight match, but I see Delpo coming through in the end because I believe he is the better player at the moment.
del Potro wins 5-7, 6-2, 6-4, 6-3.
(18) Richard Gasquet vs (31) Florian Mayer
Richard Gasquet has looked very good so far, but he'll face his toughest opponent yet in Mayer, a decent grass court player in his own right. Overall though, Gasquet has played so well in his first three matches (and took out the #12 seed Almagro), so I see him taking it in 4.
Gasquet wins 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 7-5
(26) Mikhail Youzhny vs Denis Istomin
Youzhny, like del Potro and Gasquet, has been flying under the radar here at Wimbledon once again. He has made the 4th round a number of times (7 I believe), but he has never been able to break through and crack the quarterfinals. Last year he took a set off Federer before his defeat, but with a much lesser player in Istomin on the other side, it looks like he might get through this time.
Youzhny wins 2-6, 6-2, 7-5, 7-6(6)
(27) Philipp Kohlschreiber vs Brian Baker
Brian Baker's story has been inspirational, without a doubt. He is a very talented player, as we have seen through his first three matches. Kohlschreiber is a very decent grass player though, and I cannot see him losing even though Baker will be very motivated, and quite frankly, has nothing to lose. It would be a wonderful story to see the American get to the quarterfinals (after all, last year he was playing in Futures tournaments), but I just cannot see it happening. Sorry Brian.
Kohlschreiber wins 6-4, 3-6, 6-2, 6-4.
I love the second Monday at Wimbledon - there is something very special about having all the matches taking place on the same day, and the absence of play on Sunday builds up the anticipation even more. There are some very good matches on the lineup and I hope we see some superb tennis as sixteen gets cut down to eight.
Enjoy the tennis!