At Roland Garros this year, the top four seeds, Rafael Nadal, of Spain, Novak Djokovic, of Serbia, Roger Federer, of Switzerland and Andy Murray, of Great Britain, all made the Semi-Final stages in as good an example of how seeding is supposed to work as fans could ever witness.
In Wimbledon 2011, a remarkably similar picture has been painted.
At the business end of the 2011 Men’s Singles tournament, Quarter-Final phase, the top four seeds all remain in the hat for the next round. On the afternoon of Wendesday 29th June 2011, these four men will learn whether they are to repeat the French Open Semi-Finals, and face each other once more.
Below, we’ll preview each man’s chances of making it another men’s singles top four final four at Wimbledon 2011.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (12) FRA v Roger Federer (3) SUI – 1pm BST
Frenchman Tsonga always tends to go deep in tournaments, and his playing style suits the grass of Wimbledon. However, in Federer, he meets perhaps the best man ever to walk onto a tennis court. Tsonga has a chance of overturning Federer, but only if he comes to the net more than he has been inclined to date at SW19, and also only if Federer’s level drops slightly below his brilliant best, as it has, on occassion, in the past 18 months or so. Federer has shown more desire, of late, however, which indicates that Tsonga could well meet his match this afternoon.
Tsonga v Federer is the first match on Centre Court today, beginning at 1pm British Summer Time (BST).
Bernard Tomic AUS v Novak Djokovic (2) SRB – 1pm BST
18 year-old Australian, Bernard Tomic, has shown some great ability to inspire Aussie fans to throw their support behind him, but even they must have been surprised as well as delighted at their hero’s performance in the 2011 Wimbledon championships. In Djokovic, Tomic meets as stern a test as he is likely to have faced. Beaten only once this year – by Federer at the French Open Semi-Final – Djokovic possesses real weapons on either flank, as well as a vastly improved serve which should see him through this match today. Don’t discount the young Australian, however: as Boris Becker showed in the 1985 Championship, with youth, sometimes, comes an impetuousness which can lead to immediate success.
Whatever happens today, both Tomic and Djokovic are proving themselves to be the real deal – it is sure to be a battle which reignites at other Grand Slams into the future, adding another drop of spice to an already fascinating recipe.
Tomic v Djokovic takes place on Court Number One at 1pm BST.
Andy Murray (4) GBR v Feliciano Lopez ESP
Home hopeful Andy Murray faces the unseeded Spaniard, Feliciano Lopez in a Centre Court Quarter Final immediately following the Tsonga v Federer match. Expect noise levels to get high whatever the score is, as Brits look for their first home Wimbledon Men’s Singles winner since Fred Perry. In Lopez, Murray meets a seasoned pro, who generally does best at Wimbledon. Soon-to-be 30 year old Lopez has never progressed beyond the Quarter Final stage, despite reaching it twice, and it is anticipated that Murray’s Grand Slam experience and superior grass-court game will win out again this afternoon.
Murry v Lopez takes place on Centre Court after the conclusion of Tsonga v Federer.
Rafael Nadal (1) ESP v Mardy Fish (10) USA
Despite being the Number One Seed and defending Wimbledon Champion, Rafa Nadal has perhaps the most difficult opportunity of any in the top four seeds of making the Semi-Final. Nadal is carrying injury niggles in addition to facing something of a grass court specialist in big serving Mardy Fish. Fish dispatched another big serve-volleyer, Tomas Berdych, en route to this Quarter Final meeting with Nadal, and possesses the shots required to go the distance at Wimbledon. Nadal will need to be at his resilient best to break Fish’s excellent service game. The question is, can his injured ankle stand up to the strain of doing so?
Nadal v Fish takes place on Court Number One following the conclusion of Tomic v Djokovic.
The stage looks set, then, for the top four seeds to once more make it through to the Semi-Finals for the second Grand Slam in succession, though, in tennis, these things rarely, if ever, go exactly to plan. All of today’s Quarters have the potential for upset, particularly with the slight unknown elements in the mix in matches like Tomic v Djokovic and Nadal v Fish.
A fascinating quartet of tennis matches is in store for fans of Men’s Singles this afternoon at the All England club, Wimbledon.