The wild and unexpected outcomes of the opening matches at Wimbledon have narrowed the men’s field from 128 player’s to eight after eight days of competition. Shocking upsets in the early rounds eliminated Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, but five of the remaining eight players are ranked in the top ten, giving Wimbledon a chance to salvage some normalcy. With the quarterfinals set to play July 3, here is a look at the four matchups.
#1 Novak Djokovic (SRB) vs. #7 Tomáš Berdych (CZE)
Last year, Djokovic entered Wimbledon as the number one seed and lost to eventual champion Roger Federer in the semifinals. In 2011, Djokovic won the tournament. For the third straight year, Djokovic is the odds-on favorite to take home one of tennis’s most prestigious honors for the second time in his career. In his way is Tomáš Berdych who has had an impressive run through Wimbledon thus far. He has won all four of his matches with ease, losing just two sets in total. However, his highest-ranked opponent has been Kevin Anderson, at 23rd, who was able to win the first set during their third round matchup. Djokovic has yet to drop a single set and has only been pushed to set tiebreakers twice. Djokovic is playing great right now and could make quick work of Berdych tomorrow. After all, Djokovic has beaten Berdych 13 times in 15 total matches.
#4 David Ferrer (ESP) vs. #8 Juan Martín del Potro (ARG)
The five-foot-nine Ferrer played near-perfect tennis in the French Open in early June, only to lose to compatriot Rafael Nadal in the finals. A month ago he advanced by four opponents without dropping a single set to reach the French Open finals. In Wimbledon, it’s been a struggle the entire way just to reach the quarterfinals. Ferrer lost a first round set to Martín Alund, ranked #101. He lost a second round set to Roberto Bautista-Agut, ranked #60, as well as being pushed to a set tiebreaker. In the third and fourth rounds, Ferrer lost three total sets and was pushed to four set tiebreakers against lesser opponents in Alexandr Dolgopolov in the third round, ranked #24 and Ivan Dodig in the fourth round, ranked #49. Ferrer’s opponent has played one of the best tournaments of anyone so far. Del Potro has yet to drop a set in the first four rounds and has only suffered the inconvenience of three set tiebreakers. With Del Potro playing his best and Ferrer seemingly struggling, there could be yet another Wimbledon upset here.
#130 Łukasz Kubot (POL) vs. #22 Jerzy Janowicz (POL)
This matchup features the shocking run of 130th ranked Łukasz Kubot to the quarterfinals. Kubot advanced through the first three rounds without dropping a set, albeit in the second round he won via walkover against Steve Darcis who forfeited due to a bad right shoulder. In the fourth round, after defeating #27 ranked Benoît Paire of France in three sets, Kubot was pushed to the brink of elimination by #111 ranked Adrian Mannarino of France but was able to come back in the fourth and fifth sets to continue his shocking run at Wimbledon. But tomorrow, he will face fellow countryman Jerzy Janowicz who has had a similar ride through the first four rounds. Janowicz’s second round opponent retired after two sets, giving him an easy victory, and Janowicz faced his first struggle in the fourth round like Kubot. It took five sets and a tiebreaker for Janowicz to sneak past #37 ranked Jürgen Melzer of Austria. These two players, Kubot and Janowicz, will each have a chance at the honor to become the first Polish man to reach a Grand Slam semi-final. Look for Janowicz to be the one ending Kubot’s improbable run.
#2 Andy Murray (GBR) vs. #54 Fernando Verdasco (ESP)
About a month ago, Murray was dropping out of the French Open with a back injury. But the back problem seems to be a thing of the past now. He has advanced to the quarterfinals with four clean sets and only one set tiebreaker. The 26-year-old Scottish player is no stranger to Wimbledon, having reached the finals in 2012 where he lost to Roger Federer after coming out strong and winning the opening set. Murray has already become Great Britain’s finest player in ages; his 2012 U.S. Open win was the first Grand Slam tournament victory by a British man since 1936. Needless to stay, there is a lot of pressure on Murray to advance to the finals again in front of all the expected rallying fans, but they’ll likely want victory this time. Fernando Verdasco represents Spain, along with Ferrer, as the two who shockingly survived past Nadal. Verdasco played poorly in the first two rounds, dropping his opening set and being pushed to several difficult set tiebreakers early, but he has turned things around in the third and fourth rounds with two clean sets in a row. Murray will be his toughest opponent yet, and Verdasco won’t likely succeed in giving Wimbledon another shocking outcome.
The Men’s singles semifinals in this years Wimbledon will have some sort of semblance of normalcy, we predict. Djokovic and Del Potro are likely to square off after advancing tomorrow and Djokovic should run away with it all the way to the finals. And Andy Murray looks to have an easy path to consecutive Wimbledon finals appearances. So after all of the surprising outcomes that have littered Wimbledon thus far, we’re putting our money on the #1 and #2 ranked players to battle for the 2013 Wimbledon title.