Mardy Fish vs Rafael Nadal
Mardy Fish played one of the best matches of his life, taking out Tomas Berdych in straight sets and taking the World #8 ranking (at least) in the process. Berdych had been playing like one of the favorites until this match but Fish was just too solid for Berdych to hit through. Fish took the first tiebreak and found a way to break in each of the last two sets and rode those out to victory. Fish’s serve has been almost impenetrable all tournament. He has been broken only once and has only faced an staggeringly-low 10 break points in his four matches this tournament. He will need to serve that well to have a chance against , but if he does he may be ready to shock the world and reach his first-ever Grand Slam semifinal.
Nadal has beaten Fish all 5 times the two have played, but they have not met since 2008 and Fish is currently in the best form of his career. Nadal is coming off of his toughest match by far of the tournament and will be just a little tired on Wednesday. He also has called the trainer for a medical time out in each of his last two matches, though whatever was bothering has not seemed to affect his play at all. He looks much closer to top form than he did at this stage of the French Open, but if lightning were to strike now and someone takes him out, a big-serving good defender like Fish will never have a better chance.
Prediction: Nadal in five
Andy Murray vs Feliciano Lopez
Lopez followed up his straight-sets victory over Andy Roddick with a tough five-setter over Lukasz Kubot. Kubot never let Lopez get a rhythm all match, either on the serve or the return, by hitting deep shots and constantly attacking the net. Feliciano lost the first two sets but managed to win the third in a tiebreak and found a way to break late in each of the last two sets, saving match points in the process. Murray’s mother has nicknamed him “deliciano”, but something tells me She’ll be pulling for her son on Wednesday. Lopez is a big server but will be challenged by the best returner (statistically) in the game right now.
Andy Murray has not had the very best of tournaments by his standards but is through to the quarterfinals. He beat Richard Gasquet in straight sets for the first time and really showed to be mentally tougher than he was in the past. It’s been 75 years since a Brit won a major and you can tell that Murray, and the British crowd, are hungry to end that. Murray will need to find a way to fix his second serve, which has been very weak all tournament (and all year, for that matter). In the end though, he is just much more talented that Lopez and should be able to win this barring any major mental mistakes.
Prediction: Murray in four
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs Roger Federer
We pegged him as a dark horse in our Wimbledon preview, but Tsonga has managed to slide back under the radar once the tournament began. He has looked very strong, especially on serve, and has been hitting off the ground incredible well all tournament. He has troubled the top players when he is at his absolute best, and he showed it just a few weeks ago, beating Nadal and taking Murray to 3 sets at Queens. He dispatched a very wily David Ferrer with relative ease and looks to challenge for a chance at his second Grand Slam semifinal (or better).
Federer met an inspired resistance from Mikhail Youzhny in the fourth round but in the end the Swiss maestro was just too good. Youzhny really ran Federer around the court in the first set, which he took in the tiebreak, but Youzhny just could not keep the level up. A mental blip cost him the third set and Federer just outplayed him in the second and fourth. Youzhny looks like he can challenge at Slams for a few more years, especially if he keeps putting up an effort like this. Federer has been consistent throughout but doesn’t quite seem at the level we saw from him when he won this tournament for 5 straight years. A talented player like Tsonga or Murray could definitely beat him, but it would take the match of their lives. Federer has beaten Tsonga in straight sets both times they met this year, but Tsonga right now is playing on another level entirely from what he was then.
Prediction: Federer in five
Novak Djokovic vs Bernard Tomic
What a story Tomic has been. Everyone saw that he had talent when he came up through the Junior levels. A lot of people don’t like his attitude, but there really is little to fault in his play. He has been outhitting just about everyone whenever he gets the chance. Beating Djokovic at this point may be far too much to ask of him, but this has been a great experience for him nonetheless. Tomic is in good company as the other three 18-year-olds to reach a Wimbledon QF in the past 30 years (John McEnroe, Boris Becker, and Goran Ivanisevic) have each gone on to win Wimbledon at least once in his career. Interestingly enough, whenever an Australian has reached the Wimbledon quarters in the past 25 years they have also reached the semis. I just can’t see that happening with Djokovic in his way though.
Djokovic still doesn’t look comfortable on grass. Then again, slightly uncomfortable for Djokovic is probably well ahead of most others on tour. He has had mental lapses at times this tournament which should be a bit of a concern. He won’t be able to afford that against Federer, Nadal, or Murray if they meet later in the tournament. Still, his serve is strong, he is returning well, and hitting powerful groundstrokes when his game is on.
Prediction: Djokovic in three
To check out my preview of the Ladies’ Quarterfinals, please click here
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