Wimbledon 2012: Round of 16 preview
July 1, 2012 · Print This Article
by: Tom Cochrane
Mere weeks after her astonishing run to the final at Roland Garros, Sara Errani came crashing back down to earth on Day 6 at the All England Club, bowing out to Yaroslava Shvedova in straight sets. For Shvedova, the 6-0 6-4 win was a record-breaking victory as the Kazakh claimed a “golden set” by winning all 24 points of the opening set – the first time such a feat has been accomplished by a woman in the Open era.
Day 6 Recap
Petra Kvitova may not have claimed a golden set, but the defending champion wasn’t far off in either set she played on Day 6, annihilating the American Lepchenko for the loss of just oYune game in total. By contrast, 4-time champion Serena Williams was forced to fight and scrap on a blustery day in London, recovering from a set down to beat a gallant Jie Zheng 9-7 in the deciding set.
Also recovering from the loss of the opening set was Ana Ivanovic, who scored a fighting victory over the dangerous Julia Goerges. Ivanovic, who is looking to make the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam for the first time since her victory in Paris 4 years ago, will face second seed Victoria Azarenka in the round of 16 after the Australian Open champion moved through with a straightforward 2 set win.
It may not have been the Mahut-Isner marathon from a couple of years ago, but the Marin Cilic – Sam Querrey clash on Day 6 will still go down as one of the great Wimbledon matches. After Querrey came back from losing the first 2 sets to win the next couple and force a fifth set, the players stood toe to toe for 30 games before Cilic claimed the decisive break and duly converted it to claim the win 17-15 in the final set after 5 and a half hours.
Among the other men in action on Day 6, Andy Murray saw off Marcos Baghdatis in 4 sets, David Ferrer wore down Andy Roddick in 4 sets, Juan Martin Del Potro crushed Kei Nishikori and Philipp Kohlschreiber brought Lukas Rosol, conqueror of Rafael Nadal, back to reality with a commanding victory.
In keeping with tradition at the All England Club, the middle Sunday will be a rest day for the players and no tennis will be played. Set out below, however, are my thoughts on Monday’s marquee match-ups.
Match of the Day – Day 7 (to be played Monday 2 July)
1. Roger Federer vs. Xavier Malisse
Having survived a mighty scare against Julien Benneteau in the last round, where he was just 2 points away from losing the match, I expect Roger Federer to be very switched on for this encounter against his long-time foe Xavier Malisse. The third seed will be looking to step up a couple of notches in intensity (and form) as the tournament moves into its second week.
Xavier Malisse has been in great form this week, having seen off two high-quality seeded players in Gilles Simon and Fernando Verdasco. However, I don’t think the Belgian veteran truly believes he can defeat Federer, and that gives the Swiss maestro a big advantage. I expect an A-game showing from Federer, and that spells trouble for Malisse. Federer in 3.
2. Ana Ivanovic vs. Victoria Azarenka
Written off as being past her prime, Serbia’s Ana Ivanovic is responding to her critics by enjoying something of a second wind in her career. However, to underline the reversal in form the former French Open champion needs to make a good showing in a major.
Ivanovic faces a huge task tomorrow against Victoria Azarenka, the tournament’s second seed. Azarenka has more power than Ivanovic, so the Serb needs to hang tough and stay close with the Belarusian in the early stages of the match. If she can do that, there’s a chance that the volatile Azarenka will self-destruct. Still, the odds suggest Azarenka is likely to be too good. Azarenka in 3.
3. Novak Djokovic vs. Viktor Troicki
Having shared the spoils of an historic Davis Cup victory for their country, no doubt Viktor Troicki and Novak Djokovic find it hard to compete against one another. Troicki has troubled the world number one in the past, taking him to 5 sets at the US Open a couple of years ago. Djokovic generally finds it hard to play against his countrymen, as evidenced by his loss to Janko Tipsarevic in Madrid earlier this year.
Troicki has nothing to lose against his higher-profile compatriot, and can come out swinging. If he is in the zone and connecting well with his serve and forehand, Djokovic could be in for a tough day at the office. But Djokovic’s returning ability blunts one of Troicki’s biggest assets, and I think the top seed will be a bit too classy in this clash. Djokovic in 4.
4. Maria Sharapova vs. Sabine Lisicki
Sabine Lisicki’s run to the semi-finals of Wimbledon last year after overcoming a raft of injuries was one of the stories of the 2011 tournament at the All England Club. Lisicki put up a decent showing against Sharapova in the semi-finals, but it’s fair to say the German was a little overawed by the occasion and didn’t play her best tennis.
I think Lisicki will be better equipped to deal with the spotlight this time around, and the German’s power game is particularly effective on grass-courts, but Sharapova’s form and confidence are at record highs right now. I think this will go to a third set, but the Russian is tough to beat on the big points. Sharapova in 3.
5. Marin Cilic vs. Andy Murray
Andy Murray keeps rising to the occasion in this tournament, as he faces one tricky opponent after another. Importantly, the Scot managed to finish his match against Marcos Baghdatis just before the end of the day’s play on Saturday, which gives him a whole day’s proper rest. Cilic will also be thankful for the rest day, after surviving a marathon match against Sam Querrey.
I think Cilic would generally represent a difficult match for Murray, but the Croat is likely to still be feeling the effects of his 5-setter on Monday. Look for Murray to take full advantage of any slowdown in pace from Cilic. Murray in 4.
Put your house on: Third seed Agnieszka Radwanska has looked sharp in her matches to date. I expect her to account for unheralded Italian Camila Giorgi with a minimum of fuss.
Likely to go the distance: Del Potro and Ferrer are likely to end up trading blows deep into a fifth set. Ferrer has the fitness on his side but the Argentine has the raw power. I’ll take the Argentine by a whisker.
Upset alert: I think the veteran Kim Clijsters, in her last ever Wimbledon, has the ability to take down eighth seeded German Angelique Kerber.
That’s it for today. Enjoy the tennis and I’ll be back with another serve tomorrow.