by: Tom Cochrane

Rafael Nadal is out of Wimbledon, the Spaniard sensationally upset by the big-serving Lukas Rosol in a 5-set thriller on Day 4.

Day 4 Recap

When the second seed captured the opening set of the match in a tiebreaker, it looked like he was on his way to another routine victory, despite Rosol serving well. But the Pole claimed the next two sets to put Nadal on the ropes. The Spaniard claimed the fourth set to send it to a decider, but Rosol would not be denied, claiming the greatest victory of his life.

Andy Murray will no doubt be very pleased to hear of Nadal’s shock loss, as he will now avoid meeting the Spaniard in the semi-finals if the Scot can get that far. He moved a step closer yesterday, taking down the big-serving Ivo Karlovic in 4 sets. Other men’s winners on Day 4 included David Ferrer, Juan Martin Del Potro, Marin Cilic, and Mardy Fish, while Xavier Malisse upset Gilles Simon.

In the women’s tournament, Serena Williams crushed Hungary’s Melinda Czink, while Maria Sharapova survived a scare from Tsvetana Pironkova to advance in 3 sets. Also claiming wins on Day 4 were Petra Kvitova, Victoria Azarenka, Ana Ivanovic and French Open finalist Sara Errani.

Match of the Day – Day 5

1. Novak Djokovic vs. Radek Stepanek

The tricky matches keep on coming for world number one Novak Djokovic. After getting past former world number one Juan Carlos Ferrero and then seeing off rising star Ryan Harrison, the top seed now faces the wily Czech veteran, Radek Stepanek.

Stepanek won’t be able to match it with Djokovic from the back of the court, so look for the Czech to come to net wherever possible. He’s a great volleyer, but Djokovic is deadly on the passing shot and loves a target. I reckon Stepanek could claim a set if he plays well, but that’s about it. Djokovic in 4.

2. Roger Federer vs. Julien Benneteau

Roger Federer has been in stellar form in his opening two matches, annihilating Albert Ramos and then seeing off Fabio Fognini with a minimum of fuss. With Nadal out of the tournament, the Swiss ace is sure to have an extra spring in his step, knowing that his path to the title just got a little easier.

Benneteau is a decent player, but I can’t see any real weapons that the Frenchman can count on to hurt or even bother Federer. The third seed loves this tournament and really wants to do well after consecutive quarter-final exits the last 2 years, so I think he’ll cruise through this one. Federer in 3.

3. Kim Clijsters vs. Vera Zvonareva

Former US Open and Wimbledon finalist Vera Zvonareva took down Kim Clijsters on her way to the final at the All England Club, although at Flushing Meadows it was the Belgian veteran who ruined the Russian’s hopes of a maiden Grand Slam title.

Zvonareva’s form has fallen away a bit since that season, although the Russian remains a very solid and fairly consistent player. With Clijsters, the struggle is just as much with her own body and coping with injuries as it is about battling the opposition player. She looks to be OK so far in this tournament, so I’ll back the Belgian to come through this clash. Clijsters in 3.

4. Richard Gasquet vs. Nicolas Almagro

Nicolas Almagro enjoyed a fantastic clay-court swing prior to the shift to grass-courts, but the Spaniard has never been completely at home at the All England Club. Richard Gasquet, on the other hand, has a natural affinity with grass-courts, and is a former semi-finalist at Wimbledon.

I’ll back Gasquet to take this one although Almagro is a fierce competitor and won’t go down with a fight. Gasquet in 4.

5. Viktor Troicki vs. Juan Monaco

Argentine Juan Monaco is enjoying his most consistent season ever on the ATP Tour, with the clay-court specialist performing well on hard-courts as well as the red dirt. Although he was humbled by Nadal in Paris, Monaco is a quality player.

Troicki has struggled a little this season to maintain his high standards from the previous year or two, but the Serb possess a big serve and a powerful forehand – a dangerous combination on grass-courts. I’ll back Monaco on form, but Troicki could cause a boilover. Monaco in 5.

Put your house on: Sui-Wei Hseih to offer little resistance against top seed in the women’s draw, Maria Sharapova.

Likely to go the distance: I’m backing the Mikhail Youzhny – Janko Tipsarevic duel to be a 5 set marathon.

Upset alert: I think Gasquet and Troicki have decent chances against Almagro and Monaco respectively.

That’s it for today. Enjoy the tennis and I’ll be back with another serve tomorrow.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here