by: Tom Cochrane
A day after Rafa Nadal’s shock exit from the All England Club, Roger Federer looked like he would join his great rival on the sidelines when he lost the opening 2 sets against Frenchman Julien Benneteau. But the Swiss veteran stayed calm and rallied for a fighting 5 set victory.
Day 5 Recap
In the opening 2 sets there was little Federer could do, as a go-for-broke Benneteau swung at everything and connected with most of his shots. Federer gained the ascendency in the third set, pegging one set back, but at 6-all in the fourth set tiebreaker the third seed was just 2 points away from defeat. King of the big points, Federer claimed the tiebreaker 8-6, then cruised through the final set for the loss of just one game, as Benneteau’s body began to break down.
Among the other men’s seeds, top seed Novak Djokovic bounced back from losing the first set to account for Radek Stepanek in 4 sets, Fernando Verdasco and Milos Raonic were bounced by Xavier Malisse and Sam Querrey respectively, and Richard Gasquet scored a good win over Nicolas Almagro. Juan Monaco and Janko Tipsarevic were other seeds to exit the tournament on Day 5, with Monaco succumbing to Viktor Troicki’s power game and Tipsarevic falling victim to Russian veteran Mikhail Youzhny.
In the women’s tournament, top seed Maria Sharapova and third seed Agnieszka Radwanska each progressed with routine straight sets victories. Kim Clijsters scored a fine win over Vera Zvonareva, but twentieth seed Nadia Petro was bundled out of the tournament. Other seeds who were more fortunate and progressed to the round of 16 included Kerber, Lisicki and Kirilenko.
Match of the Day – Day 6
1. David Ferrer vs. Andy Roddick
Fresh from claiming his first ever grass-court title last week, David Ferrer is clearly not a one-trick clay-court pony. The ultra-consistent Spaniard is often a forgotten member of the top 10, but his results over the past few years speak for themselves.
Roddick is a 3-time Wimbledon finalist who managed to turn around a miserable season to date by claiming the title at Eastbourne last week. I don’t think Roddick has much more of an impact to make on the ATP Tour, but if the veteran is ever going to make another run deep into a Grand Slam it’s likely to be at the All England Club.
Despite his good performance last week, Roddick generally is on the decline to my mind, whereas Ferrer just keeps on putting in one good performance after another. Roddick’s serve could potentially get him over the line in this one, but I’ll back Ferrer to wear down the American. Ferrer in 4.
2. Marcos Baghdatis vs. Andy Murray
Andy Murray, along with his raft of followers, would have been excited to see Nadal’s shock loss to Lukas Rosol, as it opens up a much easier path to the final for the Scot. But will Murray be able to stay focused on the job at hand and not get ahead of himself?
Marcos Baghdatis is a former semi-finalist at Wimbledon and, while the Cypriot has probably lost a half-step in pace over the years, he’s a pure shotmaker who must always be respected as an opponent. I think Murray’s tough opening 2 matches will hold him in good stead for this clash. Murray in 4.
3. Kei Nishikori vs. Juan Martin Del Potro
Kei Nishikori’s good performance at Wimbledon last year provided the foundation for Japan’s leading player to launch himself into the world’s top 20. The nineteenth seed moves effortlessly around the court and creates power easily off both wings.
Nishikori will need to produce plenty of powerful groundstrokes today, as his opponent’s game is filled with heavy artillery. Juan Martin Del Potro’s enormous serve and ballistic forehand cause problems for pretty much everyone on the ATP Tour, and the hulking Argentine has been in good form this year. I think this will be a fantastic match, but I’ll back Del Potro to get there in the end. Del Potro in 5.
4. Ana Ivanovic vs. Julia Goerges
As I said earlier in the week, Ana Ivanovic has really turned around her form in the last 6 months or so. Today she faces a big test as she attempts to reestablish herself in the upper echelons of the women’s game. Germany’s Julia Goerges is a very talented and feisty opponent whose ranking has been hovering around the 20 mark for the last year or so.
Goerges has been threatening to break into the top 10, and she has to game to do it, but I think Ivanovic’s big-match experience will get her over the line today. Ivanovic in 3.
5. David Goffin vs. Mardy Fish
Having announced himself to the tennis world by making a run to the round of 16 in Paris, Belgium’s David Goffin has backed up that feat by disposing of talented Australian Bernard Tomic in the opening round of this tournament and registering another win to move through to this round of 32 clash.
After a stellar season last year, Mardy Fish had been struggling this year before he was diagnosed with health problems, including a heart ailment. The American took some time off from the relentless grind of the ATP Tour but is now looking to reclaim his spot among the group of contenders looking to challenge the Big 4. Fish has more of a grass-court pedigree than Goffin, but I like what I’ve seen of the young Belgian and I think he has the ability to cause a boilover. Goffin in 5.
Put your house on: If I still had a house at this point, I’d be putting it on Serena Williams to account for Jie Zheng.
Likely to go the distance: 3 hours plus is my prediction for the Nishikori – Del Potro clash previewed above.
Upset alert: As noted above, I think David Goffin can upset Mardy Fish. Among the women, I think Yaroslava Shvedova could oust Sara Errani.
That’s it for today. Enjoy the tennis and I’ll be back with another serve tomorrow.