The draws are set, so we can enter full speculation mode! I’m focusing on the men today and will try to figure out the women tomorrow.
The dummies version is this: Fed v. Djoky and Rafa v. Roddick in the semis.
Shall I go on? I hate making “picks” for various reasons (superstition, fear of looking dumb, it’s impossible, etc.) but I do like looking ahead a few rounds for entertaining match ups. Here’s what I found, up to the fourth round:
Fed could face Monfils in the 3rd, in an entertaining sequel to their 4 setter at Roland Garros. But the change in surface favors Rog.
ROGER’S 4th ROUND: He’s looking out for either Hewitt or Gonzalez .
The second half of Roger’s Quarter has two good first round matches, one involving Halle runner up Philipp Kohlschreiber and hottie Fernando Verdasco and the other a meeting of S&Vers Michael Llodra and Mario Ancic. The winner of Kohlschreiber v. Verdasco could take on Ollie Rochus in the second round and the slumping Thomas Berdych in the third. The winner of Llodra v. Ancic could eventually face David Ferrer in the third (if it’s Llodra v. Ferrer, I’ll be conflicted!).
4th ROUND: Ideally, the second fourth round match in Roger’s Quarter would be Llodra v. Kohlshreiber (sorry, David!).
Djoky’s little section isn’t too dangerous, with a bunch of unseeded clay courters and then 29th seed Andreas Seppi. The toughest match for him could be a second round meeting with Marat “I hate grass” Safin. It’s guaranteed we’ll see some killer down-the-line backhands in this one. Things should get interesting for Nole in the fourth round, however, with contenders including Ferrero and Querrey (they meet in a good 1st rounder), del Potro and Wawrinka.
DJOKY’S 4th ROUND: Wawrinka tested Nole in Rome, making this a juicy sequel. At the very least, Wawa can scout for Rog.
Baghdatis is the big boy in the strong second half of Djoky’s Quarter, although he may be tested by Karlovic in the 3rd round (please, please, make it through Baghy!). F-Lo and Nalbandian are also in this section, and could face off against one another in the 3rd round.
4th ROUND: Baghdatis v. F-Lo or Nalby (either way, it’s a good match!)
RODDICK’S QUARTER (sorry, I ain’t calling it KOLYA’s!)
Oh, poor Roddick, this is not an ideal draw for him. There are lots of tough, tricky players that could drive him nuts on an off day. Even his first round is a danger zone – remember Eddie Schwank, the talented qualifier who made it to the 3rd found at the French? Hopefully for Andy, the Argentine has cooled off a bit. It gets even worse for Andy, with a possible second round against Janko Tipsarevic! OUCH! And if he makes it through that, he could face grass court specialist Nicolas Mahut, who took him to three sets in last year’s Queen’s Club final.
RODDICK’S 4th ROUND: I’m already setting my TIVO for Blake v. Roddick! Tipsarevic v. Blake could be good, too, but I’m not going there.
The second half of Roddick’s Quarter (okay, Kolya’s “Eighth”) is one of those five-setter black holes, with people like Mathieu, Nieminen, Ljubicic and Bjorkman, along with Davydenko, of course. Basically, I can be updating my blog or mopping the floor if any of these matches make it onto t.v.
KOLYA’s 4th ROUND: I’m guessing it’s Nieminen. Whoo hoo.
The French-heavy top half of Rafa’s Quarter (the Rafa-less “eighth”) is like friggin’ quicksand. Murray and Gasquet “anchor” this section, but Andy’s injured thumb and Gasquet’s injured brain mean they are hardly shoe-ins to meet one another in the fourth round. Both players have tricky first rounds, with Murray facing Santoro (the Frenchman has a chance!) and Gasquet facing Fish. Dangerous floaters like Robredo, Grojean, and Malisse abound.
4th ROUND: If both were physically and mentally fit, Murray v. Gasquet could be one of the best matches of the tournament. Santoro v. Fish wouldn’t be bad, either.
Rafa has it pretty easy, facing a slight threat in the 2nd round against Gulbis or Isner. His biggest worry will be Youzhny, who has a better chance on a hard court, but will at least make Rafa work. Stepanek could’ve been a 4th round threat, but not with the rib injury he sustained in Nottingham.
RAFA’S 4th ROUND: I’ll watch it on fast forward, in case Youzhny takes Rafa to a tie break.