Roger Federer and Andy Murray have outlasted Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon, and the two players head into the quarterfinals. With the conclusion of Monday’s schedule at the All England Club, the quarterfinals from Wimbledon 2016 were not totally set. Jiri Vesely and Tomas Berdych played four sets of their fourth-round match on Day 7 with no winner produced before the suspension of play. They’ll play a deciding set on Tuesday with the winner moving on to the quarterfinal round. Otherwise, the quarters are set as of Monday night with both Andy Murray and Roger Federer the top-two favorites.
Murray, on the bottom half of the draw, will face Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Wednesday, a player fortunate to be alive in the Wimbledon 2016 draw at this point. Tsonga was only into the fourth round following an excruciatingly-long third-round match that saw him play John Isner to a 19-17 deciding 5th set. I didn’t think the Frenchman had much of a chance against Richard Gasquet but, fortunately for Tsonga, his opponent pulled out early in their encounter due to a back injury. Now, heading into Wednesday’s quarters, Tsonga will effectively have had two day’s rest to prepare for his match against Murray, a rest period that he definitely needed after playing 79 games in the third round alone.
Federer, the favorite on the top half of the draw, could be well over-rated at Wimbledon this year. He has had one of the easiest draws of recent memory at the All England Club or in any other major for that matter. Through the first four rounds, Federer has not played anything remotely close to a threat in Guido Pella, Marcus Willis, Daniel Evans, and Steve Johnson. In fact, Federer’s draw almost looks like he was playing a 250-level event or 90-point challenger as opposed to a Grand Slam.
Needless to say, Federer is into the quarters having played only 12 sets of tennis, the minimum possible ahead of the quarters when retirements and walkovers are not involved. In the round of eight, he will finally face a player of substance in Marin Cilic, the Croat perhaps finally getting back to the kind of tennis we saw two years ago. Cilic, if playing his best, is certainly capable of defeating Federer, especially given the problems the Swiss Maestro has had this season. While Federer is considered 2nd favorite by betting odds, I don’t think he’s the true 2nd favorite – with Milos Raonic and Cilic a coin toss for that.
The other quarterfinal on the top half of the draw will see Raonic face Sam Querrey. Both players have been resilient at Wimbledon 2016, Querrey holding his nerve against Novak Djokovic in the third round and Raonic handing David Goffin a defeat from two sets down in the fourth.
If you were to pick a winner based on Raonic’s and Querrey’s histories, then the clear pick is Raonic based on his relative Grand Slam success. The Canadian has won two quarterfinals in his Grand Slam history, one at Wimbledon and one earlier this year at the Aussie. He’s clearly more of the man for the big moments than Querrey, a veteran making his first appearance in a Grand Slam quarterfinal. However, interestingly enough Querrey holds the winning record straight-up, including a Wimbledon victory from 2012. Everything accounted for; I think Raonic is a heavy favorite in the match as he has improved more since their meetings from earlier in their careers.
Lucas Pouille, on Murray’s half, is the player who awaits the winner of the Berdych/Vesely match. The young French player is enjoying his best-ever Grand Slam, and he looks to be a mainstay of French tennis in the years ahead. However, I don’t think he’s ready to defeat players like Berdych and Murray in Grand Slams as of yet. A good draw for Pouille would see him face Vesely in the quarters, a player that is also inexperienced with late-round Grand Slam success.
All things weighed, Murray has to be considered the player most likely to make the final with either Raonic or Cilic his most likely opponent in my view. With Federer well overblown at Wimbledon, the Scot has to be relishing his chances of picking up a third Grand-Slam with real possibilities for a fourth at Flushing Meadows later this season.
Predicted Final: Murray vs. Raonic – Murray to win.