Seed Report: Quarter #3
4. Stan Wawrinka
Wawrinka heads to London with no momentum after getting beat in his lone grass tuneup at Queen’s Club by Fernando Verdasco. The Swiss blamed it on a lack of practice on grass, but that seems a flimsy excuse. Just shrug and tell us what we all know, it was a Non-Slam Stan effort. That again may not hurt him as he mas made back-to-back quarterfinals at Wimbledon and believes the grass courts to be suited to his late blooming game. He is 17-11 all-time at the All-England Club. Prior to the last two years, Wimbledon was a house or horrors for Wawrinka with first round losses in three of four years between 2010-2013.
He draws Taylor Fritz in round one. Fritz has struggled of late, but does have the tools to win on grass. This is his first main draw appearance at Wimbledon though, so it’s a tough ask for him to win in this spot. The repetition of danger in the second round continues with Wawrinka’s draw where he could see Del Potro. Delpo has a tough one against a capable Stephane Robert in round one, but could pose a large threat to Wawrinka in R2. If the Swiss escapes that trouble spot, he looks good to round four where 19th seed Bernard Tomic or 14th seed Roberto Bautista Agut could be waiting. Verdasco is a problematic floater in this section too. If the Swiss survives that 2nd round trouble spot, he could make it three quarterfinals in a row.
8. Dominic Thiem
The meteoric rise of the Austrian has continued onto grass. A surface that had not seen much success for Thiem early on turned into a title win in Stuttgart to follow up his first slam semifinal at Roland Garros. He followed his Stuttgart success with a semifinal run in Halle where he lost to his first round opponent Florian Mayer. That obviously raises a red flag right away. Thiem only has three main draw matches at Wimbledon with a 1-2 overall record. Despite his recent play, he could be in big trouble in the opening round with Mayer’s variety.
If he slips out of round one, Thiem could see big serving Jiri Vesely in round two. Round three is seeded to see #31 Joao Sousa in that spot, but tricky qualifiers Dennis Novikov or Luka Saville could have something to say about that or his first round opponent Dmitry Tursunov. Thiem is another one where the early rounds are tricky, but if he escapes, he could see himself with a spot in the 4th round at minimum.
10. Tomas Berdych
The Czech could be one to watch this fortnight. He has a solid 32-12 career mark at Wimbledon and made the final back in 2010. He lost his only pre-Wimbledon match to Marcos Baghdatis in Halle. Its not a bad loss considering the Cypriot’s play during the grass swing. This year’s 10th seed made the fourth round last year where he was pounded by Simon in straights. His draw opens against Ivan Dodig who has shown some resurgent play in singles action this season. Dodig isn’t racking up big wins, but he’s shown good fight and that could put some pressure on Berdych in round one.
Round two likely shows grass enthusiast Benjami Becker as Berdych’s next foe. Becker has had some nice results on grass in his career, but appears a few notches off his best. Expect Berdych to slip into round three where he could find wunderkind Alexander Zverev. The talented German teen made the Halle final last week and could be a landmine in Berdych’s draw. Should Berdych get through to round four, he does have potential for a quarterfinal. He might face Thiem or a surprise like Mayer, but his experience will give him a shot.
14. Roberto Bautista Agut
The Spaniard has a 6-3 mark at Wimbledon with last year’s fourth round run ranking as his best. He made the quarters at Queen’s Club in his lone grass tuneup. He has improved each yeat at Wimbledon from a second round exit in 2013 to the third round in 2014 and the fourth last year. His draw isn’t the worst for another mini-run. He opens against Jordan Thompson. The Aussie played a couple of grass Challengers as tuneups and wasn’t far off with a semifinal and quarterfinal showing. His lack of experience at Wimbledon (zero matches) is his biggest drawback. As such, RBA should get past him. The second round could pose a problem with veterans Mikhail Kukushkin and Martin Klizan battling out for that slot. I would still expect RBA to survive. The third round looks like a possible exit point with the winner of the Tomic-Verdasco first round match being his likely opponent. Both have the game to trouble him on grass.
19. Bernard Tomic
The talented, but often unfocused Aussie showed better to open the grass court swing this year. He made the semis in Queen’s Club, beating Kevin Anderson, Verdasco and Muller before losing to Raonic in the semifinals. He is 10-6 at Wimbledon during his career, but has been unable to come close to matching his 2011 quarterfinal run. He made the fourth round in 2013 as his best finish since then. The draw make look tough in name, but seeing Verdasco first up may actually be a comfortable beginning for Tomic. The 19th seed has beaten four of five times with the Spaniard’s lone win coming back in 2009. It won’t be easy, but it is a winnable match for the Aussie.
Survival in round one should yield an easier time in round two where Radu Albot or Gastao Elias would be the opponent. A win there and Tomic gets to round three likely against RBA. On grass, Tomic should feel he has a realistic shot to win. The tutilage of Lleyton Hewitt could pay off with a trip to the fourth round. That could mean a showdown with Stan Wawrinka. They have split two career meetings with Tomic’s win coming on grass in Davis Cup play in 2011.
24. Alexander Zverev
We get to find out if Zverev’s run in Halle was a product of more good home cooking for the German or if he’s ready to step out and shine on grass. His four wins in Halle en route to the final were almost half of his nine career wins on the surface. Zverev is just 1-1 with 2015 being his lone trip to the All-England Club. He lost in round two to Kudla last year. This year. he could be the story instead. He has some tricky vets to get through first. HIs opening match is against Paul-Henri Mathieu and round two could see a match-up against Mikhail Youzhny. Wins through two rounds would likely land him against Berdych. The Czech is 3-0 against him with two wins coming this season. The last was a five set classic at the Davis Cup where Berdych prevailed 7-6, 1-6, 4-6, 7-6, 6-4. Zverev wouldn’t be without a chance in that one if it happens.
31. Joao Sousa
Sousa has never won at Wimbledon with first round losses in the past two seasons. He went 0-2 in the grass tuneups in Halle and Nottingham. The plus for Sousa is that he starts with Dmitry Turnsunov in round one. The Russian has not been on the court much in 2016 with a 1-5 mark at the ATP level. He’s also lost five of his last six first round matches at Wimbledon, so Sousa may have a shot to get his maiden Wimbledon win. The trickier match could come in round two where Saville or Novikov will be as a qualifier. Both have some game on grass and Saville beat Thiem in R1 back in 2014. Both would have a legitimate shot to upset Sousa. The third round looks the best case scenario for Sousa if he gets rolling. He would likely meet Thiem or perhaps a streaking Florian Mayer. That should be over and out for Sousa.
Pouille lost his Wimbledon debut in 2015 and is short on grass court experience. Like 0-4 in main draws short on experience. A first round encounter with qualifier Marius Copil won’t be easy. His Romanian opponent has a big serve and confidence from making a Challenger final on grass this summer. The good news is Copil has never won a main draw match at Wimbledon, so Pouille might have a shot to avoid the upset. Round two could be tougher with Donald Young or Leonardo Mayer waiting. Mayer has made the fourth round in 2014 and the third round last year. Young is 0-5 in main draws at the All England Club. The second round seems a big possibility for Pouille to exit if Mayer is waiting.
Non-Seeded Dark Horses
Florian Mayer could turn this draw on its head in round one if he upsets Thiem. The oft-injured German looked rock solid in Halle, winning just his second ATP title. He also looked good the week prior in Stuttgart, where he lost to Federer in two tiebreak sets in the quarterfinals. Mayer made he quarters at Wimbledon in 2012, but has been one and done his last two trips. He’s got strong possibilities if he can get by Thiem.
The other name that really sticks out is Mikhail Youzhny. The Russian vet has found some rhythm in the grass court tuneups, making the quarters in Stuttgart and Nottingham. He has not been past round two in the last two seasons, but he is a danger, especially with the inexperience of Zverev to take advantage of possibly in round two. Fernando Verdasco may not get out of round one against Tomic, but he’s always a threat and would have an open draw if he can score the rare upset of the Aussie.
This is one that could feature a ton of upheaval or could seed out to a Wawrinka-Thiem quarterfinal. It’s a difficult one to predict. The Pig still sees this one as more of a roller coaster with some upsets though. Don’t be surprised if this quarter winds up going to a double digit seed or if an unseeded player is in position to score a rare semifinal spot – think Del Potro, Mayer or Youzhny. Also, don’t mind Tomic is he turns in a rare good performance at a Slam.