Wimbledon 2016 Preview: Quarter #1

Seed Report: Quarter #1

1. Novak Djokovic
Djokovic is 52-8 all-time at Wimbledon and comes in with a 14 match win streak at this tournament. He has won 20 of his last 21 at the All-England Club and has not missed the final since 2012. The only real threat in this quarter would seem to lie in the quarterfinals for Djokovic. Milos Raonic is the top seed opposite of the Serb and seeded to meet him in that round. Raonic’s new relationship with John McEnroe has yielded positive results with a spot in the Queens Club final showcasing some of the Canadian’s best work. He could provide a stern test in the QFs.

6. Milos Raonic
Raonics confidence should be high despite losing the Queen’s Club final to Andy Murray. Raonic is 10-5 in his career at Wimbledon, including a semifinal trip in 2014. He lost a tough third rounder last year to Nick Kyrgios, but gets a more beneficial draw this year. Jack Sock is the first seed he would meet in round three with Kevin Anderson as a potential fourth round foe. The sixth seed is 7-1 against Sock and 1-1 against Anderson with their last meeting at the French Open in 2013. If Raonic serves like he did at Queen’s Club, there is every reason to believe he will get a shot at Djokovic in the quarters.

11. David Goffin
Grass has not been friendly surface for the Belgian. Goffin stands at just 11-13 on the surface. He is 5-4 at Wimbledon with last year’s fourth round showing ranking as his best. 2015 was his best draw as he avoided a big name in the opening round. This year he has Alexander Ward, a British wildcard who has dropped four straight on grass and is appearing in his first main draw here. The danger comes in round two with Eduoard Roger-Vasselin or Temuraz Gabashvili waiting.

Neither has much of a winning track record at Wimbledon, but both have some requisite qualities that could pose difficulties to Goffin. Gabashvili especially has that grip it and rip it approach that can cause issues on fast grass. Kevin Anderson would be a potential third round opponent if the Belgian survives that far. That would again be a rough test with Anderson’s serve as a major factor on this surface.

13. David Ferrer
Ferrer might have been a more popular first round exit if not for a favorable draw. He gets Dudi Sela to open, the same Dudi Sela he beat 6-4, 6-4 at the Ricoh Open a few weeks back on grass. Still, this is a tricky for Ferrer who has been unable to find consistency this season. This may again be a case where the second round is the oust round. That is where Ferrer could face serve and volley master Nicolas Mahut. Mahut battles Brydan Klein in his opener, so he should be there. Mahut won the Ricoh Open for third time in four years in the Wimbledon build-up. The Frenchman has not been able to parlay that grass court success into Wimbledon success in the past, but this might be the right time for him to make a run. Philipp Kohlschreiber would be next in line in round three if Ferrer survives to that point.

20. Kevin Anderson
The big South African might finally be finding a rhythm after missing chunks of 2016 due to injury and perhaps lofty expectations that have put too much pressure on him. He has been consistent at Wimbledon the last two years with fourth round finishes. His serve was gaining steam in Nottingham this week, so if he can carry that over, the 20th seed could be dangerous. The problem is that his ground game seems a bit regressed form his breakout form last year a the U.S. Open in particular.

He opens against Denis Istomin, whom he has beaten twice. Anderson could go against Nicolas Almagro in round two. Don’t sleep on the Spaniard there. Almagro is not a grass court guy, but his serve is good enough for him to hang around against Anderson. Goffin is seeded to meet him in the third round and if Anderson is still kicking, its Milos Raonic in round four. Given Raonic’s current level, that seems the ripcord pulling point for Anderson in a best case scenario.

21. Philipp Kohlschreiber
The German has had his issues winning on grass outside of Germany. Within his home country, Kohlschreiber is 11-5 since 2014. Outside of Germany on grass, the 21st seed is just 1-2. Kohlsxhreiber’s brightest moment was a quarterfinal run here in 2012, but he has lost in the first or second round in four of the last five years. His opener against Pierre-Hugues Herbert should provide a good start. He is 2-0 against the Frenchman and beat him handily in Stuttgart earlier in the month.

The second round could pit him against Denis Kudla who is no where near his form of last summer. Kohlschreiber also beat Kudla in Stuttgart, so the third round looks realistic for Kohli. That could wind up being a wonderful veteran match-up with Mahut. The German has a real shot to get to round four this year if he can shake off his past Wimbledon failures and take advantage of this draw.

27. Jack Sock
Sock would seem to have the requisite big serve and power ground game to have success on grass, but Newport has been the only grass tournament he has been able to conquer with consistency. At Wimbledon, Sock is just 1-2. He’s fortunate to get Ernests Gulbis in round one. Gulbis’ woeful inconsistency should give Sock a legit chance to get a win. The second round would see him against Robin Haase or Diego Schwartzman. Haase seems the likely opponent. That could have the two playing for the second straight Slam after Sock defeated Haase in five sets at Roland Garros to the boos of the French crowd. It would be a winnable match-up for Sock, but given his failures at Wimbledon, The Pig won’t be shocked if he loses. The third round looks like his max with Raonic as his probable opponent if he is in that position.

28. Sam Querrey
Querrey us 8-8 in his career at Wimbledon. His biggest problem has been the draw. Last year, he drew Roger Federer in round two, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga the year before. That ended in a 14-12 fifth set. Querrey obviously has the big game to produce on grass and should have a good shot at working through to round three. That is where Djokovic will be waiting and that is where Querrey will fall.

Non-Seeded Dark Horses
There are several veteran names in this quarter who could spoil the seeded party. Nicolas Mahut has already been mentioned and the Frenchman could have an outside shot at playing in the third or fourth round. Temuraz Gabashvili is another big bopper in the bottom part of the quarter who could conceivably find himself in round three or four. A long shot to upset the apple cart is Andreas Seppi. The Italian is underrated on grass, but big hitters will be his kryptonite in London. That means round two where he could go against Raonic might be the end of the road.

Quarter Predictions
Don’t look for a non-seed to make the quarterfinals in this quarter. Although there could be some openings for Mahut or someone else here, the strength lies with the top seeds here. Djokovic isn’t likely to be troubled as he works to the quarters and Raonic has favorable match-ups against any of the seeds he could meet. It’s a tantalizing quarterfinal if it happens with Djokovic against Raonic. The 7-0 head-to-head says Djokovic goes through, but grass could be a bit of an equalizer where Raonic can use his massive serve to keep the sets tight. I am quite certain that a certain Swiss third seed would have a keen interest in seeing that serve prevail. Stop the presses and look out on that shaky limb, The Pig is there.

Projected Semifinalist: Raonic


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