Before the tournament started, all the talk was about how the draw favoured Djokovic and that he would have an easy time while Andy Murray would struggle, having had to play Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and then either Federer or Nadal in his quarter final and semi final. This week proved that you shouldn’t make assumptions, with the draw looking much more in his favour right now.
This should be Djokovic’s first real test on the grass this year as he takes on the one-time finalist. Djokovic looked far from convincing at times in his fourth round against Tommy Haas and could well have dropped a set had the German not thrown in an awful service game when up a break in the second. The head-to-head makes gruesome reading for the Czech, who lost 11 straight matches against Djokovic before finally ending that streak on the clay of Rome with an improbable comeback victory. Berdych found it hard work against Bernard Tomic at times in the last round but steadily improved on his return on serve, allowing him to enforce himself properly on the match and win in four. Given Djokovic’s ease of holding pre-Haas match, there is no doubt that Berdych will have to return very well indeed to win the match. Notably, Berdych’s other victory was on the grass of Wimbledon, in 2010 when he made the final.
Djokovic in 4
David Ferrer continues to move quietly through the draw, most recently seeing off Ivan Dodig after a slow start. It still feels like he has little chance of seeing off Djokovic in a potential semi final but there seems no reason to think he cannot beat Del Potro. Ferrer matches up well to big hitters outside the top 5 and it shows in his head to head. Ferrer won the last four meeting between the pair since 2011, on four different surfaces while he also boasts a second grass win from 2008. The 6-3 6-2 6-3 Wimbledon match was extremely one sided in Ferrer’s favour despite his supposed inferior game on the grass. Del Potro is being bothered by a knee problem although he is yet to show it, making easy work of Andreas Seppi in the last round. The Argentinian has already beaten Djokovic in the last 12 months on grass so it would be very interesting to see a repeat should Del Potro pull out a surprise win.
Ferrer in 4
The way the draw has panned out makes it seem like it must be Murray’s year with all names falling in his side of the draw, allowing him to stroll into the final with relative comfort. Fernando Verdasco has shown marked improvement at this tournament, making the quarter final of Wimbledon for the first time in his career and has done it for the loss of just one set. However, the likes of Ernests Gulbis and Kenny de Schepper are a much different proposition to what Murray will provide for Verdasco. Murray is yet to drop a set at the tournament although came perilously close against Mikhail Youzhny as the Russian served for the second set. He admitted that he is yet to play a lefty this year but it’s worth noting that Murray has a 15-2 record in his career against Spanish left handers not called Rafael. The last meeting was at the 2009 finals, showing the fall from grace that Verdasco has suffered since.
Murray in 3
If you were asked to name the country that would provide the most quarter finalists over the two draws, it’s long odds that you would have mentioned Poland. What was slated to be another Rafael Nadal-Roger Federer meeting has become a historic match for Polish men’s tennis. Ignacy Tloczynski and Wotjek Fibak (4x) lost in quarter finals of slams but this match ensures that a Polish man will make the semi finals for the first time. Kubot took advantage of a kind draw and a disappointing Benoit Paire before defeating Adrian Mannarino in 5 while Janowicz played on centre court for the first time against Nicolas Almagro and looked like he was suited to the big stage already – playing some huge tennis to win in straights. He showed vulnerability for the first time against Jurgen Melzer in Round 4 but fought through in five sets despite playing far from his best against a tricky opponent.
Janowicz in 4