Nadal Could Face Murray In Wimbledon QFs
Seeded 10th, Rafael Nadal could face 2013 champion Andy Murray in the Wimbledon quarter-finals.
The Spaniard, who begins against Thomaz Bellucci, has been drawn in the same quarter of the draw as 2013 champion and third seed Andy Murray. But before any potential meeting with the Scot, Nadal could face David Ferrer in the fourth round and in the second round possibly qualifier Dustin Brown, the German who beat him for the loss of just five games on the grass of Halle last year.
Nadal and Murray headline the bottom half of the draw with second seed and seven-time champion Roger Federer. The 33-year-old Federer, who enters Wimbledon on the back of his 15th grass-court title in Halle, opens his campaign against Damir Dzumhur, who has never played a tour-level grass-court match.
Federer’s route is littered with potential danger. The Swiss could face Nottingham semi-finalist Sam Querrey in the second round, with the prospect of 2014 Wimbledon doubles champion Jack Sock or the big-serving Sam Groth in the third round. Federer is seeded to meet Feliciano Lopez in the fourth round, while 2010 runner-up Tomas Berdych is his projected quarter-final opponent.
Last week’s Aegon Championships titlist Murray begins his bid for a third Grand Slam title against Mikhail Kukushkin and has three of the ATP World Tour’s rising stars – Borna Coric, Elias Ymer and Kyle Edmund – lurking nearby. Likely for Murray in the fourth round would be either Ivo Karlovic, who recently broke the three-set record with 45 aces in Halle, or Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. The Frenchman has been unable to get grass-court practice in the lead-in due to injury, but is coming off a Roland Garros semi-final showing and has reached the final four at Wimbledon twice before.
World No. 1 and two-time champion Novak Djokovic opens his title defence against Philipp Kohlschreiber, who nearly upset Federer in the Halle first round last week and reached the Wimbledon quarter-finals in 2012.
Playing in his last Wimbledon, 2002 champion Lleyton Hewitt could face Djokovic in the second round, should the 34-year-old Australian overcome Jarkko Nieminen in the first round. Nieminen is also playing at the All England Club for the final time after announcing plans to retire at the end of the 2015 season.
Djokovic’s section of the draw features a wealth of grass-court threats, with 2011 quarter-finalist Bernard Tomic a likely third-round opponent and last week’s Queen’s runner-up Kevin Anderson vying to play the Serb in the fourth round. Young guns Thanasi Kokkinakis, Hyeon Chung and Lucas Pouille also feature close to Djokovic.
Kei Nishikori is projected to meet Djokovic in the quarter-finals, but before any such meeting the Japanese could come across the likes of John Isner, Marin Cilic and 18-year-old German Alexander Zverev.
Roland Garros champion Stan Wawrinka is looking to get past the Wimbledon quarter-finals for the first time and opens his bid against Portugal’s Joao Sousa. The first seed the Swiss could meet is No. 32 Dominic Thiem, with the likelihood of Tommy Robredo or David Goffin in the fourth round, though Nottingham semi-finalist and former Wimbledon semi-finalist Marcos Baghdatis is also in that section.
In a stacked bottom quarter of the top half, two of last year’s semi-finalists – Milos Raonic and Grigor Dimitrov – could meet in the fourth round. But before that, in the third round Raonic is projected to meet Nick Kyrgios, the 20-year-old Australian whom he beat in the quarter-finals last year. Dimitrov is in the same section as 2007 Wimbledon semi-finalist Richard Gasquet.
Main draw play begins Monday at the All England Club, with defending champion Djokovic leading off proceedings on Centre Court.