Morning chore: finding a good visual bracket one doesn’t have to scroll to death, click on different quarters, etc., one where the interested can sit back and get a pretty good look.
Here you go: Wikipedia (CLICK). This has a nice lay-out, includes the seeds and even has some other tidbits, such as the clarification that the only players who can claim ATP #1 in the world as a result of this tournament are Murray, Nadal, Wawrinka and Djokovic.
Start with the top half:
Murray has a decent draw early as the 1 seed, though his 3R match with a Jiří Veselý, who made Wimbledon 4R last year, or a 34 year-old Dmitry Tursunov, who made the WB 4R in ’05 and ’06 could provide an early test; more or less, the defending champ’s draw looks harmless until the fourth round where he could see a Pouille or Nick Kyrgios. Upsets to Pouille or Kyrgios would only make this top section that much more of a cinch for Murray to find some early tournament confidence, which he needs if he wants to contend late in this tournament.
Pouille won Stuttgart a couple of weeks ago, so he should be in decent form. Nick is a wild card, but let’s recall his form earlier this year on HC. If he can reach that 3R match with Pouille, we have an early tournament treat to whet our appetite.
So, Murray v Pouille/Kyrgios is that 4R match.
The other half of that quarter goes like this:
Stan has an early test in the young Russian Medvedev who is currently down a set and a break to Djokovic in the Eastbourne SF, and then might see Tommy Haas in the 2R. Stan should have his wits about him, but we’re never quite sure. Similar to Nadal, Stan needs to survive those early matches, get to the second week’s confidence with some momentum. Stan’s 3R match sees a potential of K. Anderson, who’s grass skills can be dangerous, if he’s in form, which is a question.
In the top of that section, the names Tsonga and Querrey stand-out amongst the talent. Those two should meet in the 3R with the winner playing Wawrinka in that important 4R match to set-up the first QF.
I’m going to say Nadal has the toughest draw of the top 4 seeds. Here’s why: as long as he survives his opener, he should see American Young who’s been playing a lot on grass recently, then a Russian in the 3R and if it’s Khachanov, this will be a test for Nadal unless he’s still chewing and spitting all walks of ATP talent like he was in Paris.
If Nadal is still breathing, his 4R match will be against either big serving Muller or Karlovic. Seemingly not the most brutal draw, but the likes of Khachanov and Muller, if those two reach Nadal, could make for some decent drama.
The difficulty is in the other half of that quarter: Nadal gets Cilic. We talked about the Cilic factor earlier and despite losing in that Queen’s Club final to Lopez, in a brilliant tennis match, Cilic looks very dangerous, especially with the coaching he’s getting from Bjorkman. Although the FH could be Cilic’s undoing, he could be continuing to rise.
If he’s upset early, by the likes of a Kohlshreiber, or Mayer (those are Marin’s first two opponents so long as Mayer survives his 1R), he should get out of that draw, potentially facing Nishikori in that 4R.
A Cilic v Nadal QF is everything a tennis fan could want. If Nadal emerges from all of this, he could be very dangerous.
The bottom half beginning with
The problem with last year’s finalist is he just hasn’t been playing very well recently. Can he play into form here? Sure. He had a first round dismissal at Queen’s Club by Kokkinakis, but then again everyone lost in the first round in that tune-up (Wawrinka, Raonic, and Murray). Still, Raonic doesn’t seem to intimidate like he did in last year’s form that had many believing he was finally fulfilling whatever hype surrounded the gangly Canadian lost boy.
He gets some early Russian love from perhaps Youzhny and the young Rublev or the Australian Thompson who beat Murray in their Queen’s Club opener. So, Raonic could be tested before he even gets to the 4R match with Sascha Zverev, whom everyone sees making a potential run here. Zverev gets the Federer killer Donskoy in 1R, maybe American future Tiafoe in 2R, but Zverev should make that 4R match. Does Raonic hold-up his end?
Federer has Dolgopolov in 1R, but after that should see broad daylight until his match with the winner of the Tomic v Zverev the elder 1R affair. The Federer v Tomic/Zverev 3R should precede the Federer v Isner/Dimitrov 4R match. Dimitrov might be on some radars, but I just haven’t seen that same form and confidence we saw in the early HC season. We’ve recounted some of his big losses here; he’s had a couple of doozies, like the IW loss to Sock in 3R where he had MP. He’s a dangerous all-courter and if he rises, Federer’s road does narrow a bit, but I could easily see an Isner v Federer 4R match-up.
We likely have Federer v Zverev QF in the works here, which has to favor the Maestro. . .
The Austrian’s brilliance is still sipping wine along the Seine, I’m afraid. We would love to beliem in Thiem on this surface at this major, but we may have to wait a year or so for his game to mature to that versatility. He certainly has a beatable draw to the 4R, but that seems pretty wide-open.
Below, Berdych faces-off with Chardy in a tough 1R match, but then that part of the draw sees most likely Gasquet emerging to play the survivor of team Thiem.
Lastly, the Serb’s draw. He looks to have a decent look at making the SF, with a potential match with Federer.
Novak is into the Eastbourne final to face the winner of Monfils v Gasquet. He will likely see both Gasquet and Monfils at The Championships, potentially Monfils in 4R and Gasquet in the QF. That’s a pretty easy draw all things considered.
People will point to a 3R match between Djokovic and Del Potro, but the Argentine has to survive Kokkinakis in the 1R. Another Novak v Juan match would please the tennis palette for sure, but Novak, I suspect, will finally see some form and confidence return; mainly because he, literally, has nothing to lose.
One caveat is Novak could see Feli Lopez in that 4R, which we know could be quite a test for the 2 seed. Lopez, however, had his career high at Queen’s Club and might be in line for a dip.
- Murray/Pouille/Kyrgios v Wawrinka/Tsonga/Querrey
- Nadal v Cilic
- Federer v Zverev
- Djokovic v Berdych/Gasquet/Thiem
Potential detours exist but this seems the general make-up of this draw. Djokovic has a cake-walk if he’s actually finding some form. I mean, it’s almost a laugher.
A Federer v Djokovic SF is all there. This is where I will revisit the cosmos of balance, karma and ethos. Djokovic will be, if he’s still alive and playing well, ripe for a return to form. His collapse has been historic, as we’ve made plainly clear. But there is balance in the universe, something you and I know quite well.
Up top, the Murray quarter seems a bit wide-open because we’re not sure about Murray and he has some real danger in his first section. The Wawrinka section is equally as vague. A Murray v Wawrinka QF could be an interesting encore to their RG SF classic.
Perhaps the most anticipated return, other than Novak’s from his deep hibernation, is Nadal’s return to grass after an unbelievable display at Roland Garros. As I argued vehemently, his form should transfer. The basics of tennis athleticism and surface homogenization make anything but a deep run from the Spaniard very troubling.
And he gets Cilic. The winner of Cilic v Nadal, if that manifests, could very well be the finalist from the top.
Federer has to continue to find that consistency and close-out mentality. Tip-toeing through the tulips will not beat an ascendent Serb who could find all kinds of motivation to return to No. 1 and ruin the Federer parade.
Very very interesting, my friends.