Matches to Watch This Monday

Written By: achangeofends - Jun• 26•11

So, I’ve done a decent job of keeping up with this action at this year’s Wimbledon, considering I just started my new job, but I haven’t done a very good job of writing about it. The second Monday of the Wimbledon Championships is one of the best tennis days of the year. There are generally 16 superb singles matches on the schedule. It takes a great deal of skill to make it to the 4th round of a major so the matches are really high quality, but there are still a lot of matches to watch. Here are some of tomorrow’s most interesting pairings.

Rafael Nadal v. Juan Martin del Potro

Spain’s Rafael Nadal reacts in his match against Luxembourg’s Gilles Muller on the sixth day of the 125th Wimbledon Championships in Wimbledon,England on Saturday, June 25, 2011. UPI/Hugo Philpott

On paper, this is pretty much the most interesting match up of the day. Juan Martin isn’t quite back to his ’09 form yet, but he’s getting close. Meanwhile, Rafa is looking as comfortable on the grass as he did last year. Both men have had pretty easy wins this week (with the exception of one lost set by Juan Martin) but neither has had a particularly difficult draw thus far. I think this will be a competitive match, but in the end Rafa has the upper hand. He’s the defending champion, he’s more comfortable on grass, and he’s playing some of his best tennis.

Prediction: Nadal in 3 close sets

Mardy Fish v. Tomas Berdych

Mardy Fish of the U.S. waves after defeating Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan at the Wimbledon tennis championships in London June 22, 2011. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth (BRITAIN – Tags: SPORT TENNIS)

When the draw first came out, I sat down with a blank copy and started filling it in. When I got to the end, I realized that I had somehow decided Mardy Fish would make it to the quarterfinals. This seemed a little bit crazy, but I kind of started to believe. Mardy Fish has had the best year of his career. I watched him win the title in Newport last year on grass when he was still ranked in the 70s and since then he’s surged into the Top 10 for the first time in his career. Tomas Berdych had his best year last year after making the Wimbledon final and I really can’t seem him equaling that feat this year. However, he’s had some stunning wins this week, while Mardy has struggled a bit. In the end, this match could go either way, but I’m going with my gut.

Prediction: Fish in 4 sets

Andy Murray v. Richard Gasquet

Andy Murray of Britain celebrates after defeating Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia (R) at the Wimbledon tennis championships in London June 24, 2011. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth (BRITAIN – Tags: SPORT TENNIS)

This is actually the match I’m most excited for tomorrow. Richard Gasquet is on his way back to the Top 10 and Andy Murray has looked anything but invincible this week. Murray’s never held up well under pressure, which is one of the reasons he doesn’t have a Slam title to his name yet. There’s never more pressure on Andy Murray than during Wimbledon. I read a few British newspapers on the way back from London last week and there were at least a few full pages of Wimbledon coverage in each, and well over 50% of that was focused on why Andy Murray has never won a Slam. It would be tough for anyone to ignore the expectations of the British public. I think Andy will stumble before the end of the fortnight, but I’m just not sure whether it will be tomorrow or the semis, or even the finals (ok, probably not the finals). Richard and Andy played an amazing match in the 4th round of Wimbledon 2008 and I can only hope this match will be as good.

Prediction: Murray in 4 sets

Serena Williams v. Marion Bartoli

Serena Williams of the U.S. reacts after defeating Maria Kirilenko of Russia at the Wimbledon tennis championships in London June 25, 2011. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett (BRITAIN – Tags: SPORT TENNIS)

Marion Bartoli has certainly had her best year since 2007 this year, making the finals in Indian Wells and the semifinals of the French Open and she’s back in the Top 10. In contrast, Serena Williams has had the worst year of her life. She’s had a myriad of health problems and hasn’t been able to play tennis for almost a year. Yet, somehow, she’s still plowing her way through the draw. Serena may not be winning as easily as she usually does, but she’s still winning. Love her or hate her, Serena’s a fighter and Marion will have to bring her very very best to challenge her.

Prediction: Williams in 3 sets

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