Men’s Last Eight (and a half)
Andy Murray vs. Sam Querrey
Gilles Muller vs. Marin Cilic
Milos Raonic vs. Roger Federer
Tomas Berdych vs. Novak Djokovic / Adrian Mannarino
Things are looking good for Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Marin Cilic after Manic Monday’s excitement…
Andy Murray – Sam Querrey
Murray has had his dicey moments in the first week, but having put injury concerns aside, and with Querrey (he who conquered Novak Djokovic last year) having to recover from a five set win over Kevin Anderson, Murray is the clear favourite in this match. The Scot enjoys playing big servers and neutralising their main weapon with one of the best returns in the game.
Winner : Murray
Gilles Muller-Marin Cilic
My dark horse pick at the start of the tournament had looked good all grass season, and has has the season of his career at the age of 34, proving you can teach an old dog new tricks. After finally getting over the hurdle and winning his first ATP title earlier this year he’s followed it up with a couple more and capped it all off with his dizzying classic for the ages win over Nadal today. His tennis may be better than ever, however his body almost certainly is not, the near five hour match with Nadal will make beating Marin Cilic, the favourite for the title outside the big four at the start of the tournament, a tall order. Cilic has been quietly progressing, expect a relatively easy passage for him to the semis now.
Milos Raonic-Roger Federer
Federer has looked mighty impressive in her first four matches, dispatching Dimitrov with ease in the last 16. Raonic has had a miserable 2017 but last year’s finalist gutted out a tough fiver setter over rising superstar Zverev to fix a rematch of last year’s semifinal. Federer was in a couple of points of winning that match before Raonic came back to win in five. Don’t expect a repeat this year, Raonic’s tournament ends here in four sets maximum.
Tomas Berdych-Novak Djokovic/Adrian Mannarino
2010 finalist and formerly perennial top 10 player Tomas Berdych has quietly slipped down the rankings and lost in the 2nd and 3rd rounds of the French and Australian Opens this year, but he has made good progress in this tournament, overcoming one of the players of the year Dominic Thiem in a five set match today. Novak Djokovic is the biggest loser after Nadal from tonight’s epic, he will have to come back tomorrow to play his fourth round match against Adrian Mannarino. He should have too much for the Italian, and despite having a day less rest than Berdych, should have too much for the Czech player as well, who won’t be feeling too fresh himself after the Thiem match.
Ladies Last Eight
Muguruza vs. Kuznetsova
Rybarikova vs. Vandeweghe
Venus Williams vs. Ostapenko
Konta vs. Halep
Until the Muller epic the women had arguably served up the best matches of the first 8 days of play, with Konta-Vekic and Pliskova-Rybarikova both showcasing breathtaking grass court tennis.
The women’s seeds held up well for the most part and consequently many of the quarter-finals are evenly balanced.
I make this one 60-40 in Muguruza’s favour, the Spaniard impressed in her victory over Angelique Kerber today, and the 2015 runner-up seems to have been buoyed by the presence of 1994 champion Conchita Martinez in her coaching corner and freed by the loss of her French Open title. That freer play should see her to victory over Kuznetsova, playing in her first Wimbledon Quarter Final for 10 years, but the Russian cannot be discounted, at her best she can beat most players and she leads the head to head with Muguruza.
Rybarikova is the biggest surprise in the quarters, but has great grass court pedigree and has been hugely impressive throughout the first four rounds. Vandeweghe however has looked in awesome form, and with 1987 champion Pat Cash a new addition to the coaching team and the experience of reaching the semi-finals down under in January I expect her to come through in two tight sets.
Williams is most people’s sentimental pick for the title, but her match against Ostapenko is a coin flip for the 37 year old American. After playing well but not fantastically she picked up her level, particularly on serve in an impressive fourth round win on Centre Court today over Ana Konjuh. She has played a series of big-hitting players so far, which is good preparation for Ostapenko. The French Open champion has shown almost no sign of nerves on court so far, apart from a hiccup serving out today, but will her first time on Centre Court finally show the young Latvian is human? Her weaker serve may prove the difference in this match.
Johanna Konta’s run to the quarter-finals, the first by a British woman in over 30 years, has caught the public attention, helped by some amazing matches Konta has already played. So far she has shown little sign of Konta-mania getting to her. She will have her work cut out against World No.2 Halep in the quarter-finals. Halep also has something to lose in this match, if she wins, she will be World No.1 after Wimbledon. Ultimately Konta has the bigger game, is better suited to grass, and leads the head to head, which should hopefully see her through what could be a tough battle.