Tennis Power Ranking 2015: All Hail King Novak III

Tennis Abides 2015 Power Ranking #8:

Novak Wins his 3rd Wimbledon Crown

  1. Novak Djokovic – Novak has won 2 Slams and 4 Masters 1000 events in 2015.  He is firmly in command of men’s tennis and is obviously going to be the heavy favorite entering the US Open.  Novak’s air-tight tennis gave Federer few openings as he claimed his 3rd Wimbledon crown.  The point he played to win the first mini-break of the 1st set tiebreak demonstrated how hard it was to win points versus Novak.
  2. Roger Federer – Roger played quite well on grass winning Halle and making his 10th appearance in the Wimbledon final.  Against Novak, Roger seemed to have a hard time generating offense in baseline rallies making it imperative that he serve really well and knock off some volleys at the net.  Roger briefly had a break lead in the 1st set, had a couple of chances to win the 1st set returning at 6-5, and had an opportunity early in the 3rd set to take a break lead.  Otherwise, Novak gave him no chances for getting his nose out in front.  His second set tiebreak escape act was one for the ages, but Nole not going off the grid after losing the 2nd set sealed Federer’s fate.  Change since last ranking +2
  3. Stan Wawrinka – Stan played well enough at Wimbledon not to drop too far.  Grass courts are not something Stan has totally mastered despite going 8-2 at the previous 2 Wimbledon Championships.  Stan may be the most anticipated potential rival for Djokovic in New York. Change since last ranking -1
  4. Andy Murray – Andy outperformed Wawrinka at Queen’s Club and went one round further than Wawrinka at Wimbledon.  Still, Andy lost in a one-sided manner to Roger Federer.  Can Andy be THE rival for Novak Djokovic over the next 2-3 years?  If he is going to be that, he has to make a better showing against Federer in that semifinal. Change since last ranking – 1
  5. Richard Gasquet – I am shocked to be typing this, but his Wimbledon wins over Dimitrov, Kyrgios, and Wawrinka warrant a big jump.  Gasquet could be setting himself up for a nice summer and fall in 2015.  He could also fall off of the map.  Change since last ranking – Not ranked
  6. Marin Cilic – The 2014 US Open champion did not set the world on fire at Wimbledon.  He did play through his seeding and match his 2014 quarterfinal finish on grass.  Cilic fended off John Isner and played well enough to get some credit.  Change since last ranking – Not ranked
  7. Nick Kyrgios – Nick did not repeat his 2014 quarterfinal finish, but he played well and made a lot of waves.  If he does not mind generating controversy, the next 18 months could be big for him.  Change since last ranking + 2
  8. Vasek Pospisil – He played a number of marathon matches and acquitted himself well at Wimbledon despite some lousy scheduling and poorly timed time violations.  Change since last ranking – Not ranked
  9. Milos Raonic – Milos is back from foot surgery.  He played well enough at Wimbledon to give me confidence that his hard court results heading into the US Open will be solid.  Change since last ranking + 1
  10. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga – Tsonga played well enough despite injuries grab the last spot of this edition of my tennis power rankings. He has 1000 points to defend in Canada so his summer season will matter a lot to his ranking.  Change since last ranking – 2

Biggest Movers – Roger Federer and Nick Kyrgios +2 and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga – 2  

Dropped Out of the Poll – Kei Nishikori health concerns are a constant, Rafael Nadal continues to be a mystery in 2015, and Tomas Berdych has seemingly lost his early 2015 momentum.

Entered the Poll – Richard Gasquet, Marin Cilic, and Vasek Pospisil

Dreddy’s net play was outstanding

Wimbledon 2015: July 3rd Gentlemen’s Predictions

I think Kyrgios is closer to his 2014 form at the moment, but I think the result will be similar to last year with Milos winning in a longer match this time around

Predicted Winners in BOLD

[11] Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) vs [21] Richard Gasquet (FRA) – The age-old question of the slumping force vs. the inconsistent object?  I think Gasquet’s experience to help him advance.  This could go either way and could end as a one-sided or close win in either direction.  I think Dimitrov is struggling and those struggles will be his undoing.

[1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) vs [27] Bernard Tomic (AUS) – I could see Tomic push Novak a bit, but I cannot see Tomic winning this match.  If Tomic somehow could, this tournament would become wide-open, and he’d notch his biggest win ever.

[4] Stan Wawrinka (SUI) vs Fernando Verdasco (ESP) – Does Verdasco have anything left in the tank?  If so Hot Sauce and Stan the Man might put on a shotmaking showcase.

[9] Marin Cilic (CRO) vs [17] John Isner (USA) – I have gone back and forth on this a lot.  Cilic used a lot of energy in his 2nd round match, but I don’t expect Isner to be running him around the court.  I settled on CIlic because I think he knows if his well-above average serve succeeds against Isner’s return game that the rest of his skill set should lead him to victory.  Isner needs this win in my opinion, but I think Cilic has to be comfortable knowing what he needs to do to win.  If Cilic executes, he should prevail.

[7] Milos Raonic (CAN) vs [26] Nick Kyrgios (AUS) – I think Nick, despite some bad press, is closer to his 2014 form than Raonic.  However, I also think Raonic will eek out a win in 5 sets.  These two guys will be blasting huge serves so the ball kids and line judges should take cover.

[16] David Goffin (BEL) vs Marcos Baghdatis (CYP) – I think Goffin will be steady enough to ride the waves of momentum typical in a Baghdatis match.

[14] Kevin Anderson (RSA) vs [24] Leonardo Mayer (ARG) – Mr. Anderson makes his way through.

Denis Kudla (USA) vs Santiago Giraldo (COL) – In 2015, Denis Kudla put in some serious grass court work in the minor leagues of tennis so to speak, and now he has a great chance at the round of 16 at a Grand Slam.  He is likely the underdog, but I suspect that is what he prefers.

 

Wimbledon 2015: July 1st Gentlemen’s Singles Predictions

Predicted Winners in BOLD

Novak Djokovic (SRB) [1] v Jarkko Nieminen (FIN) – Nole should win against the classy veteran.

Santiago Giraldo (COL) v Kei Nishikori (JPN) [5] – How healthy is Kei?  If he is not getting any better, this may be his last match on grass for 2015.

Tommy Haas (GER) v Milos Raonic (CAN) [7] – Both guys have battled back from recent injuries to be at this point. Haas has a career of injurt setbacks, but an improving Raonic is not what the doctor ordered.

Stan Wawrinka (SUI) [4] v Victor Estrella Burgos (DOM) – Stan needs to get through these days of slicker grass, but the hot temperatures should benefit Stan.

Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) [11] v Steve Johnson (USA) – This is a trap match for Dimitrov.  Johnson is going to play a sound match.  Dimitrov’s confidence is not where it was one year ago.  I think Grigor wins, but Johnson is more than capable of extending this match.

Marsel Ilhan (TUR) v Kevin Anderson (RSA) [14] – Mr. Anderson played well at Queen’s Club and should make it into round 3.

Liam Broady (GBR) v David Goffin (BEL) [16] – Barring a homecourt explosion, I think Goffin wins.

Marin Cilic (CRO) [9] v Ricardas Berankis (LTU) – Cilic has still not returned to form from his injuries.  This might be an upset, but I think Cilic’s serve should help him stay safe for one more round at least.

John Millman (AUS) v Marcos Baghdatis (CYP) – Baghdatis has become a bit of a grass court specialist at this stage of his career.

Pierre-Hugues Herbert (FRA) v Bernard Tomic (AUS) [27] – Tomic should win and the Aussie tennis officials will probably have mixed emotions about his win.

Nick Kyrgios (AUS) [26] v Juan Monaco (ARG) – Monaco is a tough competitor.  I think the slick grass of the first few days at Wimbledon helps Kyrgios a lot.  If Nick decides to mail in a poor effort, Monaco will clip him.

Denis Kudla (USA) v Alexander Zverev (GER) – I like Kudla to advance here.  He has played well in grass court challenger events (!) leading into Wimbledon and is making the most of his main draw appearance.

Kenny De Schepper (FRA) v Richard Gasquet (FRA) [21] – Gasquet has enough ability to be favored here for a comfortable win.

Fernando Verdasco (ESP) v Dominic Thiem (AUT) [32] – Thiem needs to take advantage of any leg weariness Verdasco may have from the first round.

Matthew Ebden (AUS) v John Isner (USA) [17] – I like Isner to win, but his key for the event will be avoiding long matches in these rounds so he has enough energy to challenge the players seeded ahead of him.

Leonardo Mayer (ARG) [24] v Marcel Granollers (ESP) – I’ll take a mild upset in what should be an excellent match. This match is worth watching up close if you have tickets.

Wimbledon 2015: June 29th Gentlemen’s Singles Predictions

Predicted Winners in BOLD

[1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) vs Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) – I would not be surprised to see this go 4 sets as this is no easy draw for the defending champion and world #1.  Also, Novak has to wonder why Becker picked now to reveal their sign language.  Doesn’t he pay Boris?  I can see the strategy meeting. Nole, “Coach, why don’t we create a lot of controversy before I play a match against a guy better on grass than most of the seeds from 17-32?” Becker, “No problem.”

[4] Stan Wawrinka (SUI) vs Joao Sousa (POR) – Sousa is a solid player so if Stan has any hangover he could be in for a long day 1.

[5] Kei Nishikori (JPN) vs Simone Bolelli (ITA) – Is Kei healthy?  If so, this could still be a tough match.

[11] Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) vs Federico Delbonis (ARG) – Grigor has to be happy about this draw after a poor 2015.

[26] Nick Kyrgios (AUS) vs Diego Schwartzman (ARG) – Can Nick power his way to the second week again?

Jarkko Nieminen (FIN) vs [WC] Lleyton Hewitt (AUS) – Rusty gets the nostalgia vote even though Jarkko is just as old.

[9] Marin Cilic (CRO) vs [Q] Hiroki Moriya (JPN) – Marin needs some momentum to get back the quarters.

[7] Milos Raonic (CAN) vs Daniel Gimeno-Traver (ESP) – Milos seems to be in good form according to various reports.

[17] John Isner (USA) vs Go Soeda (JPN) – The big man should win, but he needs some service breaks to shorten his matches.

[14] Kevin Anderson (RSA) vs Lucas Pouille (FRA) – Anderson played well at Queen’s Club.

[WC] Liam Broady (GBR) vs Marinko Matosevic (AUS)

[21] Richard Gasquet (FRA) vs [Q] Luke Saville (AUS) – I am breaking my own rule in picking Gasquet.

Juan Monaco (ARG) vs Florian Mayer (GER) – This is a 50-50 match in my eyes.

Andreas Haider-Maurer (AUT) vs Ricardas Berankis (LTU) – Another fun match

Victor Estrella Burgos (DOM) vs Benjamin Becker (GER) – Benjamin is still out there playing and making some noise.

Janko Tipsarevic (SRB) vs Marcel Granollers (ESP)

[28] Pablo Cuevas (URU) vs [WC] Denis Kudla (USA) – Kudla plays his best tennis on grass, but I still think he is an underdog.

[32] Dominic Thiem (AUT) vs [Q] Dudi Sela (ISR) – Thiem is a player to watch.

Dusan Lajovic (SRB) vs Tommy Haas (GER) – Haas gets another nostalgia vote.

[16] David Goffin (BEL) vs [Q] Horacio Zeballos (ARG) – For the Shire

[Q] Kenny De Schepper (FRA) vs [Q] John-Patrick Smith (AUS) – Two qualifiers who should be match tough have a great chance at the 2nd round of a slam.

[Q] Pierre-Hugues Herbert (FRA) vs Hyeon Chung (KOR) – Qualifying making him match tough may give him an edge.

[WC] Matthew Ebden (AUS) vs Blaz Rola (SLO)

[19] Tommy Robredo (ESP) vs [Q] John Millman (AUS)

Martin Klizan (SVK) vs Fernando Verdasco (ESP) – I could see this go either way.  I think Klizan is the player with more of a future ahead of him, but Hot Sauce is capable.

Teymuraz Gabashvili (RUS) vs Alexander Zverev (GER)

Lukas Lacko (SVK) vs Steve Johnson (USA) – Steve Johnson should play well here.

Marsel Ilhan (TUR) vs Jerzy Janowicz (POL) – Jerzy was not expected to do much in 2013.  24 months later he is again not expected to do much.  Can he find his bullying form again?

[24] Leonardo Mayer (ARG) vs Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) – Is he healthy?  If so, I like the Aussie for an upset.

[27] Bernard Tomic (AUS) vs Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) – Tomic is in the middle of a battle with the Aussie tennis system.  This is not ideal preparation for a slam, but Tomic is familiar with distractions.

Joao Souza (BRA) vs Santiago Giraldo (COL) – South America will be tuned in for this match between two guys I really enjoy watching.

Donald Young (USA) vs Marcos Baghdatis (CYP) – How do I predict this match? Baghdatis played well enough in the tune-ups to think his grass court game has a win or two in it.  I think …

Tennis Power Ranking 2015: Stan Surges after Roland Garros Title

2015 Power Ranking #7: Stan Powers His Way to a Second Grand Slam Title

 

  1. Novak Djokovic – Novak is firmly the number 1 player in the world.  That may be small consolation after another close call in Paris.  The extra week to prepare for Wimbledon should help in his title defense.
  2. Stan Wawrinka – Stan followed his solid showing in Rome up with a masterful display of power tennis.  Stan battered his way past a tricky Gilles Simon, clobbered his Davis Cup comrade Roger Federer, and turned back the last French hope in Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Against Djokoivc, he pushed the baeline hugging Serb further and further back into the court.  By making him play outside of his favored court positioning, Wawrinka set up the potential for an upset.  Wawrinka’s shotmaking in big points made that potential a reality.  Change since last ranking +6
  3. Andy Murray – Andy didn’t do anything wrong to drop a spot in my power ranking.  He reached the semifinal round and pushed Novak to 5 sets after falling behind after two one-sided sets.  Change since last ranking – 1
  4. Roger Federer – Roger played well enough in Paris to reach the quarterfinal round.  He did not have much to say about the result of his match with Wawrinka.  At 33, it is hard to know what Roger can still do.  We will know more after the grass court season.  Roger defends 1450 points between his Halle and Wimbledon results from 2014.
  5. Rafael Nadal – Rafa looked quite solid in his first 4 matches at Roland Garros.  Minus a 4 game run versus Djokovic, Rafa looked outgunned versus the World #1.  Rafa’s mental attitude is in a good place heading into the grass court season.
  6. Kei Nishikori – Kei reached the quarters in Paris and lost in 5 sets to Tsonga.  Kei seems on the cusp of bigger wins, but does he have the little extra needed to do what Wawrinka did in Paris?
  7. Tomas Berdych – The Big Czech has played well in most of his 2015 events.  He did not look great vs Tsonga.  Change since last ranking – 3
  8. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga – Tsonga reached his second Roland Garros semifinal by playing powerful tennis.  His return to form should be a fun variable for the grass season.  Change since last ranking – not ranked
  9. Nick Kyrgios – Nick played well enough in Paris prior to losing to Andy Murray.
  10. Milos Raonic – Milos is back from foot surgery.  His return to the power ranking is based on some of the players we see in the dropped out list failing to do much in Paris.  Change since last ranking – not ranked

Biggest Mover –  Stan Wawrinka +6 

Dropped Out of the Poll – Grigor Dimitrov and John Isner – Dimitrov’s stock is falling, and he has the same 1450 points to defend on grass that Federer does.  

Entered the Poll – Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Milos Raonic

2015 Power Ranking: Madrid – Murray’s Clay Feat

2015 Power Ranking #5 – Murray Does Damage on the Dirt

  1. Novak Djokovic – Novak has not played since winning Monte Carlo because frankly he didn’t have to.  Will he cross the Rubicon and take Rome?
  2. Andy Murray – I can’t move Andy to #1 because of Nole’s stellar 2015, but Murray won Munich and was the last man standing in Madrid after a difficult schedule marred by rain delays and late night matches.  Murray beat Raonic, Nishikori, and Rafael Nadal by winning 6 straight sets.  
  3. Tomas Berdych – The Big Czech was soundly beaten by Nadal in the Madrid semis, but he is a model of consistency in 2015.  Change since last ranking +1
  4. Rafael Nadal – Rafa has two 2015 losses on clay to Fabio Fognini.  He just took a beating from Andy Murray in Madrid.  Still, Rafa beat Dimitrov and Berdych in straight sets.  He does not look like the Rafa we know, but a semi in Monte Carlo and runner-up in Madrid moves him to #4.  Change since last ranking +2
  5. Roger Federer – Roger won the first ever Istanbul event.  He promptly lost an extremely close match to Nick Kyrgios in Madrid.  I don’t think Roger has given up on clay, but his own words even suggest that he does not have the match on his racquet on dirt.  Change since last ranking – 2
  6. Kei Nishikori – He continued to do well in Spain.  Kei won Barcelona for the second consecutive year and destroyed Ferrer in Madrid.  He did not show much against a red hot Murray though.  Change since last ranking – Not ranked
  7. John Isner – Between Monte Carlo and Madrid, a case can be made that Isner is most effective on clay.  Who wants to play him in Paris?
  8. Milos Raonic – The big serving Canadian stays at #8, but he will miss big events to heal his nerve issue.  Team Raonic should not worry about short term ranking losses as his steady rise suggests he will get those points back sooner rather than later.
  9. Nick Kyrgios – Nick reached his first tournament final in Estoril and knocked off Roger Federer in Madrid.  That is enough for him to grab the #9 slot in this ranking.  Change since last ranking – Not ranked 
  10. Grigor Dimitrov – Grigor played well enough to keep his 10th slot, but he needs a big win against one of the top tier guys.

Biggest Mover –  Rafael Nadal +2 and Roger Federer – 2

Dropped Out of the Poll – Gael Monfils and David Ferrer

Entered the Poll – Kei Nishikori and Grigor Dimitrov

Madrid 2015: ATP Quarterfinal Predictions

Predicted Winners in BOLD

I am still sick and missed predicting the WTA semis – good thing as I would have gotten both wrong

[3] Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs [10] Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) H2H – If Grigor wins, panic might be warranted by the Rafa fans.  I don’t think that will happen though.

[6] Tomas Berdych (CZE) vs [16] John Isner (USA) H2H – Big John is playing well and perhaps making the case that clay is his best surface.  Still, Berdych’s 2015 form has been rock solid except versus Murray, Federer, and Djokovic.

[2] Andy Murray (GBR) vs [5] Milos Raonic (CAN) H2H –  Milos could bully Andy and win, but I think Murray’s foot speed and return will be the difference.

[4] Kei Nishikori (JPN) vs [7] David Ferrer (ESP) H2H – This strikes me as a 50-50 match.  I like Kei due to his momentum from Barcelona.

Monte-Carlo 2015: April 17th Quarterfinal Predictions

Predicted Winners in BOLD

[6] Tomas Berdych (CZE) v [4] Milos Raonic (CAN) H2H – Milos leads their head-to-head 3-1, but all of the matches have been fairly close and none of the 4 were on clay.  I think Milos is currently playing big matches better than Berdych has in recent months.  Therefore, I think Milos wins in 2 or 3 tight sets.

[9] Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) v [WC/14] Gael Monfils (FRA) H2H – Well Monfils’ sparring session in the round of 16 should be good preparation for Dimitrov.  Monfils has won the only relevant match in their 3 head-to-head meetings.  On paper, Gael should win.  Grigor has reasserted himself thus far with solid victories helping his Q rating.  I think Gael can win this match, but throughout his career Monfils has seemingly been on the cusp of something better than being simply dangerous.  Monfils has never really moved beyond that category and until he does, I can’t pick him to play high-level tennis on a sustained basis.

[1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) v [8] Marin Cilic (CRO) H2H – I picked against Cilic in the round of 32 and round of 16.  He should be happy I am doing so again.  What won’t make him happy is Nole’s level of play.
[3] Rafael Nadal (ESP) v [5] David Ferrer (ESP) H2H – This is much closer to a 50-50 match than I think most people realize.  Rafa historically has dominated both Ferrer and Monte-Carlo.  Recent form suggests a harder match than their head-to-head might indicate.  In Rio, Ferrer clearly was sharper than Nadal.  Ferrer was awesome in his 2015 Latin American swing winning Rio on clay and Acapulco on hard courts.  Ferrer also took the title in Doha to start the year.  Ferrer has had a better 2015 to this point than Rafa.  @Clutchon&win, a twitter friend, has been bold and picked Ferrer – see below.  I will not go quite that far, but in part because I want to see Nole and Rafa in the semis.  I am picking Rafa to advance in 3 long sets.

Monte Carlo 2015: April 15 Predictions or Special IRS Edition

Predicted Winners in BOLD

What a picturesque venue

[7] Stan Wawrinka (SUI) vs Juan Monaco (ARG) H2H – I am quite tempted to pick an upset here, but Stan has done well when defending titles.

[3] Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs [WC] Lucas Pouille (FRA) H2H – Rafa will be tested in Monte Carlo but not in this match.

[2] Roger Federer (SUI) vs Jeremy Chardy (FRA) H2H – I don’t like Chardy’s chances in this match.

[11] Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) vs David Goffin (BEL) H2H – I’ll pick a mild upset due to Tsonga’s potential rust.  This is a dangerous pick as Tsonga could overpower Goffin.

[6] Tomas Berdych (CZE) vs Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR) H2H – The Big Czech has generally won early round matches in recent events.

[9] Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) vs Fabio Fognini (ITA) H2H – If Dimitrov is clicking, he should win.  If Fognini plays like he did in Rio, an upset is likely.  I think Dimitrov is less likely to implode so Grigor gets the slightest of edges in my mind.

[4] Milos Raonic (CAN) vs Joao Sousa (POR) H2H – Milos may have his hands full as Sousa is a talented player, but Milos is quite a steady performer in matches he is supposed to win.

[WC/14] Gael Monfils (FRA) vs Alexandr Dolgopolov (UKR) H2H – Try to predict this one ….

[16] Tommy Robredo (ESP) vs Marcel Granollers (ESP) H2H – Robredo wins a tight baseline duel.

[10] Gilles Simon (FRA) vs [Q] Benoit Paire (FRA) H2H – I love Gilles’ oddly apathetic way of fighting his brains out on court.

[15] John Isner (USA) vs Viktor Troicki (SRB) – The big man typically plays much better on US soil, but I think this is a match he can successfully navigate.

[12] Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) vs Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) H2H – I like Kohlschreiber’s variety to be the difference in this match.

Masters Miami 2015: March 31st ATP Predictions

Predicted Winners in BOLD

[8] Tomas Berdych (CZE) vs [17] Gael Monfils (FRA) H2H – I think the Big Czech wins riding some momentum from his comeback versus Tomic.

[3] Andy Murray (GBR) vs [15] Kevin Anderson (RSA) – Murray’s return will likely neutralize Anderson’s best weapon.

[1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) vs Alexandr Dolgopolov (UKR) H2H – This should be an entertaining and short match.

[5] Milos Raonic (CAN) vs [22] John Isner (USA) – Take cover

[28] Adrian Mannarino (FRA) vs Dominic Thiem (AUT) H2H – Thiem has so much variety that he probably figures out a path to victory.

[29] Fernando Verdasco (ESP) vs Juan Monaco (ARG) H2H – Verdasco needs to ride this momentum.  If Verdasco has a let down, Monaco will clip him though.

[6] David Ferrer (ESP) vs [12] Gilles Simon (FRA) – Ferrer’s momentum should carry him to victory in a tough match.

[4] Kei Nishikori (JPN) vs [18] David Goffin (BEL) H2H – I could see Goffin win, but on paper Kei has to be the pick.