US Open 2015: September 4th Men’s Predictions

Predicted Winners in BOLD

[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLe_dAyo0Uo]

A rematch could happen soon

[1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) vs [25] Andreas Seppi (ITA) – Novak has looked quite sharp to this point.

“This seems like a good time to get in the face of one of the grittiest fighters tennis has ever produced” – Things few of us have ever said/done 

[8] Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs [32] Fognini (ITA) – Fognini’s game can actually bother Rafa, or the current version of Rafa.  My question is about Fognini’s temperment over a 3 of 5 set match.  Fognini recently entered into a changeover versus Rafa with a break lead and a chance to hold serve and force a 3rd set.  He decided this was the time to get into a verbal altercation with the umpire AND Rafa.  Of course, Rafa won the next 3 games including two breaks of serve to end the match.  Rattling the cage of an all-time great is never smart, but at that moment?  Eh …

[9] Marin Cilic (CRO) vs. Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) – Marin is by no means a lock to win this match.  However, his chances of a solid second week run in NYC keep improving.

[7] David Ferrer (ESP) vs [27] Jeremy Chardy (FRA) – If Chardy can bully Ferrer with big serves and forehands, Chardy will win.  If Ferrer can consistently find Chardy’s backhand, Ferrer will breakdown Chardy’s game and win.  I think Ferrer’s scenario is more likely.

[19] Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) vs. Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR) – I am picking a lot of chalk.

[10] Milos Raonic (CAN) vs [18] Feliciano Lopez (ESP) – This should be a fun match and perhaps the match of the day.  I think Raonic is slowly returning to his 2014 form after a rough few months healthwise.

[26] Tommy Robredo (ESP) vs Benoit Paire (FRA) – I have to pick at least one upset.  Also, I think Paire has the tools to overpower Robredo.  I do think every young pro could learn a lot from Robredo’s commitment to fitness and professionalism.  Tommy never gives a bad effort.  If the heat becomes a factor, reverse this pick as Robredo is quite fit.

[14] David Goffin (BEL) vs. [23] Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) – Goffin should win as he is sneaky good, but Bautista Agut will make Goffin earn it.

US Open 2015: September 2nd Men’s Predictions

Predicted Winners in BOLD

Fish and Rafa in action on Sept 2nd but not against one another a la 2008

[9] Marin Cilic (CRO) vs. Evgeny Donskoy (RUS) – Marin has not had a great 2015, but he did reach the final 8 at Wimbledon and played well enough at events such as DC to expect him to win this match.

[1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) vs. Andreas Haider-Maurer (AUT) – Nole is a solid favorite in this match.

[18] Feliciano Lopez (ESP) vs [PR] Mardy Fish (USA) – I think Fish has a chance. FLo plays a style that is not likely to lead to long points.  Fish and he will try to play offense and the player who does this more often will win.  I expect FLo to win, but would not be shocked to see Mardy in the round of 32 of his final US Open.

[8] Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs Diego Schwartzman (ARG) – Diego’s slight frame will make overpowering Rafa unlikely.  His best bet is to try to play long points and test Rafa’s knees etc.  I don’t think this has much chance of working.

[10] Milos Raonic (CAN) vs. Fernando Verdasco (ESP) – If Milos’ back is acting up as some reports state, I think it would be wise to reverse this prediction.

[19] Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) vs. Marcel Granollers (ESP) – This is an excellent match that fans should take in if on site.

[32] Fabio Fognini (ITA) vs. Pablo Cuevas (URU) – I have no idea.  Fabio could win. Maybe he should win, but Fognini is hard to predict and conditions may not be to his liking.  Cuevas is much less likely to play a bad match.

[26] Tommy Robredo (ESP) vs Sam Groth (AUS) – Can the Aussie bully the veteran with his serve?  That is likely to determine the winner.

Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR) vs. [Q] Illya Marchenko (UKR) – A Ukrainian Collison

[23] Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) vs. Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP) – A Spanish Collision

[27] Jérémy Chardy (FRA) vs. Martin Klizan (SVK) – Chardy has shown a lot of life in 2015, but I think Klizan has a little more game.

Benoit Paire (FRA) vs. Marsel Ilhan (TUR)

[14] David Goffin (BEL) vs Ricardas Berankis (LTU) – This should be a fun match too.

[25] Andreas Seppi (ITA) vs Teymuraz Gabashvili (RUS) – An upset?

[7] David Ferrer (ESP) vs Filip Krajinovic (SRB) – Ferrer got off to a slow start, but he finished strong on Monday.

[17] Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) vs Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) – This is a great match in my mind.  If Grigor can come out with a win, he may have an open channel for redeeming his 2015 in front of him.

US Open 2015: August 31st Men’s Predictions

Predicted Winners in BOLD in What Should be an Awesome Day of Tennis for the Fans

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Novak Djokovic (SRB) [1] vs. Joao Souza (BRA) – This is not the easiest first round match, but Nole is a heavy favorite.

Borna Coric (CRO) vs. Rafael Nadal (ESP) [8] – I know Coric beat Rafa last fall, but Rafa needed an appendectomy.  Rafa minus his appendix advances here.

Kei Nishikori (JPN) [4] vs. Benoit Paire (FRA) – I am tempred to call an upset here, but Kei won DC and played well enough in Montreal until Andy Murray rag dolled him.

Marin Cilic (CRO) [9] vs. Guido Pella (ARG) – The defending champion may not be around for long, but he will at least reach the round of 64.

Marco Cecchinato (ITA) vs. Mardy Fish (USA) – Fish should slip the hook for a round or two (this may be my lasy fishing pun for Mardy Fish).

Radu Albot (MDA) vs. David Ferrer (ESP) [7] – Ferrer started the year on fire and lately looks like a player on his last legs.  I still like Ferrer here.

Milos Raonic (CAN) [10] vs. Tim Smyczek (USA) – Milos is short on match play since having minor foot surgery inthe spring.  Tim could pull an upset, but Milos is the favorite.

Fabio Fognini (ITA) [32] vs. Steve Johnson (USA) – Steve Johnson is a favorite to win this match in this setting.

Simone Bolelli (ITA) vs. David Goffin (BEL) [14] – The Shire’s finest tennis player will advance.

Michael Berrer (GER) vs. Tommy Robredo (ESP) [26] – Robredo has had a few rough moments as of late, but I think he advances in 4 or 5 tight sets.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) [19] vs. Jarkko Nieminen (FIN) – Can the veteran spring an upset or is it curtains?

Illya Marchenko (UKR) vs. Gael Monfils (FRA) [16] – With Monfils anything is possible, but I like his chances.

Jerzy Janowicz (POL) vs. Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP) – Jerzy showed signs of life in Cincinnati and North Carolina.

Sam Groth (AUS) vs. Alexandr Dolgopolov (UKR) – Wow … how to pick this one? Groth has an absolutlely monstrous serve.  Dolgopolov has so much variety he sometimes loses track of his strategic goals.  Dolg played quite well in Cincy so I will take him in 5 fun sets.  If the Ukrainian goes on walkabout, Groth could maul him though.

Matthew Ebden (AUS) vs. Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) [17] – Dimitrov has had a lousy year, but has been presented with a soft draw.  Can he redeem his 2015 in NY or will Ebden continue his 2015 decline?

Fernando Verdasco (ESP)  vs. Tommy Haas (GER) – Hot Sauce wins the match every ticket holder should take time to watch.

Tommy Paul (USA) vs. Andreas Seppi (ITA) [25] – Tommy Paul still might be having a better summer than Senator Rand Paul (R-KY).

Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) [23] vs. Pierre-Hugues Herbert (FRA) – Agut could use a few wins in NY.

Jeremy Chardy (FRA) [27] vs. Ryan Shane (USA) – I like Chardy to win this match.

Vasek Pospisil (CAN) vs.  Andreas Haider-Maurer (AUT) – Pospisil proved at Wimbledon he can be a threat in singles and doubles.  This is not the easiest match, but I think the Canadian advances.

Yen-Hsun Lu (TPE) vs. Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ) – Everytime I pick against Lu I am wrong, but Kukushkin has a lot of game.

Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR) vs. John Millman (AUS)

Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) vs. Feliciano Lopez (ESP) [18] – FLo should win.

Florian Mayer (GER) vs. Martin Klizan (SVK) – This could be a very fun match to take in on sight.  I’ll take Kilzan in 4 fun sets.

Lukas Lacko (SVK) vs. Marcel Granollers (ESP) – This is a 50-50 match.  Enjoy it.

Lucas Pouille (FRA) vs. Evgeny Donskoy (RUS)

Marsel Ilhan (TUR) vs. Radek Stepanek (CZE) – The Worm lives to fight another day.

Elias Ymer (SWE) vs. Diego Schwartzman (ARG) – This should be fun, but I think Ymer sets up a round 2 clash with Rafa.

Joao Sousa (POR) vs. Ricardas Berankis (LTU) – Sousa is tough, but he is no lock to win.

Pablo Cuevas (URU) vs. Dudi Sela (ISR)

Teymuraz Gabashvili (RUS) vs. Pablo Andujar (ESP) – I like Andujar in this 50-50 match.

Filip Krajinovic (SRB) vs. Alejandro Gonzalez (COL) – Ajde

US Open 2015: Men’s Draw Predictions

This will be a more traditional preview than my Women’s draw analysis that centered on the calendar slams’ biggest obstacles.

Quarter 1 – Novak and Rafa’s World

Novak Djokovic has 6 hard court Grand Slam titles, but 5 have come in Melbourne. Nole is 1-4 in US Open finals.  This year could help Novak reverse some of his poor luck in the final match in NYC.  Novak’s biggest threat before the quarterfinal is the diminutive David Goffin.  Although, a few big hitters also lurk in his quarter.  Rafael Nadal should meet Novak in the quarterfinal round if he can surrvive some tests from young guns in the first two rounds.  Nadal defeated Nole in the 2010 and 2013 US Open championship matches while Nole took the 2011 title over Rafa.  I think Novak comes out of this quarter, but a quarter with Rafa would be full of tension.

Quarter 2 – Kei and Marin Dream of 2014

Kei Nishikori played well enough in Montreal, but Andy Murray clobbered him in the semifinal round.  Marin Cilic seems like an unlikely repeat champion, but his draw is not the worst he could have received.  This quarter will likely place either Kei or someone unexpected in the semifinal round.  I think either Grigor Dimitrov or Kei Nishikori will take advantage of this soft draw and reach the semifinal round.  I will bold and contend that Dimitrov, despite a weak 2015, will find a way to win 5 matches to reach the semifinal round.  This quarter is almost inexplicably soft.

Quarter 3 – Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka’s Chance for a 3rd Slam

Andy Murray won the 2012 US Open, but was dropped in the 2013 and 2014 quarterfinal round.  Stan Wawrinka reached the 2013 US Open semifinal by beating Murray in the quarters.  He also reached the 2014 quarterfinal round.  The reported heavier conditions in New York should benefit both of the top seeds in this quarter.  A lot of people are tabbing Murray to not only win this quarter but to be Nole’s toughest competition.  I think Stan actually has a great chance to beat Murray if they reach the quarterfinal round for a showdown.   A few powerful and/or in-form players such as Nick Kyrgios, Jack Sock, and Kevin Anderson lurk.  Still, I think Stan Warinka d. Andy Murray to reach the semifinal round due to overpowering the Scot.

Quarter 4 – Roger’s Latest Last Best Chance?

It is one of the funniest things to consider how often people keep saying this is the last time the current world #2 can contend to win a Grand Slam.  Roger Federer may not be the favorite at 34-years of age, but Roger is #2 in the world and has won 5 titles in 2015.  Roger is at worst the 3rd most likely to win this title.  Roger’s draw includes Tomas Berdych who eliminated Roger in the 2012 US Open quarterfinal round.  Had Berdych maintained his early 2015 form, I’d call him the favorite to reach the semifinal round.  However, Berdych has been plagued by poor showings since Roland Garros.  Roger has a workable draw to reach another US Open semifinal. From there he may need a little help from the draw, but Roger is a contender.

Semifinal Predictions: 

Novak Djokovic d. Grigor Dimitrov

Roger Federer d. Stan Wawrinka

Championship Prediction:

Novak Djokovic d. Roger Federer

Tennis Power Ranking 2015: Roger Federer’s Lucky 7 in the Queen City

Tennis Abides 2015 Power Ranking #10

A lot changed in Montreal, will stability return after Cincinnati?

  1. Novak Djokovic – Novak may not have picked up any trophies or a Golden Masters Series (that needs a new name), but he got everything he wanted in terms of US Open preparation.  Novak played 10 matches over 14 days in 2 different cities.  He is match tested heading into a week of getting used to New York.  From there, Nole will get to play every other day and seek Grand Slam title #10. Novak is such a good hard court player that 1 US Open title seems too low.  He is the favorite this year so a 2nd US Open crown may be close at hand.
  2. Roger Federer – The Swiss Maestro is approaching 90 career titles. His 7th title in Cincinnati demonstrated that Roger is serving as well as ever.  If his new attack of the second serve helps him to break serve 5% more often, he will be deadly.  I am not sure how Roger will hold up if he has to play a lot of 5 set matches, but if he gets through the first week with minimal effort, watch out in week 2.  Change since last ranking +1
  3. Andy Murray – The Scot enters the US Open firmly among the triumvirate of top contenders.  His win in Montreal and gritty wins to reach the Cincinnati semifinal round leave Murray at 8-1 over his past 9 matches.  Change since last ranking -1
  4. Kei Nishikori – We know Kei has the game, but does he have the ability to stay healthy for 7 matches?
  5. Stan Wawrinka – Stan played well enough in Cincinnati to dispel any concerns over his back injury in Montreal.  Stan is tougher to beat in 3 of 5 set matches.  I expect Stan to reach the round of 16 or better in New York.  If he gets on a roll, he can win Grand Slam #3.
  6. John Inser – The big man took home the title in Atlanta, he was runner-up in Washington, DC, and finished as a quarterfinalist in Montreal.  Isner made a good choice to skip Winston-Salem after a tired loss in Cincinnati.  Having nearly 2 weeks off before the US Open might help John reach the second week in New York.
  7. Richard Gasquet – Richard played quite well in Cincinnati and could be a decent bet for the final 8 in New York (did I just type that?). Change since last ranking – not ranked
  8. Rafael Nadal – Rafa has looked pretty solid against players he should beat.  We have not seen Rafa 2015 beat the top tier of players, but he does know how to win Grand Slams and how to win in New York.  Underestimate Rafa at your own peril.
  9. Marin Cilic – Cilic has done enough this summer to hang on to a low spot in my top 10.  Change since last ranking – 2
  10. Feliciano Lopez – The attacking Spaniard took Nadal out in a tight 3 set clash at Cincinnati.  He played Federer reasonably tough as well. Change since last ranking – not ranked 

Biggest Mover – Marin Cilic – 2

Entered the Poll – Richard Gasquet and Feliciano Lopez

Dropped Out of the Poll – Ivo Karlovic and Dominic Thiem

On the Cusp – Alexandr Dolgopolov and David Goffin

Cincinnati 2015: August 20th ATP Predictions

Predicted Winners in BOLD

[1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) vs. [13] David Goffin (BEL) – I could see Goffin trouble Nole, but I think Nole’s game has more heft and will ultimately prevail due to that fact.

[8] Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs Feliciano Lopez (ESP) – I think Rafa is improving his form incrementally and that will be enough to fend off Lopez unless Lopez serves out of his mind.

[2] Roger Federer (SUI) vs. [15] Kevin Anderson (RSA) – Federer should advance past a tricky opponent.

[5] Stan Wawrinka (SUI) vs. Ivo Karlovic (CRO) – Ivo always has a chance, but Stan has to be favored.

[7] Marin Cilic (CRO) vs. [12] Richard Gasquet (FRA) – Gasquet has Kyrgios’ number.  Can he also upend the defending US Open champion?

Jerzy Janowicz (POL) vs. [Q] Alexandr Dolgopolov (UKR) – Jerzy looked like a future star from the Bercy in 2012 through Wimbledon 2013.  The Dolg has fallen on hard times as well.  The winner will take some much needed momentum and ranking points into the US Open.

[6] Tomas Berdych (CZE) vs. Tommy Robredo (ESP) – Is Berdych’s mind back in the game?  If not, Robredo likely wins.

[3] Andy Murray (GBR) vs. [16] Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) – Andy Murray has dealt with terrible scheduling at multiple events in 2015, but he seems to display a lot of fortitude when in these situations.

Tennis Power Ranking 2015: Andy Murray Snaps Losing Streak to Djokovic and Wins Montreal

Tennis Abides 2015 Power Ranking #9

A lot has changed since Wimbledon

  1. Novak Djokovic – Nole is still number one in my power ranking heading into Cincinnati and will be #1 heading into the US Open.  Andy Murray will be a challenge if the two meet in the US Open final, but Novak has played so well this year that a close runner-up finish at a Masters 1000 event to Andy Murray seems like a disapointing result.  The fact is it is not a bad result for Novak’s first tennis since winning Wimbledon.
  2. Andy Murray – Aside from breaking an eight match losing streak to Novak Djokovic and winning a Masters 1000 event, it should be noted that Murray throttled Kei Nishikori in the semifinal round.  Murray is looking to add to his Grand Slam haul and cannot be discounted heading into New York.  Change since last ranking +2 
  3. Roger Federer – Roger has not played since his Wimbledon runner-up finsh.  He is limiting his US Open preparation to Cincinnati alone.  That may be wise as Federer’s legs looked to be cooked by the time he reached the 2014 US Open semifinal round.  Change since last ranking -1
  4. Kei Nishikori – If Kei can remain healthy, he will again be a factor at the US Open.  Nishikori won Washington, DC by beating Cilic and Isner back-to-back.  He dominated Nadal in Montreral, but he was in turn dominated by Andy Murray in the semifinal round.  Change since last ranking – not ranked
  5. Stan Wawrinka – Stan endured some ugliness on court in Montreal.  He also is having back issues.  Wawrinka’s Roland Garros title and Wimbledon quarterfinal finish keep him in my top 5. Change since last ranking -2
  6. John Inser – The big man took home the title in Atlanta, he was runner-up in Washington, DC, and finished as a quarterfinalist in Montreal.  His penchant for long matches may leave him leg weary in the first week of the US Open.  Change since last ranking – not ranked
  7. Marin Cilic – Cilic did enough in Weshington, DC to remain in my top 10.  Change since last ranking – 1
  8. Rafael Nadal – Rafa is still struggling against top players, but he won a title and reached the quarterfinal of a Masters 1000 event.  Change since last ranking – not ranked
  9. Dominic Thiem – His back-to-back titles on clay followed by a semifinal finish were impressive.  His leg weary and jet lagged hard court losses have Thiem in a holding pattern.  Change since last ranking – not ranked
  10. Ivo Karlovic – He just joined the 10,000 ace club (Does Goran charge dues for new members?).  Change since last ranking – not ranked

Biggest Movers – Andy Murray plus 2 and Stanislas Wawrinka minus 2

Dropped Out of the Poll – Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Richard Gasquet, Nick Kyrgios, Vasek Pospisil, and Milos Raonic

Entered the Poll – Kei Nishikori, John Isner, Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem, and Ivo Karlovic 

Montreal 2015: ATP Quarterfinal Predictions for August 14

Predicted Winners in BOLD

[16] John Isner (USA) vs. Jérémy Chardy (FRA) – John Isner has to thank the draw gods a bit here.  He reached the round of 16 and received massive crowd support in defeating George Costanza Nick Kyrgios.  Now, he has a workable quarterfinal match.  His title in Atlanta and runner-up finish in DC have Isner posed for his annual ranking bump due to North American events.

Novak may be playing at his highest level ever – this is bad news for Gulbis & the rest of the draw

[1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) vs. [Q] Ernests Gulbis (LAT) – Gulbis has rebounded from near oblivion yet again.  However, Nole should win this match.

[4] Kei Nishikori (JPN) vs. [7] Rafael Nadal (ESP) – I could certainly see Rafa winning tomorrow.  However, Nishikori won last week in DC and has momentum on his side.  Rafa did win his last event as well, but that was on clay in Germany.

[2] Andy Murray (GBR) vs. [10] Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) – The defending champion has done well to not let defending points psyche him out and lead to an early exit. Tsonga’s problem is that Andy Murray is not a great match-up for him.  I think Murray’s return of serve and ability to cover the court force Tsonga into too many high risk shots and therefore too many errors.

Wimbledon 2015: 5 Men that Leave with Momentum and 5 Men that Leave with Questions

5 Men that Leave with Momentum

  1. Novak Djokovic – The world #1 leaves London with his 9th major title and 3rd Wimbledon title.  Novak played airtight tennis for nearly the entirety of the men’s final.  He has now won 3 of his previous 4 Grand Slam finals and is in a class of his own on tour.
  2. Roger Federer – Roger won his 8th Halle title and reached his 10th Wimbledon final.  Roger did not win his 8th Wimbledon title, but his work in reaching the final shows that Roger is still near the top of the game despite being close to his 34th birthday.
  3. Richard Gasquet – Gasquet will probably never be a fixture in the top 10 at this stage of his career, but his play in London reminded many of why they liked his game.
  4. Kevin Anderson – The big man had a couple of break points in the 5th set versus Novak Djokovic that could have swung the entire tournament.  He leaves knowning he was the only player to push Nole to the limit right as he enters the fast hardcourt swing of the tour.  I am not predicting a top 10 ranking, but he should be able to build on his time at Wimbledon in the coming weeks.
  5. Dustin Brown – Dreddy enters play in Newport, RI this week as a mini-celebrity.  His Q rating is up, and he has a memory for life.

5 Men that Leave with Questions

  1. Rafael Nadal – It is true Rafa let Wimbledon before the quarterfinal round from 2011-2014, but he also entered Wimbledon with a Roland Garros title in hand.  His 6 clay court losses this year were compounded by a loss to Dustin Brown in the round of 16.  I think anyone counting Rafa out is at best jumping the gun, but questions abound that may not be answered until the clay court season of 2016.
  2. Tomas Berdych – The Big Czech was anhilated by Gilles Simon.  His early 2015 form lacked losses to players he was expected to beat.  At Roland Garros and Wimbledon, Berdych lost before his seeding.
  3. Nick Kyrgios – Not that he played poorly at Wimbledon, but Tennis Australia/Patrick Rafter and Nick Kyrgios have some things to discuss.
  4. Grigor Dimitrov – He left Wimbledon 2014 looking as though he could make a big push toward the top of the game.  He leaves Wimbledon 2015 looking a bit like Jerzy Janowicz looked leaving Wimbledon 2014.
  5. Jack Sock – After Roland Garros, many were ready to give him the keys to US tennis.  Wimbledon did not exactly signal a smooth transition of power.  Still, Sock should have plenty of opportunities for points in the North American summer.

Wimbledon 2015: July 2nd Gentlemen’s Singles Predictions

Predicted Winners in BOLD

[2] Roger Federer (SUI) v Sam Querrey (USA) – Querrey has had a number of nice results on grass in his career and has a big serve/forehand combination.  I don’t think he will handle the low ball as well as he will need to to challenge Roger though.  The Fed will need to play pretty clean tennis and take care of his serve, but he should advance.

We’d love to see something this entertaining

[10] Rafael Nadal (ESP) v [Q] Dustin Brown (GER) – Halle 2014 was entertaining between these two.  I think it will be played more on Rafa’s terms this time around, but Dreddy has a puncher’s chance at an upset as he will try to give Rafa no rhythm.

[3] Andy Murray (GBR) v Robin Haase (NED) – Murray is not on Centre Court to the surprise of some, but his match is easier on paper than Fed or Rafa’s.

[13] Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) v Albert Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) – Is Jo healthy?  Has he recovered his stamina from a long first round match?  If those answers are yes, expect Tsonga into the 3rd round.

[WC] James Ward (GBR) v Jiri Vesely (CZE) – No joy for the home fans

[6] Tomas Berdych (CZE) v [WC] Nicolas Mahut (FRA) – This could be a gem of a match.  Mahut’s results at Roland Garros were eye-catching.  He is a cagey grass court player, but the Big Czech has to be the favorite.

[12] Gilles Simon (FRA) v Blaz Kavcic (SLO) – Gilles’ footspeed and indifferent determination will be the difference.

[18] Gael Monfils (FRA) v Adrian Mannarino (FRA)

[30] Fabio Fognini (ITA) v Vasek Pospisil (CAN) – If Vasek can hold serve enough to unnerve Fognini, Popspisil will win.  I think that is what happens.

[23] Viktor Troicki (SRB) v Aljaz Bedene (GBR) – Troicki is loving grass and this draw.

[23] Ivo Karlovic (CRO) v Alexandr Dolgopolov (UKR) – I know the head-to-head may point the other direction, but I like the big man to win.

[25] Andreas Seppi (ITA) v Borna Coric (CRO) – Seppi showed me something at Halle, but this is no easy match.

[20] Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) v Benoit Paire (FRA) – I like Paire to keep some lunacy alive at SW19.

Lukas Rosol (CZE) v Pablo Andujar (ESP) – On clay, I’d reverse this pick.

[15] Feliciano Lopez (ESP) v [Q] Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) – FLo needs this and should be able to get it.

Sam Groth (AUS) v James Duckworth (AUS) – The battle for Oz?  This is a match for a fan with a grounds pass to absorb as Aussie fans could make this a gem.