Sunday 1 July 2012

Fourth Round matches to Watch - Wimbledon 2012

The 4th round of Wimbledon Starts on Monday with a lot of mouth watering clashes. 8 of the 16 players taking the court will be looking to make it to their first Wimbledon QF. We are guaranteed to have at least 3 first time Wimbledon Quarter-Finalists, in Kohlschreiber vs Baker,  Youzhny vs Istomin and Ferrer vs Del Potro . The other two players looking for their first Wimbledon QF are Troicki and Cilic, both of whom face an uphill battle against the World no.1 and World no.4 respectively.

The race to the top spot is still open and with Nadal out of the tournament, it is up to Federer and Djokovic to claim the top spot. 

Let us have a look at some of the clashes:

1- Djokovic (1) vs Troicki

Description   Djokovic     Troicki
YTD Match Record      39-6  20-16
H2H        11     1
Wimbledon Best Result        Winner  4th round  
Year of best Result     2011   2012

This will be an all Serbian clash on the Centre Court, with Djokovic trying to move one step forward towards his title defense, while Troicki trying to make it to his first Grand Slam quarter-final.

Djokic lost the first set in his 3rd round win over Stepanek, while Troicki came through in 5 sets in the first 2 rounds before booking his 4th round spot with a straight sets win in the 3rd round.

Troicki is playing in his 19th Grand Slam and 5th Wimbledon. His best previous result at Wimbledon was 3rd round in 2009. His best Grand Slam result to date has been his 4th round showing at Roland Garros in 2011. In his 18 previous Grand Slam he has made it to the 4th round only once and never out of the 4th round.

Djokvic has not fallen before the QF stage of a grand Slam since the French Open 2009, making it 12 consecutive Grand Slams he has made it to the QF or better of the Grand Slams. Djokovic is bidding to reach his 4th straight Wimbledon Quarter-Final.

Let us have a look at what do the numbers tell us:

Description    Djokovic       Troicki   
Aces*        11     13
Double faults*          2       8
1st serves in       68%     61%
1st serve points won       80%    79%
2nd serve points won              60%    42%
Net points won       59%    67%
Break points won       44%    53%
Receiving points won       44%    37%
Winners*       40    50
Unforced errors*       16    29

* I have used the average aces, double faults, winners and Unforced errors per match.

Djokovic is clearly better than his rival in almost every department. Djokovic's serve has been great so far, he has been broken twice only so far, Troicki on the other hand has been broken 13 times so far in the tournament.
Troicki has not been very solid in the service department, making 61% of first serves, 7% lower than his 4th round rival. What is more worrying for Troicki is that Djokovic has won 80% of his first serves, 1% more than Troicki.
Troicki has been very poor on his 2nd serves, this coupled with the fact that he will be playing one of the best returners of the world will only add to the worries of Troicki.
One department where Troicki has been more successful has been in the points played at net and the break points won. Troicki will no doubt look to move Djokovic forward and will try to make the best of his break points. He will also have to keep his unforced errors under control, if he wants to stand a chance against Djokovic.

Pick: Djokovic in 3 sets

2- Ferrer (6) vs Del Potro (9)

Description     Ferrer   Del Potro   
YTD Match Record      46-8    40-9
H2H         4       2
Wimbledon Best Result   4th round     4th
Year of best Result   2006,10,11       2011

Both Del Potro and Ferrer have been one of the hottest players on tour this year. Both have made it to the QF or better of the first 2 slams of 2012, both have not performed well on grass previously. The best Wimbledon showing of both players has been the 4th round showing, which means that one of the players will be achieving his personal best result at Wimbledon.

In the pair's 6 prior meetings, only one has been on grass. It was back in 2008 in the semi-finals of s-Hertongenbosch and it was Ferrer who came out smiling in two sets.

Del Potro has played in 4 Wimbledons prior to this year but only once has made it to the 4th round but never out of it. Wimbledon remains the only slam where Del Potro has yet to make it to the Quarter-Finals.

Ferrer on the other hand has played in 9 wimbledons before this year, but he has also never made it of the 4th round. Just like his opponent in the 4th round, Wimbledon is the only grand slam where Ferrer has not made it beyond the 4th round. Ferrer has been to the semi-finals of all the other 3 slams.

Let us have a look at the stats of the players so far in the tournament:

Description    Ferrer       Del Potro   
Aces*        6       13
Double faults*        1         4
1st serves in      66%     68%
1st serve points won      79%     75%
2nd serve points won      65%     55%
Net points won       73%     61%
Break points won      43%    52%
Receiving points won      35%    35%
Winners*      35     42
Unforced errors*      12     24
* I have used the average aces, double faults, winners and Unforced errors per match.

As is evident from the stats, both have been pretty much equal in the serving department, DelPotro's higher first serve percentage is being neutralised by the points won on 1st serve by Ferrer. However, it is the second serve winning %age where Ferrer has clearly an edge over Del Potro. Del Potro will have to improve on this department to have a chance against Ferrer who has one of the best defensive games on the tour. Ferrer has been playing cleaner matches as compared to Del Potro as is evident from the winners-unforced error differential. Ferrer is + 23 while Del Potro is +18. Ferrer has been good on the points played at net and would love to test Del Potro at net who clearly is not that comfortable on net. Del Potro has been broken 6 times so far, while Ferrer has been broken only thrice in the first 3 matches. It will all come down to the serve of both players and the pressure points. Both players are used to playing pressure points, so the one playing them better and flowing freely will be the one walking off the court smiling, while the one will will let the nerves get in will fall behind.

Pick: Del Potro in 5 sets

3 - Federer (3) vs Malisse

Description      Federer   Malisse   
YTD Match Record       42-6    16-15
H2H          9       1
Wimbledon Best Result       Winner      SF
Year of best Result2003-07 & 2009    2002

Federer and Malisse have in a way trodden the same path on their way to the 4th round, in that they both won their first 2 round matches in straight sets and the 3rd round match in 5 sets. However, there is a huge difference. Malisse has beaten all the 3 players who were ranked higher above him, two of whom were seeds, while Federer has beaten the 3 players who were ranked far below him, one of them being a seed.

It has been a tournament of firsts for Malisse. He got his first win over Simon and Verdasco. It was for the first time in 2012 that Malisse has beaten back to back top 20 players in a tournament.

Federer is bidding to make it to his 33rd straight Grand Slam QF and his 10th straight Wimbledon QF.  Federer is coming off a 5 sets win over Benneteau and he must be feeling confident an relaxed knowing that he came out of the match despite not being at his best. He will definitely have to raise his bar.

In the pair's only grass metting, it was Federer who prevailed in the second round of Wimbledon over Malisse in 2001. Malisse had fought back from two sets to love to take the match into the 5th set, but fell short in the 5th set. It was the same year when Federer famously defeated Samprass in the 4th round of Wimbledon to make it to the QF of Wimbledon for the first time.

In the pair's last encounter, it was Federer who pravialed in straight sets in the 3rd round of Madrid 2011.

Let us have a look at the stats of the players so far in the tournament:

Description   Federer      Malisse   
Aces*     12       15
Double faults*       2         2
1st serves in    66%      65%
1st serve points won    80%      77%
2nd serve points won    60%      43%
Net points won    71%      77%
Break points won    49%     45%
Receiving points won    46%     38%
Winners*    40     45
Unforced errors*    16     25
* I have used the average aces, double faults, winners and Unforced errors per match.

Federer's first serve will be his key to the match as will be the count fo his unforced errors. As for Malisse, he too will have to raise his first serve, considering his winning %age on second serve has been poor. Federer has been broken  only thrice so far in the tournament, while Malisse has been broken 7 times. Malisse will have to step up and keep his agression level high while keeping his unforced errors under control. Malisse lags Federer in every department, other than the points won on net and aces.

Pick: Federer in 4 sets

4- Murray (4) vs Cilic (16)

Description   Murray  Cilic
YTD Match Record     29-9    18-9
H2H        5      1
Wimbledon Best Result      SF  4th round   
Year of best Result 2009-11     2008

Cilic walks into the match with a huge wave of confidence after his 5 set thrilling win over American Sam Querrey in the 3rd round, in what was the second longest match in Wimbledon with a time of 5.5 hours. Murray had a confidence boaster win of his own over Bhagdatis in the 3rd round. Murray has dropped a set in his previous 2 rounds, whereas Cilic has dropped 3 sets, 1 set in his opener and the other 2 in his win over Querrey.

In the pair's lone meeting on grass before, it was Murray who prevailed in 5 sets over CIlic but it was way back in 2007 when they played each other in the Davis Cup match.

Cilic has equalled his best showing of 4th round at Wimbledon of 2008 and will definitely be looking to go one step further this time.

Murray has never made the finals of Wimbledon, but with Nadal out of Wimbledon (thanks to Rosol), Murray might not get a better chance at his first Wimbledon final and he will be eager not to let this opportunity get out of his hand.

 Let us have a look at the stats of the players during the tournament:

Description    Murray            Cilic       
Aces*      10        11
Double faults*        4          3
1st serves in      63%       62%
1st serve points won     78%       74%
2nd serve points won     68%       57%
Net points won     71%       73%
Break points won     37%      49%
Receiving points won    41%      39%
Winners*     34      50
Unforced errors*     12      34
* I have used the average aces, double faults, winners and Unforced errors per match.

Murray is clearly the better of the two in almost every department. He has been strong on both serve and return. The key for Cilic will be not to give Murray too many looks at the second serve and make the most of the break point chances he gets. Murray has only been broken 4 times, while Cilic has been broken 8 times. Murray has won a whooping 11% more points on 2nd serve as compared to Cilic. Cilic will be feeling the after effects of the 3rd round marathon win over Querrey and might be a bit slow in his movement, which will be all Murray will need. Given the current level of both players Murray should be the one making it to the quarter-finals for the 4th consecutive year, but if Cilic can pull off a herculean effort, he will walk off the court smiling making it to his first Wimbledon Quarter-final.

Pick: Murray in 4 sets.

Who are your picks to make it to the Quarter-finals?

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