Wimbledon 2018 – Mens Singles Preview

This preview was researched by the analysts at Football Form Labs.

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Background

Wimbledon is not only the oldest tennis tournament in the world, but is also regarded as the most prestigious. This competition has been dominated by the world’s best over the years: 48 of the 50 Open Era winners having been seeded for the tournament, whilst 43 of these were in the top four.


Key Stats 1990 - 2017

22/28 Wimbledon winners since 1990 have played a grass-court tournament between the French Open and the start of the Championships with Djokovic (2011, 2014 and 2015), Federer (2007 and 2009) and Agassi (1992) the exceptions

25/28 winners were top-eight seeds with 24 being top-four. Also 21/28 runners-up were top-eight seeds and 17 top-four

42/56 finalists (and 22/28 winners) had reached a previous Wimbledon semi-final.

Player Seed 2018 Queens/Halle Result Wimbledon Best 2018 French Open
Roger Federer* 1 RU (Halle) W (2003-07, ‘09, ’12, ‘17) DNP
Rafael Nadal 2 DNP W (2006-08, ’10-11) Win
Marin Cilic* 3 Win (Queens) RU (2017) QF
Alexander Zverev 4 1st Round (Halle) 4th Round (2017) QF
Juan Martin del Potro 5 DNP SF (2013) SF
Grigor Dimitrov* 6 2nd Round (Queens) SF (2014) 3rd Round
Dominic Thiem 7 2nd Round (Halle) 4th Round (2017) RU
Keven Anderson 8 1st Round (Queens) 4th Round (2014-15, ’17) 4th Round
Novak Djokovic* 12 RU (Queens) Win (2011, ’13-15) QF
Nick Kyrgios 16 SF (Queens) QF (2014) DNP
Borna Coric 17 Win (Halle) 2nd Round 3rd Round

* Highlights players that fit the key stats from above


Quarter 1

Roger Federer won his record eighth title at the All England club last year (and won each of his seven matches 3-0 in the process) and it seems the draw has played into his hands yet again. He gets underway against Dusan Lajovic- who he beat in straight sets last year- and he should easily progress through the opening week. Looking a bit further ahead, he will most likely face either Borna Coric or Adrian Mannarino in the last-16 stage. These will both prove more difficult tasks, with the former possibly a greater threat to the reigning champion, Federer having recently lost to Coric.

Borna Coric has been steadily rising up the rankings with some good performances, notably an impressive Halle Open title to his name and where he ended Federer’s 20-match unbeaten run on grass. Although the Croatian hasn’t passed the second round at Wimbledon before, he beat Alexander Zverev in that Halle Open run, while at the French Open he overcame another big-name in Philipp Kohlschreiber. Kohlscreiber, who can be formidable on his day,  also lies in this part of the draw and has reached the third round on multiple occasions here.

The bottom-half of this quarter is very hard to pick with some familiar names scattered throughout. The highest ranked player is Kevin Anderson, who has reached the fourth round in four of the last five editions and proved his form at Roland Garros getting to the fourth round. Although he lost in straight sets to Kei Nishikori at the Hurlingham Exhibition recently, we still give him a very good chance to make it to the last-16 again. Other players include Gael Monfils, but he goes up against fellow compatriot Richard Gasquet in his opener. Similarly, grass specialist Gilles Muller, who beat Nadal in the match of the tournament 12 months ago, is also in this section, but he looks a little out of touch. In a repeat of last year, Sam Querrey looks the most likely fourth round tussle for Anderson, which last year saw Querrey win and advance to the semis.


Quarter 2

Grigor Dimitrov was disappointing in his loss to Novak Djokovic at Queens, losing in straight sets. Wimbledon is a tournament which he never fails to perform at, reaching a minimum of the third round in all his last four visits, including a semi-final in 2014. The draw hasn’t been kind, however, and he faces Stan Wawrinka in his opener- who although totally out of form could still cause an upset. The Bulgarian’s biggest challenge will come from either Pablo Carreno-Busta, who recently lost to Alexander Zverev at the Boodles Exhibition, English wild card Cameron Norrie, who will have the home crowd to stir him on, or finally the big-serving John Isner, who we think is the most likely of the three to reach the last-16.

The bottom-half of this quarter should advance through to the last-8 with a much more competitive pool of players. The leading contender is 2018 Queens champion Marin Cilic. Having beaten the likes of Verdasco, Muller, Querrey, Kyrgios and Djokovic on his route to the title, the big Croat is primed to go one better than last year at SW19. Other interesting contenders include: Lucas Pouille, John Millman and Milos Raonic. Raonic was runner-up here in 2016 and made the final of the Stuttgart Open in last month (losing to Federer) but with a game that suits grass he will be in with a shot, provided he can get over his pectoral injury he suffered at Queens.


Quarter 3

It is clear that the 7th seed Dominic Thiem favours clay over grass, finishing runner-up to Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros. He made the fourth-round here last year thanks to an easy draw, but with 17 career wins to his 14 career losses on grass, we don’t expect him to improve on that record. British no.1 Kyle Edmund recently overcame Andy Murray at Eastbourne, but he is yet to make the second week here. A potential third round meeting with Novak Djokovic means Edmund’s time could be cut short again; the Serbian having recently made the Queen’s final and looking back to form.

It gets interesting in the bottom-half of this quarter with Nick Kyrgios up against Denis Istomin in his first-round match. The foul-mouthed Aussie is an excellent grass court player who recently made the semis at Queen’s. The other key members include: Kei Nishikori, Alexander Zverev and Damir Dzumhur, though Zverev is the only player that could pose a serious challenge on grass. Zverev has shown his potential by winning 9 of his 13 matches on the surface since the start of last year, only losing to Muller, Federer, Raonic and Coric in this time, all of whom were at the top of their games.


Quarter 4

Juan Martin del Potro has been in immense form this season since returning from injury and has a chance of going deep in SW19 this year. He will have to beat some very talented players to get there though and to make things worse, the unseeded Andy Murray looms. He is also scheduled for a second-round ‘banana skin’ with the experienced Feliciano Lopez playing his 66th straight Grand Slam. If he wins that, he would face either Murray, Benoit Paire, Denis Shapovalov or Jeremy Chardy in the third round. The latter is in the form of his life with a win, runner-up place and semi-final place across his last three grass tournaments. He is also now living in London, which will certainly be an asset. The top-half of this bottom quarter also accommodates the out-of-form Jack Sock and Albert Ramos Vinolas, who has reached the third round in each of his last two attempts. Matthew Ebden could cause David Goffin some trouble in his opener, with Ramos Vinolas providing another tough matchup in round two.

The bottom-half of this last quarter is full of clay court specialists, including Rafael Nadal, Diego Schwartzman, Fabio Fognini and the recent Roland Garros semi-finalist Marco Cecchinato. Nadal will likely face Cecchinato in the third round, although the Italian will have to get passt Pierre-Hugues Herbert or Misha Zverev in the second round. The last time Nadal won was in 2010 and since his last success he has suffered surprise early defeats to Lukas Rosol, Steve Darcis, Nick Kyrgios, Dustin Brown and Gilles Muller and we would not be surprised if this was to occur again this year.


Conclusion

Federer should have no problem winning his quarter, the only danger being a potential last eight match with Borna Coric, however, it is unlikely the young Croat will be able to repeat his recent success over five sets. Other challenges come in the form of Kevin Anderson and Sam Querrey, but they shouldn’t prove too difficult given he’s four from four versus both of them. His semi-final looks to be tough, but cruising through his opening five matches like last year will put himself in a good position to win his ninth title.

The second quarter looks the weakest of the four for us, with Cilic likely to play either Dimitrov or Isner in the quarter finals. At least one of the finalists at Queen’s has gone on to reach the semis at Wimbledon in 15 of the last 19 years and of the two Cilic looks the more likely this year. Blisters and nerves got the better of him in the final 12 months ago and we give him a much better chance of beating Federer in the semis but whoever prevails certainly has our backing to lift the trophy.

The third quarter has an abundance of quality throughout, with a likely shootout between Djokovic, Kyrgios and Alexander Zverev. It is hard to pick between the three and although Djokovic is the bookies favourite, he lost his cool with a match point at Queen’s and he is hard to fancy at the current prices. The value has to be with Alexander Zverev to win this 3rd quarter, given he’s beaten Kyrgios in both their meetings so far this year and the Aussie’s temperament often costs him at the Grand Slams.

In the final quarter, we don’t think Murray has a chance of lasting two weeks in a Grand Slam after his injury and we have our concerns over Rafa at Wimbledon, with a potential upset with Kukushkin in the second round on the cards. Although, he won’t have many gimmie matches in the first week, we like Del Potro’s chances of battling though and, if he does, he has a great opportunity to reach the final.


Betting Strategy

 BACK – Roger Federer to Win at 2.90

 BACK – Marin Cilic to Win at 7.08

 BACK – Alexander Zverev E/W at 22

 BACK – Juan Martin Del Potro E/W at 26


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