2010 Wimbledon – Nick’s Picks – Men’s Singles Round 2
Andy Roddick (USA) vs. Michael Llodra (FRA)
Roddick eased past Rajeev Ram in the opening round, taking down his fellow American 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 and will certainly face a tougher test in the second. Roddick is in a nice section of the draw and with Cilic losing in the first round it really opens things up for him. A possible battle with Djokovic looms in the quarters, but that’s a long ways away.
Llodra took down American Jesse Witten in the first round in four sets. He comes in ranked #37 in the world and he just won a grass-court title at Eastbourne last week. If he wins here, it will be the first time that Llodra will ever get past the second round at Wimbledon in 10 tries.
Roddick is 2-0 against Llodra with their last meeting coming back in 2008 at the Fed Cup. Llodra is a hard-serving lefty who will come into the net, serve and volley, and will constantly attack. Roddick has always been comfortable on the grass and that shouldn’t change this year. I don’t see many breaks of serve in this match, and I can certainly see Llodra taking a set and putting the pressure on the American. Once the ball gets into play and they are rallying, Roddick definitely has the advantage and the longer the rallies the more it favors him. I look for Roddick to advance, but this will be a test.
Nick’s Pick – Roddick in 4 sets
Taylor Dent (USA) vs. Novak Djokovic (SRB)
Dent, who trains at the IMG Bollettieri Tennis Academy, defeated Juan Ignacio Chela in four sets in the opening round after coming through qualifying to get into the tournament. His best result at Wimbledon came back in 2005 when he reached the fourth round (beat Berdych) before falling to Lleyton Hewitt who at the time was the #2 ranked player in the world.
Djokovic needed five sets to dismiss the pesky Olivier Rochus in the first round and that match didn’t end until around 11pm at night making it the latest finish ever at Wimbledon! Djokovic lost to Xavier Malisse in a warm-up tournament at Queen’s Club in the Round of 16, but he has been to the semis and the quarters of Wimbledon two out of the last three years.
This is the first career meeting between Dent and Djokovic and promises to be an exciting match. I am really looking forward to this match because both men have the goods to win this one. Dent has a big serve, will come to the net every chance he gets, and understands what it takes to win this match. Djokovic’s fitness always comes into play, especially after a long five-set match in the first round. We will have to see if that affects him at all. Dent needs to quick points and short rallies, and he needs to serve really well to keep Djokovic pinned back behind the baseline. If Djokovic is able to move Dent around the court and keep him off balance, then the edge goes to him. You have to give the advantage to Djokovic because of his all-around game, but don’t be surprised if Dent makes him work extremely hard or even pulls off the upset.
Nick’s Pick – Djokovic in 4 or 5 sets
Andy Murray (GBR) vs. Jarkko Nieminen (FIN)
Murray beat Jan Hajek in straight sets in the first round and looked good out there in front of his fans! Every year Murray has gone one round further at Wimbledon than the year before. In 2005 he lost in the third round, in 2006 it was the fourth round, 2007 the quarters and last year it was the semis. Will he continue this trend and make it the finals in 2010?
Nieminem needed four sets to take down Stefan Koubek in the opening round and is a former quarterfinalist at Wimbledon (2006). He’s played in a couple of grass court tournaments leading up to Wimbledon and lost in the first round at Halle and s-Hertogenbosch.
Murray is 2-0 against Nieminen, but the two haven’t played since 2007. Nieminem played a solid match in the first round against Koubek, but I don’t think he has enough weapons to beat Murray. The Scot returns the serve too well, will play a little more offensive and he knows how to step it up when the time comes. Nieminen is a lefty, and that is always tricky, but I don’t think he has the game to take down Murray on grass.
Nick’s Pick – Murray in 3 sets
Mikhail Youzhny (RUS) vs. Paul-Henri Mathieu (FRA)
Youzhny fought off a tough competitor in Dudi Sela in the opening round, taking down the Israeli in four sets. He comes into the tournament ranked #14 in the world and he did lose in the opening round at Halle on grass a couple of weeks ago. He’s been to the fourth round of Wimbledon five times, but he has never been past that point.
Mathieu needed four sets to dispense of fellow Frenchman, Marc Gicquel, in the first round. He has only played 11 ATP level matches this year and has a paltry 2-9 record. His best result at Wimbledon came back in 2007 when he reached the fourth round before falling to Andy Roddick.
Youzhny is 5-1 against Mathieu, which includes a win over him in four sets at last year’s US Open. They met on grass at Halle back in 2003 and Youzhny won after Mathieu retired in the third set. Mathieu has not had a great year and hasn’t played many matches due to injury. On the other hand, Youzhny has played well thus far in 2010, posting a 25-9 record and having won a title. Both men have solid groundstrokes and good serves. Youzhny is an excellent counter-puncher and as long as he keeps his composure I pick him to win. The lack of matches and court time will hurt Mathieu when playing against somebody of Youzhny’s level.
Nick’s Pick – Youzhny in 4 sets