2011 Wimbledon – Nick’s Picks – Men’s Singles Round 3
Andy Murray (GBR) vs. Ivan Ljubicic (CZE)
Murray dropped the first set in his first match but has looked very good since. The crowd has been cheering him on big time and that should help him in this match. He is 3-3 against Ljubicic, but they have never played on grass before. Ljubicic already has two good wins over Marin Cilic and Sergiy Stakhovsky and he is playing great tennis.
Ljubicic has a big serve, but once the ball is in play the points should favor Murray. Ljubicic needs to win quick points and take his chances on Murray’s serve. Although, Murray has improved his serve recently, it still isn’t as big as Ljubicic’s is. The difference here is that Murray has a great return of serve and he should be able to break Ljubicic at the right times. I like Murray to advance, but this could definitely go four sets.
Nick’s Pick – Murray in 4 sets
Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG) vs. Gilles Simon (FRA)
These two have met twice before with each winning one match. The last time they met was at the 2008 US Open which Del Potro won in five sets. Both men have had to fight through injuries over the last few years, but when they are healthy they are both excellent tennis players. Simon has a great backhand, very good serve and moves around the court extremely well. He has the goods to push anyone back behind the baseline and he is usually pretty consistent with his groundstrokes.
With every match, Del Potro seems to be getting a little more comfortable and that is bad news for the rest of the field. He has already won a Grand Slam title and is a real threat to win every time he takes the court. He has a big serve, great groundies, and his movement is very good for a big guy. He has an incredible ability to come in and take the ball above his shoulder and hit winners. This will usually catch his opponents out of position and enable him to win easy points. I think this match will go four sets and I have to give a slight edge to Del Potro because he has a little more firepower.
Nick’s Pick – Del Potro in 4 sets
Roger Federer (SUI) vs. David Nalbandian (ARG)
Nalbandian has had good success (compared to others) against Federer in the past, sporting an 8-10 record. Surprisingly, this will be their first meeting on grass and their first since 2008. Nalbandian has never been the guy that is in the absolute best shape, but at the same time, he moves well, has excelllent groundies and is a good competitor. He has the game to hang in there with Federer, but I don’t think he can beat him on grass in a best-of-five.
Federer is playing at a very high level right now and this will be his first real test. I could see him dropping a set to Nalbandian or having one tight set and winning in three. Right now, his serve and his forehand are two huge weapons and Nalbandian just doesn’t have the firepower to beat Federer.
Nick’s Pick – Federer in 4 sets
Bernard Tomic (AUS) vs. Robin Soderling (SWE)
Tomic survived a five-setter against Igor Andreev to advance to the third round of a Grand Slam for the second time in his career. He is definitely one of the best up-and-comers out there and he has the talent to be a top player in the future. His style of play is a bit unorthodox and is usually takes his opponents a bit to adjust. He moves well despite looking like he is sleeping out there and his groundstrokes from both sides are excellent. This is his first match against Soderling and it will be interesting to see how he handles the big stage.
Speaking of Soderling, he also won a five setter in his last match, beating Hewitt to reach the third round. He proved how mentally tough he is and the physical toll his game takes on his opponents. Against Tomic, he should be able to control the points with his booming serve and superb forehand/backhand. This match could go four sets if it takes Soderling a bit to adjust to Tomic, but he should be able to advance.
Nick’s Pick – Soderling in 4 sets