Wimbledon Day 1: Djokovic Off to Solid Start in Title Defense

And we are off! First of all, thanks to everyone who took part in the predictions game. There were some very good predictions but more about that later. Today the defending champion Djokovic opened proceedings at Wimbledon of course. Kohlschreiber was a difficult opponent for him after three weeks with no competitive tennis, but he adjusted quickly and won 6-4, 6-4, 6-4. In fact, he broke Kohlschreiber in his opening service game but soon got broken back.

Then at 4-5 Kohlschreiber served a double fault at 15-30 and made an unforced error on set point. In each set, Kohlschreiber got broken while serving to stay in the set and as I expected he got tight when it mattered. He really isn’t mentally the strongest player. He certainly has the talent to trouble the best but mentally like I said he comes up short. Not to take anything away from Djokovic. It was a tricky first round opponent who came back from breaks in the first and third set.

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Djokovic looked very solid overall and if there were any doubts as to whether he was still hung over from the French Open loss those doubts have now been silenced. He looks sharp and rested and it’s going to take a very good performance to stop him from winning a third Wimbledon crown. He now plays Nieminen who defeated Hewitt in his last Wimbledon 9-7 in the fifth set. It’s tough for Hewitt to go out like that but as usual he fought to the bitter end and he was a great grass courter.

  • Elsewhere in the Draw

The number four seed Stan played today as well and had a solid straight set win too. He has a good draw and his first serious test will probably only be in the quarterfinals against Raonic or Kyrgios. Kyrgios had a straight set win over Schwartzman himself with a bagel in the first set. He is certainly a guy to watch out for. Preferably I’d like to see him make quarters because I like his game more than Raonic and Dimitrov for that matter and he is an exciting player.

I predicted Dimitrov would lose in the first round before the draw came out, but he proved me wrong by beating Delbonis in straight sets. That was a pretty easy first round though and we will see how he fares against Johnson next. I don’t see Dimitrov making quarterfinals anyway. It was also nice to see Haas getting another grass court win today since his comeback from injury against Lajovic, but he will probably lose to Raonic in the next round. I see Thiem also had another grass court win, but Verdasco next will be tough.

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Verdasco defeated Klizan 13-11 in the fifth set though so he may be tired. I’m looking forward to that match to see if Thiem can win two consecutive matches on grass. The grass is clearly his worst surface. Finally, Nishikori needed five sets to get past Bolelli which I watched the end of and Nishikori was struggling with a calf injury, hardly being able to run. He gets injured a lot for a small guy. He is a mediocre grass court player anyway and isn’t a serious threat.

  • Tomorrow’s Prediction Match

Ok so finally I get to the predictions. Like I said there were some very good predictions. In fact two people, Joe and Josefina, came within one game of being spot on! So first of all congrats to them winning the first round! Second of all that made me rethink the rules again. Instead of awarding 50 points to a perfect prediction I am going to cut that in half to 25 points. That way a perfect prediction won’t leave the winner too far in front and out of reach of the rest.

Also, if you predict a tie-break you have to get the tie-break score right as well for a perfect score. That is now hopefully the last time I update the rules. Tomorrow Federer plays his first round against Dzumhur of course, but there are several other matches that will be closer and more interesting. Nadal against Belucci and Tsonga against Muller, for instance, will be way more competitive. It will be interesting to see who wins between Brown and Lu as well to see who will be Nadal’s potential second round opponent.

Nadal is most vulnerable in the early stages when the grass is still new and fast. He has already lost twice before the second round in the last three years and Belucci or Brown/Lu are guys who can make life difficult for him on grass. I found an article yesterday where uncle Toni said he believes Nadal can win Wimbledon, and although I don’t expect it to happen since when has anything Nadal did been predictable? Uncle Toni is not a guy who just says these things anyway. He is a smart guy and I sense a real danger from Nadal if he passes the first two rounds.

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Pressure could seriously mount for Federer…

After that he has Troicki who he already beat in Stuttgart and then after Ferrer’s withdrawal the only seed left for him before the quarters is Fognini who is very unpredictable. And once he gets into the second week he becomes hard to stop. He could even defeat Murray knowing his head-to-head with Murray in slams, and play Federer in the semis. What kind of pressure would it create for Federer knowing that if he loses then Nadal completely owns him, not to mention the Wimbledon dream would probably be over for good?

Such a match would be extremely fascinating, but we are far from it. Just some food for thought. The match between Tsonga and Muller should be very interesting as well because both are very good grass court players. But in the end I think Nadal vs Belluci provides the most intrigue and unpredictability for a prediction match. From now on you will also make your prediction under the post where I made the prediction match public. In other words, you will make your prediction below this post.

The comment section below this post will also be for live chatting during the match, as well as for comments related to my post. That will work the best because that way we can chat during the match about your scores too. You can view the rankings on the prediction page now. The rankings are quite bundled up at present but will soon spread out nicely. Remember you can join the game at any time. You don’t need to start from the beginning. I will add a short version of the rankings to my blog’s front page soon after this post.

Now let the predictions begin(again)!

  • Highlights

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RltoSstpACE

The is in your court.

Posted in Grand Slams, Wimbledon.

42 Comments

  1. Nadal, 7-5, 6-4, 6-4.

    I hope I don’t get a single point for this prediction!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Lol. It would be funny if you get it spot on this time =))

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    Well, if I understand the rules correctly :B , then I’ll get zero points if Nadal loses the match.

    And that would be worth giving up the last match’s points too!

    <:-P

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Haha. That’s true. So either way you win! ;-)

    [Reply]

    Veronica Reply:

    Is 4 your lucky number now, Joe?! :-) First one to predict! Brimming with confidence, eh, Joe?! I’m glad you are the first one to predict. Now all we have to do is just copy and paste your score! :))

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    Hey Veronica,

    No confidence here! I do tend to think that the top players put their game on ‘cruise control’ in the early rounds to pace themselves, but that’s not always true. And I’m also trying to factor in the fact that Nadal is not at his peak, and that it’s grass, etc. I saw Belucci play Djokovic a good match a while back and he can play tough, so if Nadal can get a break per set he’ll be doing well I think.

    But to tell the truth, I think I’m actually trying to crash out of the competition so there won’t be any pressure! :-)

    Besides, I checked in with Josafina before recording my prediction here!
    :-)

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Joe! You did it again! Second this time on your own! :))

    [Reply]

  2. Another nice post Ruan..I will really miss Hewitt on the grass courts
    Now to d predictions I thought you will select d Tsonga’s match or Federer’s
    Anyways Nadal, Belluci will b interesting too..
    However badly I want Nadal to lose,I think we will b through

    Nasal in 4 sets 6-4 , 6-7(5-7), 6-4, 6-1

    [Reply]

    Denis Saikia Reply:

    Oops my dictionary!! Nasal not nasal

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    Looking good Denis!

    [Reply]

  3. That’s it I m not trying anymore..i m sleepy

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    =)) Get some sleep, my friend. You will need it as you have a reputation to uphold now ;-)

    [Reply]

  4. Nice summary of day one,Ru-an. Yes Djoker was solid. And he did eat Kohli for breakfast as I said, didn’t he?! Kohli is such a talented guy but he doesn’t seem to have the drive to push his potential. Pity as he is such a nice and watchable guy. It was a nice competitive match though, don’t you think, Ru-an? Kohli threw everything at Djoker but the wall wouldn’t budge! A sad day for a great champion, Hewitt. No one gives more of himself in a match than Hewitt. The guy is just incredible. Even when going to a match against the big 4, he goes in with absolute belief that he has a chance (!) and does not give up till the last ball even if he is bagelled! RESPECT. How he fought in the last set despite being injured is so admirable. Will miss him although I’m not a fan and doesn’t like his game.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Thank you, Veronica. Yes, I enjoyed it.

    [Reply]

    steve Reply:

    Indeed, it’s remarkable how Hewitt maintained motivation despite his physical problems (he had to have his toe surgically fused, so that he had to relearn how to run). These days he’s not in the spotlight or winning big titles so it’s even more admirable that he kept going. I guess, like Jimmy Connors, he just loves a good scrap. He’s given a great deal to tennis and I’ll miss him.

    In other grizzled veteran news, Tommy Haas became the oldest man to win a match at Wimbledon (age 37 years and 100 days) since Jimmy Connors. He’s on comeback number I don’t know how many comebacks he’s made. His reward is a battle with Milos Raonic. He’s always a fun player to watch, with his one-handed backhand and his tendency to bark at himself angrily when things are going badly, so I’m glad he’s still going at it.

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    Hip surgery too I think. They don’t really come any tougher than Lleyton..

    [Reply]

  5. Nadal in four, 5-7, 6-4, 7-5, 6-4! C’mon Dull!! Oops! That sounds so NOT right!!!!! That’s what happens when you bet! It messes with you as you want your predictions to be right and you don’t care who you prefer to win!! :))

    [Reply]

  6. Looks like team nadal still believes if Nadal is fit he still can beat everyone on tour. Im on with them this time

    Nadal in straights 7-5 ,7-5, 6-4

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    It does indeed look that way, Vijay. Whether that belief is warranted is another story. We will soon find out.

    [Reply]

  7. Really good summary, Ru-an! Was nice to watch the highlight videos too as I missed out watching live yesterday :-( Just got back from uni and really miss playing tennis already! My friend recommended I try this site, http://www.mylocalpitch.com/ and I used it to book a pitch and am finally getting my first game of the summer! Might be worth checking out if anyone else is recently back to London and at a loose end.

    I’m going to go with Nadal in 3 sets 6-3, 6-2, 6-3.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks, Tom. Looks like you have a lot of belief in Nadal!

    [Reply]

  8. Nadal in 3: 7-5, 6-4, 6-3

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Ha looks like everyone is copying Joe now because he won last time. Now watch it being completely wrong :))

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    I have to admit that getting two 6-4 sets is small compensation for having to watch Nadal win!

    I’m working today, so could watch only when I walked by the match, but when I was watching Nadal looked pretty good. I even heard an announcer start talking about him passing Sampras’ slam count.

    But there’s a lot of work to do before that becomes a reality…

    [Reply]

  9. Josefina, Smit, and Amir wins after a quick glance. Congrats guys and congrats to Josefina for taking the lead in the rankings! :D

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Like I said, quick glance. Looks like Tom is the real winner and Joe you are second with the rest! Congrats Tom and sorry other guys! Be back later to finalize things!

    [Reply]

  10. Hi Ru-an, and fellow tennis fans,

    I was away on holiday for a while week and busy clearing back log so missed all the updates. This prediction thing is fun. Ru-an, you should have done it eons ago! Is it too late for me to join in the fun?

    So, Fed and Nadull’s won convincingly. Nothing surprising there. But I still standing by for my Rafa-zero-zero prediction for the year. zero GS, zero MS1000 titles. Do I get bonus points for that? ha..ha!

    Ok, now that I caught up a bit, its time to enjoy wembly. Just want to close that Ru-an, you created an interesting dilemma. Those anti-Nadull fans (like me) would love to see him lose, but are forced to predict and hope that he wins… so that they move up your leader board. What a weird situation to be in… haha!

    You guys all know that Nadull will crush 99% of the journey men. Heck, he might even win the whole tournament. That’s how unpredictable things are with this guy. I predict that Nadull will crush all opponents in straight sets right up to QF. Where I hoping he meets decent opposition who can seriously threaten his game. Any bonus points for early predictions? :-)

    Ah, so good to be back. Join in your discussions real soon.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Hey, Ben Chia. Welcome back. No, it’s not too late to join the predictions game. You can join at any point and can miss predictions as well, although of course that could affect your chances of winning the competition. You don’t get any bonus for predicting correctly that Nadal isn’t winning any big events, but it sure would be amazing, and not impossible!

    As for the dilemma I created with the game, I already spoke about that. If you want to win the game you can’t afford to be biased, so I think it’s a good exercise. No bonus points for early predictions either. Points only awarded for predictions concerning the match I selected!

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    Welcome back Ben Chia,

    I hope your time away was enjoyable.

    And I wouldn’t worry about predicting that Nadal will win these early rounds. As Ru-an said, you win either way!
    :-)

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    New rankings released. You are in the lead brother! ^:)^ http://theultimatetennisblog.com/predictions/

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    Hey Thanks Ru-an,

    I think I must be getting a gift here. And I would rather see Nadal lose and be in last place – I don’t have any ambivalence about that at all!

    Oh well, maybe next week.

    ;-)

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Well, I suggest making your prediction late anyway if you are going to continue. Unless you want people to copy you.

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    Ok sure.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Or not! I don’t think you will be in the top 3 spots with the next prediction so feel welcome to mislead people :))

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    Very true!

    I was planning to tell everyone after I mess up that you and I set it up that I’d miss just to throw folks off. Unfortunately, it’s not too believable… :-)

    But the luck involved in this predicting game … is daunting. Even the pro predictors just give the victor and the number of sets, and they miss all the time, just doing that. Who will serve first? We don’t know that going in, but it could obviously have a big impact on the game score.

    So I kind of expect that most of us will end up with roughly the same scores by the end. But I’d be glad to see some folks distance themselves from everyone else with their knowledge. It won’t be me though, because I don’t have that knowledge!

    I’d be even gladder to see Roger bring one more home, or even just beat Nadal, but I want the trophy for his sake, not mine.

    [Reply]

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