Wimbledon Men’s Fourth Round Recap

Just a thank you for all the nice comments on Facebook especially and also here on my blog. I think the verdict after my last post was that Djokovic was poorly and unprofessionally treated at best and that he will be back stronger than ever.

But let’s move on now to the rest of the tournament which is still very interesting in my view. Today was the fourth round for men and all the matches except for the one between Berdych and Vesely were finished.

There was a dramatic fourth set between Vesely and Berdych which Vesely won 11-9 in the tiebreak before darkness halted play. They are now tied at 6-4, 3-6, 6-7(8), 7-6(9) and will finish tomorrow.

I only saw the last couple of points of the fourth set which Vesely won after which Berdych looked upset and argued with the umpire to finish the match on center court. I’m not sure why his wish wasn’t granted.

From what I read it was really a crazy fourth set with Berdych leading 5-3 and then he had three match points at 6-5* and 0-40. In the tiebreak, Vesely led 6-1 as well after which he lost the next six points to trail 6-7.

Astonishing. If Vesely pulls off the win it would really be something and it would mean that he or Pouille will be in the semis of Wimbledon.

  • Elsewhere in the Bottom Half

Pouille will play the winner of Vesely and Berdych after defeating Tomic 10-8 in the fifth set. Pouille looks like a promising player for France because he is only 22 years old. He has only won one main draw match at a grand slam before Wimbledon and that was at this year’s French Open.

All of a sudden he is in the quarterfinals of Wimbledon and he’s not done yet. He is currently ranked 30th and this result will surely boost his ranking. I’ve only seen him play once or twice and although I don’t remember much I thought he had quite a nice game.

The two remaining matches in the bottom half were expected to be the more interesting ones but they both disappointed. Gasquet had to pull out at 2-4 in the first set against Tsonga due to a back spasm I think while Murray defeated a lackluster Kyrgios 7-5, 6-1, 6-4.

That is a shame about Gasquet who is one of the better grass court players around but he’s not exactly known for his fitness either. I did watch some of Murray vs Kyrgios and I must say I was quite disappointed by Kyrgios.

I don’t think Kyrgios believes much in himself against Murray. From the things I’ve heard him say I gather he is in awe of Murray a lot like Goffin is in awe of Federer and that is never going to get the job done in professional tennis.

It’s ok to show your opponent respect off the court but when you are on the court you have to be ready to bury your opponent at a moment’s notice. There must be no hesitation or mercy.

But this was just an overall poor performance from Kyrgios and you wonder if he will ever live up to his vast potential. He could be winning slams by now but instead, he is tanking to Murray in the fourth round.

It’s a shame because I do like his game a lot but his attitude is poor. He will need to reach some kind of turning point where he becomes more professional and dedicated or most of his talent will go to waste.

  • Top Half

Now to the top half where Federer won easily 6-2, 6-3, 7-5 as expected but not before a very poor game from Johnson at 5-5 to drop serve. I see Johnson was also a break up at 3-1 in the third but couldn’t consolidate.

That’s a pretty lame effort from Johson but probably too much in awe of Federer as well so that he just handed the third set to Federer. So far, Federer has had a cakewalk draw if we are being honest:

Pella –> Willis –> Evans –> Johnson

It almost became a joke today when Raonic went down two sets to love to Goffin but Raonic made a great comeback winning 4-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4. I’m sure Fedfans will regret that Federer won’t get his admirer Goffin in the semis but they should be happy because that would have added a huge asterisk if Federer is to win the title:

Pella –> Willis –> Evans –> Johnson –> Cilic –> Goffin/Querrey 

Can you imagine that? But aside from a cakewalk draw that could have hurt Federer’s chances if he wasn’t tested before the final. Especially with his lack of match practice. If he then faces Murray in the final he could be undercooked.

So Fedfans should be happy Raonic won. He now plays Querrey who defeated Mahut 6-4, 7-6(5), 6-4. I’m glad Querrey didn’t implode after defeating Djokovic. It always annoys me when that happens because it seems like a waste.

I like Raonic’s chances in that match after making the great escape against Raonic but we will see. Querrey seems to be on a roll here and can’t be underestimated.

Finally, Nishikori withdrew due to injury yet again after trailing Cilic 1-6, 1-5. He sure gets injured his fair share. I guess he just has one of those physiques that gets injured a lot. Some players just seem to be more injury prone for some reason.

As for Cilic, I never rated him very highly. I don’t think he will put up much resistance against Federer. Maybe he can win a set but I doubt that will even happen.

  • Does Federer Deserve to Win This Now?

I talked about this a couple of posts ago where I asked whether Federer could take advantage of the situation to bag that elusive #18. The way I see it the remainder of this tournament is now very interesting.

The biased folks who keep saying that this is now a Djokovic fan blog must find that very hard to explain. How can Ru-an, the Djokovic fanboy, still be interested in a tournament where Djokovic is not involved anymore? Impossible!

Not really. I have always and will always be first and foremost a tennis fan. But, of course, that is hard to comprehend for people who doesn’t know what it means to be a real tennis fan.

I think the rest of this Wimbledon is now fascinating because there are several scenarios which can play out from here on, one of which could have an important impact on the GOAT debate.

And that is if Federer wins the title. This is the opportunity he’s been waiting for with the exit of Djokovic. He hasn’t won a slam in four years now. In the last couple of years, he has strived especially hard to win that elusive #18.

But he kept running into that one player who he just cannot defeat. First, it was the 2014 Wimbledon final which Djokovic edged 6-4 in the fifth and which is in my opinion the greatest slam final in modern tennis.

They met again in the Wimbledon final last year and on that occasion Djokovic needed fewer sets to defeat Federer even though he was playing better than the previous year. Same thing at the US Open, where Federer had the overwhelming advantage with a drunk and biased crowd.

Finally, at the Australian Open semis this year, Djokovic delivered another devastating performance to defeat Federer in four sets after teaching him a tennis lesson in the first two sets.

So when a burnt out Djokovic lost to Querrey there is no doubt that Federer’s eyes lit up. Here is the opportunity he’s been waiting for. Only it won’t be the same winning Wimbledon without defeating Djokovic along the way.

In a way, you feel like Federer deserves this after knocking so hard for the last couple of years, but then you are reminded of the circumstances under which Djokovic exited the tournament. Then all of a sudden it’s harder to feel like Federer deserves it.

You think of the fact that Federer was scheduled to play his third round on center court instead of the defending champion Djokovic, the fact that Djokovic’s match wasn’t moved to center court when it rained out, and the very poor line calls when Djokovic was serving for the fourth set.

We talked about the line calls on Facebook and decided the umpire could at the very least have overruled the call that was under his nose. It just seemed very strange that Djokovic got two consecutive bad calls by the linesman and the umpire on two very important points.

And to top it all off the loud cheer on center court when it was announced that Djokovic lost. The whole thing just smacks of establishment bias. It just makes it that much harder to wish Federer well and feel like he really deserves this.

  • Who is the Favorite?

We will see if they schedule Federer and Murray on court 1 for the quarterfinals now. If they don’t it will be even further evidence that Djokovic was mistreated. But who is the favorite now that the big favorite for the tournament lost?

For a moment today, I thought this is now pretty much a done deal that Federer would win it. He is the one who has been knocking the hardest and who has been waiting the longest for this opportunity. Or is he?

Enter Murray who lost his last five slam meetings to Djokovic as opposed to Federer losing his last four. He is also the one who lost to Djokovic in the last two slam finals and, as a result, he also pushed Federer down into the third spot in the rankings.

Isn’t this now Murray’s time? How long has he been waiting? Not quite as long as Federer as he won his last slam in 2013 but he is also much younger than Federer. Then you have Federer’s lack of match practice since the Australian Open and the fact that Murray hired Lendl again.

And what about Raonic who has been knocking for some time now himself? All of this I find quite fascinating. Federer’s draw has helped him there is no doubt but he can’t avoid top players until the final unless he is extremely lucky.

Cilic can already be a test if Federer’s lack of match practice catches up with him. What effect will it have on his morale that Raonic made a comeback today and is still in the draw? What effect will it have on him knowing that he may still have to go through Raonic and Murray to win the title?

Is that asking one too many of the aging champion who comes into Wimbledon undercooked? In a way I want Federer to get it done because it would be a nice story but like I said I don’t like the way Djokovic was treated.

And even if Federer wins it the fact that he escaped Djokovic will make it seem less relevant. It all seems a bit too familiar given what Federer went through with Nadal. But yeah, I don’t think it is necessarily written in the stars that Federer finally gets it done.

With Lendl in his corner, Murray seems to be just a different animal. So far in Wimbledon, he has been untouchable. He had it pretty easy until today as well but he looked really good to me against Kyrgios.

At Queen’s already he was looking like a different player with Lendl back. Murray has a pretty shocking record against Federer in slams having won only one out of six meetings but he lost both meetings at Wimbledon including last year’s semis which was straight sets.

But this is a different Murray and it is a different Federer as well. Federer didn’t have the same preparation as last year and defeating Raonic and Murray in successive matches may prove to be too tall of an order.

But we are not there yet. Both Raonic and Murray can still lose before they meet Federer and so can Federer! Therefore I find it nearly impossible to call a favorite at this point. The quarterfinals will reveal a lot more.

Murray has a tough opponent in Tsonga who got a very welcome rest after his marathon with Isner and he is always a big danger. Raonic has Querrey who is on a hot run while Federer probably got it the easiest of the top three favorites.

I can see Federer potentially go into a kind of zone knowing this is really his last shot at a slam and not having any setbacks because of the lack of match play. But for that to happen he has to put both Cilic and Raonic to bed comfortably and there is still a long way to go.

It can be done but he treads a thin line and then Murray in the final would still be tougher than he was last year.

Let’s see what happens in the quarters first!

  • Update

Someone just sent me this video. That shady grin from Judy Murray at the end just about sums it all up.

™️

Posted in Grand Slams, Wimbledon.

8 Comments

  1. Hi Ruan,

    Looks like the reason Roger was scheduled to play his third round in center court instead of Novak is because Roger played a Brit. Below is the snippet from his interview:

    Q. You played all your matches so far on Centre Court. Probably you will play all your matches there. What does that mean to you?
    ROGER FEDERER: I love it (smiling). More, please. I don’t know what to tell you. I wish I could play every match of the season here on Centre Court at Wimbledon. That’s not how it goes.
    Here you have to be lucky with the draw sometimes. I was lucky in the first week to play two Brits in round two and three, which I’m sure also kept me on Centre Court.
    I’m not sure if I’m going to be on Centre moving forward, but maybe that Novak lost, it’s going to give me help to get back on Centre in the second week, sharing Centre with Murray the second week.
    Court 1 isn’t bad either. I’m cool playing there, too. If I have a preference, of course I’ll always take Centre Court.

    –Vivek Dhayaal

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Hi Vivek, I saw that Murray and Federer are both scheduled to play on center court again tomorrow. I understand that Federer was playing a Brit but I still don’t like the bad calls and the reaction of center court when Djokovic lost. Neither Federer nor Murray played one match on court 1 this year but the world #1 and two-time defending champion did? That seems like bias to me.

    [Reply]

  2. Yeh but Ruan this sceduling bias fluctuates over time…

    I remember when Djokovic beat Nadal in the Italian open final in 2011 after having to play Murray till midnight in the semis the night before…It felt like a ‘double-victory’ because of the sceduling and then the very same thing with Roger in 2014 when in the Masters series all the way through from Wimbledon to the end of the year Roger was perpetually last match on court semis and eventually it led to default in the Masters final..That wasn’t preferential treatment to Roger then

    All the slams have some sceduling ‘problem’ that can look biased — Aus open one semi a day later…US open 2nd semi in evening 5 sets then finals less than a day later, but at least they corrected it

    The way forward is for Wimbledon to have No 1 ROOF and French to have Chatrier roof

    Connors and Mcenroe were sometimes put on court 2 and Borg NEVER
    Becker always played last match on Centre and was the most subject to darkness/rain delays…A whole file full of matches affected such,…Yet Sampras was always first on…This is not a new situation but No 1 roof is would improve sceduling bias

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Right, Marcus. I don’t want to make too much of the scheduling. But let’s face it, there was something going on here. Djokovic winning 4 slams in a row was just too much for the establishment and their favorites to bare. Already at the FO Djokovic had to play three days in a row for two consecutive years. What if he wasn’t able to finish Berdych off as quickly as he did?

    I don’t think the fact that someone won four consecutive slams should mean that they get treated unfairly. Federer and Murray are on CC again tomorrow which means they won’t play any matches on court 1 this year. Is that fair as opposed to the two-time defending champ and world #1?

    Why did they not put his match on CC after all the rain breaks, why did he get two consecutive bad line calls at a crucial point in the match, and why did the CC crowd cheer loudly when he lost? These are not all ‘just coincidences’.

    [Reply]

    Maria Reply:

    Hi! Sorry for the long comment but I wanted to say I like your blog and wanted to discuss a few of the things you mentioned since you seem pretty upset about the Djokovic loss.

    It’s nice that you are continuing your blog even after the Novak loss. I like to watch tournaments even after my favs lose too.

    I think Novak’s loss was disheartening for his fans, but Novak himself didn’t make any excuses. I don’t think he would want his fans to either.

    Novak is so mentally strong and great at handling adversity. I don’t think that the court scheduling, the crowd, or even the 2 bad calls made him lose. Novak is a champion that has dealt with crowds against him before and last year he came back and won on court one after being down two sets to a superior player to Querry. I really think it was the injury that caused him to lose not any of the other factors or “conspiracies” against him to you mentioned. He was hitting his backhand with less pace, control, and making a ton of errors off that wing. That’s not Novak at all! He had a shoulder injury which did not allow him to freely swing. Querry just took advantage of Novak’s bad day and injury. Novak is a good guy and doesn’t want to belittle Sam’s victory, so he didn’t talk about it.

    As for the other court scheduling, I think what the other commenter said is right. Roger was only on center court instead of Novak because he was playing a Brit. It was not meant to be disrespectful to Novak. They thought like everyone else that Novak would beat Sam easily and then for the next match Novak and Mahut would have been oncenter court and Roger and Johnson on court 1, which would not have been disrespectful to Roger either. Court 1 is an amazing court. I’ve been there. : )

    Since Novak lost, that’s why Murray and Roger continued playing on center. I don’t think the fans would have been too happy if they scheduled Roger/Cilic and Tsonga/Andy on Court 1 just to make them play on court 1 while Roanic and Berdych played on center.

    Last year Roger played on court 1 as well as Rafa and If Novak would have stayed in the tournament I’m certain he would have played the rest of his matches on center. Rafa also played on Susan Lenglen arena for his first match at Roland Garros and he’s 9 time champion there!

    Also, no one has mentioned this but there is a rule where you cannot move a match to another court once it has started unless there is a major problem with the court. Court conditions must stay the same, so even if they wanted to move the Sam/Novak match to center to finish, it would not have been allowed.

    As for the crowd, you’re right, I wish they would have been more pro-Djokovic, but I still don’t think it’s personal or a conspiracy. I just think that Novak is THAT GOOD that they like rooting for the underdog. Novak is a nice guy and great player and the Brits love great tennis, so why wouldn’t they enjoy watching him?

    Those two calls were bad. Really bad. But it’s not the first time that linesmen make bad calls and that’s why there are challenges! I was so mad at Novak at that point. Why did he waste all his challenges?! He’s played hundreds of matches. He knows to save at least one challenge for the end of sets. That part really did make me mad, but he never should have been in that position in the first place.

    I guess I just wanted to say that it wasn’t Novak’s day. He’s achieved so much and his fans need to be happy with everything he’s done so far. I’m sure after the injury he’ll come back strong.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks, Maria. I don’t like making excuses either. If you read my blog regularly you would know that. I’m already past all that. I’m happy with what Djokovic achieved and I am still enjoying the tournament. Could they have put one of Federer or Murray’s matches on Court 1 today? Sure they could. There are no rules against that far as I know. But it doesn’t matter. It is done now.

    [Reply]

  3. Hi, Ru-an. I definetly have some mixed feelings about Djokovic dropping out early. Of course, I want Roger to get another title, but I want him to truly deserve it. It was a feeling of crushing disappointment seeing him lose to Djokovic in the last two years, but I still wouldn’t mind if they had met in the semis, because I kind of suspected Djokovic would be a little burnt out after winning RG and it would be a chance for Roger to get maybe one last slam victory over him. That alone would almost have been more satisfying than winning the whole tournament, which really says something about Djokovic’s position in tennis now.

    I’m not overly optimistic about Fed’s chances to get the trophy anyway. It might just be too late for him. It’s been pretty smooth sailing so far, and we just don’t know where his current level is at until he gets a tough match. I really wouldn’t be surprised if Cilic blows him off the court, but then again he might get another comfortable match.

    I agree that it’s very difficult to pick a favorite now, but considering Federer’s poor run-up to Wimbledon, I’d have to say Murray is the most likely to win. You’d think he has to win another slam sooner or later, and Wimbledon is probably his strongest tournament. It would be great to see Fed get that elusive 18th slam, but I honestly won’t be too disappointed if Roger fails again, because my expectations have been pretty low to begin with, and it’s kind of anti-climactic anyway when the world’s best player is already out of the way. I don’t know if there really was a conspiracy against Djokovic, but I wouldn’t rule out the possibility. Though I can understand why the crowd cheered when his exit was announced, considering he completely owns their home favourite Murray.

    Regarding Kyrgios, he doesn’t seem to have the motivation it takes to break through. It’s a pity really. Not that I like him much, but maybe having a “bad guy” is something the sport would benefit from. He seems to enjoy playing that role, and he could be the “villain” that people love to hate. Who knows, if someone like that took tennis by storm maybe people would start to appreciate Djokovic more. But unfortunately, as long as Kyrgios doesn’t take tennis seriously people will just see him as toothless clown.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Hi BE. Good comments from you as usual. I hope Federer wins Wimbledon for the sake of Fedfans like you, but you are probably right that Murray is the favorite and that Federer left it too late. We will see how it goes with Federer vs Cilic. It will be the first guy he plays who could test him.

    It would be a nice story if Federer wins #18 but at the same time if he doesn’t it would make the GOAT debate more interesting. If he wins #18 it will be difficult for Nole to catch him. At 17 it seems more possible. It should be an interesting few days anyway!

    [Reply]

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