Round of Sixteen Lives up to the Hype at Wimbledon
By Mike McIntyre
With all men's and women's round of sixteen matches being played on Monday at Wimbledon, there was a whole lot of top-level tennis being played at the All-England Club. Here is a quick recap of what went down on the men's side of things.
Sam Querrey d. Nicolas Mahut 6-4, 7-6(5), 6-4
Sam Querrey is proving that perseverance is key as a tennis professional as he reached his first ever Grand Slam quarterfinal at the age of 28. This is a guy who hadn't even reached the fourth round of a major since the U.S. Open back in 2010. Playing three grass court tune-up events coming into Wimbledon took up quite a bit of time and money for sure, but it has proven to be a grand decision for the veteran American. Knocking off Novak Djokovic has been literally impossible for the past year and yet Querrey did it and then followed that up by maintaining his composure against a much lesser (though talented on grass) opponent in Mahut. The fact that Mahut beat Querrey a couple of weeks ago in the Netherlands grass court event ended up meaning absolutely nothing as it is Querrey who lives to fight another day. Props to Mahut for making the fourth round in singles and still playing in the doubles where he partners with countryman Herbert as the No. 1 seed.
Milos Raonic d. David Goffin 4-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4
For a guy who has already had a pretty solid career at the age of 25, to call today's win the biggest of his career might be unfair. That being said, to get his first ever come-from-behind win from two sets down is epic for Canadian Milos Raonic. After the second set I thought to myself that this whole McEnroe-Raonic partnership might be a dud. Gotta eat my words on that one! Raonic did exactly what Nick Kyrgios admittedly is unable to do - dig deep and battle his way back into a match that appeared to be lost. Raonic now is the heavy favorite against Sam Querrey in the quarterfinals and looks to reach the semis at Wimbledon for the second time (2014). While Querrey took Milos out at the All-England Club back in 2012 (second round) the two are at very different points of their careers right now. Despite playing giant-killer against Djokovic, I don't see how Querrey is going to get this one if Milos plays his game.
Roger Federer d. Steve Johnson 6-2, 6-3, 7-5
Exactly what everyone expected in this match is what came to fruition. The greatest player to ever play on grass owned the match and is cruising thus far in his favourite tournament of the year. The only problem I see here is that Roger has yet to play a real threat and is going to have much less margin for error in his next match against Marin Cilic.
Marin Cilic d. Kei Nishikori 6-1, 5-1
Can't take much out of this victory unfortunately as Nishikori is a) normally out of his element on grass and b) not playing at 100%. Still dealing with a rib injury, his own box was adamant he withdraw from the match as they saw him struggling. The re-match of the U.S. Open final from 2014 could not live up to the hype. Even if both were healthy, I would have given Cilic a big edge in this one despite being the (slightly) lower ranked player. My darkhorse to win the tournament.
Lucas Pouille d. Bernard Tomic 6-4, 4-6, 3-6, 6-4, 10-8
Tough day for Aussies at Wimbledon with Tomic, Kyrgios and wildcard doubles entry Lleyton Hewitt losing on Monday. Tomic had a good draw to begin with and in my opinion should have made the quarters. Up two sets to one, Tomic could not complete his mission and though he put up a valiant fight, let this one slip away. Nice work for the Frenchman Pouille who had a career record of 2-10 at the Slams coming into this event.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga d. Richard Gasquet 4-2
Should have been a fantastic match but an injured Gasquet was forced to withdraw with a back injury before even completing the opening frame. Tsonga gets some extra rest, which he will need, to face the new tournament favorite Andy Murray.
Andy Murray d. Nick Kyrgios 7-5, 6-1, 6-4
Murray keeps his unbeaten streak alive against a very dangerous young player as he downs the always controversial Krygios in straight sets. I'm starting to come around with the Aussie as I find his brutal honesty quite refreshing. Yup, he played video games the morning of his fourth round match and he admits that he was too soft to compete like a professional after the opening set. The media asks questions and laments all the robotic answers they usually get - and then they complain when a player is honest. Poor guy can't win - on or off the court today.
To be completed Tuesday - Tomas Berdych v Jiri Vesely 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(8), 6-7(9)
The present and future of tennis in the Czech Republic will continue their clash on Tuesday as this match could not continue past the fourth set. Berdych should advance, but he also should have never found himself in this position. Vesely ranked 64th in the world has never been to the fourth round of a major. He has also never beaten Berdych, though the pair have only ever faced each other once before (2015 in Shenzhen). The 2010 finalist is not having the greatest of seasons. A fourth round loss at Wimbledon would seem to continue that trend.