It was good news for the top seeds at the draw for the Men’s Singles at Wimbledon but two familiar rivals won’t be happy to see each other again.
Clear your calendar It took 11 hours and 5 minutes of Tennis, played over 3 days, to finally separate John Isner and Nicolas Mahut in the first round of Wimbledon last year. After 183 games, Isner finally prevailed 6-4 3-6 7-6 6-7 70-68, winning the longest match in the history of the sport. I can only imagine either player quoting Mr Burns and saying “I can safely say I’d never like to spend another minute with you, ever.” Fate however decided that they must meet again. The first round of Wimbledon in 2011 will see Isner and Mahut lock horns once more. Matching last year’s epic will be near impossible but don’t be surprised if this one goes the distance.
Murray faces hard road The draw was favorable to the top three seeds, with Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, and Novak Djokovic receiving reasonably comfortable paths to the semi-finals. Home favorite and #4 seed Andy Murray won’t be smiling quite as much. Sergiy Stakhovsky, ranked #30 in the world, should be waiting for the Scotsman in the second round. It only gets tougher from there with #27 seed Marin Cilic a likely third round opponent. If he makes it into the second week he could potentially meet #17 seed Richard Gasquet or Olympic doubles gold medallist Stan Wawrinka. At the end of that murderer’s row will likely stand #8 seed Andy Roddick, who always saves his best performances for SW19.
Soderling should be scared The men’s draw lacks the quantity of potential early upsets of the women’s competition but there is one big exception. Robin Soderling, the #5 seed, has been drawn against Philipp Petzschner. The German gave Rafael Nadal a massive fright last year, going the full five sets with the eventual champion. Petzchner didn’t leave Wimbledon empty handed however as he claimed the doubles title along with Jurgen Melzer. His recent form suggests massive potential for an upset, having gone on an epic run to make the final in Halle last week. Quite simply, this is a man who is dangerous on grass and won’t be intimidated by Soderling’s reputation. There won’t be many surprises in this competition but I like Petzschner to spring a big one on Soderling in the first round.