WIMBLEDON 2010: POTENTIAL FIRST ROUND DANGERS
It is not going to be all strawberries and cream at the lawns of SW19. The most awaited tennis tournament is due to begin and all eyes will be on the All England Club. Defending champion Roger Federer goes into the tournament due to his unmatched skill on grass but World Number One Rafael Nadal is not too far behind due to his impeccable form this season. Many other big names are in the hunt for the title too, namely British hope Andy Murray, Halle winner Lleyton Hewitt, Novak Djokovic and Andy Roddick to name a few. Right before any tournament starts, pundits are quick to point out the favourites, but then there are some critics out there who like to predict those stars that have a potential to fall early. It is the draw that determines the road ahead for the players, for some it may be a breeze but for others it may just be a daunting obstacle course.
The first round is where all the action is. All eyes are posted on the draw to see who could potentially exit Wimbledon in the first round. One man who is capable of surprising the seeds and showing them the door this time has a potentially dangerous first round encounter. Robin Soderling who beat Roger Federer in the French Open this year faces a very unpredictable opponent in the shape of Robbie Ginepri. Ginepri had defeated Soderling earlier this year in 6-4, 7-5 due to some accurate serves and swashbuckling ground-strokes. If he recreates the magic that he did in Tallahassee in April by reaching the finals and in Roland Garros where he reached the round of sixteen, he could prove to be an ominous sign for the number six seed. Looking back at the past three years Soderling has either been beaten by Nadal or Federer, therefore to maintain his superiority he would very much like to eliminate Ginepri and proceed to the next round, but for that complacency would not work.
Another first round match that could prove to be a thriller is third seed Novak Djokovic versus Belgian Olivier Rochus. The Belgian has the firepower in him to provide a first round upset. The reason being that the Rochus leads the head to head between the two players by three games to nil and beat Soderling in their last encounter at the World Tour Masters in Miami. Thus Rochus will go into the match riding on an air of confidence that he could in fact eliminate a seed from the draw. Another statistic that Rochus could use to his advantage is the fact that three top ten seeds have fallen victim to his skills in the past at Wimbledon, and one of them was the mighty Russian Marat Safin in 2002. Thus it seems that Djokovic will have to tread this path very carefully. His strategies and tactics need to be sharpened to face the Belgian in the first round. In order to proceed further, Djokovic will have to fire all his ammunition in the first round to prevent himself from becoming Rochus’s fourth victim at Wimbledon.
There is yet another Belgian who could be a grave threat in the first round of Wimbledon. He has had a decent run on grass this summer eliminating World Number Three Novak Djokovic in Queen’s. Xavier Malisse will be meeting former world number one Juan Carlos Ferrero in their first round encounter. Ferrero who lost to British Andy Murray in the quarter finals last year will be looking to regain lost glory. In his path, however, Malisse does have a record of showing top seeds the door at Wimbledon. Malisse has defeated both Jiri Novack and Yevgeny Kafelnikov in the earlier rounds in 2004. This could prove to be a tough encounter for both players who would be looking at improving their record at SW19. Ferrero, who is nicknamed mosquito due to his speed and physique, would be looking at ways to not bite the dust. With a lot at stake for both players this is an encounter that would have pundits and fans alike on their toes.
Wimbledon 2010 will be action packed with each player giving it their all to lift the prestigious trophy.