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The triumvirate that headline menâ€™s tennis Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer head into the Championship this year with their sights set firmly on hoisting the trophy. Also at stake in this process is the top spot in the ATP rankings that Djokovic seemed to have a stranglehold on since this very tournament last year. For Federer, there is the added incentive of not only equalling Pete Samprasâ€™ 7 triumphs here but also potentially equalling his record of 286 weeks at the top of the ATP rankings. To do that he will need to win the championships, while also hoping Djokovic is eliminated by the semi-final. With the two are drawn to meet at this stage, the Swiss Maestro has a marvellous chance to do just that. But there are a host of contenders, dark horses and potential apple cart upsetters primed to spoil the fairytale scenario for either of the top 3. Andy Murray, Tsonga and Berdych have all been in contention in the past, while Raonic, Tomic, a resurgent Haas, Del Potro and Cilic will each look to make a name for himself this year. Lets then delve right into the draw to ascertain as best we can the prospects for the coming fortnight
Novak Djokovic takes his now customary place at the top of the draw where he faces Juan Carlos Ferrero in the opening round. The Spaniard is an awkward opponent to play first while still getting used to the conditions, but one would expect the top seed to come through. Once he negotiates the first round, the Serb should not have to get out of third gear to progress comfortably though to the quarter final. His quarterfinal opponent could well be Tomas Berdych who in recent times has put together a level of consistency that was sorely missing in his younger days. The Czech opens against hard hitting Ernest Gulbis, and should brook little opposition until a potential 4th rounder against either Richard Gasquet or Nicolas Almagro.
First Round match to watch: Gulbis v Berdych
Quarterfinal: Djokovic v Berdych
The biggest question in recent slam draws has been whether Federer would fall into Novakâ€™s half or Nadalâ€™s. He seems to end up in Djokovicâ€™s half more often and heads the quarter here opening against Albert Ramos. Casting an eye over the rest of his draw, Federer should be kept on his toes against a trio of Frenchmen Llodra, Benneteau and Simon but an upset before the quarterfinal does not seem likely. In the quarters he is likely to face either big serving John Isner or Tipsarevic. Tipsarevic faces an awkward first round against David Nalbandian and will have to dig deep to come through that encounter. Isner himself could face Nicholas Mahut in the second round to complete hat-trick of encounters against each other here.
First Round match to watch: Tipsarevic v Nalbandian
Quarterfinal: Federer v Isner
This quarter is possibly the most open quarter in the draw with several contenders primed to take their shot at making the semi-final from this group. The quarter is bookended by Murray and Ferrer but neither will look at this draw and expect a comfortable run. Andy Murray plays his first round against Nikolay Davydenko in the twilight of his career. But the Brit has not had the best prep for Wimbledon and will need to step it up against Kolya. The next prospective opponent on the list is ace machine Ivo Karlovic who can give plenty of grief to even the best. The challenge only gets tougher as he faces either up and coming shotmaker Dimitrov or another massive server Kevin Anderson or even Marcos Baghdatis in the third round. The assignments donâ€™t get easier as Raonic or Cilic lie in wait in round 4 in a hugely difficult draw for the Scot. David Ferrer heads the other section of this quarter, but could well face resurgent 3 time finalist Andy Roddick in the third round. Juan Martin Del Potro is the other big name in this section and he could well play the winner of the Ferrer-Roddick contest for a place in the quarter final.
First Round matches to watch: K.Anderson v G. Dimitrov; R. Haase v JM Del Potro
Quarterfinal: Raonic v Del Potro
Semifinalist: Del Potro
World No.2 Rafael Nadal heads the last quarter as usual and has a challenging start to his campaign as he plays Thomaz Bellucci and then Ivan Dodig in the opening two rounds. The Croat did get the better off Nadal in Montreal last year and could force the Spaniard to raise it a notch or two to progress. The third round could be against either Halle champion Tommy Haas or his fellow German Kohlschreiber who upset Nadal at Halle earlier this month. The 2nd seed could then face compatriot Feliciano Lopez in the 4th round, another opponent who has defeated Rafa on grass. Dynamic Tsonga heads the other section of this quarter and faces former champion Lleyton Hewitt in the first round. The Frenchman who is nursing a broken finger could once again tussle with Stanislas Wawrinka enroute to a quarterfinal clash against Nadal.
First Round matches to watch: Kohlschreiber v Haas; Tomic v Goffin
Quarterfinal: Nadal v Tsonga
Semifinal 1: Federer d Djokovic
Semifinal 2: Nadal d Del Potro
Final: Federer d Nadal
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