Jul 05, 2022

2022 Wimbledon ATP & WTA Quarterfinals

ATP Singles :
Djokovic vs Sinner :

Today is American independence day, and to celebrate that, I’m bringing you one sweet acrostic per quarterfinals match.









The highly anticipated matchup we were all waiting for is shortly followed by the highly anticipated matchup we didn’t know we’d get. Van Rijthoven and Djokovic was a really fun match to watch, but TVR made too many unforced errors (53 in total). It look a bit like he fell victim to nerves, and the extra adrenaline of the moment left him overhitting the ball and trying to do too much. His backhand was just too quick to pull the trigger, and shots he made easily in previous rounds flew regularly long and into the net. The flipside of these errors is that Djokovic’s level sometimes is just so high that you wind up doing too much. It’s hard to decelerate the ball and not lose length when your opponent is hitting hard, and Djokovic is really getting some nice pop on his swings. His inside out forehand has perfect shape to get high on Rijthoven’s backhand, and he struggled with the height on his usually impeccable slice. Watching makes errors seem like mistakes, but on the court playing Djokovic who averaged only 5 unforced errors per set has to feel like elevating your game is necessary.

Rijthoven’s serving kept him in this one, and a late surge in the second when he seemed a bit lost renewed the mystery of the challenger, but Djokovic was only in danger when Tim absolutely redlined in this one. Once Novak noticed his backhand was off, he pretty much sent the ball there nonstop. A good run and a great experience for TVR, who’ll surely get offered a number of wildcards in the next season or two. Across the yard, Jannik Sinner was serving notice to the tournament with a 4 set win against Carlos Alcaraz where he was dominant from start to finish. I expected Alcaraz’s forehand to be the biggest weapon on the court, but Sinner outhit him on both wings. I’ve honestly not seen the ball hit clean past Alcaraz before, and it was the kind of performance that makes me rush back to the draw to see who was next. Unfortunately, it’s Djokovic. Sinner was able to rush Alcaraz on both wings during this one. Alcaraz missed a number of dropshots, and he struggled with his backhand slice landing in the net at times. Those things will likely be different against Novak, whose timing on grass is excellent and borders on muscle-memory at this point.

Sinner and Djokovic met once this year in Monte Carlo (straight sets win for Djokovic), but I’d say this is a completely unique event. We know the bar so far against Djokovic is winning a single set, and I’d expect Sinner to manage that as well. His serving is decent enough to get him to even in rallies, and since he does have a ton of power and a rock-solid backhand, he’ll be able to win enough baseline exchanges that the crowd will get behind him. His game is the kind that makes it easy to cheer for him, so I do expect him to have some good stretches. I would like him againt TVR, but Djokovic is so much better than Alcaraz at reflecting pace on the baseline. Sinner will have to have a really good serving day and fight for every point, and it may not be enough. It’s amazing how well Sinner is playing, but I’m starting to think nobody really has a chance to beat Novak here except Nadal. Djokovic in 4 close sets.

Goffin vs Norrie :





Increasingly large


Wow is it a sign? Major nod from the ocean community for Cam in this match, and I think I agree. Cam Norrie absolutely shut down Tommy Paul. I was reminded of one of the simplest questions in judging a tennis match which is “can they hit shots that the opponent can’t get a racquet on”. I thought yes for Tommy Paul, but Norrie was really on his game defensively. He carried over the level from the third set against Steve Johnson into this one, and as much as I anticipated Paul’s playing multiple lefty’s being a factor, Norrie facing two similar serve/forehand style opponents may have helped. Norrie’s win was comfortable from start to finish, and he’s likely to be completely fresh for this next match. I think that gives him a slight edge since Goffin is coming off a 4 setter, and a 5 setter against Tiafoe that was a really emotional contest. Tiafoe and Goffin played great tennis, and Tiafoe had break points (15-40) at 5-5 in the 5th so this was a really 50/50 affair.

Goffin’s rally tolerance is probably not that much better than Paul, but he isn’t looking to create as often as Paul and this will make him somewhat comfortable playing Norrie. Tiafoe’s main method of winning baseline rallies was hitting the ball huge on his forehand, and Norrie won’t have that weapon. De Minaur and Garin today set a record for the longest match in a 4.5+ hour battle, and this one has potential to break that. Goffin is too fast and is looking to outlast his opponent. He’s an excellent counterpuncher and is playing his best tennis here. Norrie coming through in straight sets the last two matches probably gives him enough energy to be the more resilient rallier in this one, but it will be really hard for either player to score points quickly. Norrie in 4-5.

Garin vs Kyrgios :






On the topic of speaking to all the


Nailed it. Since I said a bunch of moderately judgemental things about Kyrgios, I will be saying only positive things today. In his match against Nakashima, Kyrgios was struggling with a shoulder injury, but never really let it become a major distraction from the match. He stretched it between a ton of points, but if you’re struggling you’re struggling. I appreciate the work that Nick has been doing on his game. You don’t just show up and play great grasscourt tennis, and you don’t make the quarterfinals unless you’ve been training a bit. His brand prevents him from being able to admit he’s been working hard or that he cares, but you can see a little more of a glimmer of hope every so often as he gets older. For a guy who doesn’t care, his tantrums seems to mostly coincide with the matches where he thinks he might lose. That might not be a positive, but caring about stuff (even if you hate that you do) is pretty positive.

Even with a shoulder issue, Kyrgios still was able to serve his way through this match. The announcers later on were talking about Nakashima missing his chances in this one, but that’s I guess because they didn’t see Nakashima’s strategy in this one. Brandon started out in the same solid rhythm he did against previous opponents, but his swings were a bit slower. He barely even took a look across net, and just focused the whole time on making clean contact and keeping the ball in play, and with no pace or height. The result was that Kyrgios coughed up errors. He would hit a few balls back, but once it became clear Nakashima was down to rally forever Kyrgios started trying to force stuff. It was a great tactical adjustment by Brandon and it almost got him the match. When you’re playing that style though, it can be hard to pull the trigger when you want to shift or see the opportunity. This was a great run from Nakashima, and he’s better on hardcourt so in the anti-climactic yearbook words of your elementary school crush he should “have a nice summer”. Damn who hurt me?

Garin and De Minaur was really great. Alex had this match pretty much wrapped up, but Christian Garin’s strength carried him though. When ADM was fresh, he was able to dominate rallies but as fatigue crept in he started to make errors. The third set loss was Garin hitting hard cross court and De Minaur trying to create and change direction and making errors. He refound his rhythm in the 5th and these two were neck and neck until the final 10 point tiebreak where Garin just got a few lucky breaks. After playing 4 hours and 34 minutes, Garin has to be feeling a bit burnt. They’ll honestly both be looking like easy pickings for the winner of the Fritz/Nadal quarterfinal if Garin is tired and Kyrgios’ shoulder issue remains a problem. I think Nakashima and Garin are a very similar test, and De Minaur’s serve stopped paying dividends towards the middle of the match so Garin is going to have a really tough time playing from behind. Garin’s serving well and hitting his forehand huge, so he could steal a win if NK’s injury becomes worse. Big if to monitor honestly, since Kyrgios’s serve is pretty much his whole game. At Nick’s current level though, he likely will make his first semifinal. Kyrgios in 4.

Fritz vs Nadal :

For this one I used both names.











Whoa wtf zebras u good? I guess a GOAT is kinda like a zebra? Anagrams are hard. Also hard is getting anything done against Rafael Nadal. Botic Van De Zandschulp was a few inches off his game today, but part of that was Nadal not really giving him any time. Nadal’s footwork is probably the best on tour, and he’s constantly getting to the ball early which means his opponents have to begin transitioning back to center court before he’s committed to a shot. He was able to wrongfoot Botic a number of times and earn tiny errors. Botic had some good success when his shots landed in, but he made a number of errors when he finally had an opening. His forehand doesn’t seem ideal for grass but this was a good run for him and his quality shined through as he forced a third set tiebreak. In this match Nadal’s serve out wide was extremely effective. He’s starting to get in a great service rhythm there which is a problem for anyone’s backhand. Nadal has shown that he’s playing a bit more conservative than he needs to, but when he has the court open he really lets loose and his forehand down the line and inside out is often a clean winner.

If Nadal was an inevitable result, Fritz was forcing himself to be. Taylor has been quietly running through this draw and Jason Kubler was playing well above his reputation. Fritz played some extremely consistent tennis and wouldn’t give away a single game today. He created 13 break points and won half of them. He kept Kubler on the court in his service games until he just couldn’t hang, and Fritz looked extremely motivated to not go three. It’s a new Fritz on tour this year since Indian Wells, and I really liked today how unwilling to reset the rally he was. Kubler threw height at him, he threw slice gets back in play, and Fritz got set and hit to the next big angle. This is exactly the type of play he’ll need against Nadal. Measured, but constant aggression. Rafa is a world-class opponent, but he is making some errors on defense due to the grass that he normally doesn’t, so he’s allllllllmost human here.

A huge nod has been placed on Fritz honestly from this match being opened at -270 for Nadal. Fritz is great but you don’t usually see Nadal priced that low unless he’s in danger of losing. At this price I almost don’t think there’s much cushion to take Fritz, and it’s likely that the price slides above -300 for Nadal with a late move back towards Fritz (people who think they know something waiting to get the best price right before the match after the public backs Nadal). The good thing about the odds is they don’t dictate the outcome. Both these guys are serving great, but Fritz is hitting his forehand better than Nadal (don’t hurt me). Nadal is definitely the quicker and more complete player, but Fritz’s backhand is looking very solid. I think this is a 5 setter and I’m wary of ever expecting a Nadal loss but the conditions are ideal for Fritz to get through here in his typical Fritz “omg I can’t believe it” way. I have Fritz winning in my bracket so I know I’m a bit biased here, but Botic could have been competitive in that match if he’d just kept the ball in the court, and Fritz is serving much better and his game is perfect for the surface. Nadal in 5 so that I don’t have to get yelled at in the comments, but the upset is very very possible here (I would say more so than Kyrgios).

WTA Singles
Tomljanovic vs Rybakina :









Wow I never knew that. Hide your badgers, folks. Hide your tennis balls too, or Tomljanovic and Rybakina will smash them. Cornet played hero to the rest of the draw last round, beating top favorite Swiatek in straight sets. Here she was playing a great match against Tomljanovic, having great success with dropshots and peppering Ajla’s backhand during baseline rallies. AT was solid, but she seemed frustrated with the flow of the match and she couldn’t hang on even when she did break Cornet’s serve. Alize’s dropshots look like they’re way too high, then almost spin back into the net. I sound like a broken record but the French federation has great skill in all their players regardless of their style. In the second set, Cornet seemed to get caught in forehand exchanges with Ajla. The powerful Aussie’s forehand really changed the flow of the match and she was able to wear Cornet down into errors. The match still could have gone either way, with Cornet breaking back late, but she missed a handful of overheads into the net on big points and Ajla was able to close out.

Rybakina needed extra innings in the first to get past Martic, but it felt like she would get this match even if it took 3. Her serve is getting her simple balls to work with and one swing during defensive rallies is enough to get her inside the baseline on the next shot. Ajla is a big step up in ballstriking to Martic, and her power will be able to expose Rybakina’s slightly slow movement. Cornet was able to pressure her into errors though with her backhand, so Rybakina will likely give as good as she gets. This is a quarterfinals that’s really hard to predict, but I think Tomljanovic may get outhit here. Rybakina in 3.

Anisimova vs Halep :

No more acrostics. Only haikus.

here comes Simona,

she’ll probably get tired

whoops, nope, she’s nasty

Simona Halep is back! I’m not sure what was up during her claycourt season, but she looks like a different person this week. Badosa was making a handful of errors when she went to swing big. It looks like her forehand production struggles when she has to adjust her swing on defense. That Ivashka/Nadal/Djokovic ability to raise the racquet higher when they notice they’re late on the ball is something that Badosa should work on a bit. She tends to leave those forehands short or she follows through and sprays the ball wide. In her press conference she had a good outlook and understood that some days she’ll miss those shots and some days she’ll make them. Grass often takes a couple season to adjust to and she certainly is going to figure it out; even today playing one of the best player ever most still gave her a decent chance. Halep’s serving is giving her a pretty solid edge so far and her forehand has been excellent at changing direction. The serve will be the most important part in getting by Anisimova, since Amanda is pretty dominant in returning second serves.

Harmony Tan threatened a late run in the second, but Anisimova was in control from start to finish in this match. Her power and accuracy makes her the sort of player who has to be beaten, not outlasted, and Tan just didn’t have the power to create errors. There are some real shames in the lack of ranking points system, and Tan is probably the biggest one. Her game isn’t the most explosive, and she has struggled to string multiple wins together on tour for a few seasons already. This is likely to see her confidence raise a great deal though, and there’ll be as many wild cards as she needs from the French federation if her ranking does struggle for the next few years.

I don’t like to doubt Anisimova, but Halep’s peak level is probably good enough here to play her into errors. It’s all about the first serve percentage for Halep, and that was only at 50% today. Anisimova will have a field day with Halep’s second serve, but I still think that Halep’s level is good enough to keep her competitive in her service games. It’ll be interesting to see if Anisimova can come up with 3-4 offensive offerings per rally to get past Halep’s defenses, and I don’t think there will be a lot to separate these two. Halep in 3.

Bouzkova vs Jabeur :

what shot should i hit?

last point I missed a dropshot

perhaps a dropshot?

Ons Jabeur is really fun to watch, and her commitment to her offense is admirable. She wears her heart on her sleeve when she plays, but has a uniquely positive way of chastising herself when she misses. Against Mertens there wasn’t a ton of breathing room, but Jabeur seemed to have an edge once she got her forehand involved. Kerber showed pressure affected her ability to find winners when she had openings, but Jabeur’s trust in her talent allows her to keep her opponent off balance. Given how close her match with Mertens was though, I’m a bit surprised about the price for her match with Bouzkova. Jabeur comes in at -344 here, which is higher than against Mertens (might still be an accurate method of balancing investment though since Bouzkova is a relatively unknown commodity for the general public). It’s puzzling to me because Bouzkova is really playing great and has just beaten Collins in 3, and Li, Riske and Garcia in straight sets. She’s defending at least as well as Mertens and is serving decent also. If Jabeur is going to win this, she’ll need to be way cleaner about unforced errors and avoid bailout dropshots because Bouzkova’s focus and court coverage are reaching Leylah Fernandez levels.

Bouzkova has just shut down Caroline Garcia’s offense, which is not as consistent or varied as Jabeur but involves a huge serve and at a minimum the same power as Jabeur hits with. This should be extremely close, but I am willing to admit that it’s likely on Jabeur’s racquet. Jabeur in 3.

Maria vs Niemeier :

wonderful mother,

who blurry can’t stop doubting,

runs right thru the draw

Tatjana Maria’s joy when she won her last match was infectious, and the reactions of the smaller names when they’ve been winning has brought me to tears a few times. Maria has left the tour twice to have a child and both times her returns have been solid. Ostapenko fell victim to the same equation that I keep thinking people will solve, but Maria’s court coverage is something that’s not to be overlooked. If any young players (or any tour players honestly) are watching this, start working on your slices. It’s not a great blanket strategy because it gives up the initiative, but there is clearly a level of spin and delivery that can make life difficult on any level of player on grass.

Up next is probably her easiest match on paper in a while, as she plays a pretty new name to the major stage. In just her second major (played the French Open) Julie Niemeier is already in the second week. Julie’s forehand is winning her these matches, but she’s managing to reset rallies and take pace off at just the right moments. Her match against Watson was extremely close but Niemeier managed to grab some crowd support with great gets and huge offense. Watson was just a bit more inconsistent but it’s a great sign for her to have such a good tournament at a big moment. I’m not going to bother everyone with the same “Maria will get hit off the court” thoughts here, because it’s hard for me to really believe that anymore. Ostapenko has at least as much power in her forehand as Niemeier, and a better serve and backhand. She has much worse balance and poise on court though, and she spent a good chunk of the end of that match trying to score every point rather than picking her spots. I think Niemeier’s willingness to put the ball in play safely in tight situations and her backhand slice (finally someone will slice the ball back) may let her excel in big moments where Ostapenko couldn’t. Someone (slight lean to Niemier) in 3 very close sets.