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Wimbledon Day Two: Pick 'Em

by Courtney Nguyen
Tuesday 26 June 2012

Andy Murray (GBR) [4] vs. Nikolay Davydenko (RUS): Much like yesterday's stunner by Ernests Gulbis to upset sixth-seeded Tomas Berdych, this is a match that could either result in an upset of Mound (Murray Mound to be exact) moving proportions, or it could be a complete dud. Davydenko has the ability to make this a dicey opening round encounter for Murray. The only question is whether he can tap into that talent and make it happen. At his best, the diminutive Russian hugs the baseline and takes the ball extremely early, absorbing pace and redirecting the ball down the lines with laser accuracy. At his worst, Davydenko's serve gets gobbled up like the bacon bap I devoured in less than 30 seconds this morning, and he goes for too much too early in the rally.

Pick: Andy Murray in three. Because Britain simply cannot deal with another sporting disaster this week.

Did you know... 2009 U.S. Open Champion Juan Martin del Potro once likened playing against Davydenko to playing a Playstation, thus spawning one of the great player nicknames in modern history. Unfortunately for Nikolay, no one loves playing Playstation like Andy Murray.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) [5] vs. Lleyton Hewitt (AUS): In this battle of "ALLEZ!!!" vs. "COME OOOOON!!!", we come to see whether good ol' Rusty still has something in him. I'm inclined to believe that he does, and even if he's unable to win this match, this will should be a raucous display of athleticism. Hewitt, a former champion here in 2002, was *thisclose* to beating Robin Soderling here last year, losing 6-4 in the fifth, and had a memorable run to the fourth round at the Australian Open this year, beating Andy Roddick and Milos Raonic before falling to Novak Djokovic. Speaking of Djokovic, who didn't feel a twinge in their heart at sight of an emotional Tsonga walking off Court Phillipe Chatrier, after failing to convert five match points to beat the Serb at the French Open? Here's hoping his return to the grass turns that frown upside-down.

Pick: Tsonga in three.

Did you know... Tsonga was the first man to successfully come back from two sets down to beat Roger Federer at a Grand Slam.

Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) [7] vs. Tamira Paszek (AUT): If I could be so bold, I dare say that Wozniacki coming through in this match easily could be the surprise of the tournament so far. The Great Dane hasn't been so great as of late, with her last three losses coming at players ranked outside the Top 20. That's a surprising turn of events for a woman who ascended to the No.1 ranking based on her ability to beat everyone outside of the Top 10. We're not used to seeing Caroline lose, and given her winning record over the last two years, I suspect she's not particularly used to losing either. But if you need a reminder of how quickly things can turn around, look no further than Paszek. Heading into last week's tournament in Eastbourne, the Austrian had tallied a sum total of two -- TWO -- match wins in 2012. Then she proceeded to march to the title there, scoring two Top 10 wins, saving five match points in the final, to win her first title since 2010. A quarterfinalist here at Wimbled
on last year, Paszek clearly knows how to work the grass. The only question is whether her Eastbourne campaign has sapped her dry.

Pick: Paszek in three.

Did you know... Paszek's father, Ariff Mohamed, has the coolest spectacle frames in the biz. Look for him in her player's box.

Laura Robson (GBR) vs. Francesca Schiavone (ITA) [24]: Can the 18-year old Brit continue with her penchant for scrapbook memories here at her home tournament (literally, she lives a few minutes from the All England Club)? Robson, who broke into the Top 100 for the first time this week and now sits as the No.2 Brit behind Anne Keothavong, has seen her game come together nicely on the grass and this is actually the perfect match-up for her. Schiavone is a Slam champion who outranks her for miles in the experience department, but when it comes to grasscourt prowess, you have to tip the youngster. Her lefty serve and short angled forehands wreak havoc on this surface. Should people expect young Laura to win? Probably not. But does she have a chance? Absolutely.

Pick: Robson in three. England will finally top Italy. Mainly because it doesn't involve penalty kicks.

Did you know... Laura is the youngest woman in the WTA Top 100? Oh to be one of the 100 best at what you do at 18 years old.

Tommy Haas vs. Phillip Kohlschreiber (GER) [27]: Come for Tommy's Hollywood handsomeness, stay for his beautiful one handed backhand. This all-German matchup features two men who are the last players to beat Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Haas upset Federer in the final of Halle a few weeks ago and Kohlschreiber beat Rafa there in the quarter-finals. But the man to watch here is Haas. At 34-years old, Haas says he's trying to play a few more years so that his daughter Valentina can watch him play professional tennis. Now doesn't that just tug at your heartstrings?

Pick: Haas in four.

Did you know... Tommy's wife, Sara Foster, is an American actress who has appeared on Entourage and CSI.

Five more to watch (because it's best to cram in as much tennis as you can before the rain inevitably hits)

David Ferrer (ESP) [7] vs. Dustin Brown (GER): Dustin Brown's game is as funky as his dreadlocks. He's always a fun one to watch.

Bernard Tomic (AUS) [20] vs. David Goffin (BEL): It's odd to think that somehow, 19-year old Tomic is supposed to be the savvy veteran in this match against the 20-year old Belgian wildcard, but he is. A quarterfinalist last year, Tomic saves his best for the big stages. Time to flip that switch, Bernie.

Kevin Anderson (RSA) [32] vs. Grigor Dimitrov (BUL): Everyone keeps waiting for Dimitrov to have a breakthrough Slam. A junior champion in 2008, Dimitrov finally made his first ATP semifinal at Queen's Club two weeks ago. Can he pull off the upset over the big serving South African?

Mardy Fish (USA) [10] vs. Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo (ESP): Welcome back, Mardy Fish! The American had minor surgery to correct a heart ahrythmia and has healed up just in time for the Championships.

Alex Bogomolov Jr. (RUS) vs. Alexandr Dolgopolov (UKR) [22]: Look at those names. Now imagine how the umpire or commentary crew is going to work that out. Now laugh. 


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