Tuesday 24 October 2017

Tennis: Federer draws short straw as Nadal pops up

Roger Federer
Roger Federer

Simon Briggs

Defending champion Roger Federer landed the booby prize at the Wimbledon draw when Rafael Nadal – the ultimate example of the 'dangerous floater' – popped up in his quarter of the draw.

Assuming that results go according to seedings and world rankings, Federer (right) would play Nadal in the quarter-final, and the omens for the Swiss would not be good. Nadal has won their past five Grand Slam meetings, with his last defeat coming in the final here at SW19 in 2007. He can officially be designated Federer's nemesis.

For second seed Andy Murray, it could have been better and it could have been worse. At least he avoided the nightmare scenario of Nadal in his quarter. But he could still have to play him in the semi-finals.

Again, history would be on Nadal's side here. Their past four meetings in Slams have all been semi-finals, two of them at the All England Club.

Nadal won all four, most recently at Wimbledon 2011. On that grisly occasion, Murray led by a set and 2-1 but blared a forehand put-away over the baseline and suffered a mini-meltdown that cost him the match.

Meanwhile, world No 1 Novak Djokovic scored the first big victory of Wimbledon 2013 when he drew David Ferrer as his likely semi-final opponent.

Grass is not Ferrer's favourite surface and the match-up with Djokovic has been cruel to him in the past. If you look at Slam results – which are always the most significant – Djokovic leads their head-to-head by four matches to zero, and 12 sets to one.

Ferrer has introduced an element of chaos to the draw by climbing above Nadal to No 4 in the rankings. However, the fact that Federer, Murray and Nadal have all landed in the same half will delight ticket-holders on the show courts for Monday, when they all launch their campaigns.

Serena Williams' status as runaway favourite was only underlined by a draw that puts her in the same half as the talented but underpowered fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska. The three women most likely to discomfort Williams – Maria Sharapova, Victoria Azarenka and Petra Kvitova – are all in the other half. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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