PostHeaderIcon First 2 Days of Wimbledon 2011 for the Men: Results and Surprises

Not all of the first round matches have been completed, but we are well on our way to what promises to be an interesting Wimbledon. Before a tournament starts there is a lot of talk about seeds, odds (of winning) and past results. The beauty of tennis is that no matter what a player’s seed, what the odds are and no matter what the past results, two players still must show up and play a match. When they do, anything can happen.

Click for full Wimbledon 2011 Men's bracket picks
And so it goes with the results after the first two days of play!
The Tennis Channel ran a pre-tournament bracket contest for both the men’s and women’s draws. You can check out my picks for the tournament by clicking here or on the partial draw image. Red denotes a first round loss.

After one round of the tournament I have already lost 17 of my first round picks. It’s a safe bet to say that I won’t be a probably winner of any prizes for my picks. I had done my homework for these picks. There had been good due diligence before my selections…studying head to heads, grass court results, momentum from the clay court swing, injuries, all of it. In the end it was all about the participants.

There were some “initially nervy but ultimately comfortable” wins like Rafa’s, Roger’s, Novak’s and Andy R.’s straight sets victories. There were some slight scares like Andy M’s 4 set win (under the Centre Court roof) over . There were some titanic struggles, like Fernando Verdasco over Radek Stepanek, Marcos Baghdatis over wildcard James Blake,  Mikhail Youzhny over Juan Monaco, and Ryan Sweeting’s come from behind victory over Pablo Andujar (his reward is a second round against Rafa).

The most notable scalp to fly in the first round was Bernie Tomic taking out Nikolay Davydenko. Tomic is an odd player with an old school type of game. He mixes things up a lot on his opponents and often improvises his shot selection in the middle of points. He is definitely not your typical bludgeoning style of player. He tends to under-perform in challenger and lesser events which drives his Australian Tennis Federation nuts. But when given moments to shine at Grand Slams he has often performed his best. I haven’t heard much about Davydenko’s conditioning or how the match played out. Any way you slice it though, that’s a huge upset and a great win for Tomic.

I’m sure that some of the other first round losses, though less huge, must be especially disappointing given the good preparation coming into Wimbledon. Tommy Robredo losing to Yen-Hsun Lu.  Thomaz Bellucci, the 30th seed, losing to the very veteran Rainer Schuettler. Who saw that one coming after Bellucci’s great play this spring??? Kei Nishikori had been playing some decent ball to this point, and Lleyton Hewitt almost was unable to compete due to a foot injury that caused him problems last week. Still, the wily veteran (and 2002 Champion) was able to use his experience to good affect over the rising star Nishikori.

Rangy veterans seemed to be the ongoing theme, with  Ivan Ljubicic a 4 set winner over Marin Cilic. Where has Cilic gone in 2011? He seems so very absent when it matters most in the big tournaments. Tommy Haas had hoped for better with his return to the tour, but he went down in 4. Fellow German Philipp Kohlschreiber, a winner at Halle 2 weeks ago, lost to Denis Istomin.

It’s also sad to report more disappointment and frustration for Donald Young as he loses in 4 to fellow American Alex Bogomolov Jr. He had direct entry into the main draw and could not capitalize on any of his grass preparation to pull this one out. Reports on twitter were that he was in a foul mood on the court and often took it out on the ballkids. I’ll keep on wishing the best for him, but I think it’s not going to be turning around anytime soon.

These results are not quite as topsy-turvy as they are in the women’s draw, but it still shows that nothing is a given in tennis. Each win must be earned and coronations must wait until the final ball is struck. Hopefully my bracket selections won’t be too batter in the process over the next couple of rounds… 😉

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