Wimbledon R2 previews and picks: Federer vs. Stakhovsky, Tsonga vs. Gulbis

Roger Federer is looking for a place in the last 32 of Wimbledon as he takes the court against Sergiy Stakhovsky on Wednesday. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga may have a tougher matchup on his hands in the form of Ernests Gulbis.

Sergiy Stakhovsky vs. (3) Roger Federer

Federer and Stakhovsky will be going head-to-head for the second time in their careers when they clash in the Wimbledon second round on Wednesday. Their only previous encounters came in the 2011 Dubai quarterfinals, with Federer cruising 6-3, 6-4. The seven-time champion’s Monday opener at the All-England Club was even more straightforward. He hammered Victor Hanescu 6-3, 6-2, 6-0 in a mere one hour and nine minutes to kick off the proceedings on Centre Court. Federer, who is 27-7 for the season, has bounce back nicely from a blowout quarterfinal loss to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at the French Open. Prior to his win over Hanescu, the world No. 3 captured a grass-court title in Halle.

Stakhovsky has been in mostly dreadful form ever since the start of last season. The Ukrainian registers down at No. 116 in the world and he is a mere 8-10 at the ATP level this year. Stakhovsky, though, capitalized on a favorable draw and crushed clay-courter Rogerio Dutra Silva 6-4, 6-0, 6-4 in his opener. The good fortune, of course, is coming to an abrupt halt for the underdog now that Federer is on the other side of the net. Federer is a seven-time Wimbledon champion and he is a heavy favorite to reach at least the semifinals now that Rafael Nadal is out of the tournament. The Swiss did not mess around against Hanescu and you can bet he won’t in this one.

Pick: Federer 6-1, 6-3, 6-3

(6) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs. Ernests Gulbis

Tsonga and Gulbis will be squaring off for the fourth time in their careers and for the first time since 2009 when they do battle on Wednesday. All three of their previous meetings have gone Tsonga’s way, but both hard-court showdowns in the fall of 2009 were competitive. The Frenchman prevailed 6-7(3), 7-6(4), 7-6(2) in Bangkok and 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 in the Tokyo quarterfinals. Gulbis has been up and down since then, but he may finally be showcasing some consistency. The 39th-ranked Latvian reached the last 16 in Indian Wells, Barcelona, and Rome  and he improved to 22-9 for the season with a straight-set win over Edouard Roger-Vasselin on Monday.

As for Tsonga, he has been an established force in the Top 10 of the past few years. The world No. 7 is likely well on his way to another berth in the World Tour Finals with a 30-10 record for his 2013 campaign, which includes a title in Marseille and recent semifinals at Roland Garros and Queen’s Club. Still, Tsonga has been far from dominant of late and several competitive victories could easily have resulted in losses against improved competition. Gulbis–arguably the most dangerous unseeded player in the field this fortnight–is exactly that kind of opponent. He upset Tomas Berdych in the Wimbledon first round last season and a similar result would not come out of nowhere like that one did.

Pick: Gulbis in 5

1 Comment on Wimbledon R2 previews and picks: Federer vs. Stakhovsky, Tsonga vs. Gulbis

  1. Well, you picked the Gulbis win right on the money, but Stakhovsky just came out of the blue and played 4 brilliant sets. roger played pretty well, but other guy was just better today!

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