Wimbledon R2 previews and predictions: Federer vs. Willis, Johnson vs. Chardy

Roger Federer will continue his Wimbledon campaign on Wednesday against the unlikeliest of opponents in Marcus Willis, who did not even have direct entry into qualifying. Steve Johnson and Jeremy Chardy are also aiming for a place in the third round.

(3) Roger Federer vs. (Q) Marcus Willis

It will be one of Wimbledon’s greatest champions versus one of its most improbable underdog stories when Federer and Willis collide during second-round action on Wednesday. Prior to this fortnight, Willis had never played a match in the main draw of an ATP-level tournament. The 25-year-old Brit certainly was not expected to do that at the All-England Club, as he had to go through pre-qualifying just to get a wild card into the qualifying bracket. That is exactly what Willis did, and the rest is history. The world No. 772, who has had to cancel his scheduled tennis lessons at a local club because of his unexpectedly long stay at Wimbledon, reeled off three qualifying wins and then stunned Ricardas Berankis 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 on Monday.

Federer opened with a 7-6(5), 7-6(3), 6-3 defeat of Guido Pella in which the 34-year-old Swiss did not face a single break point. He is looking to right the ship following consecutive semifinal exits in Stuttgart (to Dominic Thiem) and Halle (to Alexander Zverev). If Willis was going to feel pressure, that would have happened either in the final round of qualifying or in the first round of the main draw. He has nothing to lose now–other than the match–and will likely entertain the fans with another impressive account of himself, but asking him to take a set off the seven-time Wimbledon champion may be too much.

Pick: Federer in 3 losing 11-14 games

Jeremy Chardy vs. Steve Johnson

Johnson was in dire need of a hot streak when the calendar turned from May to June and it has come at exactly the right time, with Wimbledon now on the schedule and the U.S. Open Series rapidly approaching. Prior to Queen’s Club, the world No. 29 had been a horrendous 6-14 at the ATP level this season. But he reached the quarterfinals of that event and then captured his first career ATP title in Nottingham. Johnson had the misfortune of landing in the top half of the draw so he enjoyed only one day of rest in between Nottingham and Wimbledon, but he got right back in gear to defeat Malek Jaziri 7-5, 7-6(2), 6-4. He is not overly experienced on grass, but the former college star (University of Southern California) wields a big serve and forehand and he uses a nasty slice backhand that stays especially low on the slick stuff.
Johnson wins
Up next for Johnson on Wednesday is a second career encounter with Chardy. They previously faced each other in Cincinnati qualifying five years ago, when the American got the job done 7-6(9), 6-4. Johnson has only improved since then, whereas Chardy has plateaued at his typical ranking between 30th and 40th in the world. Currently No. 34, the Frenchman took advantage of a rusty Gael Monfils to pick up a 6-7(4), 6-0, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 victory on Monday. Chardy, whose grass-court preparation included nothing more than an opening Queen’s Club loss to Jiri Vesely, is a decent 10-8 lifetime at the All-England Club. His power game will make this one competitive, but Johnson’s hot streak should continue.

Pick: Johnson in 4

10 Comments on Wimbledon R2 previews and predictions: Federer vs. Willis, Johnson vs. Chardy

  1. Fed didn’t look even close to making the semi-final. This will be fun one v Willis. Willis seems cool with the spotlight. He’s got a great attitude. Maybe he can get a set but probably Fed in 3.

  2. Fed in 3 sets losing 8-10 games. I think it will be a great experience for Willis to be on a big stage with the likes of Fed. I hope he enjoys the moment.

    I am going with Johnson in 4 sets over Chardy.

    • I had Fed losing 8-10 games. It was fun to watch this match, even though not great tennis. Willis had his moment on center court and will have some great memories.

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