Roger Federer (SUI) vs. Alejandro Falla (COL)
Despite being the #2 player in the world now, Federer in the top-seed at Wimbledon and all eyes will be focused on him. After a disappointing French Open where he lost in the quarters to Soderling, he then reached the finals of the grass-courts of Halle and lost in the finals to Lleyton Hewitt. Let's see if he can bounce back at his favorite venue.
Falla comes into the tournament ranked #65 in the world, which is only seven spots off from his career high of #58 which he achieved earlier this year. His record isn't great this year (7-8) but he is a tough guy who is someone Federer cannot take lightly.
Federer in 4-0 against Falla and beat him twice recently - at the French Open and at Halle so these two know each other very well. Falla is a tough lefty who was able to push Federer for a bit at the French Open, but Federer was all over him at Halle. This match is certainly in Federer's hands and I can't see him struggling too much in this match. I will have my eye on it to see how Federer looks in his first match at Wimbledon.
Nick's Pick - Federer in 3 sets
Mardy Fish (USA) vs. Bernard Tomic (AUS)
Fish's ranking has jumped 20 spots in the last week up to #70 after he reached the finals at Queen's Club before falling to Sam Querrey. He did have a couple of nice wins there, beating Andy Murray, Michael Llodra and Feliciano Lopez. Fish has never been past the third round at Wimbledon, but don't be surprised if he makes a nice run here.
Tomic is one of the top young players in the world, and he came through qualifying to reach his first Wimbledon main draw. He's played a couple of grass court tournaments already this year, losing in the second round at Queen's Club to Malisse and he qualified at Nottingham before falling to Kevin Anderson in the first round.
This is the first career meeting between Fish and Tomic and I think it's one that should be exciting. Fish has a great serve, and improved forehand, a very good backhand and moves well. He is coming off of an excellent showing at Queen's Club and I like his chances to play well here. Tomic has solid groundstrokes from both sides and a good serve. He never really looks like he is playing hard or moving well, but he does both effectively. He kind of lulls his opponents to sleep with the way he plays. I look for a good match, but in the end I feel Fish has too many weapons and has the experience.
Nick's Pick - Fish in 4 sets
Kei Nishikori (JPN) vs. Rafael Nadal (ESP)
Nishikori burst onto the scene a couple of years ago at the US Open and the 2008 ATP Newcomer of the Year. He was injured for much of 2009 and he is finally starting to feel and play like he did in '08. He won back-to-back Challengers in the States in May and then lost in the second round of the French Open to Djokovic and the first round at Queen's Club to Gasquet.
Nadal is the new #1 player in the world and is looking for his second Wimbledon title. He won the French Open without dropping a set, but then lost in the quarterfinals at Queen's Club to Feliciano Lopez. It will be interesting to see how he bounces back after he missed Wimbledon last year.
Nadal is 1-0 against Nishikori with that win coming at Queen's Club in 2008 in three sets. Nishikori has the goods to compete with Nadal, but he hasn't played many matches this year and there is no substitute to match play. He cannot simply hit with Nadal and try to beat him stroke-for-stroke. He is going to have to go for his shots, come into the net when he has chances and serve well. His movement is top notch and he is a great shotmaker. The issue here, is that playing Nadal isn't easy for anybody. Nadal has the ability to hit just about every shot in the book and he has had great success at Wimbledon in the past. Kei will give him a match, but Nadal has too much.
Nick's Pick - Nadal in 3 sets
Robin Soderling (SWE) vs. Robby Ginepri (USA)
Soderling comes into the tournament ranked a career high of #6 in the world and having reached the finals of the French Open for the second straight year. He seemed to run out of gas in the finals against Nadal after his five-setter with Berdych in the semis. He reached the fourth round of Wimbledon last year before falling to Federer.
Ginepri is currently ranked #69 in the world and had an excellent French Open where he reached the fourth round before losing to Djokovic in four sets. He played Queen's Club and lost in the second round to Querrey in straight sets. He has lost in the first round of Wimbledon the last five years, but did reach the fourth round back in 2004.
Soderling and Ginepri are 1-1 against each other and Ginepri beat him earlier this year on the hard courts in Chennai. Both men have good groundies, solid serves and move well around the court. Soderling has more weapons than Ginepri, but Ginepri fights hard and will not go down easily. I look for Soderling to move on, but I think this will go four sets.
Nick's Pick - Soderling in 4 sets