Gael Monfils (FRA) vs. Lleyton Hewitt (AUS)
Monfils comes into the tournament ranked #20 in the world and had a disappointing French Open, where he lost in the second round to Fabio Fognini in five sets. He's reached the 3rd round of Wimbledon twice, but he actually hasn't played here since 2007.
Hewitt comes in playing some very good tennis, having won the title at Halle on grass where he beat Federer in the finals. He won this title back in 2002 and reached the quarters last year. Hewitt has always played well on grass and he is definitely a threat to take out a higher seed on this surface.
Monfils is 2-1 against Hewitt and has won the last two times they have played. Monfils is one of, if not, the greatest pure athlete to ever play the sport. He reminds me of Yannick Noah, but Noah was a much more intelligent player than Monfils. He knew what he did well and he did that over and over again. Monfils' mental ability has never caught up with his physical abilities and that has really hurt him. On the other hand, Hewitt has become a much smarter player as he has gotten older. He isn't standing as far behind the baseline, he's taking the ball early, has an improved serve and is a warrior on the court. If this match goes five sets, Monfils may have a slight edge because of his fitness, but I think Hewitt takes this in four.
Nick's Pick - Hewitt in 4 sets
Andy Roddick (USA) vs. Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER)
Roddick needed four sets to take out the tricky lefty, Michael Llodra, in the second round. He's been a runner up here three times, but nothing compares to last year's final against Federer. Will this be the year that Roddick finally breaks through? I definitely think he has a good chance!
It took Kohlschreiber five sets and then some to beat Teimuraz Gabashvili in the second round to reach the third round for the third time in his career. He's been to the fourth round of a Grand Slam three times before, but never further.
Roddick is 2-1 against Kohlschreiber, but lost to him the last time they played which was at the Australian Open a couple of years ago. Kohlschreiber has a monster forehand and big-time serve, and when he beat Roddick at the Aussie Open he was hitting winners from all over the court. Since then, Roddick has improved his backhand, he is serving smarter and is moving better. We all know what Roddick's serve and forehand can do, but it is his backhand that has become a major weapon. I look for a test from Kohlschreiber, but Roddick will advance.
Nick's Pick - Roddick in 4 sets
Andy Murray (GBR) vs. Gilles Simon (FRA)
In front of the Queen, Murray didn't disappoint. He took down Jarkko Nieminen in straight sets and has that same look about him that he had last year when he reached the semis. This hasn't been the greatest of years for Murray, but a nice run here could change all of that (especially in front of these fans!).
Simon didn't have to play in the second round, as his opponent, Illya Marchenko, withdrew from the tournament. He's been struggling with a knee injury that forced him to miss both the Australian Open and French Open, but when he is healthy and playing well he is very dangerous.
Murray is 3-1 again Simon, but the two haven't played since the Masters Cup at the end of 2008. Simon has been in the top ten, but he has never really lived up to all the hype that has surrounded him. He's only been to one Grand Slam quarterfinal and for a player of his level you would think this would be more. He has lots of power from both sides, but his backhand is his big weapon. I just think Murray can neutralize his game and he is the best returner of the serve on the tour. He appears to be calm, cool and collected and I think he is hitting a little bigger than normal. I see Murray moving on in four sets.
Nick's Pick - Murray in 4 sets