Wimbledon second week predictions: Djokovic still the man to beat

Liam Flin
Spotlight
It may not have a been a vintage year for Novak Djokovic but he has been making serene progress at Wimbledon
It may not have a been a vintage year for Novak Djokovic but he has been making serene progress at Wimbledon

There have been plenty of twists and turns in the first week at Wimbledon with some eyebrow-raising exits in both the men's and women's draws.

Although the first half of the 2022 season has been underwhelming for Novak Djokovic, the Serbian has looked in excellent shape and remains the clear favourite.

The defending champion dropped a set in his opener with Soonwoo Kwon but breezed past both Thanasi Kokkinakis and compatriot Miomir Kecmanovic in straight sets. 

Tim van Rijthoven gave Djokovic something to think about in their fourth-round encounter by taking the second set.

But the emphatic response from the top seed indicated that his game remains in pretty good shape as he progressed 6-2 4-6 6-1 6-2.

Having won each of the last three Wimbledon titles, Djokovic is the obvious candidate to go the distance but it is worth noting he finds himself in a tougher top half of the draw, along with the likes of Jannik Sinner and Cameron Norrie.

By contrast, the bottom half looks a lot more open and there will be some dark horses looking to capitalise on potentially softer opponents, with the likes of Matteo Berrettini no longer in the running.

De Minaur could make run

Rafael Nadal is the standout name in the bottom half of the draw and is fresh from his best performance of the Grand Slam, having seen off Lorenzo Sonego in straight sets in the last round. 

However, Alex De Minaur could also be worth monitoring.

The Australian has recorded wins over home talents Jack Draper and Liam Broady at SW19 already and prepared well for Wimbledon with a run to the semi-finals at the Eastbourne International. 

Next up for the 19th seed is Cristian Garin of Chile and he should fancy his chances of progressing. 

Shock early exits make for open women's event

Pre-tournament favourite Iga Swiatek was one of many shocks in the women's draw
Pre-tournament favourite Iga Swiatek was one of many shocks in the women's draw

Going into Monday's batch of matches, only two of the top 15 seeds in the women's Wimbledon singles still remain with Iga Swiatek, Emma Raducanu and Maria Sakkari having already crashed out. 

Swiatek, who was on a 37-match winning streak and won the French Open in June, was the biggest name to fall, while improving teenager Coco Gauff was also sent packing on the same day, losing to compatriot Amanda Anisimova. 

With so many big names out of the mix, Anisimova, who reached the fourth round at both the Australian and French Opens earlier this year, should be considered a dark horse to go deep in the tournament.

However, the 20-year-old American must first overcome Harmony Tan, who has impressed by seeing off Katie Boulter and Serena Williams in the earlier rounds.

Maria making waves

Another player who is also one to take note of is Germany's Tatjana Maria, who is enjoying something of a renaissance having reached her first Grand Slam quarter-final.

The 34-year-old mother of two, who won only her second WTA Tour title earlier this year in Bogota, has not had it easy so far in the tournament having been taken the distance in three of her four matches.

However, it is worth noting that the world number 103 has dumped out the fifth, 26th and 12th seeds to make it this far and will not be fearing her quarter-final opponent Jule Niemeier, who is 97th in the rankings.

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