2016 Wimbledon Men’s Day 2 Panelist Predictions Including Verdasco vs. Tomic

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2016 Wimbledon Men’s Day 2 promises to be an exciting day of Grand Slam tennis with Verdasco vs. Tomic headlining the day, and a host of young stars, including Nick Kyrgios (against Radek Stepanek), Taylor Fritz (against Stan Wawrinka), and Dominic Thiem (against Florian Mayer) taking part in key matches. American #1 John Isner also takes the court in London tomorrow against Cypriot veteran Marcos Baghdatis. Our expert panel of Steen Kirby, Yesh Ginsburg, and Manuel Traquete offer their previews and predictions.

Fernando Verdasco vs. Bernard Tomic

Steen: Tomic just beat Verdasco at Queen’s although that was a close three set contest, and overall he’s dominated the h2h. The Australian has, as usual, lacked focus and spark this season, but he’s still a talented grass court player, and has a higher peak game on this surface than even Verdasco, who can blitz winners from the forehand side and play well on grass in his own right. Tomic looked better prior to Wimbledon, and thus I have him edging the veteran Spaniard if he doesn’t let his focus drift once again. Tomic in 4 sets

Yesh: Both Tomic and Verdsaco are mercurial up-and-down players, so really anything can happen. But I’m going to think that Tomic has the slight, slight, edge on grass. Tomic in 5

Manuel: Verdasco has beaten a top 5 player in the first round twice already this year, showing that he’s much more threatening than his ranking would suggest. When his game is clicking, he’s capable of beating anyone. Those instances are far too rare though, hence Verdasco’s unseeded status at this tournament. Tomic, on the other hand, can lose to anyone on a given day but on grass and Wimbledon in particular he tends to be solid and win the matches he’s favorite to win. Tomic in 4

Stan Wawrinka vs. Taylor Fritz

Steen: Wawrinka doesn’t look to be in top five form, and grass has never been a great surface for the Swiss. Still, he’s more experienced and has more weapons than Fritz. a young American who is still developing his game, even though he has a top 70 ranking. Fritz rose quickly onto the ATP scene, but his poor recent play shows he may not be quite ready to seize glory, that’s why I have Wawrinka advancing. Wawrinka in 3

Yesh: Taylor Fritz is a rising quantity but Stan Wawrinka is just too big an ask. The Swiss isn’t invincible and grass is far from his favorite surface, but he should get through this. Wawrinka in 4

Manuel: Fritz is one of the brightest young players on the ATP circuit and his rise has been absolutely meteoric over the past year. But he seems to have hit a bit of a wall lately, failing to post good results on the ATP circuit ever since his run to the Memphis final. He has the potential to beat Wawrinka, but it’s likely that the Swiss proves way too solid at this point even if grass is his worst surface. As prone to upsets as Wawrinka can generally be, at Slams he tends to eventually get the job done when he’s favored to win. Wawrinka in 4

Nick Kyrgios vs. Radek Stepanek

Steen: Kyrgios could always bomb out here, but he’s a solid grass court competitor and looks set to have at least a decent tournament. Stepanek is as tough as any opening round opponent in the draw for a seed, the gritty veteran plays a quick serve and volley style that is well suited to grass, and he’s a strategic player at this point in his career, as he showed when he nearly knocked off Andy Murray in Paris. Still, I have to presume Stepanek will slow down as the match goes on and run out of steam, handing Kyrgios the opportunity to steamroll him in the late going with his serve and attacking groundstrokes. Kyrgios in 4 

Yesh: Another great matchup between strong veteran Radek Stepanek and rising star Nick Kyrgios. Both are great on grass, but Kyrgios probably has the raw power to get through this match. Kyrgios in 4

Manuel: Kyrgios got quite a tough draw in his first Slam as a top 16 seed. He will start against the always tricky Stepanek, who despite his age and recent injuries can always trouble the top seeds with his unorthodox game. We saw that at Roland Garros, where he came within a whisker of eliminating eventual finalist Murray in round 1. On grass, he should be even more difficult to handle and an upset is absolutely possible here, but you’d expect Kyrgios’s superior consistency and ability to blitz through his service games to be the likely difference maker. Kyrgios in 5

Dominic Thiem vs. Florian Mayer

Steen: 10 years and a lot of ranking spots separate the young Austrian and his veteran German counterpart. Mayer stunned Thiem in Halle, but Thiem is a solid all court player who looks set to have another great slam. Given that I have Thiem going far this tournament in my bracket, I have to assume he’ll find a way to dispatch the unconventional Mayer, who excels on grass. This should be a grueling battle with funky Flo. Thiem in 5

Yesh: Thiem is struggling a little at the moment and Mayer is fresh of a great win in Halle. This should be a great match. Thiem in 5

Manuel: A rematch of the Halle semifinal, won by Mayer in perhaps surprisingly easy fashion. Thiem has been the iron man of the tour in recent times, playing and going deep seemingly every week. This is a stark contrast with Mayer, for whom the Halle title came as a big relief after a long period where he was marred by injury and barely able to play. With that in mind, even if Mayer’s game is more suited to the grass and he’s absolutely capable of winning this match, Thiem’s level is more of a known quantity, which makes him a solid favorite here. Mayer has to repeat the level shown in Halle to win, which is far from a safe bet. Thiem in 4

John Isner vs. Marcos Baghdatis

Steen: Although Isner has never lost to Baghdatis, I’m going with an upset in this one. Isner isn’t that great of a best of five Grand Slam player, and at Wimbledon I feel the pressure gets to him a bit. He’s tall and a big server, which helps him on a fast surface like grass, but he also struggles with the low and unconventional bounces of grass at times with his big frame. Baghdatis will attack relentlessly, and if he can get it to a fifth set, Isner can’t rely on a tiebreak to prevail. Expect at least two tiebreaks in this match, as I have the veteran Baghdatis edging it and showing passion in his victory. Baghdatis in 5

Yesh: Isner has looked shaky of late and Baghdatis is working hard to restore his credentials as a top player. It might technically be an upset, but it would honestly surprise me to see Baghdatis lose here. Baghdatis in 4

Manuel: Baghdatis has lost all his 6 matches against Isner so far, creating only 8 break points in those matches overall, all in 2 matches (in 4 of the matches he didn’t even create a break point). It’s safe to say Isner’s otherworldly serve causes all sorts of problems to Baghdatis, to the extent where it’s almost impossible to see him win this without tiebreaks being the key. The problem is Isner is possibly the best tiebreak player of all-time and the mentally stronger player of the two. Isner in 4

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