2012 Wimbledon logo2012 Wimbledon

Novak Djokovic: Rafael Nadal's Early Exit Won't Equal Easy Title for Djoker

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 27:  Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates match point during his Gentlemen's Singles second round match against Ryan Harrison of USA on day three of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on June 27, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
Paul Gilham/Getty Images
Brian MaziqueCorrespondent IIIJune 28, 2012

It may seem that Novak Djokovic's path to a Wimbledon title is clear, now that Rafael Nadal has been upset, but that is certainly not the case.

He still has a potentially tough quarterfinal match ahead of him. Frenchman Richard Gasquet could be his opponent, if both survive their next two matches.

The 26-year-old hasn't had great success against Djokovic. He's only won once in seven meetings, but they haven't played since last year.

If Djokovic survives that test, Roger Federer may be waiting for him in the semifinal. This could be a desperate, hungry and even more dangerous Federer. He has to realize that his chances at winning another Grand Slam are fading.

With his biggest nemesis out, Federer will be especially keyed on seizing this opportunity. He has never struggled with Djokovic the way he has with Nadal.

Their all-time series is close, but Federer has the edge, winning 14 of 26 meetings. 

That said, Djokovic has won the last three to close the gap considerably. Believe it or not, this would not only be their first meeting on grass, but their first meeting at Wimbledon. With Nadal out, this potential clash will determine the favorite to take it all.

But as we saw by watching Rafa fall Thursday, anything can happen.

The other side of the draw has some potential pitfalls as well. Fourth-seeded Andy Murray is still alive, as is Djokovic's French Open nemesis Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. He'd love to get an opportunity to finish Djokovic off this time.

He squandered four match points and allowed Djokovic to turn his upset bid away at Roland Garros.

Djokovic can't let up. He must take Nadal's failure as a lesson. If he doesn't, he could join him watching the rest of the tournament.

 

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