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Wimbledon 2012: Breaking Down Favorites from Men's Final 16

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 29:  Novak Djokovic of Serbia hits a backhand return during his Gentlemen's Singles third round match against Radek Stepanek of Czech Republic on day five of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on June 29, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Julian Finney/Getty Images
Zach KruseSenior Analyst IJuly 1, 2012

With three rounds of Wimbeldon 2012 in the books, we take a closer look at the final 16 of the men's bracket. 

Rafael Nadal, one of the three giants of men's tennis, was knocked out in the second round.

Does Nadal's loss mean Novak Djokovic cruises to another Grand Slam win? Can Roger Federer reclaim glory at the All English Club after narrowly escaping his own early upset bid? Or will a surprise player take back a Grand Slam event from the trio of Nadal, Djokovic and Federer, winners of 28 of the last 29?

The following are the favorites from the final 16 of the men's draw:

 

No. 1 Novak Djokovic

Djokovic will face his countryman Viktor Troicki in the fourth round, then will take on either Florian Mayer or Richard Gasquet in the quarterfinals. Barring a Nadal-type upset, Djokovic should get his chance at facing Federer in the semifinals. With Nadal out and Federer using a lot of energy early in this tournament, Djokovic has to be the clear favorite.

 

No. 3 Roger Federer

Federer should walk into the semifinals, with a match against unseeded Xavier Malisse proceeding a potential matchup against either unseeded Denis Istomin or No. 26-ranked Russian Mikhail Youzhny in the quarters. But given some of the early struggles Federer has faced, no match is a cakewalk. 

Still, it's not going out on a limb to predict Federer and Djokovic will meet in the semis. Even if he gets there, I still can't see Federer advancing in that matchup. 

 

No. 4 Andy Murray

Murray is obviously the hometown favorite, but he arguably faces the toughest test of anyone to get to the finals.

Sixteenth-seeded Marin Cilic won't roll over in the fourth round, and if Murray is lucky enough to get into the quarters, he'll face either David Ferrer or Juan Martin del Potro. A potential semifinal matchup with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga also looms. 

There's no Nadal in the draw, but Murray has to play his best tennis over the next couple of days if he's going to advance to the finals. 

 

No. 5 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

Nadal's exit at the bottom of the bracket has created the opportunity for Tsonga to reach the finals. And given what we've seen thus far, Tsonga is probably the favorite to advance that far. 

First, however, Tsonga has to take care of business against the surprising American Mardy Fish, who is just months removed from heart surgery. Tsonga would then face either Brian Baker (another terrific story) or the 27th-ranked Philipp Kohlschreiber. He should be the favorite in both matches. 

 

No. 7 David Ferrer

Ferrer has never advanced past the fourth round of Wimbledon, so he'll have to buck some history to get to the finals from the bottom of the bracket. Juan Martin del Potro, Ferrer's opponent, has never gotten past the fourth round either. 

We're taking Ferrer to break history, as he looked cool and calm in dispatching pesky Andy Roddick in the third round. We'll see how the nerves play out on a stage these two have rarely faced at Wimbledon. Neither will be expected to get past Tsonga or Murray. 

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