2009 Wimbledon: Men's Quarter Final Preview and Predictions

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2009 Wimbledon:  Men's Quarter Final Preview and Predictions
(Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

The collective British heart will no doubt be palpitating wildly tomorrow, as Andymonium round five takes to Centre Court with a chance to get one step closer to the holy grail.  

Murray Mania survived its most aggressive challenge on Monday, as Stan the Man Wawrinka, clearly inspired by all the attention and fanfare surrounding this tilt, pulled out all the stops in his attempt to derail the huffing and puffing locomotive known as Andy Murray.  
In the end his herculean effort fell just short, with Murray fending off break points and repeated assaults from perhaps the most sizzling one-handed backhand in the sport.  
Tomorrow's match doesn't look to be as challenging on paper, but they don't play Wimbledon quarter finals on paper; the chosen surface is grass, in case you've been in a dark and tennisless closet since before 1877.  
Here's a closer look at the Murray-Juan Carlos Ferrero match, along with the other three quarter final matchups that are set to take place tomorrow.  

Andy Murray vs. Juan Carlos Ferrero
You don't have to search very far to find the results of the last meeting between these two: Murray put a thrashing on Juan Carlos in the semis at Queens Club, 6-2, 6-4.  I think the story of that match was that Murray won 86 percent of his first serves, while Ferrero only won 64 percent of his.  
Murray's nine aces were also a factor, and he needs to reconnect with his serve to make this quarter final match relatively easy compared to what he had to go through with Wawrinka.  Make no mistakes, Stan the Man played out of his head yesterday. 
But the good news for Murray is that he was able to deliver yesterday on the big points against Wawrinka.
Even with the hopes and aspirations of a whole nation shadowing his every stroke, Murray can swallow up the tenseness and spit it back out as a break point saved.  
The really bad news for Murray is that he served only 44 percent in the first set and 42 percent in the third.  Imagine what Fed will be able to construct against him if he does that in a final that is truly too far off to even bother hoping for.  
Pick:  Murray in 4
What?  What year is it?  
Roddick made the point in one of his recent and typically fabulously hilarious pressers that the average age in the top (insert the number he actually said here - was it 100?) players was 26.  
At 26, the other Andy is definitely not over the hill, and the way he has been training this year, and playing inspired tennis, is a true testament to the man's character.
You don't have the nastiest serve in the sport (sorry, Karlovic, but be real) without having loads upon loads of character.  Slice it any way you like it, but the results are going to come out the same, this is Roddick's match to win.  
Hewitt is 28, but he did have the hip surgery.  He also just had a tough five-setter against Radek "The Worm" Stepanek, and had to call for the trainer for a rubdown in the process.  
The Aussie's run here at the All England Club has been the stuff of dreams.  A return to past glory is nothing to be scoffed at, and the 2002 champ is really showing that he loves to play on the grass.
But Roddick is making a homecoming of sorts as well.  He's a two-time runner up and only Federer could stop him in those years.  
Pick:  Roddick in 4

Roger Federer vs. Ivo Karlovic
Can you believe that Federer is actually taking a back seat to Andymonium at the moment?  Perhaps the greatest player in the history of the sport going for perhaps the most important statistic of all?  Are you kidding me?  
I'm not sure if you caught the applause that he was given by the Centre Court crowd as he exited after his 11th consecutive victory against Robin Soderling.  It was really warm.  It's almost as if the British crowd senses that they might have to turn against him in the final so they are making sure they take him in in the next few rounds.  
Look for them to lend a hand to him against Dr. Ivo.  
Murray is 8-1 vs. the Croatian giant.  And don't think that the King of Grass isn't lying on his back next to his wife and the growing child inside her belly and reflecting on these eight victories.  Or maybe he's reflecting on the one loss?
Only Federer himself knows how Federer himself works.  All we as fans know is that he is a genius.  How dare us to even speculate?  We who chastised him earlier in the year for not taking on a coach. How could we?  
And look at Federer now.  It is obvious that releasing the part of his brain that was previously devoted to Rafa has released the uninhibited dare-we-say perfection possessed by the man.  
Look for him to slice and dice the Karlovic serve.  He'll be challenged just like Karlovic's previous four victims, but this is Roger Federer we're talking about.  
Karlovic has been impressive in his four breakless victories, no doubt.  He hasn't even faced a break point since the first round.  How is that even possible?  
The 6'10 mammoth man won two tiebreakers in his victory over Federer at the Cincinnati Masters event in 2008. But that's only one out of nine.  And Federer won their last meeting (and while in the midst of his slump), this year at Indian Wells.  
Federer is 8-3 in career tiebreakers against Dr. Ivo.  
Federer is 25-4 in his last 29 Wimbledon tiebreaks.  
That says it all to me.  He's clutch.  And He's going for 15, while Rafa's icing his knees. For him there is no better scenario.  
Pick:  Federer in 5

Novak Djokovic vs. Tommy Haas
The forgotten man at Wimbledon 2009 has definitely been Novak Djokovic.  That may have something to do with the fact that he was nowhere to be found in the second week at Roland Garros this year.  
But like Roland Garros, Wimbledon's semis have also seen the red-blooded Serb take part in them.  Novak was a semi-finalist in 2007, and in spite of his Roland Garros loss to Kohlschreiber, I think he's got to be the favorite against the oldest man left in the draw.  
The old man himself had that wonderful match against Marin Cilic in the third round (the one that was my vote for match of the tourney until the Murray fourth rounder), and then Haas cruised to victory against Igor Andreev in the fourth round.  
Haas possesses an elegant game that features a gorgeous one-hand backhand and a classic serve motion.  It always fun to see him in top form.
I think his wife is cute, but I also think it would behoove the networks to show her to us, the viewing public, less, in the interest of protecting her privacy.  It is tennis that we're watching now people, not tennis wives.  
As for Djokovic, the salacious Serb is dangerous, especially if he takes the fact that no one is considering him as a legitimate favorite personally.  He certainly looks like he has been playing with a chip on his shoulder in his last three matches.  He made easy work of Mardy Fish in the third round, and then he was clinical again in deconstructing Dudi Sela in the fourth round.
Haas will be a step up from that level of competition, but Djokovic will be playing to avenge the loss he suffered against Haas earlier this month in Halle, Germany.  
You can look at that grass court final, won by Haas in three sets (6-1 in the third), in one of two ways:  as a sign that Haas is ready for big win, or as a sign that the pain and suffering that the Halle loss caused Djokovic to suffer will be paid back in double by the in-over-his-head Haas.  
Pick:  Djokovic in 4
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