WIMBLEDON – The good fun as the draws for a tournament are made is to see who might match up in the later rounds, as the seeds meet.
At this Wimbledon, as has regularly been the case for the women in recent years and more and more common for the men, all bets are off.
Of the 16 seeded players in each draw “projected” to take part in this Manic Monday, only six remain on both the men’s and women’s sides.
In fact, only one of the 16 Manic Monday matchups that will determine the singles quarterfinalists has panned out on paper the way it was meant to.
And even that one involves a seed that wasn’t one of the original 16, but was moved in when Borna Coric withdrew just before the start of the tournament.
And that is No. 2 seed Roger Federer vs. No. 17 seed Matteo Berrettini of Italy, at the very bottom of the men’s draw.
Many young guns out
Here’s how it looks on the men’s side.
It’s notable that the older players (other than Berrettini, a relative newcomer at 23) are the ones that have gotten through.
The youngest of the rest of the “expected” fourth-round players is … Milos Raonic, who turns 29 in December.
On the “upstart” side, France’s Ugo Humbert is very much an outlier, at age 21. Had No. 19 seed Félix Auger-Aliassime beaten Humbert in the third round Friday and slid into that spot instead, the gap would have been even bigger.
That Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Dominic Thiem all failed to get even close to the second week is a trend that bears watching. Have they caught a bit of the “lost generation” bug?
Or is it merely a combination of bad luck and unfortunate circumstances that all three aren’t there?
We’ll check back at the US Open – and at the Rogers Cup and Cincinnati before that.
Barty stands atop the heap
The French Open champion and new No. 1 Ashleigh Barty is scheduled on the No. 2 Court for Manic Monday.
And it’s not out of the question the Aussie could pull off the difficult double and win both in Paris and at the All-England Club.
But as impressive as she’s been in the first three rounds, there’s danger lurking. Serena Williams, whose knee was swollen through the spring and who didn’t look great in her first round here, is rounding into form.
Not a single one of the projected matchups on Manic Monday materialized for the women. And while you probably didn’t expect Caroline Wozniacki to be there – despite her seeded status and spectacular connections concerning court assignments – you would have expected defending Angelique Kerber to make the date.
But she exited in desultory fashion. Sloane Stephens could have made a big move – but she, too, went from looking like a contender to becoming almost a passive observer in her own defeat.
Bottom half a great opportunity
Elina Svitolina might be lucky to be here at all. Russia’s Margarita Gasparyan was a game or two away from pulling off the early upset (we’ll grant you that those final games are the toughest to win). But then she slipped and re-injured an already-distressed left knee.
As for Naomi Osaka, that\s a story in itself.
In the end, you have to feel as though this year’s champion will come out of the top half. Williams and Kvitova (who’ve already hoisted the dish) and Barty all are there.
At the same time, you could have Svitolina or Halep or Pliskova on the other side of the net on Saturday. So in that bottom half, there is a great opportunity.
(It’s also a great opportunity for Gauff. But we’re not going there).