Friday, October 24, 2014

Draw kind to defending champ

LONDON—The draw for Wimbledon was relatively kind to defending champion Andy Murray.
It was a lot more daunting for world No. 1 Rafael Nadal.

Murray, who last year became the first British man to win Wimbledon since Fred Perry in 1936, today was drawn to open defence of his title against 104th-ranked David Goffin of Belgium, who will be playing in the main draw of the grass-court tournament for only the third time.
Eighth-seeded Milos Raonic of Thornhill, Ont. will face Matthew Ebden of Australia in the first round and could meet Nadal in the quarter-finals.
Vancouver’s Vasek Pospisil—the No. 31 seed who is in top-seeded Novak Djokovic’s section of the draw—faces Dutchman Robin Haase.
Frank Dancevic of Niagara Falls, Ont., who entered the main draw as a lucky loser, opens against No. 29 seed Ivo Karlovic of Croatia.
In the women’s draw, top-ranked and five-time champion Serena Williams is in the same quarter as French Open champion Maria Sharapova.
As such, the two could face each other in the quarter-finals.
No. 13 seed Eugenie Bouchard of Westmount, Que., who made the semi-finals at the French Open earlier this month, also is in the same section as Williams and Sharapova.
She opens against Slovak veteran Daniela Hantuchova while Aleksandra Wozniak of Blainville, Que. takes on 10th-seeded Slovak Dominika Cibulkova.
Toronto’s Sharon Fichman will face Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland.
Murray, who is seeded third this year, has admitted he does not know how he will cope with the pressure of walking onto Centre Court as the defending champion on Monday.
At least he has a relatively smooth path in the draw until the quarter-finals, where he could play seventh-seeded David Ferrer or Grigor Dmitrov, who won last week’s warm-up at Queen’s Club.
Then looms a potential semi-final against Djokovic—a rematch of last year’s final.
“It will be a proud moment to come back as defending champion,” said Murray, who now is coached by former Wimbledon champion Amelie Mauresmo after parting ways with Ivan Lendl earlier this season.
“I don’t know I will feel, I have no idea,” he admitted.
“I’m sure I will be nervous and fell some pressure, but I’ll try to enjoy it,” Murray added.
“It’s a new experience for me.”
For Nadal, it’s a lot trickier. The Spaniard, who holds two Wimbledon titles, has not fared well on the grass the past two years—losing in the second round in 2012 and the first round last year.
The top-ranked Nadal, who is seeded No. 2, will start against No. 57 Martin Klizan of Slovakia.
The Spaniard, who won his ninth French Open title earlier this month, then could face Lukas Rosol, who beat him here two years ago.
Nadal—the only man with at least one Grand Slam title in 10-consecutive years—then could be pitted against big-serving Ivo Karlovic in the third round.
Looming in the quarter-finals could be another big hitter in Raonic—a semi-finalist at the French Open last month.

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