Former ATP Tour pro MaliVai Washington is providing ESPN.com with in-depth analysis during Wimbledon. Washington, a tennis analyst for ESPN, reached the 1996 Wimbledon final.
WIMBLEDON, England -- For the third time this year at a major, the tournament is shaping up to be one of the most interesting. Of the eight players left in the tournament, none of the players have any Grand Slam final experience.
Jonas Bjorkman, Sweden, vs. Andy Roddick (5), United States
Jonas Bjorkman is having some kind of end-of-career resurgence. He has equaled his best-ever Grand Slam performance by taking advantage of opportunities that have presented themselves. The most glaring opportunity is the one that has not seen him play a single seed in the tournament. When Lleyton Hewitt went out in the first round to Ivo Karlovic, it was an opportunity for someone to come through the top part of the draw and Bjorkman has proved to be the steadiest.
He takes on Andy Roddick, who is having his best Wimbledon appearance. Credit the new coach Brad Gilbert for helping Andy with the right style he needs to be playing combined with a serve that's been on all tournament long. He finds himself in the quarterfinals with a great chance to reach his first semifinal. I've no doubt he'll beat Jonas Bjorkman in three, maybe four sets.
Roger Federer (4), Switzerland, vs. Sjeng Schalken (8), The Netherlands
Roger Federer has finally decided to show up at a major in 2003. He had two disappointing losses at the first two majors and is primed to reach his first Wimbledon semifinal. He's already equaled his best Wimbledon and will not be happy with anything less than a semifinal, where he will meet Andy Roddick.
He plays last year's quarterfinalist Sjeng Schalken, who will be his toughest opponent yet. Schalken found himself in the quarterfinals last year up a break in the fifth set against Hewitt and could not close out the match. Schalken is a surprise quarterfinalist this year, just as he was last year.
Pick: Federer in four sets
Tim Henman (10), Britain, vs. Sebastien Grosjean (13), France
This match could be the most exciting match of the tournament and will surpass the excitement we saw with Philippoussis and Andre Agassi. It will be on Centre Court and Henman is reaching a point in his career where there are only so many chances he'll have to play for the Wimbledon title.
Going into the match, it will be a battle of a classic serve and volleyer and a classic groundstroker with a huge forehand, who has the ability to serve and volley if he has to. I've thought about this match for a long time, and it's going to come down to, not surprisingly, the serve of both players. Grosjean has great return of serve, so Henman will have to have a first serve percentage of at least 65 percent. Also, Grosjean will need a high percentage of first serves to prevent Henman from attacking his second serve.
Henman's success is going to depend on how quickly he can get to the net. For Grosjean, he must control the points from the first shot, otherwise, Henman will be able to capitalize. This match is too close to call. If I had to put my money down, I wouldn't.
Pick: Too close to call
Alexander Popp, Morocco, vs. Mark Philippoussis, Australia
Philippoussis played a fourth-round match that I am sure that he will consider one of the biggest of his career. After three knee surgeries and doctors telling him that he might never play again he finds himself in quarterfinals of Wimbledon having beaten Andre Agassi.
If Philippoussis continues to serve the way he has he will be the favorite to come through the bottom half of the draw. He served 46 aces in beating Agassi. He can't lose when he serves like that. He is a huge favorite going in against Popp and anything short of a major letdown, should see him to move through to the semifinals.