Commentary

Here's who will win on super Monday

Updated: June 27, 2011, 11:46 AM ET
By Ravi Ubha | ESPN.com

WIMBLEDON, England -- Wimbledon's Centre Court roof, largely dormant the previous two seasons, has been put to good use this fortnight. And if the weather forecast is to be believed, more cover will be needed Monday.

Let's hope not because it's one of the finest days on the tennis calendar, as all 32 players remaining are in action.

We break down each of the 16 encounters, with enticing matchups in both draws.

Men

No. 1 Rafael Nadal versus No. 24 Juan Martin del Potro

A match befitting of a semifinal, so it's tough for both that they face each other in the fourth round.

"I'm not lucky to play against del Potro in the round of 16," the defending champion said.

"I [will] play against the best player in the world in this moment," del Potro retorted. "It will be a big challenge."

Nadal says the injury timeout he took in the third round was for nothing more than heavy legs. He vows he's OK.

And Nadal has much more grass-court experience.

Prediction: Nadal in four.

No. 2 Novak Djokovic versus No. 19 Michael Llodra

Llodra can cling to memories of last year's Paris Masters, when the eccentric veteran upended Djokovic as part of a dream run to the semifinals.

That was, of course, before Djokovic transformed into the player who won 43 straight matches. Llodra won't be playing at home, either, and the conditions in Bercy are probably faster than at Wimbledon.

Djokovic seemingly has a clear route to the semis.

Prediction: Djokovic in three.

No. 3 Roger Federer versus No. 18 Mikhail Youzhny

Federer, after effortlessly beating an undercooked David Nalbandian, said, "Mentally, having lost to him eight times, I knew that he could beat me a ninth time without any problem."

Chasing a record-equaling seventh Wimbledon crown, Federer will have no trepidation when confronting Youzhny. As gifted as Youzhny is, the Russian is 0-10 against Federer, dropping their past 16 sets.

With Federer smooth through three rounds, Youzhny's drought is set to linger.

Prediction: Federer in three.

No. 4 Andy Murray versus No. 17 Richard Gasquet

Twice, including at Wimbledon three years ago, Gasquet has blown two-set leads to Murray.

"It's good to have in the back of my mind when I go in against him in a match like this," Murray said. "Even if I go behind, I can come back."

But Gasquet has beaten Murray in their two other meetings, so he could be 4-0 overall. Gasquet has developed mental toughness under new coach Riccardo Piatti, is in great form and has all the weapons.

Prediction: Gasquet in four.

No. 10 Mardy Fish versus No. 6 Tomas Berdych

Fish is the last American man standing. Again. Given the state of Andy Roddick & Co., he'll be favored to make it three in a row at the U.S. Open.

For now, his task is to handle last year's Wimbledon finalist, Berdych, who's going unnoticed. Fish has dropped serve only once this tournament, although the Czech is a notch above Marcel Granollers, Denis Istomin and Robin Haase.

Then again, Berdych has had a nice draw himself.

Prediction: Berdych in four.

No. 7 David Ferrer versus No. 12 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

Talk about opposites.

Ferrer bangs from the baseline without much finesse or variety, thoroughly workmanlike. He's one of the top competitors on the circuit.

Tsonga has an explosive game and effervescent personality, one that often manifests itself on court.

Of the two, Tsonga is more prolific on grass. He was a quarterfinalist at Wimbledon in 2010 and a finalist at Queen's this month. Ferrer is mentally tougher.

Prediction: Tsonga in four.

Feliciano Lopez versus Lukasz Kubot

This one is for the ladies. Murray's mom, Judy, labels Lopez "Deliciano."

"It's kind of funny," said Lopez, Roddick's conqueror. "I have to like it."

Kubot, a Polish qualifier better known for his doubles play, is sufficiently chiseled and prefers to go sleeveless. He produces good singles results intermittently, knocking off Nicolas Almagro at Roland Garros and reaching a pair of clay-court finals.

Two big serves mean quick points and likely a few tiebreakers.

Prediction: Lopez in four.

Xavier Malisse versus Bernard Tomic

Tomic, for a while, has been dubbed the next big thing in Australian tennis, which has produced Rod Laver, Ken Rosewall, Roy Emerson and Patrick Rafter.

The 18-year-old is starting his climb and is guaranteed to become the domestic No. 1 ahead of another stalwart, Lleyton Hewitt; Hewitt held the top spot for 11 years. Tomic is crafty, with his main weapon off the ground being the backhand.

Malisse, who will turn 31 next month, often lacks composure on court, yet his immense talent remains. He's seeking a first Grand Slam quarterfinal since a semifinal placing at Wimbledon -- nine years ago.

Prediction: Malisse in three.

Women

No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki versus No. 24 Dominika Cibulkova

For all the talk of Wozniacki needing to be more aggressive, she vows not to stray too far from the path when facing Cibulkova, who does play aggressively despite her minuscule size.

"I need to get a lot of balls back" was one of the things the Dane said.

The formula has worked most of the time.

Wozniacki leads their head-to-heads 6-2 and comfortably dispatched a more dangerous opponent, Jarmila Gajdosova, in the third round.

Prediction: Wozniacki in two.

No. 4 Victoria Azarenka versus Nadia Petrova

Azarenka surely received a confidence boost after ousting Daniela Hantuchova in the third round. She'd never beaten the Slovak, and in the past month, Hantuchova was in the ascendancy, authoring impressive wins over Wozniacki and Venus Williams.

In Petrova, she faces a similar opponent. Petrova, too, is tall, with fluid groundstrokes and a potent serve.

Azarenka, two victories from finally landing in a Grand Slam semifinal, will thus be well prepared.

Prediction: Azarenka in three.

No. 5 Maria Sharapova versus No. 20 Peng Shuai

Li Na has justifiably garnered most of the headlines when it comes to Chinese women, but Peng, a steady baseliner who uses both hands on both sides, shouldn't be overlooked.

Sharapova, taken to three sets by Peng in Indian Wells, needs no convincing.

"She's playing some of the best tennis of her career," Sharapova said.

Sharapova is surging more, though, and this is her surface.

Prediction: Sharapova in two.

No. 7 Serena Williams versus No. 9 Marion Bartoli

Both players were schooled by their dads, and there was much respect between the fathers when Serena's sister, Venus, downed Bartoli in the 2007 Wimbledon final.

Bartoli is playing well again. She exhibited her never-say-die attitude by saving three match points in the second round and rallied in the third against Flavia Pennetta.

Further, Bartoli is coming off a semifinal result at the French Open and captured a Wimbledon warm-up in Eastbourne. One of the keys will be how Bartoli copes with Williams' often-devastating serve.

"She's a really, really good returner, so I'm going to have to make sure I'm serving really well," said Williams, taken to three sets in her opening two rounds.

Prediction: Williams in three.

No. 8 Petra Kvitova versus No. 19 Yanina Wickmayer

Wickmayer resembles her more famous countrywomen, Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters. She possesses Henin's commendable work ethic and can thump the ball like Clijsters. Consistency is lacking a little.

Her game, which features a potent serve with good spin, is suited to grass, and she'll be in the top 10 soon enough.

Kvitova, a fellow 21-year-old and 6-footer, is already there. The Czech reached the semifinals last year, stepped it up a notch in 2011 and has gotten the better of Wickmayer twice this year.

Prediction: Kvitova in three.

No. 23 Venus Williams versus No. 32 Tsvetana Pironkova

You think Venus has forgotten last year's upset loss to Pironkova in the Wimbledon quarterfinals? Heck no.

"I think I just got unhappy with how I was playing and I let that affect my game," the five-time champion said. "This year I won't let that happen."

Pironkova adores Wimbledon, advancing to the semifinals in 2010 and eliminating a struggling Vera Zvonareva on Friday, doing virtually nothing in between.

The only player, however, to beat Venus more than once at Wimbledon is Serena.

Prediction: Williams in two.

Sabine Lisicki versus Petra Cetkovska

Lisicki's appearance in the fourth round can be explained. An ankle injury had slowed her momentum, and now injury and gluten-free, she's on the way back. The German, blessed with a serve to rival that of the Williams sisters, tuned up for Wimbledon by winning in Birmingham.

Cetkovska's success here is harder to comprehend. The 26-year-old hadn't won a top-level match all season.

Although Lisicki saved match points to overcome Li, Cetkovska edged Agnieszka Radwanska, a two-time Wimbledon quarterfinalist, and eased past Ana Ivanovic, who once fed her a double-bagel in Paris.

Prediction: Lisicki in three.

Tamira Paszek versus Ksenia Pervak

Francesca Schiavone rightfully earned a reputation for being a marathon woman after outlasting Svetlana Kuznetsova in nearly five hours at this year's Australian Open. Paszek trumped the Italian on Saturday, triumphing 11-9 in the third.

Paszek rose to prominence as a 15-year-old, winning her maiden title, and achieved a fourth-round result at Wimbledon a year later. A loss of form and back injury led to a prolonged slump.

Pervak, a stylish, slender lefty who won the 2009 junior Australian Open, surprised Andrea Petkovic in the third round.

How will Paszek hold up following her 3½-hour thriller?

Prediction: Pervak in two.

London-based Ravi Ubha covers soccer and tennis for ESPN.com. You can follow him on Twitter.

London-based Ravi Ubha covers soccer and tennis for ESPN.com.