Baseline Buzz: Djoker leads the way


LONDON -- Certainly, the futbol has been fabulous down in Brazil. The knockout round is upon us and some tasty matchups -- U.S.-Belgium, anyone? -- wait.

But while the World Cup spreads its round of 16 across four days, Wimbledon has a more direct approach. The All England Club, despite a horrific day of rain this past Saturday, will get it done in two; four third-round matches will be contested Monday.

By the end of Tuesday, all 16 men's and women's fourth-round matches should be complete. How will Monday's men's matches play out?

No. 1 Novak Djokovic versus No. 14 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

Carl Bialik: Two years ago at the French Open, Djokovic saved four match points against Tsonga. He's gone on to win the next 15 sets against Tsonga. Grass represents Tsonga's best chance against Djokovic, but still not a great one. Djokovic in four.

Greg Garber: Djokovic has won 12 of their 17 matches -- and eight in a row. He's dialed in right now, and I don't think Tsonga, who has carved up his first two opponents with his serve, will get many past the game's best returner. Djokovic in four.

Melissa Isaacson: Tsonga said he is looking forward to the match and a chance to avenge the "embarrassing" drubbing he took at the hands of Djokovic at the French Open. Tsonga blamed a lack of preparation last time, but he is 6-12 versus the Serb. Djokovic in straights.

Matt Wilansky: A painful third-set fall didn't hold back Djokovic from walloping Gilles Simon, but the top seed will now have to contend with a more explosive Frenchman in Tsonga. Still, Djokovic hasn't lost before the semis at Wimbledon since 2009. Djokovic in straights.

No. 3 Andy Murray versus No. 20 Kevin Anderson

Bialik: Murray is looking better than he did at this stage last year, when he won the title. Anderson usually plays to rank, beating guys he should and losing to those who should beat him. Murray, who isn't troubled much by tall servers like Anderson, should beat him in straights.

Garber: I like Anderson -- I picked him as my sleeper for this event -- but your serve can only carry you so far against a great returner, and the defending champion. Murray in four.

Isaacson: Anderson actually beat the defending Wimbledon champ in straight sets at the Canadian Masters in their last meeting (2011), but that was on the hard court. Murray is playing great tennis, perhaps the best among the men, and will get past Anderson with only a little more effort. Murray in four.

Wilansky: Make that 15 straight sets and counting at the All England Club for the defending champ. Even at 6-foot-8 with a gargantuan serve, Anderson doesn't have a prayer. Murray in three.

No. 5 Stan Wawrinka versus Denis Istomin (third round)

Bialik: Grass isn't Wawrinka's favorite surface, and it might be Istomin's. The Australian Open champ has a knack for making matches dramatic. This one will go five before he wins it.

Garber: A lot of folks thought Wawrinka might be an early exit here, but he's been steady. Through he goes to the fourth round.

Isaacson: Is Wawrinka finding his Aussie Open mojo? Not convinced, but he he should be good enough against Istomin to get to the fourth round. Wawrinka in four.

Wilansky: Stan was a popular pick to exit early by our experts after a rough few weeks. But he seems to have found his inner Aussie Open form again. Stan in four.

No. 9 John Isner versus No. 19 Feliciano Lopez (third round)

Bialik: If ever there was a matchup that could break Isner's 70-68 fifth-set win over Nicolas Mahut in 2010, this is it: It pits two of the top 50's best servers and two of its worst returners. The edge goes to Lopez, who's more comfortable on grass and coming forward. I'll pick five sets, though schedulers hope not, because if the match goes the distance, someone will have to break serve to win it.

Garber: I know Lopez has been playing well on grass, but I'm feeling like he's about to hit the wall. Give Tall John the match in five sets, with two tiebreakers.

Isaacson: This seems a sure bet to go forever, though that's a relative term with Isner in the conversation. In a staring contest, the American at least has experience. Isner in five.

Wilansky: The question is the over/under on aces. Isner and Mahut combined for 216 in 2010. Chances are they won't get there, but I am saying Lopez in five sets. Four tiebreakers and 14-12 in the fifth. And 87 total aces.

No. 10 Kei Nishikori versus Simone Bolelli (third round)

Bialik: Bolelli played admirably to take a two-sets-to-one lead in this match -- which was suspended at 3-all in the fifth set -- but Nishikori is too good to lose here. He'll be motivated to finish quickly ahead of a showdown with Milos Raonic.

Garber: I have to go with the chalk here. Nishikori is a better player by far, and after a full day to dwell on his situation, he'll come out and win this thing.

Isaacson: Nishikori had no business extending this one. Look for him to close it out.

Wilansky: When healthy, Nishikori could be a top-five player. The break will do him some good. Nishikori will prevail.

No. 11 Grigor Dimitrov versus Leonardo Mayer

Bialik: Mayer, who is 27, has won three matches here after winning six prior tour-level matches on grass. Dimitrov won five matches just two weeks ago en route to the Queen's title. He'll cruise in three.

Garber: This might be the most one-sided matchup in the round of 16. After struggling to beat Alexandr Dolgopolov, Dimitrov hits the dimmer here and takes Anderson out in four.

Isaacson: Mayer has never been past the second round of Wimbledon before this year, while Dimitrov seems destined for future greatness here. Dimitrov's serve will be tough for Mayer to take. Dimitrov in straights.

Wilansky: The Bulgarian put his party hat on hiatus and is making tennis his first priority. Looks like he might fulfill those lofty expectations after all. Dimitrov in four.

No. 26 Marin Cilic versus Jeremy Chardy

Bialik: Chardy's done well to get this far against a soft draw. He's never beaten a top-30 player on grass, which doesn't give him time to set up for his big shots. Cilic just straight-setted Tomas Berdych and is dangerous on grass. He'll win in three.

Garber: Cilic is having a terrific season. He'll go through and face Djokovic in an intriguing quarterfinal. Cilic in three.

Isaacson: It's Chardy's first fourth round here, while Cilic reached the fourth in '08 and '12 and will be attempting to reach his first quarterfinal. Cilic is 33-12 this year and should have little trouble. Cilic in four.

Wilansky: They haven't played in five years, when Chardy took down the Croat in Munich, Germany. But that was on clay; this isn't. Cilic in straights.