The third round mens matches still left on the schedule after week one were completed on Monday. Matches involving Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal were held back so that all four of the last 16 match-ups from the bottom half of the mens draw will be completed on Tuesday. The mens quarter-finals will be played on Wednesday along with two womens quarter-finals. I’m already sensing Wednesday is going to be absolutely awesome… CANCEL ALL PLANS!
Poll Results: 78% correctly predicted that Murray would beat Anderson and 84% correctly predicted that Djokovic would beat Tsonga.
1. Rafael Nadal v Nick Kyrgios
Rafael Nadal has dropped the first set in each of his first three matches this year. In the third round, he lost the opening set to an inspired, Mikhail Kukushkin on the tiebreak, 7-6(4); however Nadal responded well to dish out three breadsticks and set up a hugely enticing fourth rounder against Nick Kyrgios. The rising Aussie won the battle of the up-and-comers in the third round, defeating Jiri Vesely in four sets. This is the first time in his short career that Kyrgios has played the Wimbledon main draw. His game seems to suit the grass beautifully. His victory over Richard Gasquet, saving nine match points, was a magnificent result that IMO, didn’t receive as many plaudits as it deserved. This is going to be a fascinating match. Nadal has started slow in his last couple of matches and Kyrgios is breaking completely new ground and should come out swinging. Based on his results this week, I don’t think he will be phased playing on Centre Court. Really looking forward to this one!
Prediction: Nadal d. Kyrgios in 3 entertaining sets (2 tiebreaks)
2. Roger Federer v Tommy Robredo
Roger Federer has cruised through his first three rounds. On Saturday, he had no problems whatsoever in taking out Santiago Giraldo. In the last 16, he will face another clay courter in Tommy Robredo. The Spaniard beat last year’s Wimbledon semi-finalist Jerzy Janowicz in five sets, nearly blowing a two sets to love lead, but pulling through, 6-2 6-4 6-7(5) 4-6 6-3. Federer suffered a shock loss to Robredo at last year’s US Open. It was the first time in eleven meetings that Robredo has beaten Fed. Now that the Swiss maestro is back to to full fitness, playing great and more importantly, on grass, this should be a straightforward victory.
Prediction: Federer d. Robredo in 3 sets
3. Milos Raonic v Kei Nishikori
Milos Raonic has never played well on grass. In his only match before Wimby, the Canadian suffered a surprising straight sets loss to Peter Gojowczyk, 6-4 6-4 in Halle. Raonic had won only one match on grass in 2013 and despite having a seemingly perfect game for this surface, something wasn’t clicking. His draw may have been straightforward, but Raonic has cruised through the first week of Wimbledon 2014. He hasn’t dropped a set and only needed two tiebreaks in the nine that he has won. Up against Kei Nishikori on Tuesday, Raonic faces his most testing match of the week.
Nishikori has won both previous matches with Raonic including 7-6(5) 7-6(5) victory in Madrid earlier this year. Kei looked great in his first two matches, but really struggled in his third round match against Simone Bolelli. He was two sets to one down, but levelled up a tight fourth set where on several occasions, he was two points from losing the match. He came back on Monday to finish his match, which he won, 3-6 6-3 4-6 7-6 6-4. He won’t be as fresh as Raonic, but a tight win like this will have benefitted him mentally. I am sticking with my original pick of Nishikori, assuming he can get properly stuck in to Milos’s service games.
Prediction: Nishikori d. Raonic in 4 sets
4. Stan Wawrinka v Feliciano Lopez
At the most disadvantage from Saturday’s deluge of rain were Stan Wawrinka and Feliciano Lopez. The pair’s third round matches were cancelled on Saturday, meaning that the winner of this match will have to play three best of five set matches in three days. On Monday, Wawrinka came through against Denis Istomin on Court No.2, 6-3 6-3 6-4, meanwhile Lopez won the battle of huge servers against John Isner, 6-7(8) 7-6(6) 7-6(3) 7-5. Lopez has won the most matches on grass this year, having made the final in Queens and taking home the title in Eastbourne, which he successfully defended. Tiredness may have been a factor, but never doubt the importance of confidence. He has played seven tiebreaks this week and won six of them, a mark of how match tight and comfortable on the grass he is right now. Wawrinka leads the H2H 3-2 but they have never played on grass. Stan has done well to reach the last 16, the first time he has achieved this feat at Wimby since 2009; however Lopez’s grass court form will give him the edge in this fourth round match.
Prediction: Lopez d. Wawrinka in 4 sets