The matches are a little ho-hum but many of the greatest stars in tennis will be out in full force Monday at Wimbledon. By tradition, the tournament plays all 16 men’s and women’s fourth round matches on the same day, which makes for quite a ticket and often, quite a scheduling challenge.
But with no Brits bumping the top names off Centre (sorry, Andy Murray is not bigger than Roger, Serena nor Rafa), it’s a crazy line-up on the most famous court in the world.
Roger Federer. Serena Williams. Rafael Nadal.
Novak Djokovic and Juan Martin Del Potro are on Court 1 and Court 2, respectively.
Before I get to my picks for Monday, a quick look back at a wild week one at Wimbledon.
First with the women’s draw. It’s a mess. We know. We’ve seen so many different Grand Slam winners lately, so much unpredictability and I think we’ll see more of that in the week ahead. Sure, Serena Williams is the favorite but my guess is someone is going to take her down. And I have no idea who. Angelique Kerber? Daria Kasatkina? Jelena Ostapenko? Hell, maybe Su-Wei Hsieh wins it! Why not? Because no one is really ready to step up. It’s incredible. But it’s fun to watch each day to see the next top player to go down will be. Someone will fall tomorrow…
As for the men’s, the biggest surprise was Marin Cilic’s exit to of all people, Guido Pella. That didn’t make sense then and still doesn’t make sense now.
Alexander Zverev, Grigor Dimitrov, Dominic Thiem, Sam Querrey, etc., were all losses you could see coming. But Cilic? Nope. The guy’s been so solid and he seemed to be someone who, unlike a Dimitrov, was not going to lose to a tomato can the first week of Wimbledon and on grass and from two sets up. But it happened, and of course Pella then lost to Mackenzie McDonald Saturday. My gosh.
There wasn’t much to take from Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Both played well (Fed’s been serving great). But they’ve had great draws, too, and that’ll change this week. (No, I still don’t see a Fedal final Sunday.)
Del Potro’s also looked really good and he’s done it against better competition, and so too has Novak Djokovic who brushed off a scary knee issue from his second round win to beat Kyle Edmund.
Borna Coric and Nick Kyrgios were disappointments, as was Frances Tiafoe who faded in five sets to Karen Khachanovic. But Stefanos Tsitsipas continues to shine and show why he’s going to be a Top 5 kind of player. The 19-year-old is electric and charismatic, and appears ready to become that next global tennis megastar.
So, to some fourth round picks…
Roger Federer v Adrian Mannarino: The lefty Frenchman is a decent, tricky player, but doesn’t have the weaponry to beat Federer on a surface like grass. This shouldn’t be too much trouble for Roger who’s serve has been nearly flawless.
Rafael Nadal v Jiri Vesely: Vesely is a big 6-foot-6 Czech who has been playing well (made the Antalya semis), but his serve just isn’t up to a Muller or Brown or Kyrgios level. But it should be good enough for a set.
Novak Djokovic v Karen Khachanov: Maybe the best match of the day. Khachanov is a big, strong kid who can power the ball. But Djokovic seems to have some fire in the belly and he’ll need it in this 4-set win.
Juan Martin Del Potro v Gilles Simon: Unless Del Potro is off, Simon won’t have much to hurt the Argentine with, therefore I think Delpo rolls.
Kevin Anderson v Gael Monfils: Monfils owns the big South African 5-0, but I think Kevin turns the tables and serves his way into the quarters in a tough 5-setter.
John Isner v Stefanos Tsitsipas: I really want to take the young greek kid here but I just don’t see how he breaks Isner’s serve and wins 2-3 tiebreaks.
Milos Raonic v Mackenzie McDonald: What a surprise to see the 103rd-ranked McDonald in a Wimbledon fourth round! And I think he’ll trouble Milos enough for a set.
Kei Nishikori v Ernests Gulbis: When did Ernests Gulbis become a thing again? After three straight five set wins, I have to think time is up for the Latvian. Nishikori been solid and all business.
While I don’t expect much in the way of drama from Federer-Mannarino and Nadal-Vesely, Djokovic-Khachanov and Isner-Tsitsipas should be a lot of fun. I think Djokovic will make the Russian hit too many balls which will lead to errors. But if Khachanov has a big serving day – his serve isn’t as good as it should be – then maybe he can get the upset.
As for Tsitsipas, the game is there, the question is can he break Isner? I’m not sure.
Gulbis is on a streak so when he gets hot he’s awfully dangerous. I just think he’ll finally cool down on a hot day in London.
Enjoy the matches everyone!
MONDAY WIMBLEDON SCHEDULE
CENTRE COURT – 1:00PM
1. Roger Federer v Adrian Mannarino
2. Serena Williams v Evgeniya Rodina
3. Jiri Vesely v Rafael Nadal
NO.1 COURT – 1:00PM
1. Angelique Kerber v Belinda Bencic
2. Gael Monfils v Kevin Anderson
3. Karen Khachanov v Novak Djokovic
NO.2 COURT – 11:30AM
1. Karolina Pliskova v Kiki Bertens
2. Kei Nishikori v Ernests Gulbis
3. Juan Martin Del Potro v Gilles Simon
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