The Big 3 are back in the Wimbledon quarterfinals for a fifth time, but only one have they made the semifinals together before – 2007.
That’s likely to change on Wednesday when the trio return to the courts for quarterfinal play as they come in sizzling – Djokovic, Federer and Nadal dropped just 19 games between them in their round of 16 matches.
Defending champion Novak Djokovic will open play against David Goffin. The Belgian is appearing in his first Wimbledon quarterfinal, third at a Slam, and but Djokovic in their last meeting at Monte Carlo two years.
But Djokovic is soaring, having dropped just one set and having won his last 11 matches at Wimbledon. Goffin is bidding to become the first Belgian man to reach a Grand Slam semifinal since Malisse at 2002 Wimbledon.
“We’ve never faced each other on grass,” Djokovic said of Goffin. “I definitely have to prepare myself for that, do some analysis. I think grass is quite suitable to his style of the game. He’s one of the quickest players on the tour. I think his footwork is probably his biggest asset. He manages to get himself in the right positions, he is balanced on some shots that most of the other guys aren’t really balanced.”
After getting shunned to Court 1 for his quarterfinal last year in a loss to Kevin Anderson, Federer is back on center to test Kei Nishikori. The Japanese is down 7-3 to Federer but ended a 6-match losing skid to the Swiss in London last fall.
“I’m sure that I have to play good tennis to beat Roger, because he’s best player on the grass. I think he seems to be playing good this week, last two weeks,” said Nishikori.
“I’m sure it’s going to be tough, but I feel like I am very confident this week, playing good tennis.”
On Court 1, the surprise pairing of Guido Pella and Roberto Bautista Agut will produce a new Grand Slam semifinalist. Bautista Agut. who hasn’t dropped a set all event, leads the Argentine 2-0.is the first
Wimbledon men’s singles quarterfinal with no Top 20 players since No. 24 seed Jerzy Janowicz defeated unseeded Lukasz Kubot in the last 8 here in 2013.
Bautista Agut has spent 6 hours 48 minutes on court – just one minute more than Federer, who has spent the least time on court of the 8 quarterfinalists here. By contrast, Pella has spent the most time on court of the 8 quarterfinalists – nearly 6 hours longer than Bautista Agut – and has battled through 2 five-set clashes to each his first Grand Slam quarterfinal.
“It’s a very nice feeling, because seriously, I never thought that I was going to do a quarterfinals in a Grand Slam,” Pella said Monday. “So it is a great feeling for me. It’s a great feeling that I feel support from the crowd and that that feeling is massive. So I will try to keep doing my best.
“I have a very tough match in the next round, but I will keep fighting, keep playing, and if I can have some chances, maybe I will take it.”
And then in maybe the best match of the day, Nadal will take on American bomber Sam Querrey. Querrey has blasted 100 aces and while he’s 4-1 down to Rafa, he beat the Spaniard to win 2017 Acapulco the last time they played.
“It’s going to just get harder and harder,” Querrey said of Rafa. “It’s his least favorite place of the slams and he’s finaled it five times. And he’s been rolling through guys.
“It’s going to be tough. I’m going to have to serve incredibly well, take my chances when I get them, and, you know, hopefully I can have a good day out there.”
Querrey has a history of big wins at Wimbledon including beating Djokovic, Andy Murray and this year No. 5 seed Dominic Thiem. This will be his first battle against Nadal on grass.
“He’s never just given a match away,” Querrey added. “People who beat him, you know, he makes you earn points against him. Which is tough, especially when you look out over a three-out-of-five set match that, Hey, I’ve got to try hard and hit good shots every single point.”
Should the Big 3 win, that will be the 13th time they have reached the semifinals at a Slam including the French Open last month, which was the first time that all 3 had reached the semifinals at a Grand Slam since 2012 French.
WIMBLEDON WEDNESDAY SCHEDULE
CENTRE COURT – 1:00PM
Novak Djokovic v David Goffin
Kei Nishikori v Roger Federer
NO.1 COURT – 1:00PM
Guido Pella v Roberto Bautista Agut
Sam Querrey v Rafael Nadal
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