We are winding down at the season’s third Slam, and just seven men’s matches remain at Wimbledon as the quarterfinals are set to be played Wednesday.
While upsets hit the women’s draw hard, really hard, other than the collapse of Marin Cilic, the favorites in the men’s draw for the most part got through.
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal both have reached the quarters without losing a set. Novak Djokovic and Juan Martin del Potro lost just one, Kei Nishikori is in his first Wimbledon quarter and then there are the big men John Isner, Kevin Anderson and Milos Raonic.
So let’s break down what to look for tomorrow.
Novak Djokovic v Kei Nishikori
The fire appears to be back for Novak, and that’s a great sign for him and fans. The Serb has languished for much of the year but this week at Wimbledon he is alive and animated. And through four matches he’s lost just one set – to Kyle Edmund – and he comes off a very impressive thumping over Karen Khachanov.
En route to his first Wimbledon final eight, Nishikori’s done what he’s needed to do in wins over Nick Kyrgios, Ernests Gulbis and Bernard Tomic. Not the toughest of draws – especially when Kyrgios doesn’t show up – and I did see him more than once appear to be in some sort of distress over his right elbow.
The key here is Novak is playing well and other than that US Open semifinal, he’s dominated Nishikori winning 13 of 15 meetings. And they’ve never met on grass which is a better surface for Novak than for Kei.
The Pick: Djokovic in 3
Rafael Nadal v Juan Martin Del Potro
Conventional wisdom is Del Potro’s burnt out after a long 2-day, 4-hour plus win over Gilles Simon. But Delpo plays possum with the best of them. So I’ll ignore that. But I can’t ignore that fact Nadal has won his last two meetings with Del Potro in Slams at the US Open and last month at the French (and both times he went on for the title!).
Rafa looks really good. The dry conditions help and I just think on grass Rafa gets the very slight edge here.
That said, if Delpo serves good, attacks early in points, get off to a quick start, he could steamroll through Rafa. I just don’t think he will and Nadal wins a tight one.
The Pick: Nadal in 5
Roger Federer v Kevin Anderson
Defying Father Time, Roger Federer is at it again. The 36-year-old has looked nearly untouchable, especially on serve. But I think that changes against Kevin Anderson. The South African has been playing some of the best tennis of his career the last 10 months or so. And I expect him to finally give the Swiss a fight.
Roger, though, has never lost a set to Anderson in four meetings. And I look for him to go to the slice to chop the 6-foot-8 giant down to size.
While I think Anderson gets a tiebreaker, Federer gets through in the end.
The Pick: Federer in 4
John Isner v Milos Raonic
Who other than me wants to see this go five sets? Nicolas Mahut would surely take notice because these two on grass could easily play beyond 70-68 if they can get there. And this could get to a fifth.
Isner has won three of four and I give him the ever so slight edge here only because he’s been playing better this year than Milos, who’s been saddled by injury.
That said, Milos has the experience and is the more accomplished player in Slams.
So this is a really tough match to call. Raonic is probably the better returner (that’s not saying much) while Isner has the better serve (again, not much of a difference). John saved matchpoints over Ruben Belemmens while Raonic really hasn’t been tested – both have enjoyed easy draws. But since John struggled with the Belgian qualifier I think he might give up a few points that will make the difference.
The Pick: Raonic in 4
So if my picks hold – and I just don’t see any big upsets here – we are going to end up with three of the Big 4 in the semifinals which in 2018 is pretty amazing. And that means we’d be three sets closer to a Federer-Nadal final rematch. Crazy.
WEDNESDAY WIMBLEDON SCHEDULE
CENTRE COURT – 1:00PM
1. Novak Djokovic v Kei Nishikori
2. Juan Martin Del Potro v Rafael Nadal
NO.1 COURT – 1:00PM
1. Roger Federer v Kevin Anderson
2. Milos Raonic v John Isner
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