After four rounds, old dogs Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer are still the men to beat at Wimbledon. The two have combined to win 13 Wimbledon titles, and odds are that number is going to hit 14 on Sunday. That’s because Djokovic looks like he’s in full control of all of his mighty powers right now.
Matteo Berrettini, my pick for the final, is still the best guy to make a dent in Djokovic, but that’s a longshot and a few days away.
First, it’s men’s quarterfinal day on Wednesday.
Novak Djokovic v Marton Fucsovics
Aside from a few hiccups the first week (vs Jack Draper first set and Denis Kudla third set), Novak Djokovic has been in full flight thus far. The Serb is in a great serving rhythm and on the slick grass courts, his footwork and balance give him that much more of an edge.
Now, just nine sets from the finish line, I think he’s iron tough.
Fucsovics looks like he’s built out of iron. And the Hungarian No. 1 has taken sets off Djokovic before. He has a big enough ground attack and is adept at the net, but his serve isn’t as big as it should be for his size and strength and I think that’s where Djokovic does his damage.
As long as Djokovic keeps his serve going, he’s on easy street here.
The Pick: Djokovic in 3
Roger Federer v Hubert Hurkacz
Hubert Hurkacz has the game and the poise to beat Federer. Will he? I’m not sure.
Federer’s taken full advantage of an easy draw, benefitting from that first round retirement from Adrian Mannarino who had him against the wall, rolling past Richard Gasquet and Cameron Norrie and then getting help from the roof on Monday. So things are once again lining up for another deep run for the Swiss!
If Hurkacz plays aggressive, serves big and keeps coming in, I think he’ll have the chance to pull the upset. Hurkacz won Miami and today he closed out Daniil Medvedev in impressive fashion in five sets. He also got the bonus of stepping foot onto Centre Court and even playing under the roof. So tomorrow, the 24-year-old won’t be in complete shock.
The problem for Hurkacz will be Federer is smart enough to detect a plan and neutralize it. Roger will just have to execute. Unlike Federer’s prior opponents, Hurkacz does have some firepower. He’s 6-foot-5 and plays like it. Maybe his serve isn’t as formidable as perhaps it could be, but the game is there and he’s willing to take the net away.
If he gets Federer moving to corners it will be his match to win.
I think Hurkacz makes a push but Federer’s experience prevails. An upset here, though, wouldn’t surprise me.
The Pick: Federer in 5
Denis Shapovalov v Karen Khachanov
Normally I would put this match as pretty even. But the awful way Khachanov closed out Sebastian Korda on Monday gives me pause. For someone 6-foot-6 to get broken six times on a grass court is incomprehensible. And that grip on grass, to me, is a liability.
Meanwhile, Shapovalov has been on song, overcoming the nerves to beat Andy Murray, then blowing past 2019 semifinalist Roberto Bautista Agut in straight sets.
Shapovalov beat Khachanov a few years ago and I think he does it again here. The only problem is Shapovalov is now back on the radar after his last two wins. There are now expectations and pressure and that could rattle the lefty. But even if it does, Khachanov has shown he, too, can’t handle the nerves.
Shapovalov has too much game and variety in this one.
The Pick: Shapovalov in 4
Matteo Berrettini v Felix Auger-Aliassime
This might be the toughest match of the day. Berrettini has been serving bombs while Felix Auger Aliassime is finally living up to the hype.
But the Canadian is lucky to be here. Alexander Zverev tossed in 20 double faults in the fourth round Monday and blew lead after lead after lead. To his credit, Auger Aliassime took advantage of the German’s collapse to reach his first Grand Slam quarter.
Berrettini has the bigger game, the bigger serve, beat Felix on the grass in the Stuttgart final two years, and I think his experience will get him through to a second Slam semifinal.
The Pick: Berrettini in 4
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