Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are within two wins away from a semi final showdown after both won their matches on Saturday to progress to the fourth round. They have been joined by Juan Martin Del Potro, Giles Simon, Jiri Vesley, Ernests Gulbis, Kei Nishikori and the Russian Karen Khachanov.
The world number one ranked Nadal, winner in 2008 and 2010 entered the fourth round of Wimbledon for the eighth time in his career after a convincing 6-1,6-2,6-4 win over Alex Di Minaur of Australia who is mentored by the 2002 champion Lleyton Hewitt. After a lengthy fourth game in which the young Aussie saved break points, Nadal went on a tear as he broke serve twice to clinch the first set 6-1.
Di Minaur did put up a resistance in the third set but the Spaniard was just too good on the day. Nadal takes on the left handed Jiri Vesley of the Czech Republic who ended the hopes of the Italian Fabio Fognini 7-6(4),3-6,6-3,6-2.
The three time champion Novak Djokovic, winner in 2011, 2014 and 2015, played the local hope Kyle Edmund who seemed to be motivated by the success of England reaching the last four of the World Cup Football final as he raced through the first set 4-6. Djokovic then rallied to win 4-6,6-3,6-2,6-4 and faces the Russian Karen Khachanov who rallied from the brink of defeat to beat fellow GenNext star Frances Tiafoe 4-6,4-6,7-6(3),6-2,6-1.
Juan Martin Del Potro continued his strong start as he beat the talented Frenchman Benoit Paire 6-4,7-6(4),6-3. Paire who had squandered two match points against Roger Federer in Halle was playing with his left leg heavily strapped and barring the second set where he led 4-2 was always fighting an uphill battle. Next up for the fifth seeded Argentine is another Frenchman Giles Simon, a former quarter finalist who beat another Australian Matthew Ebden 6-1,6-7(3),6-3,7-6(2). Simon who is a former top ten player was the winner of the Maharashtra Open in Pune in first week of January this year.
The line up is completed with 24th seeded Kei Nishikori of Japan playing the Latvian Ernests Gulbis. Nishikori was a surprisingly easy 6-1,7-6(3),6-4 win over the last remaining Australian in the draw Nick Kyrgios. Gulbis, a former French Open semi finalist and top twenty player caused the biggest upset of the day as he beat the German Alexander Zverev 7-6(2),4-6,5-7,6-3,6-0. The German who also required five sets in his previous match against the American Taylor Fritz ran out of gas in the fifth set as he was bageled by Gulbis.
The following is the line up in the round of sixteen in the Men’s round of 16 on Manic Monday with my pick mentioned first :-
Roger Federer (1) v. Adrian Mannarino (22)
Kevin Anderson (8) v. Gael Monfils (-)
Milos Raonic (13) v. Mackenzie McDonald (-)
John Isner (9) v. Stefanos Tsitsipas (31)
Novak Djokovic (12) v. Karen Khachanov (-)
Kei Nishikori (24) v. Ernests Gulbis (-)
Juan Martin Del Potro (5) v. Giles Simon (-)
Rafael Nadal (2) v. Jiri Vesley (-)
The top seed in the women’s section Simona Halep of Romania has been beaten by little known Su-Wei Hsieh of Taipei as the French Open champion blew a 5-2 lead in the third set and a match point in the tenth game as she went down 6-3,4-6,5-7. The top half of the women’s draw has opened up nicely for the former world number one Angelique Kerber of Germany, who was 6-2,6-4 winner over Naomi Osaka of Japan on center court. Aliaksandria Sasnovich of Belarus upset the 26th seeded Daria Gavrilova of Australia 6-3,6-1. Russian Daria Kasatkina ended a miserable day for Australia as she beat Ashley Barty 7-5,6-3.
The 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko seems to be back on track after her shock first round loss in Paris this year as she routed the Russian Vitalia Diatchenko 6-0,6-4. Dominica Cibulkova of the Czech Republic beat Holland’s Elise Mertens 6-2,6-2, while the only remaining Swiss hope Belinda Bencic was a 6-1,7-6(3) winner over the Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro. The line up is completed by the Belgian Alison Van Uytvanck who defeated the Estonian Anett Kontaveit 6-2,6-3.
The following is the line up in the round of 16 in the ladies section with my pick mentioned first :-
Katerina Pliskova (7) v. Kiki Bertens (20)
Camilla Giorgi (-) v. Ekaterina Makarova (-)
Dominica Cibulkova (-) v. Su-Wei Hsieh (-)
Jelena Ostapenko (12) v. Aliaksandria Sasnovich (-)
Juliana Goerges (13) v. Donna Vekic (-)
Daria Kasatkina (14) v. Alison Van Uytvanck (-)
Serena Williams (25) v. Elina Rodina (-)
Angelique Kerber (11) v. Belinda Bencic (-)
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy. You can reach him at the email: firstname.lastname@example.org]