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  • Chris Sobey

Tennis


It’s men’s quarter finals day at Wimbledon 2018 and all the matches could be potential blockbusters. Top-seed Roger Federer is aiming to win a record ninth Wimbledon title and he will face his sternest test so far today on centre court against the towering ace machine, South African and eighth seed Kevin Anderson. Federer has won all five previous matches against Anderson, but they were a while ago between 2013 and 2015 and it’s safe to say Anderson is a much better player now than three or four years ago. However, Federer is still a master at solving problems on his coveted centre court and I expect he will master this challenge as well and win in three or four close sets.Second seed Nadal has reached the quarter finals for the first time since 2011 and he has looked in ominously good form and most importantly fit and full of energy. Nadal faces fifth seed Del Potro for a place in Friday’s semi-finals and this will be the fifteenth time the two have faced each other on tour. Nadal has dominated the majority of their Grand Slam and Davis Cup encounters winning four of five, like at the French Open this year and he won both their matches on grass at Queens back in 2007 and at Wimbledon in four sets back in 2011. This will be Nadal’s sternest test so far this fortnight, but I expect he will emerge victorious again because he has the upper-hand from their previous Grand Slam encounters and I’m not sure Del Potro is physically capable at present to compete with Nadal over the best of five sets.

Twelfth seed Djokovic is looking more and more like a serious contender with each match and these credentials will no doubt be severely tested today against twenty fourth seed Nishikori, who stated after his last win against Gulbis that he’s playing the best he’s ever played on grass this fortnight. However, Djokovic is not a good match up for Nishikori as the 14-2 head-to-head in favour of Djokovic confirms. If Djokovic continues to improve and serve well I only see one winner today and the best I think Nishikori can hope for is to win a set. The remaining quarter final is between serving giants ninth seed Isner and thirteenth seed Raonic and while Isner leads the head-to-head 3-2, I think Raonic might just edge this one in four or five sets as I believe he’s the more natural player on grass as his 2016 final appearance proves.

The women’s tournament is down to the semi-final stage and Serena Williams is through after overcoming her first real test of the tournament against the diminutive Italian Camila Giorgi. The young Italian’s powerful and explosive start and game caught Serena off guard and the one early break was enough to win the set and Giorgi was on top at this stage. However, you don’t get to twenty three Grand Slam titles without being a great thinker and fighter and Serena was in no mood to relinquish her comeback bid on this occasion.

Giorgi continued to put up a monumental fight and she out-aced Serena and hit some explosive passing shots that left Serena rooted to the spot, but Serena upped her game as well and once her serve hit the groove there was no stopping her and she eventually won 3-6 6-3 6-4. Twenty-fifth Serena will meet thirteenth seed German Julia Goerges tomorrow for a place in Saturday’s final and the winner will face either eleventh seed and 2016 finalist Angelique Kerber from Germany or twelfth seed and 2017 French Open winner Jalena Ostapenko.

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