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  • Chris Sobey

Tennis


Tennis

It was business as usual for second seed Nadal and Third seed Federer in their respective fourth round matches yesterday against unseeded Londero and Mayer from Argentina both winning in straights sets without losing a set.

Nadal will face in the quarter finals either seventh seed Nishikori or the unseeded Paire and Federer will face compatriot and long-time foe twenty fourth seed Wawrinka in the other quarter final from the bottom half of the draw. As Wawrinka just scraped through a high quality five set thriller against sixth seed Tsitsipas.

If the seedings and world rankings continue to hold up it looks certain Nadal and Federer are going to meet in another Grand Slam semi-final as they both have winning head to head records against the remaining opponents.

The other four fourth round matches from the top half of the draw take place today. Starting with top seed Djokovic and he faces one of two remaining unseeded players in the draw along with Paire German Struff and it’s their second meeting and Djokovic won it 2-0 sets on hard courts at Doha in straight sets.

Djokovic has cruised through his three matches this fortnight in straights sets without any drama and Struff’s best win was knocking out thirteenth seed Coric in the last round but he’s going to need to raise his level significantly again today if he’s to make the quarter finals and on all evidence this is very unlikely and the best he can hope for is maybe knocking a set if Djokovic has a mental dip throughout the match.

The three other fourth round games of the day are all potential high-quality encounters between fifth seed Zverev and ninth seed Fognini, fifth seed Zverev and fourteenth seed Monfils and eighth seed Del Potro and tenth seed Khachanov. On current form, I think ninth seed Fognini is just marginally playing better than Zverev who has proven to be to inconsistent this year and at Grand Slams to back with any confidence.

Fourth seed and 2018 finalists Thiem is still standing although he’s had to work hard to reach this stage dropping a set in all three matches against lower ranked players but now where at the business end of the competition I expect him to start raising his game another level with what’s at stake. He faces French veteran Monfils and the head-to-head between the two which is 4-0 to Thiem and 2-0 on clay.

While Monfils will have a passionate home crowd on his side I expect the weight of expectation will weigh heavily on Monfils who notoriously does not respond well to pressure and expectation which should hand the advantage to the younger more composed Austrian on this occasion.

The final men’s fourth round of the day is between two giant powerhouses of the game tenth seed Khachanov and eighth seed Del Potro and this has the potential to produce some huge hitting, memorable rallies and a five set thriller with both players possessing huge accurate serves which will make breaking each other difficult and I would not be surprised if they produce two or three tiebreaks in the match.

Del Potro has never lost against Khachanov in their three previous encounters on the tour which were all on hard courts and there’s no reason why the Tower of Tandil can’t continue that winning record today and at the odds, he represents value to achieve this.


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