SO we are left with just Andy Murray and Jo Konta for the second week of singles after yesterday’s action. Murray provided plenty of late-evening drama last night with his four-set win over Fabio Fognini and now he can rest up as the bottom half in the men’s draw and the top half in the ladies draw battle it out.
Over to you Roger and Novak
ONLY once in the last six years have Andy Murray, Rafa Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer all still been in the draw come Middle Saturday of Wimbledon. It’s a remarkable statistic given the way the foursome have dominated tennis in that period and it provides a great sub-plot for the Championships.
Nadal looked very impressive in dismantling young Russian Karen Khachanov and Murray showed all his battling qualities to repel the challenge of Fognini on Centre Court. So while they rest up today, Djokovic and Federer take centre stage.
First up, Djokovic takes on Ernests Gulbis of Lativa. It was on this day and at this same third round stage that the Serb exited Wimbledon 12 months ago when he suffered a shock loss to Sam Querrey, so he will be wary of the same outcome this time. The first round was a non-event due to injury and his second round opponent was starstruck, so we just don’t know the state of Djokovic’s game. A thorough examination against a rejuvenated and fit Gulbis, who had a fine victory over Juan Martin Del Potro on Thursday, should give us more of an answer.
Then Federer will emerge to take on Mischa Zverev, the 27th seed from Germany. The Swiss star remains the favourite to win the men’s title, but his first two encounters have given few indicators as to whether this is a fair call or not. Federer beat Zverev on the way to the title in Australia in January though, so that could be a lucky omen for his army of fans – if one was needed.
Why is Kerber so low down the pecking order?
WHEN the women’s draw is so open and Britain’s Jo Konta is the favourite in some quarters, you could be forgiven for thinking the World No.1 must be long gone. Wrong! But that probably says more about the type of year Angelique Kerber is having.
After a stand-out 2016 in which she won two Grand Slams and was runner-up at Wimbledon, Kerber has had a miserable time so far this year. The German hasn’t won a tournament and at the recent French Open, she was knocked out in the first round, winning just four games. Her confidence is low, her game has suffered and she has admitted that the tag of being the world’s best player doesn’t sit comfortably. She’s out on Court 2 today against Shelby Rogers as she tries to re-find her game and remind everyone why she got to the top in the first place.
WITH no Brits in singles action and Jamie Murray out of the men’s doubles, the most interesting British involvement on Middle Saturday is last year’s cult hero, Marcus Willis, who is back on court with partner Jay Clarke against No.2 seeds from France, Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut.
Seed in danger
GAEL MONFILS has won his first two matches at Wimbledon this year without dropping a set and reached the final at Eastbourne last week. But what did he say on Thursday after his latest win, but that he didn’t like playing on grass! With that defeatist attitude, he takes on fellow Frenchman Adrian Mannarino, a left-hander whose game perfectly suits the green lawns.