Wimbledon 2018: Manic or magic? Monday will give a clearer idea of how SW19 will shape up

Every singles player in both the men's and women's draw will play on the second Monday

Paul Newman
Wimbledon
Sunday 08 July 2018 16:12
Comments
Wimbledon 2018 Day Five: Roger Federer and Serena Williams through

For many tennis aficionados the second Monday at Wimbledon is the best day of the year. “Magic Monday” is the only date in the calendar when every singles player still left in a Grand Slam tournament appears on the schedule. In Melbourne, Paris and New York, where there is no peace and quiet on the middle Sunday as there was here today, fourth-round matches are scheduled over two days, whereas Wimbledon always attempts to fit them into one.

The weather can sometimes thwart the All England Club’s scheduling plans, as can long matches. The referee’s office was no doubt relieved when Kei Nishikori completed a straight-sets victory over Nick Kyrgios in fading light just after 9pm on Saturday evening to complete the fourth round line-up.

By this stage of the tournament all the players have found their feet again on grass, including those who did not play any warm-up tournaments following the clay-court season. Rafael Nadal is in that category, having chosen to rest after winning his 11th French Open title last month. After winning all three of his matches here in straight sets the 32-year-old Spaniard will see this as a chance to make history as he attempts to match Bjorn Borg’s achievement of doing the Roland Garros-Wimbledon double three times.

“Every match has been more and more positive,” Nadal said after beating Australia’s Alex de Minaur on Saturday for the loss of only seven games. “I am playing well. It has been a good start.”

On Monday Nadal takes on the Czech Republic’s Jiri Vesely, who lost their only previous encounter on clay in Hamburg three years ago. With his big serve and 6ft 6in frame the 24-year-old Czech might appear to be built for grass, but he has never gone beyond the fourth round here and prefers clay and hard courts.

Nadal, who lost to Gilles Muller on the equivalent day last year, is aiming to reach his first quarter-final here since 2011. If he does make the last eight he could face a heavyweight showdown with Juan Martin del Potro, who will be the favourite to beat France’s Gilles Simon.

Thereafter Nadal could face a semi-final against Novak Djokovic, who showed in his four-set victory over Kyle Edmund on Saturday that he is starting to recapture the form that brought him 12 Grand Slam titles and kept him on top of the world rankings for a total of 223 weeks.

Rafa Nadal won in emphatic fashion

In Monday’s fourth round Djokovic faces the hard-hitting Russian, Karen Khachanov, for the first time. The 22-year-old world No 40 has been taken to five sets in his last two matches and beat Frances Tiafoe from two sets down in the third round.

Ernests Gulbis can go one better than Khachanov in that all three of his matches so far have gone to five sets. The world No 138, a former world No 10 and French Open semi-finalist, had to qualify to get into the main draw here and has subsequently beaten Jay Clarke, Damir Dzumhur and Alexander Zverev, the world No 3. He now faces Kei Nishikori, who will be attempting to reach the quarter-finals for the first time.

The top half of the draw features three of the game’s biggest servers in John Isner, Milos Raonic and Kevin Anderson, who have hit 269 aces between them in their first three matches. Isner faces Stefanos Tsitsipas, who at 19 is the youngest player is left in the draw, with the winner to face Raonic or Mackenzie McDonald, the world No 103, who is making his Wimbledon debut.

Anderson, who has fallen at this stage in three of the last four years, takes on Gael Monfils, who is in the fourth round for the first time. The winner will take on Roger Federer or Adrian Mannarino, who has won one set in his five previous meetings with the eight-time Wimbledon champion.

(Getty )

By a quirk of the draw the only two mothers left in the women’s singles meet in the second match of the day on Centre Court. Evgeniya Rodina has a four-year-old daughter, Anna, while Serena Williams’ 10-month daughter, Olympia, walked for the first time on Saturday. “I was training and missed it,” Williams said on Twitter. “I cried.”

Rodina, the world No 120, is actually ranked higher than Williams, the world No 181, but arrived at this stage by a very different route. While 29-year-old Rodina had to qualify, 36-year-old Williams was seeded No 25 despite her lowly world ranking. Rodina, who beat Madison Keys in the third round, will be playing in the last 16 for the first time in her career, while Williams is a seven-time champion here.

Williams or Rodina will face a quarter-final against either Russia’s Ekaterina Makarova, who knocked out Caroline Wozniacki in the second round, or Italy’s Camila Giorgi, who is through to the fourth round for the first time for six years.

Karolina Pliskova, the No 7 seed and a former world No 1, had never gone beyond the second round here until last week but is now the only one of the top 10 women’s seeds left in the tournament. The Czech next faces the Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens, who knocked out Venus Williams in the last round, with the winner to meet Julia Goerges or Donna Vekic.

Angelique Kerber, the 2016 runner-up and another former world No 1, is the highest ranked player left in the top half of the draw. The world No 11 takes on Belinda Bencic for the right to play in a quarter-final against either Alison van Uytvanck, the conqueror of the defending champion, Garbine Muguruza, or Daria Kasatkina.

The next highest ranked player in the top half is Jelena Ostapenko. Last year’s French Open champion, seeded No 12, takes on Aliaksandra Sasnovich, who knocked out the pre-tournament favourite, Petra Kvitova, in the first round. The winner will face either Su-Wei Hsieh, who on Saturday upset Simona Halep, the world No 1, or Dominika Cibulkova, who followed up her victory over Johanna Konta by knocking out another seed, Elise Mertens.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in