Day 7: Feature Previews
Rafael Nadal v Gilles Muller
Nadal continues to work his way through the draw with consummate ease and tonight will be no different. He is 5-1 lifetime against Muller and has registered multiple bagel sets against the man from Luxembourg. This is Muller’s first appearance in the 4th round at Wimbledon and he has made it beyond this point only once in 36 Grand Slams. Those who think that Muller’s serve will keep him in this encounter could not be more wrong according to The Wolf. Firstly, Nadal has won all 3 of the tiebreakers that they have contested and has won at least one set by a double break margin in each of their last 3 meetings. Nadal has won 45% of return points in their last two encounters and has already generated 19 breaks of serve in his 3 matches to date at the tournament. The Wolf cannot get enough on Rafa at the line.
Best: Nadal -5.5 ($1.80)
Andy Murray v Benoit Paire
As was expected Fognini put up more than just a fight against Murray. He had an opportunity to force a deciding 5th set but failed to serve out the 4th and was never able to recover. The Wolf says that Paire is an almost identical opponent – a streaky ball striker who has the ability to take the game away from his opponents. Murray will again bring his defence-first mentality to the table and that means Paire will have every chance to play the match on his terms. Like Murray he has dropped just the one set and has rarely looked threatened. He has been playing far more consistent tennis than we are used to seeing from him and he did push Murray to a deciding set a year ago in Monaco. After seeing Murray struggle against Fognini The Wolf is convinced that Paire can do the same.
Best: Over 34.5 games ($1.91)
Milos Raonic v Alexander Zverev
With all men’s 4th round matches on today the fans on court 2 will be treated to what looms as the match of the day. Raonic has been tested on multiple occasions but his serve has consistently come up trumps. He has a 4-0 tiebreak record in the tournament and has won a further two sets via a 7-5 score – clear signs that he is able to play his best when it matters most. Zverev on the other hand has been DOMINANT! He is yet to drop a set but The Wolf has been most impressed by his ability to break down his opponents serve. Ofner managed just a single ace and in his match against Tiafoe he was able to win almost 60% of 2nd serve points (both on serve and return). The young German will win most of the baseline exchanges and his ability to hit winners off both wings will make it difficult for Raonic to succeed at the net. Raonic has the experience having gone deep in majors in the past but after what he has seen in the first week The Wolf is leaning towards Zverev in this one. One thing is for certain – there will be at least 4 sets with multiple breakers.
Best: Over 45.5 games ($2.00)
Dominic Thiem v Tomas Berdych
The bookies cannot split the pair but The Wolf can. There is no questioning the ability of Thiem and his results this season. On any other surface The Wolf would be all over him but not on grass. Few men have had great success on this surface early in their careers. Outside of Federer even the best have needed time to achieve greatness on this surface. Nadal and Djokovic both won multiple slams before winning Wimbledon while Murray needed 7 slam finals until he tasted success. Berdych has produced results on this surface for close to a decade. He has made the quarters 4 times here and made his maiden slam final on these courts back in 2010. He is one of a select few to have wins over Federer and Djokovic on this surface and The Wolf cannot ignore how dominant he has been on serve. Berdych is winning over 85% of 1st serve points in the tournament and if he can make anywhere near 65% of 1st serves he will be unbreakable. Look for him to be very aggressive behind his serve and look for Thiem into hitting slice backhands when fully stretched. The inside out forehand form Berdych will be the telling shot in this encounter.
Best: Berdych WIN ($1.91)
Grigor Dimitrov v Roger Federer
The apprentice is yet to tame the master and despite showing a tonne of promise, Dimitrov has not been able to shake off the tag of ‘baby Fed’. Federer is a perfect 5-0 against the Bulgarian and has rarely looked threatened in their matches. Federer has an edge in all departments – experience, serve, power, slice backhand and above all else, net coverage and court smarts. The 4th round is also the time when Federer’s game finds another gear. Federer is 46-2 in his last 48 4th round Grand Slam matches and has been in ominous form this season. He is playing incredible tennis for a man his age and after his successes at the Aussie Open, Indian Wells and Miami he shifted all of his attention to Wimbledon. He sat out the European clay court swing and has made this tournament his grand final. The Wolf is expecting to see him at his very best tonight!
Best: Sets Federer 3-0 ($1.91)