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Coming Of Age At Wimbledon 2018 For McDonald, Tsitsipas, Krygios, Donaldson, Fritz And More

Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece celebrates after beating Jared Donaldson of United States during their second round match during the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, in London, Britain, 05 July 2018. EPA-EFE/GERRY PENNY



By Ricky Dimon


Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer appear to have no interest in passing the torch to any heir opponents anytime soon. Not even close. At 32 and 36 years old, respectively, they are still the No. 1 and No. 2 players in the world. In a little more than a week there very well could be a rematch of the 2008 Wimbledon final, 10 years after the original epic.


That being said, the 2018 edition of Wimbledon may be remembered as a coming of age for much younger competitors. Among those already in the fourth round are Mackenzie McDonald and Stefanos Tsitsipas.


A former college standout at UCLA, the 23-year-old McDonald ended Guido Pella’s run at the All-England Club via a 6-4, 6-4, 7-6(6) rout on Friday afternoon. Pella had pulled off a five-set stunner over 2017 runner-up Marin Cilic one day earlier, but he was no match for the American.


Tsitsipas was already a household name prior to this fortnight. Now his star his even brighter as the Greek is through to the Wimbledon second week at just 19 years old. Tsitsipas, who was already the first Greek man to reach the last 32 of a slam since Nicholas Kalogeropoulos at Wimbledon 49 years ago, became the first Greek man ever to reach the fourth round of a slam when he trounced Thomas Fabbiano 6-2, 6-1, 6-4.


“It’s an amazing feeling, and I feel very proud that I represent Greece and that all of my hard work has paid off,” Tsitsipas commented. “There is so much satisfaction. It’s just such a nice feeling to be the first from your country to do (it)…it’s amazing.”


The world No. 35 had previously scraped past fellow up-and-comer Jared Donaldson 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 4-6, 6-3 during second-round action.


Donaldson’s future may be equally encouraging as that of Tsitsipas, but for now it is a different young American who is still alive at the All-England Club along with McDonald. Frances Tiafoe has taken out Fernando Verdasco and Julien Benneteau, and he will continue his campaign against Karen Khachanov on Saturday.


Nadal’s next opponent, meanwhile, is 19-year-old Australian Alex De Minaur. A really hot young aussie with a “no quit” attitude.


Yes, it’s safe to say the youngsters are coming. But Nadal may have something to say about just how fast.


Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.



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