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Ricky’s Picks • Nadal, Federer Among Everyone • Yes • Everyone • WTA | ATP Manic Monday @ Wimbledon 2018

Rafael Nadal of Spain returns to Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan during his second round match at the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, in London, Britain, 05 July 2018  EPA-EFE/NEIL HALL

 

 

By Ricky Dimon

 

It is without question the best day of the tennis calendar year in and year out. All 16 players left in the draw–both the men’s draw and the women’s draw–are taking the court. It is, of course, the second Monday at Wimbledon. Manic Monday, as it is appropriately called by many.

 

While the women’s bracket is in shambles, most of the top men in the world are still alive–and that includes top two seeds Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. Nadal si continuing his campaign against fellow left-hander Jiri Vesely; Federer is facing left-hander Adrian Mannarino.

 

Ricky previews what’s on the table for the No. 1 and No. 2 players in the world and makes his predictions.

 

Jiri Vesely vs. (2) Rafael Nadal

Nadal advancing to the second week at Wimbledon can never be taken for granted. The Spaniard was 7-for-12 in such efforts and 2-for-5 in his last five trips to the All-England Club going into this fortnight. But an early loss has not been–and probably won’t be–in the cards this time, as Nadal appears to be getting better with age (or at least remaining just as good) at 32 years old. Coming off his 11th Roland Garros title, the world No. 1 has improved to 33-2 in 2018 following straight-set Wimbledon wins over Dudi Sela, Mikhail Kukushkin, and Alex De Minaur.

 

This marks his second meeting with Vesely, who lost their only previous contest 6-4, 7-6(2) on the clay courts of Hamburg in 2015. Grass obviously gives the Czech a much better shot, mainly due to the man on the other side of the net but also because of his own prowess on the lawn. Vesely is 10-4 lifetime in main-draw action at Wimbledon and this is his second Manic Monday appearance. He punched his ticket to the fourth round by beating Florian Mayer, Diego Schwartzman, and Fabio Fognini, surrendering sets to Mayer and Fognini along the way.

 

Vesely’s lefty serve and backhand slice are effective on grass, but despite his 6’6” size he is not the kind of opponent who is going to blast Nadal off the court and take the racket out of Nadal’s hands.

Pick: Nadal in 3

 

(1) Roger Federer vs. (22) Adrian Mannarino

Federer and Mannarino will be squaring for the sixth time in their careers. Their first-ever encounter also came at the AELTC, where Federer coasted 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 in 2011. The 20-time major champion is 5-0 lifetime against Mannarino and 12-1 in total sets. They most recently collided at the Swiss Indoors Basel last season, when the Frenchman snagged a set for the first time but eventually succumbed 4-6, 6-1, 6-3.

 

Borna Coric may have been picked by many to be Federer’s fourth-round foe in a rematch of the recent Halle final that the Croat won in upset fashion, but it should come as no surprise to see Mannarino participating in this one. The world No. 26 is through to the Wimbledon second week for the third time in his career and he has never advanced this far at any other Grand Slam. Basically a grass-court specialist, Mannarino is coming off a runner-up showing in Antalya and he has advanced in SW19 with defeats of Christian Garin, Ryan Harrison, and Daniil Medvedev. Federer has made mincemeat out of Dusan Lajovic, Lukas Lacko, and Jan-Lennard Struff, improving to 95-11 for his career at this tournament while seeking his ninth title.

 

Mannarino is the kind of consistent, savvy counter-puncher who will force Federer to raise his level, and that is likely what the 36-year-old Swiss will do as the standard of competition begins to increase.

Pick: Federer in 3

 

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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