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Ricky’s Picks For Day 6 At Wimbledon 2019 • Nadal vs. Tsonga And Federer vs. Pouille And More

By Ricky Dimon


The “good” half of the men’s singles draw resumes on Saturday at Wimbledon, where Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer continue their campaigns. Spots in the second week are at stake as they go up against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Lucas Pouille, respectively. Kei Nishikori is also in action.


Ricky previews four of Saturday’s best matchups and makes his predictions.


Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs. (3) Rafael Nadal

The head-to-head series stands at 8-4 in Nadal’s favor, a respectable record for Tsonga relative to the Spaniard’s dominance of most players. Their only previous grass-court contest came eight years ago at Queen’s Club, where the Frenchman got the job done 6-7(3), 6-4, 6-1. Of course, Nadal was making a quick turnaround following his sixth French Open title and Tsonga was at his peak in those days. The 34-year-old is a shadow of his former self right now, plagued by injuries and struggling at No. 72 in the world.

Rafael Nadal of Spain returns to Nick Kyrgios of Australia in their second round match during the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, in London, Britain, 04 July 2019. EPA-EFE/FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO COMMERCIAL SALES

Bernard Tomic was fined all of his first-round prize money for failing to meet a professional standard in terms of effort (“tanking,” that is) against Tsonga. Saturday’s opponent, of course, is at the complete opposite end of the effort spectrum. Even more motivated than usual against unfriendly rival Nick Kyrgios, Nadal survived a high-quality 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(3) battle with Kyrgios in round two. The world No. 2 is riding a 14-match winning streak and his performance in round two will give him the utmost confidence for the remainder of this fortnight.

Prediction: Nadal in 3


(27) Lucas Pouille vs. (2) Roger Federer

Unlike Nadal, Federer has not been required to get out of second gear. The 37-year-old Swiss eased past Lloyd Harris and British wild card Jay Clarke in the first two rounds (although he actually surrendered the opening set to Clarke). Eyeing a ninth Wimbledon title, Federer recently triumphed for the 10th time in Halle to set himself up nicely for success in SW19.

Federer and Pouille previously faced each other five years ago on the indoor hard courts of Paris, where Federer rolled 6-4, 6-4. Pouille is obviously a much different player now, but he is slumping in 2019 following several mostly impressive seasons. Down to 28th in the rankings, Pouille is a mediocre 12-12 this year and 7-11 in his last 18 matches. Nothing he has accomplished since the Australian Open (semifinals) suggests he can seriously challenge Federer.

Prediction: Federer in 3


(8) Kei Nishikori vs. Steve Johnson

I suppose facing Nadal, Federer, or Novak Djokovic would be a much worse third-round draw, but this is still nightmarish for Johnson. Nishikori is sweeping the head-to-head series 4-0, including 9-1 in total sets.

Kei Nishikori of Japan in action against Thiago Monteiro of Brazil during their first round match at the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, in London, Britain, 02 July 2019. EPA-EFE/NIC BOTHMA EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO COMMERCIAL SALES

The Japanese world No. 7 completely dominated his first two opponents, which is critical for his chances later in the tournament since his body is prone to break down and spending any unnecessary amount of time on court can prove to be disastrous. Johnson, on the other hand, needed five sets to edge Alex de Minaur on Thursday. This match is Nishikori’s to lose…which he won’t.

Prediction: Nishikori in 3


(17) Matteo Berrettini vs. (24) Diego Schwartzman

By their respective standards, both players are in the midst of stellar grass-court seasons. But those two things are not equal. Schwartzman actually won a match on grass in 2019! And another! And another one! And another after that one. Previously a hopeless 1-8 lifetime on the greenery, the Argentine reached the Queen’s Club quarterfinals and has defeated Matthew Ebden and Dominik Koepfer at Wimbledon.

His dream draw ends in a big way on Saturday in the form of Berrettini. The 20th-ranked Italian an incredible 10-1 on grass this summer, including a title in Stuttgart. He is simply going to hit Schwartzman off the court.

Prediction: Berrettini 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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