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10sBalls • Tennis Shares Ricky’s Preview and Picks for Day 4 at Wimbledon, Including Federer vs. Gasquet

Roger Federer in action against Adrian Mannarino during their first round match at the Wimbledon Championships, 29 June 2021. EPA-EFE/FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA

By Ricky Dimon

The Wimbledon first round has finally been completed and the second round got underway on Wednesday, as well. Non-stop good weather got things close to being back on schedule, but not quite. The result is another jam-packed day of action at the All-England Club. Among those in action on Thursday are Roger Federer, Richard Gasquet, and Grigor Dimitrov.

Ricky previews some of the top matchups and makes his picks.

(6) Roger Federer vs. Richard Gasquet

At 39 years old, Federer may need an assist if he wants to go seriously deep in a major–perhaps even win a 21st major title. The Swiss got one on Tuesday, as he trailed Adrian Mannarino two sets to one when the Frenchman slipped on the grass and sustained a knee injury that forced him to retire prior to the fifth. Overall it was a lackluster performance by Federer, who has played only nine matches in 2021 (6-3 record; 3-0 at the French Open and 3-3 everywhere else).

The good news for Federer is that next up for him in the second round on Thursday is Gasquet, who is getting destroyed 18-2 in the head-to-head series. That includes a pair of straight-set drubbings at the All-England Club (2006 first round and 2007 semifinals). Gasquet took care of Yuichi Sugita in four sets on Tuesday, but he is also well into his 30s (35) and is well past his prime in terms of form. The 56th-ranked Frenchman is even more of a question mark from a physical standpoint than Federer is, so you have to like the No. 6 seed’s chances.

Pick: Federer in 3

Alexander Bublik vs. (18) Grigor Dimitrov
Dimitrov and Bublik will be going head-to-head for the second time in their careers on Thursday. Their only previous encounter did not disappoint, as Bublik survived a 5-7, 7-6(9), 7-6(3) thriller at the 2019 Chengdu event.

It would be a bit of a surprise if this one is similarly competitive, but not in favor of the seeded player. Although Dimitrov is still ranked 21st in the world because of the points restructuring, he hasn’t been in great form for more than a year now. Bublik, on other hand, is playing the best tennis of his career in 2021. The 38th-ranked Kazakh has won 23 matches this season, including a 6-4, 6-2, 6-1 beatdown of compatriot Mikhail Kukushkin on Wednesday. Bublik is the far more confident player and his serve works extremely on grass, so this should be mostly straightforward.

Pick: Bublik in 4

Alexander Bublik in action against Jack Draper during their match on day 3 at the Cinch Championships at the Queen’s Club in London, 16 June 2021. EPA-EFE/VICKIE FLORES

Other top matches
Aljaz Bedene over Yoshihito Nishioka in 4 – Does anyone on tour blow more hot and cold than Nishioka? Probably not. I can’t see him playing another good match one day after outlasting John Isner in a tough five-setter.

Kei Nishikori over Jordan Thompson in 4 – If he is 100 percent, Nishikori is far more talented than Thompson on any surface. And the Japanese veteran looked great on Wednesday. Felix Auger-Aliassime over Mikael Ymer in 3 – Ymer has no days off following a five-setter against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Auger-Aliassime won his match in easy straight sets and is the far better grass-court player in general.

Nick Kyrgios over Gianluca Mager in 3 – Kyrgios just beat one of the most in-form grass-courters in the world in Ugo Humbert. Now the draw gets a lot, lot easier.

Alexander Zverev over Tennys Sandgren in 3 – Sandgren reached the Wimbledon fourth round in 2019, but the truth is grass is probably his worst surface. He has also been in disastrous form this year. Zverev should cruise from start to finish. Cameron Norrie over Alex Bolt in 5 – This should low key be one of the best matches of the day–if not the best. Both guys are great on grass. Norrie gets the edge because he is just on fire right now.

Daniil Medvedev over Carlos Alcaraz in 3 – Alcaraz would have a chance on clay. He has zero chance on grass.
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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