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10sBalls | Tennis Shares Ricky’s preview and picks for Day 5 at Wimbledon, including Murray vs. Shapovalov

By Ricky Dimon

Wimbledon is back on schedule thanks to two straight days of nice weather and that means we are ready for a full slate of third-round action on Friday. Andy Murray is taking the court against Denis Shapovalov, while Andrey Rublev is also bidding for a spot in the second week of the championships. 

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

(10) Denis Shapovalov vs. (WC) Andy Murray

Another Wimbledon, another summer of Murray mania…. Not even a three-year absence from the tournament has halted what was once a tradition at the All-England Club: Murray making a run through the championships and doing so in dramatic fashion. The 34-year-old Scot kicked off this fortnight with a 6-4, 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 defeat of Nikoloz Basilashvili in which Murray blew a 5-0 lead in the third set. He then outlasted Oscar Otte 6-3, 4-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 on Wednesday night.

Up next for the world No. 118 is a first-ever meeting with Shapovalov on Friday. If Murray is 100 percent, this is a winnable match. Shapovalov has been mediocre at best this season and he needed five sets to beat Philipp Kohlschreiber on Tuesday before getting a walkover from Pablo Andujar. Being able to hold up physically in a five-setter was encouraging for Murray, but it remains to be seen how he will recover. Shapovalov has the benefit of being well-rested thanks to Andujar’s withdrawal, so the Canadian would likely have the edge in another long match.

Pick: Shapovalov in 5

(26) Fabio Fognini vs. (5) Andrey Rublev

Rublev and Fognini have quietly put together an extensive head-to-head history heading into Friday. They have faced each other seven times, but only one meeting has come since the end of 2019 and they have never squared off at a Grand Slam. Fognini has won five of their seven previous encounters, but since Rublev became the real Rublev they have clashed just once and the Russian rolled 6-1, 6-2 in the final of this year’s ATP Cup.

There is no reason to think the tide will turn back in Fognini’s favor. Although the 34-year-old Italian is an all-court player, he has never been at his best on grass. He has done well to defeat Albert Ramos-Vinolas and Laslo Djere this week, but against Rublev he can’t get away with a 6-0 walkabout in a set like he did against Djere. Since dropping his opening set to Federico Delbonis, Rublev has been dominant. The world No. 7 followed up that 4-6, 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 victory by beating Lloyd Harris 6-1, 6-2, 7-5. Especially on this surface, Rublev will have too much firepower for Fognini.

Pick: Rublev in 3

Other top matches

Schwartzman over Fucsovics in 5 – This should be one of the best matches of the day with a ton of grueling rallies, even on grass. In an endurance contest, I will take Schwartzman.
Bautista Agut over Koepfer in 4 – This is another fun one. Koepfer is playing well enough to make an upset possible, but I have to go with RBA’s experience in Grand Slams.

Rublev over Fognini in 3 – Fognini is 6-2 in the head-to-head series, but he is 0-1 since Rublev really became Rublev. Especially on grass, the Russian is likely to have too much firepower.

Tiafoe over Khachanov in 4 – They have two of the most similar — and biggest — forehands in the game. They are also two of the streakiest players on tour; when they’re hot, they’re hot; when they’re cold, they’re cold. Right now Tiafoe is hot and Khachanov is cold. There is no need to make it more complicated than that. The American should have the edge.

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