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Ricky’s Preview and Picks for Day 6 at Wimbledon, Including Federer, Felix, and Kyrgios

Cameron Norrie in action during his 2nd round match against Alex Bolt at the Wimbledon Championships, 01 July 2021. EPA-EFE/NEIL HALL

By Ricky Dimon

The first week of Wimbledon will wrap up on Saturday, when the final spots on Manic Monday will be handed out. Roger Federer will be among those in action, along with Felix Auger-Aliassime and Nick Kyrgios.

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

(6) Roger Federer vs. (29) Cameron Norrie

Federer lost two sets to Adrian Mannarino in the Wimbledon first round and on Saturday he will run into a player who is arguably the most similar to Mannarino on tour. Norrie is also a counter-punching lefty who has an extremely flat backhand that works great on grass. Of course, the 25-year-old Brit has been great on every surface this season. He is up to a career-high of No. 34 in the world thanks to winning an incredible 31 main-tour matches already in 2021. Norrie, who was runner-up at Queen’s Club, booked his spot in round three at the All-England Club with victories over
Lucas Pouille and Alex Bolt–the latter via a 6-3, 6-1, 6-2 beatdown.

After getting a fifth-set retirement from Mannarino, Federer raised his level in big way to defeat Richard Gasquet 7-6(1), 6-1, 6-4 on Thursday. That was an encouraging sign for the eight-time Wimbledon champion, but at 39 years old you don’t know what you are going to get from him on any given day and his 2021 comeback has been mediocre at best so far. Federer will have enough to survive this matchup on his beloved grass, but a red-hot Norrie can make it difficult.

Pick: Federer in 5

(16) Felix Auger-Aliassime vs. Nick Kyrgios
Auger-Aliassime and Kyrgios will be going head-to-head for the second time in their careers and for the second time on grass when they meet again on Saturday. Their only previous encounter came two years ago at Queen’s Club, where Auger-Aliassime prevailed 6-7(4), 7-6(3), 7-5. That summer was one period when Kyrgios’ bad behavior and relative disinterest in results was at its peak–which is saying a lot. Auger-Aliassime said of the Aussie following their somewhat contentious Queen’s match that he “could never be friends with someone like that.”

They haven’t had any incidents since then — after all, Kyrgios has not been on tour much — but there still won’t be any love lost in this one. It will be a fiery contest, and Kyrgios will surely be a lot more motivated than he was at Queen’s Club. The world No. 60, who is playing for the first time since the Australian Open, upset Halle champion Ugo Humbert 9-7 in the fifth set and then destroyed Gianluca Mager in straights. Auger-Aliassime is also in fine form, as he finished runner-up in Stuttgart, reached the semis in Halle (lost to Humbert in a third-set tiebreaker), and beat Thiago Monteiro and Mikael Ymer earlier this week. This should be a great one, and on this surface Kyrgios’ bigger and more reliable serve will likely be the difference in the pressure-packed moments.

Pick: Kyrgios in 5

Other top matches

Ivashka over Thompson in 5 – Ivashka has been stellar on grass this summer, with successful qualification in Halle and Eastbourne–including a quarterfinal run at the latter. He is coming off a solid grass-court win over Jeremy Chardy in round two.

Zverev over Fritz in 4 – The fact that he had minor knee surgery last month is still a concern even though he moved well in his first two matches. But if he plays that well again, this one should be very competitive.

Medvedev over Cilic in 5 – On grass and grass alone, Cilic can be competitive. In the end, though, I expect Medvedev to make enough returns and break down the former runner-up (2017) from the back of the court.

Berrettini over Bedene in 3 – Berrettini’s big-hitting game does wonders on this surface. He is playing so well that a final appearance seems possible if not even probable. This should be straightforward for the Queen’s Club champion.

Bublik over Hurkacz in 4 – Hurkacz has a short–and losing–record on grass in his career. He has struggled mightily since winning an improbable Miami title in April, while Bublik has been in awesome form in 2021. The Kazakh did not drop a set in early-round victories over Mikhail Kukushkin and Grigor Dimitrov. His huge serve and willingness to come to net make him particularly dangerous on grass.

Sonego over Duckworth in 3 – Duckworth did well to upset Sam Querrey in round two, but Sonego is on a whole different level from Querrey mentally. He’s playing much better than Querrey, too. The Italian just finished runner-up in Eastbourne, continuing his history of success on grass. He should have too much firepower for Duckworth on this surface.

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