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Ricky’s picks for Day 5 at Wimbledon, including Djokovic vs. Wawrinka

Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka will face each other again on Friday at Wimbledon as the tournament approaches getting back on schedule. Hubert Hurkacz and Lorenzo Musetti are also in action as the third round gets underway.

Here are my picks for two of Friday’s best matchups.

Stan Wawrinka vs. (2) Novak Djokovic

Djokovic and Wawrinka will be squaring off for the 27th time in their careers. The head-to-head series stands at 20-6 in favor of Djokovic, but it is an even 4-4 at majors and Wawrinka has won four of their last five slam showdowns. Somewhat surprisingly, however, they have never met at Wimbledon–and never on grass, period.

Fast forward four years since their last Grand Slam encounter (Wawrinka won by third-set retirement at the 2019 U.S. Open) and the story will likely be a lot different. Djokovic is obviously still going strong at 36 years old, whereas the 38-year-old Wawrinka has plunged to 88th in the rankings. The Swiss is still winning his fair share of matches, but he is no longer the slam-winning threat that he was during his prime–when he hauled in three. Halfway to this year’s calendar slam and almost always raising his level when a big-name player is on the other side of the net, Djokovic can be expected to roll.

Pick: Djokovic in 3

(14) Lorenzo Musetti vs. (17) Hubert Hurkacz

Still in the early stages of his career at 21 years old, Musetti was winless all time on grass prior to this season but has compiled a 6-2 record on it in 2023. He is figuring it out quickly. The Italian advanced the QFs in both Stuttgart and Queen’s Club and now he is into the Wimbledon third round following straight-set victories over Juan Pablo Varillas and Jaume Munar.

Next up is Hurkacz, who trails the head-to-head series 2-1. However, they have already faced each other once at Wimbledon and the Pole rolled 6-4, 7-6(5), 6-1 in round one on his way to the SFs. The world No. 18 has advanced so far this fortnight by defeating Albert Ramos-Vinolas and Jan Choinski in straight sets. This will almost certainly be a lot more competitive than their matchup from two years ago; it really is one that Hurkacz could lose. But if he can serve well in the pressure moments, Hurkacz should have a slight edge thanks to his ability to win free points.

Pick: Hurkacz in 5

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