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Ricky’s picks for Day 7 at Wimbledon: Djokovic vs. Hurkacz

Hubert Hurkacz is no stranger to success on the grass courts at Wimbledon, nor is he incapable of pulling off big upsets at this event.

In fact, Hurkacz has already done that. In what proved to be the last singles match of Roger Federer’s career, Hurkacz sent the eight-time Wimbledon champion packing in the 2021 quarterfinals. 

That being said, defeating an aging and less than 100 percent Federer is much different from taking down a prime Novak Djokovic.

That will be Hurkacz’s test when the fourth round begins on Sunday. In addition to Djokovic’s amazing form both overall and in particular at Wimbledon over the past four years (the 2020 cancellation due to Covid-19 not included), Hurkacz is 0-5 all time in the H2H, including 2-12 in total sets. They have squared off once in SW19, with Djokovic getting the job done 7-5, 6-7(5), 6-1, 6-4 four years ago. Their most recent meeting came earlier this year in Dubai, where the veteran cruised 6-3, 7-5.

Hurkacz is very talented, with a huge serve and movement that you might not expect for someone of his 6’5” size. The world No. 18 has put it all together many times at Masters tournaments (including the 2021 Miami Open title), but majors have remained a problem for him. Not once outside of that standout Wimbledon result has he reached a QF and this is only his fourth overall trip to a round of 16. Hurkacz earned his place there by ousting Albert Ramos-Vinolas, Jan Choinski, and Lorenzo Musetti with ease.

The 26-year-old Pole will almost certainly have to play the match of his life if he wants to defeat Djokovic. Aiming for a fifth consecutive title at the AELTC, the Serb coasted past Pedro Cachin, Jordan Thompson, and Stan Wawrinka to begin the Championships.

Djokovic was pushed to a tiebreaker in each of his first three matches, so he isn’t quite in first gear…because he doesn’t have to be. Since Hurkacz is a far bigger threat, however, the 23-time slam champ will undoubtedly raise his level. A set for the Hurkacz is possible if he gets hot with his serve, but an upset is hard to fathom.

Pick: Djokovic in 4

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