Wimbledon 2017 Day 4 Preview: Del Potro Takes on Gulbis

published: Jul, 05, 2017

by: Ben Stevens

Some days of grand slam tennis just pile on the entertainment. Wednesday was one of those days.

A three-set thriller on centre, a women’s favourite ousted, unusual autograph requests, attempted bribery, and an attack of flying ants, day 3 really had it all. It’s one of the best things about tennis majors, even a week before any champion is crowned, it can deliver enough noteworthy moments to fill the headlines. Certainly, no other sport gives you as much bang-for-your-buck as tennis does.

What does day 4 at the championships have in store? Read on to find out.

Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG) [29] vs Ernests Gulbis (LAT) – 2nd on No. 3 Court

If you’ve got a thing for tall dudes with exceptional talent and a propensity to disappear from the tour, boy do I have the match for you. Two of the most powerful hitters on tour, Del Potro leads their head-to-head 4-2, but Gulbis has won two of their three meetings this decade, and after a year away from the tour with injury, actually exhibited some impressive form in his 6-1, 6-1, 6-2 first-round destruction of Victor Estrella Burgos. Given Del Potro isn’t 100% either, Gulbis has a legitimate shot at pulling off the upset, but in any case, both men will look to keep the points short, and that means plenty of lines painted, and the occasional linesperson decapitated. Fun for the whole family.

Gilles Simon (FRA) vs Dominic Thiem (AUT) [8] – 2nd on No. 1 Court

Having never been past the second round in his three previous Wimbledon appearances, Thiem has a big test in the ever dangerous, 2015 quarterfinalist Simon. The “problem” for Thiem is that as advantageous as his heavy topspin can be on clay, the lower bounce of grass makes similar shots more hittable for his opponents, which means unless he is inch perfect, he can’t take control of rallies as he would on other surfaces, and may even see his pace used against him. In that respect Simon will be a tricky customer, constantly readjusting direction and tempo, but also in creating his underrated ability to finish at net. Thiem will have to fight his natural inclination to retreat behind the baseline, and finish points as quickly as possible, otherwise the unwanted streak could very well continue.

Daria Kasatkina (RUS) [29] vs Anett Kontaveit (EST) – 4th on Court 16

Two of the game’s bright young talents are set for their first career meeting at Wimbledon, and all signs point to it being a fascinating one. Coming in the 20-year-old Kasatkina has a seven-spot rank advantage, but 21-year-old Kontaveit comes in with the better grass-court pedigree, having taken the title in den Bosch three weeks ago, making this match extremely difficult to pick. Stylistically they present an interesting clash, as Kasatkina loves to mix it up, alternating between slice and spin with ease, and should be able to string Kontaveit out along the baseline, but the Estonian is exceptionally good on the run and loves to play the angles, oftentimes creating winners out of nowhere. IN the end it may simply come down to who can maintain the higher level for longer, but any way you split it, it’s a match just asking to go three sets.

Ben Stevens

Contributor to TennisConnected. Long time player, coach and fan. Still waiting on Mark Philippoussis to break through at a major.

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