Wimbledon 2017 Day 6 Preview: Can Gulbis Derail Djokovic?

published: Jul, 07, 2017

by: Ben Stevens

Wimbledon may have produced mixed results for the big names so far this week, but the same can’t be said for Friday.

Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Victoria Azarenka and Venus Williams all soared through their third-round encounters, with only Murray showing a hint of vulnerability in dropping a set to Fabio Fognini. All seem to be rounding into form at exactly the right time, and at least in this side of the draw, suggest the old guard isn’t done making waves yet.

Moving to Saturday, we’ve got an intriguing selection of the great, the old, the underrated and the Gulbis, so read on for the three to see on day 6 at the championships.

Alison Riske (USA) vs Coco Vandeweghe (USA) [24] – 2nd on No. 3 Court

Three days after Independence Day, Riske and Vandeweghe are set to keep the party going with an All-American showdown across the pond. This one has all the ingredients of an underrated contest – the heavy-hitting Vandeweghe has two titles on grass and looks in ominous form, but Riske leads their rivalry 4-3 after winning in Dubai this year, and possesses the exact sort of measured, counter-punching game that leads Vandeweghe to put the “mental” in temperamental. One way or another, this match is guaranteed fireworks.

Ernests Gulbis (LAT) vs Novak Djokovic (SRB) [2] – 2nd on Centre Court

A matchup between one of the greatest of all time and Novak Djokovic, this is set to be a titanic encounter. In all seriousness, Djokovic comes in a heavy favourite, but Gulbis epitomises the nature of a sleeper – waking up once every few years to blow his opponents off-court and remind everyone why he was so highly-touted to begin with. The Latvian looked great in his straight-sets victory over Juan Martin Del Potro, and will have even more opportunities to tee off against Djokovic’s more spin-heavy groundies. That said, this is Ernests Gulbis we’re talking about, so counting on him for anything is about as wise as Fabio Fognini’s challenges, but there’s definitely danger lurking for Djokovic.

David Ferrer (ESP) vs Tomas Berdych (CZE) [11] – 3rd on No. 3 Court

Start prepping for doomsday and pump-up “Call Me Maybe”, because it’s 2012 all over again! No, it’s not quite the marquee matchup it was five years ago, but Berdych-Ferrer is worth tuning into for nostalgia’s sake more than anything else. The two have enjoyed a great rivalry, having played 15 times since 2004, with Ferrer leading 8-7. Interestingly this will be their first meeting on grass, and while his superior serve gives Berdych the edge here, Ferrer can still outmanoeuvre the Czech on his day. Will this be a classic? Unlikely, but these are two are some of the best servants of the game in the past decade, and with the clock ticking down on their careers, one more go-around is something to savour.

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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