Wimbledon 2018 Day 6 Preview: Djokovic, Kasatkina and Zverev in action

published: Jul, 07, 2018

by: Ben Stevens

Finally, a return to normal. Well, sort of.

After the chaos that was the opening four days here at Wimbledon, Friday’s events seem relatively tame by comparison. After all, we only lost 2017 finalist Venus Williams, semifinalist Sam Querrey, and US Open finalist Madison Keys. Such has been the amount of surprises this week that such results are greeted with little more than a raised eyebrow.

Amidst all of the happenings on day five, perhaps the most remarkable thing was how unremarkable this tournament continues to be for Serena Williams and Roger Federer, who both sealed their places in the second week of the tournament without the loss of a set. Sometimes the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Here’s your three to see on Saturday at the Championships:

Ashleigh Barty (AUS) [17] v Daria Kasatkina (RUS) [14] – First on No. 3 Court

The only woman left standing in the way of a clean sweep for the warmup winners curse, Nottingham champ Ash Barty is about to find her Wimbledon hopes seriously under threat from rising Russian Daria Kasatkina. A first career meeting and very evenly matched pair in prospect, Barty has the serve and touch to string her opponent all over the court, but Kasatkina is the one who can better accelerate her shots and create winners when required, which will make her hard to stop if she gets on a roll. Really, it’ll be a surprise if this doesn’t go three sets, with the winner looking very good odds to make their first Wimbledon quarterfinal.

Ernests Gulbis (LAT) v Alexander Zverev (GER) [4] – Second on No. 1 Court

Forgive me if you’ve heard this one before, but it’s been another rocky start to a major for Sascha Zverev. Having to come back from illness and a two-sets-to-one down against unseeded American Taylor Fritz in his previous match, Zverev comes into this match still searching for his footing on the grass, and that’s a dangerous place to be against the mercurial Ernests Gulbis. A man who makes Nick Kyrgios look like a Zen monk, Gulbis nevertheless has the shots to beat anyone – he has 17 victories over top-10 players – and that includes Zverev, who will find himself forced onto the defensive as much, if not more than he was against Fritz. If the German is not to become the next high seed out of this tournament, he’ll have to do a much better job maintaining his level of play and ride out the Latvian’s onslaught, but don’t be surprised if finds himself once again in hot water.

Kyle Edmund (GBR) [21] v Novak Djokovic (SRB) [12] – Third on Centre

Sometimes a tennis match is just a tennis match, and sometimes it has the potential to be much more – this is one of those times. Taking either as or just after England squares off against Sweden for a place in the World Cup semifinals, Kyle Edmund’s showdown with Novak Djokovic could end up being the perfect end to a banner day for British sport… or serve to reinforce decades of pessimism and despair. Regardless, all Edmund can do is focus on the man in front of him, and with a win over Djokovic in Madrid this year, the 23-year-old has to believe he can triumph again here. For Djokovic, Edmund represents the perfect test of his seemingly reinvigorated form, with the Brit sure to play the sort of first-strike, serve-and-forehand tennis the Serb has previously been so good at blunting. In any case, it’s a fascinating matchup – the chance to revel in the jubilation/misery of the English public is just a bonus.

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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