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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Sunday July 4, 2021

Ons Jabeur

It's the wildest day in Grand Slam tennis. 16 round of 16 matches, and we've previewed them all.

Photo Source: Getty

With the first week of Wimbledon in the rearview mirror, we look ahead to a crackin’ manic Monday at the Championships. The best day in tennis—16 Grand Slam matches, all on one day, spread out across the grounds of the All England Club. How lovely is that?

Also Read: Wimbledon, Manic Monday, Order of Play
Also Read: Wimbledon, Week 1, By the Numbers

Tennis Express

Without any further ado, let’s have a look at each of the matchups, starting with Centre Court:

[1] Novak Djokovic v [17] Cristian Garin
Head to Head: Djokovic leads, 1-0
Key stat: Djokovic has won 17 consecutive matches at the Grand Slams, and at Wimbledon

The Skinny: Hard to imagine Garin, who entered Wimbledon with an 0-3 record at Wimbledon, making any headway against the World No.1. Djokovic dropped his first set of the tournament but since then he has mostly been dominant. The Serb has faced just seven break points through three rounds, and he has broken serve 14 times in 33 return games.

It’s been a great run for Garin, but he has won just 45 percent of his baseline points through three rounds, while Djokovic has won 57 percent of his.

[20] Coco Gauff v [25] Angelique Kerber
Head to Head: First meeting
Key stat: Gauff leads all remaining women in serve speed, and percentage of unreturned first serves and second serves, through three rounds.

The Skinny: This should be an incredible first-time meeting. Suddenly surging Kerber, the 2018 Wimbledon champion, has won eight straight matches on the grass. She's come to life since taking the court in Bad Homburg, where she won the title on home soil (her first WTA title since 2018).

Meanwhile, Gauff has backed up her 2019 breakout performance (remember Cocomania? It's back!) brilliantly, with one of the best serving weeks of her life. At 17, Gauff could be ready to take down a Wimbledon force, but Kerber will have the edge from the baseline—the trick for the German will be to get returns in play and make Gauff work.

[6] Roger Federer v [17] Lorenzo Sonego
Head to Head: Federer leads, 1-0
Key stat: Sonego had never won a match at Wimbledon prior to this week

The Skinny: Roger Federer—he of the eight Wimbledon titles and gaudy 104-13 record at SW19will take on a rising Italian that could potentially give him trouble, despite his lack of experience on the grass: Lorenzo Sonego. The key to the match will be Federer’s ability to clean up on serve. The Swiss has been broken just four times thus far at Wimbledon and he’ll need to hit his spots because Sonego will serve big and dictate from his end.

If Sonego plays free, with confidence, and embraces the Centre Court experience, we could be in for a close battle.

No.1 Court

[1] Ashleigh Barty v [14] Barbora Krejcikova
Head to Head:  Barty leads, 1-0
Key stat: Krejcikova, the Roland Garros champion, stretched her Grand Slam winning streak to 15 on Saturday at Wimbledon.

The Skinny: Ash Barty is in her happy place, on the Wimbledon grass, sporting a Fila kit modelled after the one her idol and inspiration Evonne Goolagong wore while storming to the Wimbledon title 50 years ago. And she’s played herself into the tournament quite nicely. Barty dropped a set to Carla Suarez Navarro in her opener, but has controlled her last two opponents—Anna Blinkova and Katerina Siniakova—without needing to pull out her best tennis.

Krejcikova’s week one played out similarly. She dropped a set in her third-round match, and has actually committed more unforced errors (98) than winners (88) through three rounds. But she’s found ways to win, just like Barty. Now we get to see which one of these two former Roland Garros champions has the gumption to beat back the pressure and handle a world-class opponent on Monday—expect a crafty, nuanced battle, with rough patches and elevated tennis juxtaposed.

[4] Alexander Zverev v [16] Felix Auger-Aliassime
Head to Head: Zverev leads, 3-0
Key stat: Both players are searching for their first Wimbledon quarter-final.

The Skinny: Zverev has a lot more experience in week two matches at majors, and he’ll look to put that to use against Auger-Aliassime, who can be prone to nerves and has never reached a Grand Slam quarterfinal.

There is also the fact that Zverev has won all six sets he has played against Auger-Aliassime, dropping just 15 games in the three previous meetings.

[WC] Emma Raducanu v Ajla Tomljanovic
Head to Head: First meeting
Key stat: At 338, Raducanu is the lowest-ranked player remaining in Wimbledon singles.

The Skinny: Welcome to the only all unseeded battle of Wimbledon’s round of 16. 18-year-old Brit Emma Raducanu has captivated the public by sweeping through three rounds in her first tour-level appearance, and she’s been given a nice draw as well—Tomljanovic, a hard-hitting first-strike artist, is playing her first Wimbledon round of 16, and is into the second week at a Slam for the first time since 2014. It will be a nervous affair for both, and the crowd on No.1 Court will certainly play a factor.

No. 2 Court

[7] Iga Swiatek v [21] Ons Jabeur
Head to Head: Swiatek leads, 1-0
Key stat: Swiatek leads all players, male or female, in percentage of baseline points won, at 60 percent.

The Skinny: Of all the round of 16 matchups on Monday, this one could be the most intriguing. Swiatek has proven to be a steady force at the Slams, and she has been dominant in her three rounds at Wimbledon. She seems to have a clear picture of how she wants to play on the grass, and is growing very confident in her aggressive tactics.

But if there is a player with the potential to take her out of her comfort zone, it would be Jabeur, who has been able to keep her opponents on a string with a steady array of drop shots, slice and improv. Jabeur has won 36 of 47 points at net through three rounds, while Swiatek has made the trip to the net just 15 times.

But Swiatek’s confident handling of her serve might be the element that guides her through. She has held in 23 of 25 service games, and is winning 57 percent of second-serve points.

[5] Andrey Rublev v Fucsovics
Head to Head: Rublev leads, 4-1
Key stat: Rublev has defeated Fucsovics four straight times.

The Skinny: Of course, they meet again! We had to expect this matchup the minute that Fucsovics told Rublev, on court in Dubai after losing to him in the quarter-finals this March, that he hoped he didn’t see him again in 2021. The very next week they met in Miami, and here they are again for a fifth meeting since last October.

Rublev has been under the radar at Wimbledon, but boy has he been good. The improvements he has made on serve will give him a significant advantage against Fucsovics, as it will allow him to strike first.

[2] Daniil Medvedev v [14] Hubert Hurkacz
Head to Head: First meeting
Key stat: Hurkacz is the only player remaining in the draw that has yet to have his serve broken.

The Skinny: Hubert Hurkacz won his first Masters title at Miami this spring, but he limped into Wimbledon on a six-match losing streak. He went 0 for the clay but the change of surface has suited the Pole well—he’s into the round of 16 without dropping a set.

But Medvedev is growing in confidence, thanks to his quarterfinal run at Roland-Garros, where he reached the quarter-finals, and his epic comeback against former Wimbledon finalist Marin Cilic on Day 6 (Medvedev's first such comeback). The Russian was down two sets to love but refused to wilt. Now he has his eyes on a deep run.

Court 3

[2] Aryna Sabalenka v [18] Elena Rybakina
Head to Head: Sabalenks leads, 2-0
Key stat: Sabalenka is the only Top-20 seed at Wimbledon that has yet to reach a Grand Slam quarterfinal.

The Skinny: Here we go again. For the second time in three majors in 2021, Aryna Sabalenka has reached the round of 16. In her 15th major appearance, the talented Belarusian will attempt to finally reach the last eight at a major. She has weathered a few storms to get through, easing past crafty Monica Niculescu in round one, then beating back a stern challenge against Katie Boulter—where she lost the opening set and fought like mad to win the second—to get to week two.

On the other side of the net? A juggernaut known as Elena Rybakina. All she has done on her Wimbledon debut is crush everything in her path. She has lost 17 games through three rounds and will be ready to pounce on Sabalenka if nerves sabotage the Belarusian's game. Rybakina has dropped serve just once in 21 service games at Wimbledon thus far this year.

Buckle in—this match will feature some hardcore grass-court power tennis.

[8] Roberto Bautista Agut v [10] Denis Shapovalov
Head to Head: First meeting
Key stat: Shapovalov is the 2016 Boys' Singles champion at Wimbledon.

The Skinny: Should be a bit of a battle for control in this contest. Shapovalov will look to get on the front foot in rallies and avoid playing too many grinding points with Bautista Agut. The Spaniard, in return, will look to do the opposite.

The imperative in this match will be Shapovalov’s serve plus one and his ability to hit winners when he needs them. Otherwise he’ll be forced into a battle that he may not be able to win against the cagey veteran. The Canadian can win this match, but he’ll only do so on his terms.

Court 12

[7] Matteo Berrettini v Ilya Ivashka
Head to Head: First meeting
Key stat: Berrettini has won eight straight on grass in 2021.

The Skinny: The Italian is looking like a future Wimbledon champion this year at SW19. And it’s all about holding serve. Berrettini, the Queen’s champion, has held serve in 47 of 48 service games and cracked the fastest serve of the tournament at 139. He’ll be a handful for anyone he faces, and especially a Wimbledon debutant like Ivashka.

That said, the Belarusian has been so impressive at Wimbledon through three matches—and he has a big game as well. But Berrettini’s edge in the serve and forehand should pull him through.

[8] Karolina Pliskova v [WC] Liudmila Samsonova
Head to Head: First meetings
Key stat: Samsonova has reeled off eight straight wins on grass.

The Skinny:  Speaking of stunning Wimbledon debuts, how about Russia’s Liudmila Samsonov, who took the Berlin grass-court title in June with wins over Marketa Vondrousova, Veronika Kudermetova, Madison Keys, Victoria Azarenka and Belinda Bencic. She’s continued to dominate on the Wimbledon grass, even if she needed three sets, twice.

Wins over Kaia Kanepi, Jessica Pegula and Sloane Stephens are further proof that the Russian is for real—especially on the fast-playing grass. The fact that she averages over 111 on her first serve—topping out at 121—really helps her organize her aggressive game.

Pliskova’s average first serve is seven MPH lower than Samsonova’s but the Czech has only been broken twice and has yet to drop a set. We could have a case of Karolina Pliskova peaking at the right time for the first time in a while at a Slam.

[30] Paula Badosa v [19] Karolina Muchova
Head to Head: First meeting
Key stat: Muchova reached the quarterfinals on her last Wimbledon appearance.

The Skinny:  As far as experience on the surface goes, the matchup favors Muchova, who reached the last eight on her debut last Wimbledon, and seems to have a game that is built for grass-court tennis. But full credit to Badosa, who entered Wimbledon without an 0-1 lifetime record, but found a way to power through three hard-fought victories to reach the round of 16.

Have to think Muchova is the favorite here, but Badosa, a quarterfinalist at Roland-Garros this year, has proven to be a resilient force on tour in 2021.

Court 18

[25] Karen Khachanov v Sebastian Korda
Head to Head: First meeting
Key stat: Korda was ranked 213 when he entered Roland Garros last autumn.

The Skinny: All eyes will be on 20-year-old Sebastian Korda, the world No.50, as he continues on his latest impressive run at the Slams. Korda become the first player 35 years to reach the second week at both Roland Garros and Wimbledon on his debut (only Bjorn Borg and Mikael Pernfors have done it in the Open Era) and he leads the tournament in forehand winners with 58.

He’ll go against a suddenly resurgent Karen Khachanov, who entered the week with a 16-14 record for 2021, but has been pretty dominant through three rounds. Grass suits Khachanov well—he’s 10-3 lifetime at Wimbledon—and he’s one of the few guys that can match power from the baseline with Korda.

[23] Madison Keys v Viktorija Golubic
Head to Head: Tied, 1-1
Key stat: Keys is 18-7 lifetime at Wimbledon

The Skinny:  Madison Keys seems to be finding her strut after a challenging six months that saw her struggle to get matches under her belt and find her form. But Wimbledon—and any Slam for that matter—always seems to bring out the best in Keys. She’s firing on all cylinders and will look to overpower Golubic as she bids to reach her second Wimbledon quarterfinal and first since 2015.

For Golubic the challenge is simple: find ways to get Keys out of rhythm and make her miss. Easier said than done on this surface.


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