Jul 01, 2022

2022 Wimbledon ATP & WTA Day 6 (Round III)

ATP Singles
Garin vs Brooksby :

Do you wanna drag the match oooooooout? Do you wanna make it rooooouuuugh? Jenson Brooksby’s price before the Bonzi match didn’t make a ton of sense to me given his level coming in, but watching the first set cleared things up. Brooksby was able to make it clear in the first few games that it would require a marathon to beat him. Bonzi has been beating offensive talents with good skill and a solid backhand, and Brooksby just made this a long war of attrition from behind the baseline. Bonzi played deeper in the court than he has all season, and this was particularly bad against Brooksby because he pushes the ball down the line so well on both wings. He had Bonzi running side to side and in that long drawn out style it’s very difficult to hit past Brooksby.

This match should be more of the same, but Garin is perfectly willing to play tennis for 5 hours. His win against Grenier was somewhat surprising to me, but this is because I am an idiot. Garin’s serving really well, and he’s hitting his forehand really deep in the court even though he’s playing pretty far back. Grenier didn’t play poorly, but Garin was able to work his way into Hugo’s service points in 3 shots. The returns were deep enough to get his racquet on the next shot and he was hitting the ball heavy enough that he’d wind up in center court position after that 2nd shot. At +200 I almost like Garin in this match. The clock seemed to be ticking for Bonzi and he eventually made errors trying to force the issue. Garin is a lot stronger physically than Bonzi so he’ll be able to deal with Brooksby’s style much easier. His forehand might be the bigger shot on the court currently and I think this will be pretty close. Brooksby’s comfort on the surface looks to be growing, but this will likely take 4+ hours to be decided. Brooksby in 5.

De Minaur vs Broady :

If you like watching De Minaur beat British lefties, this is the Wimbledon for you. Alex and Jack Draper played one of the highest quality matches of the second round. Their baseline rallies were regularly 15+ shots and neither one of them took anything off the ball. The audio for this match was just incredibly satisfying. After watching Brooksby wear down Bonzi, I understood the patterns in this game a bit better. Draper hits bigger than De Minaur, but ADM was ready to direct the ball to the next position and he kept Draper in rallies longer than he’s accustomed to. To Draper’s credit, he didn’t miss much. De Minaur’s level never dipped though and this made Draper’s occasional misses look like momentum was swinging towards the Aussie. The huge difference in the match I thought was ADM’s serve. He was really getting high and crushing the ball on his first and second serves and his serve seemed more reliable than Draper’s as things went deep.

Broady had a much easier opponent but may have scored a more impressive win. Down 2-1 and a break in the fourth, Broady looked finished. Diego had zipped him in a set, and was rolling. Things got strange for Diego though, as his form seemed to peak until he was going too sharp on some shots. He’d have the point won and make a slight error. Instead of shaking it off, Schwartzman started to get a bit frustrated, and when Broady’s level went up Diego seemed to get in the “can you believe this? I had this done already” rather than “time to go back to work”. Broady’s level never dipped, and he was hitting the ball much bigger than Schwartzman in the fifth where he rolled 6-1. He can probably play even with De Minaur in rallies, but Alex is going to break his serve a lot. He’s just dealt with Draper admirably, and the comparison between the two in termsof offense is like Hurkacz vs Albot. De Minaur is too fast and too solid from the baseline, and he’s serving great. De Minaur in 3.

Nakashima vs Galan :

Shapovalov indicated that he had strained his abductor and was feeling it a bit in his match against Nakashima. He was quick to give credit to his opponent though, and truthfully Nakashima could have beaten Shapo at his best here. His forehand was firing at incredible speed and it’s really hard to read. He’s improved his serve a bit, and his backhand was always world class. For Shapo, he just needs a coach. He makes a great shot then he sprays the ball 10 feet long. Errors are fine, but they inspire his opponents to keep the ball in. Cressy’s little “instill doubt” notebook is good advice, and forcing offense is something that dials in your opponent and takes all the guesswork out of a match for them.

Galan got a great big gift in his last match as RBA was forced to exit the tournament after testing positive for COVID. Really hoping no one else falls victim to this type of exit as the three so far (Cilic, Berretini, RBA) were all almost guaranteed quarterfinalists who are playing near their peak lately. Nakashima Galan is going to be a long grind, but Nakashima is looking like the “specialist” moniker might get attached to him soon on grass. Shapovalov helped, but Nakashima put a ton of returns in play and Galan doesn’t have the same type of variety on his serve. Should be a simple one for Brandon. Nakashima in 3-4.

Kyrgios vs Tsitsipas :

This is one that could go either way, but some of that is based on Kyrgios’ past performances in tough spots. He’s a tremendous talent, but he’s shown an adversity to taking an L. He gets squirmy like a bird that does not want to be held, then he lashes out at the crowd and his box to divert the blame to someone who did nothing, like a bird pooping on your car. He’s wearing his hat backwards this week, which is mainly because if it were forwards I might notice that the brim slightly RESEMBLES A BEAK AND OMG IS NICK KYRGIOS A BIRD? Completely valid theories aside, Kyrgios just ran through an in-form Krajinovic. Tsitsipas was solid against Thompson, but he didn’t display the type of tennis nor serving that Kyrgios did. I really don’t like to say a perennial quarterfinalist tantrum thrower is a threat to win a title, but in a single match there is only one person I like against Kyrgios right now and it’s Novak Djokovic. In the past Kyrgios has seemed way more volatile, and it has been kicking and screaming, but he has gradually been dragged along the maturity spectrum to where he is now. Still douchey, still hoping to be a bully, but a bit more level-headed about his tennis and I think a bit more interested in winning.

Tsitsipas will have to manage his serve well. Kyrgios being tall makes him a good returner, and his backhand is probably more solid because he isn’t looking to take a big swing with it. Tsitsipas can get a bit passive on his backhand and I don’t see him really forcing errors in the bh to bh exchanges. He can definitely make an impact if he takes his forehand crosscourt often, since Nick’s forehand is a bit whippy and doesn’t really get through the court despite having a great deal of topspin. Where I think Nick wins is his serve. He’s just had a quick match, and he’s in a good rhythm. It’s the best serve on tour, and Tsitsipas has struggled in the late stages of sets time and time against with shanks and nerves. Nick will have to get this done quickly since Tsitsipas is incredibly strong when it comes to late match stamina. I think he can. Kyrgios in 4.

Sock vs Kubler :

Normal. Just two qualifiers playing in the third round of a major. Sock had an interrupted match with Cressy that was going tremendously for him. When they resumed, he wasn’t ready for Cressy’s level to have improved. He spent one set complaining about “this guy making every return perfect against me” and was down a break in the 4th as well. Somehow, it hasn’t registered with this guy that at the top tier of tennis, your opponents aren’t going to miss. Points aren’t going to be short. Matches aren’t going to be lost, they’re going to be won. What makes fans engage is when both players play their best, not when one earns errors. Anyway, Sock’s whining gave way to Cressy’s, as he questioned numerous times “PORQUOI” to his box. He had a break lead twice and couldn’t close out, and Sock ended up going up 6-0 in the tiebreak, at which point Cressy informed his camp that “I QUIT THIS COURT, I QUIT THIS COURT, WHY AM I EVEN HERE?” It was a really high level match, and Cressy’s play from the baseline has really shown improvements this season.

While these two handle-with-care Americans were aboard the struggle bus, Jason Kubler was coasting through his match. A straight sets victory over Novak where he had the lead the entire time in every set was pretty impressive, and a one day delay didn’t bother him much as he came back serving at 5-4 in the 3rd and held to love in about 45 seconds. Kubler is serving great and crushing the ball during rallies. His power and defending are something that can really bother Sock, and the question will be what level he can perform at when his opponent is running a top tier offense. Sock has a huge and confusing array of serves, and his backhand is so much better than usual this week. Playing Cressy gives you target practice and by the end of the match Sock was very accurate about going down the line. I don’t think Kubler is ever favored here, but the emotional and physical toll of Sock playing a two day marathon against Cressy may leave him a tiny bit flat at the outset of this match. It’s a question mark whether Kubler can compete at this next level, but his serving and consistency should win him at least one set against Sock, who is the same great talent he’s always been but spends a bit too much time entertaining his own monologue. Impressive run for Kubler but it’s hard to argue with Sock’s level and grass keeps the points short enough that he probably won’t get dragged into fatiguetown. Sock in 4.

Fritz vs Molcan :

If you like Fritz, this is a good season. He’s serving well, and he’s getting some easy matches here and there that leave him fresh for the big ones. Believe it or not, this is a big one. The American guys have always struggled against the Challenger phenoms. These guys earn their way on tour, while the USTA players are somewhat propped up by wildcards in the earlygoing. The result is that sometimes one group is more battle-hardened than the other. Molcan is no grass nightmare, and he’s not the biggest server, but he’s been battling on every surface with the top players on tour for a season now, and before that he was playing a challenger semifinal or better almost every week for two years (exaggerating but also not by much). Beating Giron in straights is pretty solid, and I like his chances here of breaking down Fritz’s baseline game. Fritz thrives with time. His forehand can be huge, and his backhand reflects power nicely. Molcan isn’t really looking to do anything though but move you, and Fritz’s large frame can impact him negatively when he overruns shots or the ball gets hit behind him. If Molcan can make Fritz make one “what do i do” gesture to his box, he’ll be in business.

The flipside of Molcan’s fight is Fritz’s serve. He can pretty much get to the business end of most sets, and he’s shown that with a break lead he can hold fairly easily. I still have him going deep in this event, and this is the kind of match he needs to wrap up quickly if he wants to challenge the Nadals of the bracket later on. I think he will hang on here. Fritz in 4-5.

Gasquet vs Van De Zandschulp :

This match is going to be beautiful from start to finish. Richard Gasquet has one of the most aesthetically pleasing games on tour, and Botic Van De Zandschulp isn’t far behind. Gasquet scored a nice upset win (he might not consider it so) against Mackie McDonald and Botic got past Ruusuvuori who continues to show a great deal of promise but not the best results. Ruusuvuori’s second serve is a bit predictable which is kinda Rublev’s problem and it seems like the guys that play their rallies at a single pace (HIT HARD HIT HARD) have trouble on their seconds (Rublev, Shapo, Ruusuvuori, Zverev, etc). Gasquet’s current lvel on offense is good enough to make this an even affair, but Botic is the wrong guy to give time to. Gasquet has been buying time when he’s on defense, and Botic’s big swings force his opponents to move early. He’s one of the guys on tour that is regularly hitting wide open sections of the court as his opponents run the other way, and part of that is the swing production. He also has a tremendous serve which is going to get him the advantage in points. I don’t see Gasquet overcoming this, but his own serve/backhand combination has been carrying him on the tour for a long time. Should be close since Botic has had lapses in the past, but BVDZ can hit Gasquet off the court here. Botic in 4.

Nadal vs Sonego :

Round one Nadal loses to Sonego. Round two Nadal goes to five with Sonego. This is round three Nadal though, and we’ve seen a lot more baseline tennis in the past day than we did in the first few rounds. Players arms wear down, their patterns get picked up by opposing coaches, and the grass gets worn down and slows. Nadal was broken a number of times by Berankis, but Ricardas actually was playing some tremendous tennis. He was really adept at creating short angles when he had time, he kept the ball low really well which works against Nadal on grass, and it was pretty clear that Querrey losing in straights wasn’t all about Querrey. At the end of the 4th, Nadal really stepped up his serving. He hit the ball with a bit more pop, and he went more aggressive with his placement. There is clearly another gear there, and I would expect him to up his level every round.

My problem with the -588 pricetag attached to him is that Sonego has a huge serve, and Nadal’s forehand isn’t really having a big effect. It’s a spot where we expect Nadal to win, but he’s played two much more helpless opponents thus far and struggled. The Nadal “dig in and break” reliable outcome is out the window when a guy can serve as big as Sonego, but maybe Sonego’s inconsistency is what really warrants predicting a Nadal win. Gaston helped Sonego along the way in his win, and Sonego’s backhand has been a target for several seasons now. If anyone knows how to pick apart a weaker wing, it’s Nadal. I don’t think he can shut him out, but Nadal should ratchet up his serving enough to navigate through this test. Nadal in 4.

WTA Singles
Swiatek vs Cornet :

Don’t yell at me please, but this might be the upset round. When I was filling out my draws I had Cornet beating Swiatek here. Later, while browsing reddit I saw someone say that her leg was wrapped, so I changed it. This was when Swiatek’s grass level was an unknown. After the first round, I was glad I changed it. After the second, I’m upset I did. Leslie Pattinama Kerkhove played some great tennis, but Swiatek seemed unable to impose her will the way she normally does. The grass seems to make her a little bit rushed and that was against a player who’s realistically in the top 30-40 range when she’s playing well. Cornet is a top 20 defensive test, and she’s playing solid. Swiatek didn’t really rattle against Kerkhove, but she did make errors and Cornet will have been watching that with great interest. Her ability to extend rallies isn’t really great since Swiatek has every shot, but her ability to return offense with depth may pay dividends since Swiatek doesn’t seem too interested in taking her foot off the gas.

Cornet’s leg is pretty heavily taped, so this could be too large of an ask, but I think this will be very close. If Swiatek has a good day serving, she’ll win. If her first serve percentage is low, Id do think Cornet is solid enough to outlast her. Swiatek in 2 or Cornet in 3.

Tomljanovic vs Krejcikova :

This should be fun. Tomljanovic has resurrected her season in this grass swing behind her tremendous hitting. It’s one plan, and it’s working. If you want to see it mirrored, take a look at how Garcia is playing. The full commitment on their swings is making the ball slide really well, and it’ll be a tough test for Krejcikova who takes some pretty slow and wide cuts at the ball. Krejcikova was in control against Golubic, and it seems like her ring-rust is fading very quickly. Simple equation here. If Ajla can rush her, she can earn errors and win. If Krejcikova is up to the pace, she should get through here. The problem with Krejcikova is always that her swings are so smooththat she’s hard to read. She hooks her forehand crosscourt with the same technique as when she spins it down the line. Tomljanovic is a good defender but similar to Garcia she misses a lot more from outside the sidelines. Am I making references to Garcia because I’m watching her match right now? yes.

I’m a fan of a streak, and the bigger hitters in this event are really seeing the ball go through the hoop. Tomljanovic beating Krejcikova would be a huge result, but it’s right on her racquet here if she keeps her percentage up. I don’t really see a clear way to know on paper who wins this, but Tomljanovic in 3.

Zheng vs Rybakina :

Qinwen is becoming a household name. A hardfought win against Sloane Stephens rewarded her with a pretty simple one against Greetje Minnen. All this week,I’ve been preaching the good works of Qinwen Zheng, but I think this is the round where that ends. Rybakina has probably the biggest game on tour right now of the players who don’t get included in the discussion for major titles. The thing that makes me think she’ll find that groove someday is that she’s not exerting terribly hard to produce her tennis. The serve is a fluid motion, and her forehand and backhand are hit with measured aggression. She’s got great balance, and moves about as well as any tall player on tour. I don’t really think that either of these players will back off from the baseline, and I don’t actually think either one can stop the other from scoring. For me, it’s about who’s more likely to hurry their opponents shots, and that’s Rybakina. Zheng has played a number of big matches this year, but she’s still relatively new to the tour. The errors can come in bunches and she’s prone to three setters. Rybakina has also just played Andreescu which is a really high level warmup match. I would actually venture that despite her middling level, Andreescu is a more complete player than Zheng at this point. This should be close. Rybakina in 3.

Martic vs Pegula :

Probably the end of the road for Martic, but Pegula had a tougher time with Dart than I expected. The first set was some inspired stuff from Dart,and I had underestimated her power a good bit. The Pegula problem is just that she’s so consistent. She keeps the ball low, hits the ball hard, and it’s pretty tough to tell with her swings where she’s going. Her inside out backhand is sliding through the court well, and she does have a really effective serve when she’s hitting her spots. All this spells trouble for Martic, who’s had a good result here but isn’t really going to be able to score on Pegula without errors. Martic is also slicing nearly 100% of her backhands, and it’s likely that her footspeed isn’t going to be able to cover well when Pegula changes direction off of these. Pegula in 2.

Badosa vs Kvitova :

I didn’t expect Badosa to really be a threat at this event since she’s had some injury issues, but here she is. Kvitova was able to hold Bogdan off in straight sets, and she’s pretty consistently had lapses late in the second set but when your lapses are up a set and a break it isn’t really the end of the world. Badosa has won two in a row but her opponents have been fringe-tour level players. Kvitova is a huge step up and this would be her biggest win in quite sometime. Kvitova has to like her chances at a run here and I would expect her to leave everything on the court. Kvitova’s errors will be her undoing if she loses. She’s not great at reflecting power with her backhand and sends the ball long quite a bit. Badosa is a good retriever but she hasn’t been sharp enough for me to back her here. The only caveat here is that I’ve barely caught Badosa’s matches thus far. Kvitova in 2.

Halep vs Frech :

Odds for this are something pretty silly (-1250 for Halep) considering Frech has beaten Giorgi and Schmiedlova in straight sets and Halep has just needed two come from behind sets to advance past a retiring player, but Halep’s fight and history are enough to make her a really consistent favorite to cross the finish line. Flipkens really played a great match, and it would have been fitting if her final loss involved winning a set against a player she was like 0-12 in sets against. Halep came back from 2-5 in the first to win 7-5, and nearly mirrored this in the second set. I don’t love the manner she got down in the scoreline, because Flipkens is very much like Tatjana Maria in that she’s not beating you as much as challenging you to beat her. If Frech is able to dig in defensively she can probably steal a set. The problem for Frech is that her serving isn’t that reliable right now, and her and Schmiedlova traded a bunch of breaks in their match (8 in total). It’s the kind of flow that lets Simona thrive. Her own serving isn’t so secure, but if she can get returns in play she’s going to win. Magdalena brings a good levelinto this, but Halep should win. Halep in 2 with at least one being close.

Gauff vs Anisimova :

Gauff probably displayed the higher level between these two in round 2. Buzarnescu isn’t the toughest opponent because she lacks power and doesn’t serve many unreturned, but Gauff served very well and won this in the manner you’d expect from a top seed. Anisimova had a tough opponent in Lauren Davis, and it was solid play that got her back from a set down. The problem is that Davis hits the ball pretty slow, and plays defense while moving her opponent around. Gauff does this with significantly more power, and she’s serving great. Anisimova thrives on the Collins strategy of aggressive returning, and Gauff might be able to force her into errors with the form she’s in. There really isn’t a plan B for Anisimova’s game either, as she pretty much goes for the next offensive shot each time the ball comes back. It sounds funny to say someone is going to outlast their opponent on grass, but that’s kinda the story that I expect here. The match is in Gauff’s hands really. If she can’t serve well, Anisimova will have a field day stepping into second serves. IBM Watson probably has some number in mind that Gauff has to hit to win, and Jon Wertheim and Brett Haber will march it out in their manufactured announcer voices. Bonus tip : use Eurosport streams to avoid announcers altogether. You miss a little backstage info but the tennis is way more relaxing to watch and you don’t have idiots telling you what you just saw. Gauff in 3.

Boulter vs Tan :

Harmony Tan and Heather Watson humbled me last round. Tormo played a terrible round 2, filled with endless errors which for the tour’s premier pusher and noisemaker were very uncharacteristic. Credit goes to Tan though, this is two matches where she has brought her level up and down as needed. She’s willing to put the ball in play on the big points, and she plays enough offense to keep her opponents guessing. I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if she gave Boulter problems, but Katie closed out her last match in rare form. Everyone looks sharp against Pliskova when they’re winning, because her movement makes it look like they’re hitting lasers on their groundstrokes. Boulter was though, and her serving is good enough to let her get a forehand on most returns. When she reached the finish line she missed an easy one, but there was no panic, just a smile and a reset. I like her composure, and her game continues to improve. Boulter in 2.