Rafael Nadal’s Wimbledon draw isn’t getting any easier. After beating Nick Kyrgios in a thrilling second-round clash, the third seed takes on Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in third-round action on Saturday. Second seed Roger Federer also takes to Centre Court to face No. 27 seed Lucas Pouille.
“I have another tough opponent in Tsonga. Every match is tough. My draw is a tough one,” said Nadal. “[There’s] no time to relax at all.”
The Spaniard leads his FedEx ATP Head2Head series with Tsonga 8-4, but they haven’t faced off in four years. Their rivalry isn’t as one-sided as the numbers would suggest, though. They’ve split their past six meetings and Tsonga won their last clash at the 2015 Rolex Shanghai Masters. The Frenchman also prevailed in their lone grass-court meeting at the 2011 Fever-Tree Championships.
Who will win the latest @FedEx ATP Head2Head battle between these players?
Nadal leads the series 8-4. | #Wimbledon
— ATP Tour (@ATP_Tour) July 5, 2019
Nadal has been soaring in confidence ever since capturing his 12th Roland Garros title (d. Thiem). Although the two-time champion has been prone to early upsets at The Championships, he becomes extremely dangerous once he sinks his teeth into the grass-courts of The All England Club. On the eight occasions Nadal has cleared the first week at Wimbledon, he’s reached the championship match in five of them.
Tsonga hasn’t scored a Top 10 win since 2017 Vienna (d. Zverev), but has come close in recent months. He pushed Kei Nishikori to four sets at Roland Garros and stretched Federer to a deciding set last month at the NOVENTI OPEN. The 34-year-old is no stranger to success at The All England Club, having reached the semi-finals here twice (2011-2012), and still has the game to beat the world’s best when he’s firing.
Federer Chasing Historic 100th Win At Wimbledon
Federer won his lone FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting with Pouille five years ago at the Rolex Paris Masters. The Swiss charged through his first two rounds this week without dropping a set and displayed the grass-court prowess that has brought him eight Wimbledon titles. Should Federer reach the semi-finals this fortnight, he’ll become the first man to reach 100 wins at a major and break Jimmy Connors’ record (186) for most grass-court wins in the Open Era.
Pouille made his career breakthrough at The All England Club by reaching the quarter-finals four years ago. He recorded his first Grand Slam semi-final this year at the Australian Open, but has gone 7-10 since then.
Eighth seed Nishikori opens up play on No. 3 Court against American Steve Johnson. The Japanese leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry 3-0, but this will be their first meeting in three years. Nishikori looks to continue his success at majors, having reached the second week in 11 of his past 12 Grand Slams. He recorded his best showing at this event with a quarter-final finish last year.
Other notable matches on Day 6 include No. 12 seed Fabio Fognini of Italy taking on American Tennys Sandgren. Both men scored dramatic five-set wins on Thursday to reach the third round. Italian Matteo Berrettini, the No. 17 seed, takes on No. 24 seed Diego Schwartzman of Argentina. Schwartzman prevailed in their only FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting this year in Rome, but Berrettini is in top grass-court form after winning the MercedesCup last month (d. Auger-Aliassime).
ORDER OF PLAY – SATURDAY, 6 JULY 2019
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