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Wimbledon 2019: Rafael Nadal vs Joao Sousa, Round of 16, preview and prediction

Rafael Nadal after his victory over Jo-Wilfred Tsonga.
Rafael Nadal after his victory over Jo-Wilfred Tsonga.
ANALYST
Modified 08 Jul 2019, 00:13 IST
Preview
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Joao Sousa’s Wimbledon dream continued following his impressive, resilient five-set victory over Britain’s Dan Evans in their Round of 32 encounter and will meet the upbeat, dominant, two-time Wimbledon champion Rafael Nadal in his upcoming fourth-round clash at the Championships, Wimbledon.

Big moment

This is just the second time that the Portuguese finds himself in the fourth round of any Grand Slam event and he would be looking forward to making it count in in possibly the biggest match of his career so far. En route his appearance in the fourth round at the ongoing Wimbledon, he has already stunned Marin Cilic, one of the dark horses of this Slam and has nothing to lose against the Spanish master. This is what makes the World No.69 a dangerous opponent for the 18-time Grand Slam champion.

Nadal on the rampage

After a pulsating four-set thriller against Australian Nick Kyrgios in the 2nd round, Nadal had an easy day in the office in his third-round clash on day six of the Championships as he breezed past Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in straight-sets, 6-2, 6-3, 6-2, in just one hour and 48 minutes, to advance to the second week at the All England Club for the ninth time in his career so far.

Against Tsonga, Nadal’s dominance can be understood by the numbers as he recorded a staggering 11 aces in just three sets, an unusually high amount of aces for the Spaniard, who is not very well-known for serving aces.

Also, throughout the entire course of the match, the world No.2 did not face even a single break point as his remodeled serve, that worked wonders earlier this year at the Australian Open, is paying rich dividends at the Wimbledon as well. This augurs extremely well for the third seed as he prepares to dive deep into the second week of the Championships in a bid to claim his third Wimbledon title.

Joao Sousa.
Joao Sousa.

History

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Nadal and Sousa have faced off just twice in the past with the Spaniard winning both of their encounters with relative ease. However, their previous contests have been on clay and this will be their first-ever meeting on grass.

The 18-time Grand Slam champion has looked in pristine form at Wimbledon so far, continuing the momentum that he achieved towards the end of the clay season on to the lush green courts of All England Club.

The Portuguese Sousa might have had a week to remember at Wimbledon comprising a mighty win over Cilic as well, but it would take something extraordinary and spectacular to take down Nadal, the man who has given us the impression of being in complete control of the proceedings so far. The variety in his game that he has developed over the past couple of years and his new found aggression have helped the Spaniard regain his dominance, especially at the Grand Slams, following the career lows in 2015 and 2016.

While Nadal does start as firm favorites against Sousa, can the Portuguese put up a remarkable show on display to play the best match of his career so far and stun the 18-time Grand Slam champion?

Well, the proceedings on the Center Court on day seven of the Championships, Wimbledon will have all the answers.

Prediction: Rafael Nadal to win in straight sets. 

Published 08 Jul 2019, 00:13 IST
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