Two-time Wimbledon champion and World No. 2 Rafael Nadal is in pursuit of his 3rd title at the All England Club and has looked dominant in his journey thus far. Having dropped just a solitary set in four rounds, Nadal has stormed his way into the quarterfinals and has his eyes firmly on the prize.
Against Portugal’s Joao Sousa in his 4th round match, the Spaniard was on song, cantering past his hapless opponent in straight sets 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 in exactly 1 hour and 45 minutes to book a place in the quarter-final against big-serving American Sam Querrey.
In an all-American round of 16 contest, Querrey got the better of Tennys Sandgren in four tense sets, two of which were decided by a tie-break. In the process, he booked his spot in the last 8 of a Grand Slam for the first time since his quarter-final appearance in New York in 2017, where he lost to South Africa’s Kevin Anderson.
Head to Head record
Nadal and Querrey have faced each other on the tour on five occasions in the past. Nadal leads their head to head 4-1 which includes a win in the Davis Cup. However, in their last meeting, in 2017, the American upset the Spaniard in the final of the Mexican Open at Acapulco, registering his first - and only - victory against Nadal.
At the Grand Slam level, the duo have squared off just once so far and it was Nadal who emerged victorious in four sets 6-2, 5-7, 7-6(7-2), 6-3 in their 4th round tie at the US Open, back in 2008.
Their upcoming quarter-final at SW19 will be their first ever meeting on grass which adds a different dimension altogether.
Rafael Nadal’s perspective
The Spaniard is a two-time Wimbledon champion and has 18 career Majors to his name as well. However, Nadal has had an indifferent run at Wimbledon, especially post-2011. His semi-final appearance in 2018 was his best result at the All England Club in the last 7 years.
With a remodeled service action and a more offensive style of play, though, Nadal appears to be gunning for glory, giving us the impression that he can actually go the distance at SW19 this time around.
Serving, the facet of the Spaniard's game that has always come under the scanner, has been Nadal’s strength this year and he has managed to serve 38 aces in 13 sets so far. There is no doubt whatsoever that his aggressive serving and attacking style of play have helped him dominate the competition thus far, unlike in previous years.
Against a big-serving player like Querrey, the Spaniard is likely to generate very few break opportunities and as a result, he would need to make sure he protects his own serves well.
Sam Querrey’s perspective
Querrey entered the Championships, having made the final in Eastbourne just a few days earlier. He has carried that form into Wimbledon too, finding a way to upset Dominic Thiem in his first round match and maneuvring through tricky opponents like Andrey Rublev, John Millman, and Sandgren.
The American likes playing on the grass as it perfectly caters to his style of big-hitting. Querrey has served 100 aces so far across four rounds at this year’s Wimbledon and will need to rely on his monster serve once again if he is to have any chance of taming Nadal.
Will Nadal continue from where he left off against Sousa and script a thumping victory over his American challenger or will Querrey put in a performance for the ages and upset the 18-time Grand Slam champion, booking a spot in the semi-finals for just the 2nd time in his career? Either way, an intriguing and pulsating contest awaits us on day 9 of the Championships.
Prediction: Rafael Nadal to win in four sets.
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