By Ros Satar, at Wimbledon

  • Novak Djokovic [1] v David Goffin [21]
  • Roger Federer [2] v Kei Nishikori [8]
  • Rafael Nadal [3] v Sam Querrey
WIMBLEDON, UK – The Big Three bid for what many feel will be a block-buster semi-final line-up.


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Novak Djokovic [1] v David Goffin [21] | Djokovic leads H2H 5-1

After spending the first part of the tournament deflecting criticism and scrutiny on the hapless running of the ATP Players’ Council, it is time for Novak Djokovic to let his tennis do the talking.

Of course, it is mildly amusing that David Goffin has once got the better of Djokovic on grass, at The Boodles exhibition the week before Wimbledon, but it has been one-way traffic for Djokovic in terms of their head to head, save for the last encounter in Monte Carlo which went the way of the Belgian.

However, Goffin has been paying extremely well on grass, reaching the quarter-final of Den Bosch and the final in Halle, although a five- and four-setter respectively on the way to today’s quarter-final might leave him a little fatigued.

Djokovic picked up a couple of Boodles matches and was pushed to four sets by Hubert Hurkacz and is largely expected to survive this encounter. Both have great movement, great groundstrokes, but perhaps Goffin lacks a bit of the firepower in the key points that Djokovic can seem to depend on to get out of sticky moments.

Prediction: Djokovic in four sets.


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Roger Federer [2] v Kei Nishikori [8] | Federer leads H2H 7-3

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When Roger Federer dropped the first set to the South African Lloyd Harris, there were a few eyebrows raised, especially as he had beaten the aforementioned Goffin in Halle as his pre-season warm-up. His only previous Slam encounter with Kei Nishikori was in the fourth round of the 2017 Roland Garros, and he was taken to four sets.

This tournament has been something of a revelation for Nishikori, who made it to the second week realising it was possible to win Best-of-Five matches in just three sets! He had a tougher job of reaching the fourth round needing four sets against Mikhail Kukushkin, but Federer has been a lot more efficient on the court, with almost two hours less on court than Nishikori.

Expect Nishikori to be scuttling about the court, looking for accuracy and placement to gain advantage, and for Federer to pretty much look to dictate play however he chooses, whether it be trading plays from the baseline, or coming in to the net. The question is whether Nishikori can put him under sustained pressure or at worse, keep him out there for longer than he would like.

Prediction: Federer in four sets.


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Rafael Nadal [3] v Sam Querrey | Nadal leads H2H 4-1

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A first-time meeting on grass pulls up an intriguing match-up between Rafael Nadal and Sam Querrey. Prior to the tournament, Nadal was seemingly pre-occupied with the unfairness of the seeding, and early on had to contend with a challenge from Nick Kyrgios, eventually closing out the Aussie in four sets in the first popcorn match of the tournament.

We are unlikely to see any under-arm serves from Querrey, who reached the Eastbourne final after an injury lay off which saw him off the tour since Houston. The big-serving American is the kind of player that makes it hard for Nadal to find a way to disrupt, so it will be imperative for Nadal to take care of his own service games. Querrey will expect to win a number of free points on his serve, or the dominant one-two punch combination of his serve and forehand, and Nadal can pull him off the baseline, using his own speed and counter-punching style to play behind him, then we can settle down and watch the Big Three battle in the semi-finals.

Prediction: Nadal in five sets.


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