2016 Wimbledon Men’s Day 5 Panelist Predictions Including Wawrinka vs. Del Potro

A full day of play at Wimbledon yesterday allowed the match schedule to get relatively back on track, although on Friday the order of play features a mix of round 2 and round 3 men’s matches. The biggest of the matches scheduled for tomorrow is a round 2 clash between Stan Wawrinka and a resurgent Juan Martin Del Potro. In other round 2 clashes, Nick Kyrgios will square off with fan favorite Dustin Brown, and young gun Alexander Zverev will be opposite the veteran Mikhail Youzhny. In round 3 action, Canada’s hope Milos Raonic faces Jack Sock and Japan’s hope Kei Nishikori faces surprising Russian Andrey Kuznetsov. Steen Kirby, Yesh Ginsburg, and Eric Logan offer up their previews and picks.

Stan Wawrinka vs. Juan Martin Del Potro

Steen: Although it’s his worst surface, Wawrinka surprisingly won their 2008 Wimbledon matchup, and he does come off a solid win over Taylor Fritz after a poor showing in Pre-Wimbledon warm-up play. Del Potro is in good form and looks like a solid top 50 player after returning from multiple wrist injuries. He’s not the player he was, but the trademark serve, to forehead power combo is still a lethal weapon for him. I expect Del Potro to take at least a set, but I’m not sure he’ll be able to last over best of five, and if Wawrinka can exploit his still subpar backhand, I favor the Swiss to survive and advance. It’s great for the game to see Del Potro back challenging the top players. Wawrinka in 5 sets

Yesh: Del Potro is on the comeback trail and Wawrinka is always vulnerable on grass. Let’s see how the wrist does. Del Potro in 3

Eric:  It’s Wawrinka’s worst surface by some margin, where his poor return and huge backswings hurt him. del Potro is not the player he once was, but his huge forehand and far superior return should frustrate Wawrinka, while his big serve plays into Wawrinka’s biggest weakness, the return. I think the upset is very likely here. Del Potro in 5

Nick Kyrgios vs. Dustin Brown

Steen: Brown, a charismatic serve and volleyer, needed five sets against Dusan Lajovic in the first round, while Kyrgios used his own aggressive power game to slide past Radek Stepanek with relative ease. Brown will come up with some highlights and delight the fans, but after dealing with Stepanek, Kyrgios gets a slightly poorer version of serve and volley tennis in the next round, and he should be able to handle it just fine. Kyrgios in 3 

Yesh: This one has the makings of a grass classic. Two great, powerful, strong grass court players are set to do battle on the Wimbledon grass. Expect tiebreaks in this one. Lots of them. Kyrgios in 5

Eric: Much of what I said of Kuznetsov applies here as well. If Brown plays his best on grass, very few can match him (just ask the two former Wimbledon champions he has defeated here). However, Brown struggled in his previous match against clay-courter Dusan Lajovic, and it is much easier for me to see Brown’s serve letting him down badly enough to concede a break than it is for me to see the same for Kyrgios. Kyrgios in 4

Alexander Zverev vs. Mikhail Youzhny

Steen: Youzhny was once a great grass court player, and he’s still above average on the surface, Zverev is rapidly improving on grass however, and he has much fresher legs, and a clearer headed than the famously moody Russian. Youzhny will challenge the youngster with his crafty play, but look for Zverev to win this battle. It’s worth noting both players are of Russian descent. Zverev in 4 

Yesh: Mikhail Youzhny is towards the tail end of his career, but I believe the powerful Russian has one good Wimbledon run left in him. Youzhny in 4

Eric: Youzhny, with his wide variety of spins and his love for the surface, should theoretically be a rough match up for the younger Zverev. However, Youzhny’s recent results do not inspire confidence, least of all his loss of a set to clay court specialist journeyman Horacio Zeballos in the previous round. Youzhny might roll back the years and take this, but I suspect youth will beat experience. Zverev in 4

Milos Raonic vs. Jack Sock

Steen: Since losing their first meeting, Raonic has won seven consecutive matches, including a match at Wimbledon, against Sock. The Canadian is serving with brutal efficiency as he pummeled his first two opponents on grass. With Raonic playing this well, I don’t think Sock can really handle his serve or matchup to his game, setting up the American for a third round exit. Raonic in 3 

Yesh: Two young guns who are good on grass should provide us a great fight. Both will serve well and both have a good ground and net game, which could make for some classic grass court tennis. Sock in 4

Eric: Sock has troubled Raonic in the past, and on grass there will be very little to separate the two big servers. There should be at least one tiebreak, and likely more. However, Raonic is more clutch, more confident, and more consistent. Raonic in 4

Kei Nishikori vs. Andrey Kuznetsov

Steen: Kuznetsov scored a pair of upsets to reach the third round, as he beat the Nottingham finalist Pablo Cuevas, and veteran serve and volleyer Gilles Muller. The young Russian is coming into his own and he looks to have a great future. Nishikori is somewhat vulnerable, but he’s the better player, and I’d be shocked if Kuznetsov won a third upset in a row. Kei is the safe pick here. Nishikori in 4 

Yesh: Nishikori is vulnerable on grass and he showed in his second-round match. Kuznetsov isn’t the guy to take advantage of that, though. Nishikori in 4

Eric: How much of Kuznetsov’s defeat of grass-court specialist Gilles Muller in the previous round was his own considerable skill, and how much of it was Muller’s exhaustion from his last several weeks is hard to say. This is a difficult match to call as Kuznetsov alternates from looking like a top 20 and top 500 player day to day, but I don’t think he can get past Nishikori’s consistent baselining. Nishikori in 3

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