Friday, June 28, 2019

Roger Federer may face Nadal in the semis of Wimbledon

If Roger Federer is to lift his ninth Wimbledon trophy at The Championships this year, he will have to hit a major milestone along the way.

The second seed, who owns a 95-12 record at The All England Club, is aiming to become the first man to claim 100 victories at a Grand Slam event. Federer can achieve that feat by advancing to the semi-finals at Wimbledon for the 13th time in his career. Federer has reached the semi-finals or better in five of his eight tournament appearances this year.

Federer enters the grass-court Grand Slam championship in fine form, following his 10th triumph at the NOVENTI OPEN (d. Goffin) last week. The 37-year-old holds a 32-4 record and leads the ATP Tour with three titles this season.

As the first man in Wimbledon history to compete in the singles draw for 21 consecutive years, Federer will meet Lloyd Harris of South Africa for the first time at tour-level in the first round. With a win, Federer would advance to a second-round encounter against Jay Clarke or Noah Rubin. En route to his 18th Grand Slam crown at the 2017 Australian Open, Federer defeated Rubin in straight sets at the same stage.

The first seeded opponent Federer could face would be 27th seed Lucas Pouille, who opens against countryman and two-time semi-finalist Richard Gasquet, in the third round. If Federer were to earn his 98th victory at Wimbledon in that encounter, the World No. 3 could meet Borna Coric in a repeat of the 2018 Halle championship match. In that final meeting, Coric snapped Federer's 20-match win streak on grass with a three-set victory.

Should Federer overcome that tricky obstacle, the 102-time tour-level titlist would find himself in the last eight just one victory away from his 100th Wimbledon win. The two players seeded to battle for a place in that quarter-final are Kei Nishikori and last year's semi-finalist John Isner. Federer owns a 7-3 FedEx ATP Head2Head record against Nishikori and has claimed seven victories from nine FedEx ATP Head2Head clashes against Isner.

Federer successfully navigates his path to 100 victories at Wimbledon, he could face one of the most difficult tests in tennis to add to add to his tally and achieve his ultimate goal: a ninth Wimbledon trophy. From the semi-finals, the 20-time Grand Slam champion could meet Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in back-to-back matches.

In a packed third quarter of the draw, Nadal may challenge Nick Kyrgios in a blockbuster second-round encounter, while defending champion Djokovic shares the top quarter of the draw with #NextGenATP Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas.

With the best record on grass in the Open Era (179-26, .873) and a record 19 titles on the surface, Federer's achievements on and off the turf will be remembered for the rest of tennis history. But a ninth Wimbledon title and a 100th match win at Wimbledon are within reach at The Championships this year and, if last week in Halle is anything to go by, Federer will be heavily motivated to write a new chapter in the history books.

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