WILL EVANS’ daily preview serves up Wimbledon tips for Roger Federer’s showdown with first-time Grand Slam quarter-finalist Hubert Hurkacz.
00:30 (AEST), Thu 8th Jul @ All England Club, Wimbledon
History: Played 1: Federer 1 V Hurkacz 0
Last meeting: Indian Wells Masters, 2019 (QF): Federer d Hurkacz 6-4 6-4
Final Thoughts: Roger Federer’s dream of another Wimbledon title confronts its next hurdle in the shape of rising star Hubert Hurkacz.
The 24-year-old from Poland has quietly surged into the ATP’s top 20 after winning the Delray and Miami Opens earlier this year. But there was little pre-Wimbledon hype about Hurkacz after an underwhelming clay swing culminated in a first-round exit at the French Open and his losing streak extended to six matches with first-up defeats at the Stuttgart and Halle Opens.
But he powered past the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time with straight-sets wins over Lorenzo Musetti, Marcos Giron and Alexander Bublik. Hurkacz then stunned second seed Daniil Medvedev in the fourth round, clawing back from two sets to one done and winning in five.
Fed Express moves past early jitters
Federer’s campaign is gathering impressive steam. After Adrian Mannarino retired in the first round with the match tied at two sets apiece, the sixth seed made short work of Richard Gasquet and overcame in-form Brit Cameron Norrie in four.
Lorenzo Sonego, the 23rd seed, could only win 11 games and convert one break in a straight-sets loss to Federer in the fourth round.
Turning 40 next month, Federer is now the oldest man to reach the Wimbledon quarters in the Open era. It’s also his record 58th Grand Slam quarter-final. The eight-time champ has been stopped before the semis in just four of the last 17 Wimbledons, including only one of the last six.
Hurkacz has faced Federer once previously. He went down in the quarters at Indian Wells in 2019 in straight sets.
Working in Federer’s favour is the fact Hurkacz needed two days to win his five-setter against Medvedev. Federer should be well-rested and his vast experience on the big stage – as well as improving form and all-time greatness – should see him through to a semi-final date with either Matteo Berrettini or Felix Auger Aliassime. I’m expecting the Swiss maestro to fly out of the blocks and get it done in straight sets.
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