Top seed Novak Djokovic continues the chase for a fourth straight Wimbledon on Sunday afternoon, closing out the first Middle Sunday on Centre Court against Tim Van Rijthoven. The Dutchman has been one of the stars of the grass season, making the fourth round at his very first slam and being handsomely rewarded for it.
From losing a first round qualifying match at Surbiton, Van Rijthoven has been on a tear on the grass. He won Rosmalen with one of the best runs at a 250 in recent times – beating the top three seeds (Medvedev, Fritz, Auger Aliassime) on his way to the title as a wildcard. He has continued that form by knocking off two more seeds in Reilly Opelka and Nikoloz Basilashvili to get to this stage.
“I think I’ve been playing better and better as the tournament progresses. That’s obviously something that you always wish for as a player, that every match that you play you raise the level of tennis up a notch at least, and I think that is what is happening at the moment.” Djokovic said after beating fellow Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic in round three. After a relatively average first round victory, Djokovic has definitely stepped things up as the week has gone on.
Van Rijthoven is on fire at the moment and if he is ever going to beat the six-time champion, this will be the moment. He hasn’t shied away on the big stage in his performances so far but Djokovic is so far ahead of the field on slow grass, he will need up to five sets of brilliance to have any of a chance. The Dutchman’s backhand is lacking and Djokovic should be able to pick it apart with increasing ease as the match goes on.
Prediction – Novak Djokovic in straight sets
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About Aaron Higgs
Experienced tennis writer with a focus on event previews and results.