Wimbledon R3 previews and picks: Gasquet vs. Tomic, Berdych vs. Anderson

Bernard Tomic will try to build on what has already been a successful Wimbledon campaign when he takes the court against Richard Gasquet during third-round action on Saturday. Familiar foes Tomas Berdych and Kevin Anderson are also bidding for a spot in the second week.

(9) Richard Gasquet vs. Bernard Tomic

Tomic and Gasquet will be going head-to-head for the third time in their careers and for the third time in the last nine months when they do battle in the Wimbledon third round on Saturday. Gasquet has won both of their previous encounters; 7-6(5), 6-4 last fall in Bangkok and 7-6(1), 6-2 earlier this season at the Indian Wells Masters.

Finally showing signs of emerging from an extended slump both on and off the tennis court, Tomic reached the quarterfinals in Eastbourne and he now finds himself back in the last 32 at the All-England Club. The 59th-ranked Australian kicked off his week with a 7-6(6), 7-6(3), 3-6, 2-6, 6-3 victory over Sam Querrey before beating James Blake, another American, 6-3, 6-4, 7-5 on Thursday. Gasquet has also dropped two sets so far, one in each of his first two matches. The ninth-ranked Frenchman took care of Marcel Granollers then held off Go Soeda in the second round. He is an outstanding 32-10 for the year, which includes titles in Doha and Montpellier and a semifinal run in Miami.

Additionally, their past history at Wimbledon also suggests a high-quality affair is in the cards. Tomic is a former quarterfinalist (2011) while Gasquet has been to the fourth round three straight times and he went all the way to the semifinals in 2007. The No. 9 seed is a considerable favorite on paper, but he has not been dominant this week and he is going up against an opponent whose funky game thrives on grass. Still, Gasquet represents a big step up in competition from Querrey and Blake, and Tomic–despite his ever-present confidence–may not be ready to go from zero to hero in the span of a few weeks following a dismal stretch.

Pick: Gasquet in 5

(27) Kevin Anderson vs. (7) Tomas Berdych

The record-setting pace of Berdych vs. Anderson matches will continue when another installment takes place at the All-England Club on Saturday. Berdych is dominating the head-to-head series by a perfect 8-0 and all eight of their previous meetings have come since the start of the 2012 Australian Open. Things have been getting worse and worse by the moment for Anderson, who extended his nemesis to five sets at last year’s French Open but is currently in the midst of an 11-set losing streak. Berdych took the last two sets of the 2012 Paris Masters encounter and he is 4-0 overall against Anderson (9-0 in sets) this year.

Against many others, however, Anderson has been plenty successful of late. The 6’7” South African boasts a 27-12 record for the season, which features runner-up finishes in Sydney and Casablanca plus fourth-round showings at each of the first two majors. Anderson has taken out both Olivier Rochus and Michal Przysiezny in straight sets so far this week. Berdych is also flawless through two rounds, having blazed past Martin Klizan and Daniel Brands. The sixth-ranked Czech appears to be bouncing back nicely from a first-round French Open setback against Gael Monfils and a Queen’s Club quarterfinal loss to Marin Cilic. He is a stellar 33-12 for the year.

The problem for Anderson is that Berdych is simply a better version of himself. They employ similar tactics, but Berdych does everything with more firepower and he also showcases superior movement around the court. A slick grass surface will help Anderson take some of those factors out of the equation simply by serving huge and ending points before they even start. As such, the underdog may be able to power his way to a set. Still, this has more one-way traffic written all over it.

Pick: Berdych in 4

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