Wimbledon R3 previews and picks: Haas vs. Lopez, Seppi vs. Nishikori

Veterans Tommy Haas and Feliciano Lopez will continue their Wimbledon campaigns on Saturday. Kei Nishikori and Andreas Seppi are also looking for a place in the fourth round.

Feliciano Lopez vs. (13) Tommy Haas

Lopez and Haas will be going head-to-head for the third time in their careers and for the first time in more than nine years when they collide in the Wimbledon third round on Saturday. They were supposed to meet earlier this season in Memphis, but a Lopez walkover means they have not met since Halle in 2004. Haas has won both of their previous encounters; 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 at the 2002 French Open and 6-3, 6-4 in Halle.

Both players are in outstanding form at the moment. For Lopez, it is a recent development. The 32nd-ranked Spaniard had a grand total of five wins this season prior to the French Open, but he reached the third round at Roland Garros, qualified for Queen’s Club and made it to the third round, and captured the Eastbourne title. So far at the All-England Club he has taken out Gilles Simon and Paul-Henri Mathieu without losing a set. Haas, of course, has been on fire since last spring. The 35-year-old German is 29-11 for his 2013 campaign and he is up to No. 13 in the world. A quarterfinalist at the French Open, Haas has dismissed both Dmitry Tursunov and Jimmy Wang in straight sets at Wimbledon.

The good news for Lopez is that his confidence is back and he is a force on grass (Wimbledon quarterfinalist in 2005, 2008, and 2011). That being said, his competition of late has been lackluster at best (best wins since the start of the French Open are against Simon–twice). Haas represents a major step up in competition, plus he is quietly accomplished on the green stuff (Wimbledon semifinalist in 2009, two-time Halle champion). Count on Lopez showcasing flashes of brilliance, whereas Haas will turn in another consistent performance from start to finish.

Pick: Haas in 4

(12) Kei Nishikori vs. (23) Andreas Seppi

Nishikori and Seppi will be squaring off for the second time in their careers on Saturday. Their only previous contest came two years ago on the indoor hard courts of Basel, where Nishikori prevailed 6-3, 7-6(4). Japan’s top player is up to No. 11 in the world thanks in part to a 24-10 record for the season. He won the Memphis title and reached the fourth round at each of the first two Grand Slams. So far at Wimbledon, Nishikori has dismissed both Matthew Ebden and Leonardo Mayer in straight sets.

Seppi is struggling to build on an awesome 2012 campaign, but he is slowly rounding into form. The 28th-ranked Italian advanced two rounds at Roland Garros before making it to the Eastbourne semifinals. Seppi opened at Wimbledon with a five-set scalp of Denis Istomin and he followed that up by getting a second-set retirement from Michael Llodra (Seppi took the first 7-5). Both players are hoping to reach the fourth round of this event for the first time. Seppi is through to the third round for the third time in nine appearances while Nishikori is back in the last 32 for the second time in five trips. This should be a prolonged baseline battle, with a slight edge going to the 12th seed due to superior firepower from the back of the court.

Pick: Nishikori in 5

1 Comment on Wimbledon R3 previews and picks: Haas vs. Lopez, Seppi vs. Nishikori

  1. I actually like the momentum that Lopez has right now, and am picking him in 4. Nkori also looking great this year and should win.

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