Wimbledon R4 previews: Djokovic vs. Haas, Janowicz vs. Melzer, Kubot vs. Mannarino

Despite all the carnage at Wimbledon, there is at least one expected fourth-round matchup on Monday’s jam-packed schedule–Novak Djokovic vs. Tommy Haas. Jerzy Janowicz, Jurgen Melzer, Lukasz Kubot, and Adrian Mannarino are also looking for spots in the quarterfinals.

(1) Novak Djokovic vs. (13) Tommy Haas

Djokovic and Haas will be squaring off for the ninth time in their careers, the fifth time in the last 10 months, and the third time this season when they clash in the Wimbledon fourth round on Monday. The head-to-head series stands at 5-3 in Djokovic’s favor, but Haas is 2-0 lifetime against the Serb on grass and they have split their two 2013 encounters. Haas rolled 6-2, 6-4 in round four of the Miami Masters before Djokovic prevailed 6-3, 7-6(5), 7-5 in the French Open quarterfinals.

Both men are playing incredible tennis at the moment. Haas is 30-11 for the season and he is up to No. 13 in the world. The 35-year-old German dismissed both Dmitry Tursunov and Jimmy Wang in straight sets to begin his campaign at the All-England Club before overcoming Feliciano Lopez in four sets on Saturday. While Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and other top players have crashed out, Djokovic has simply been in cruise control. The world No. 1 did not drop a set in victories over Florian Mayer, Bobby Reynolds, and Jeremy Chardy to book his place in the last 16. Djokovic is now 36-5 for the year, which features the Australian Open among his three titles.

Haas will take confidence from his current form and his grass-court history against Djokovic (2009 wins in Halle and at Wimbledon). However, this is a different Djokovic who committed a mere three unforced errors against Chardy (yes, the stat-keepers are extremely generous, but it was still a near-flawless performance). The top seed is moving better than anyone else on tour and he is serving incredibly well, factors that will both put pressure on Haas every time he toes the line for a service game of his own. Quality-wise this should be the best match of the day, but it may not go past the three-set mark.

Pick: Djokovic 6-3, 7-6(4), 6-4

(24) Jerzy Janowicz vs. Jurgen Melzer

Melzer and Janowicz will be facing each other the first time in their careers on Monday. Janowicz has been inconsistent for much of 2013 in the aftermath of his breakout last fall at the Paris Masters, but some decent results include a quarterfinal appearance in Rome and a third-round showing at the French Open. The 22nd-ranked Pole also reached the last 32 at the All-England Club in 2012 and he has already clinched his best-ever Grand Slam result by taking out Kyle Edmund, Radek Stepanek, and Nicolas Almagro without dropping a single set.

Melzer dismissed both Fabio Fognini and Julian Reister in four sets before getting to play Sergiy Stakhovsky instead of Federer. The 32-year-old Austrian ended the Ukrainian’s run in four sets on Friday to book his place in the last 16 at the All-England Club for the second time (2010). Melzer is 18-17 for the season, which includes a quarterfinal run at the Miami Masters. The underdog’s lefty game could trouble Janowicz, just as it did Stakhovsky. Still, Janowicz boasts a massive game that can do damage on grass and he mixes in some impressive touch along with his serve and forehand.

Pick: Janowicz in 4

Lukasz Kubot vs. Adrian Mannarino

Mannarino and Kubot will also be going head-to-head for the first time in their careers on Monday. Both players have been the beneficiary of good fortune so far at the All-England Club. Mannarino destroyed clay-courter Pablo Andujar in his opener before getting a retirement from John Isner at 1-1 in the first set. The 111th-ranked Frenchman then faced Dustin Brown instead of Stanislas Wawrinka or Lleyton Hewitt and he promptly disposed of the qualifier in straight sets.

Instead of going up against Rafael Nadal in the second round, Kubot was scheduled to play Steve Darcis–who stunned Nadal on day one. That match never even happened, because Darcis withdrew due to a shoulder injury. Like Mannarino, Kubot has been required to win just six sets while losing none (he beat both Igor Andreev and Benoit Paire in straights). The 130th-ranked Pole is still a mere 7-11 for the year. This is one of the most shocking fourth-round matchups in Grand Slam history, as Mannarino had been a horrendous 0-4 at the ATP level in 2013 prior to this fortnight. Kubot’s aggressive game can work well on grass and he has experience in the last 16 of majors (2010 Australian Open, 2011 Wimbledon), so he should have a slight edge based on experience.

Pick: Kubot in 4

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