Wimbledon Day 3 picks, including Thiem vs. Verdasco and Raonic vs. Haas

Ricky Dimon of The Grandstand and Pete Ziebron of Tennis Acumen preview and pick the four best men’s singles matches on Wednesday at Wimbledon. The schedule includes a second-round showdown between Dominic Thiem and Fernando Verdasco.

Fernando Verdasco vs. (32) Dominic Thiem

Ricky: Of all the five-set thrillers on opening day at the All-England Club, Verdasco played the longest (at least in terms of number of games in the decider). The Spaniard outlasted Martin Klizan 13-11 in the fifth after three hours and 57 minutes. A grass-court novice by comparison, Thiem took care of Dudi Sela in four after dropping the first set. Verdasco has plenty of experience recovering from five-setters and he should be fine physically with a day off in between matches. On any other surface the nod might go to Thiem, but Verdasco is 21-12 lifetime at Wimbledon with a quarterfinal and three other fourth-round showings. Verdasco 5-7, 7-6(4), 6-3, 2-6, 6-4.

Pete: In looking at the draw initially, I thought that the winner of the Verdasco-Klizan match in the opening round would have a somewhat easy passage into the third round. Verdasco outlasted Klizan 13-11 in the fifth to set up an encounter with Thiem. It was just two years ago that Verdasco held a two sets to love lead in the Wimbledon quarterfinals against eventual champion Andy Murray. Meanwhile, Thiem notched just the second win of his career on grass on Monday against the veteran Sela. Experience will win out big as Thiem bows out to the Spaniard, who is 10 years his senior. Verdasco 6-3, 6-4, 7-5.
(PR) Tommy Haas vs. (7) Milos Raonic
Ricky: Playing in just his third tournament of the season (all on grass) since returning from another extended layoff due to a shoulder injury, Haas did well to routine Dusan Lajovic in four sets on Monday. With physical problems of his own in the recent past, Raonic is competing in just his second event since early May. At 37 years old, Haas may be putting more and more straight on his right shoulder with each passing match. Raonic, on the other hand, will only be regaining momentum as he gets some matches under his belt. The Canadian should be much-improved from his four-set victory over Daniel Gimeno-Traver in the first round. Raonic 7-6(5), 6-4, 7-6(6).

Pete: Wow! Raonic taking on Haas in the second round of Wimbledon, with the winner most likely playing Nick Kyrgios in the next round…. This section of the draw is special indeed. Despite playing well to begin 2015, Raonic’s momentum seemed to stall following a semifinal appearance at Indian Wells. In addition, he missed Roland Garros due to injury and suffered an uncharacteristic loss on grass to Gilles Simon at Queen’s Club. The 37-year-old Haas has seemingly and very unfortunately meandered on and off the injury shelf for the majority of his career. He finally returned to action in Stuttgart for the first time since a first-round retirement at Roland Garros last year. Haas will battle hard but Raonic has less rust in his game. Raonic 6-4, 7-6(3), 5-7, 6-3.

(11) Grigor Dimitrov vs. Steve Johnson

Ricky: In 19 previous Grand Slam appearance, Dimitrov had lost in the first round on eight occasions. At the same time, though, he also delivered a quarterfinal (2014 Australian Open) and semifinal (2014 Wimbledon). In other words, it seems to be a bit of an all-or-nothing situation for the Bulgarian in majors. He is through the opening round this fortnight after disposing of Federico Delbonis 6-3, 6-4, 6-0. Johnson will obviously be a much tougher opponent on grass, but the slick stuff is still by no means the American’s favorite surface. Dimitrov 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Pete: In the second round Dimitrov does not have the luxury of playing an opponent whose Wimbledon preparation included playing (and winning) a Challenger on clay in Italy the week (actually the day) before The Championships. Instead, Dimitrov will face Johnson, who dug deep to rally from a two sets to one deficit to advance to the second round. Dimitrov, a semifinalist here last year, finds himself in a manageable portion of the draw in the early rounds. Last year, the Bulgarian ended Murray’s run with a straight-set win in the quarterfinals. Dimitrov has his sights set the second week of the tournament and he will dismiss Johnson while concurrently showing flashes of his impressive run one year ago. Dimitrov 6-4, 6-3, 4-6, 7-5.

(WC) Denis Kudla vs. Alexander Zverev

Ricky: Perhaps no unseeded player has more momentum right now than Kudla. The 22-year-old American earned a wild card into the main draw by reaching the finals of two consecutive Challenger tournaments on grass earlier this month, losing to Matthew Ebden in the first before beating Ebden in the second. Kudla then recovered from two sets to love down to upset Pablo Cuevas on Monday. Zverev is also coming off a five-setter, as he outlasted Teymuraz Gabashvili in round one. The 74th-ranked German may have more upside and long-term potential, but for the time being Kudla is just on fire on grass. Kudla 3-6, 6-2, 6-3, 7-6(4).

Pete: Both Kudla and Zverev beat guys ranked ahead of them on Monday and in both cases won their first-round matches in five sets. The American came into Wimbledon the winner of nine of his last 10 matches on grass as he reached the finals of consecutive Challengers, facing Ebden in both. Zverev played all three weeks on grass leading up to The Championships, winning at least one match at each event. Playing ATP events over the last month has better prepared Zverev–a German whose ATP sibling was born in Russia–to be able to defeat the American originally from Ukraine. The upward trajectory for Zverev will continue. Zverev 7-6(4), 6-2, 6-4.

28 Comments on Wimbledon Day 3 picks, including Thiem vs. Verdasco and Raonic vs. Haas

  1. I think that Zverev should use the good draw and win this one too, but than again Kudla has more matches on grass thus far. It will be an interesting match up…maybe a 5 setter again.

  2. Will this match prove to be a foretaste big rivalry in the future? I’ve not seen Kudla play but have watched the talented younger Zverev with keen interest.

    Zverev in 5

  3. Thanks for those entertaining write-ups…sounds like some fun matches. I like Kudla and Johnson.

  4. I woke up to hear about Nishi pulling out of Wimbledon because of the calf injury. Too bad he can’t stay healthy.

  5. That is what they were saying on ESPN. This will be a good opportunity for Cilic now. I would think that section of the draw has opened up considerably. Nishi was scheduled to play on Center Court, they said. The guy just can’t stay healthy.

    I see that Raonic seems to have bounced back nicely from the foot problem. He’s looking good.

  6. Converts on his fifth mp. Not pretty in the end but got it done.

    Needs to be much more consistent to match last year’s semis result.

  7. Berankis just took the second set after Cilic won the first set. This match got interesting.

  8. Is anyone watching the Cilic/Berankis match? This is really something. Berankis has played extremely well and is giving Cilic all he can handle. Berankis won the fourth set to take it to a fifth set. This is a good one!

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