Wimbledon R2 previews and predictions: Ferrer vs. Mahut, Cilic vs. Stakhovsky

Serve-and-volleyers may be a dying breed, but two of them have taken advantage of the grass-court surface at Wimbledon to reach the second round. Nicolas Mahut is facing David Ferrer on Wednesday, while Sergiy Stakhovsky is going up against Marin Cilic.

Nicolas Mahut vs. (13) David Ferrer

Ferrer and Mahut will be going head-to-head for the second time in their careers when they clash in round two of Wimbledon on Wednesday. Their only previous encounter came five years ago on the indoor hard courts of the Paris Masters, where Ferrer got the job done 6-4, 6-4. Mahut does not have home-court advantage this time around, but he certainly owns the benefit of a grass-court surface. All six of the 34-year-old’s ATP finals and all four of his titles have come on the green stuff, including three winner’s trophies from ‘s-Hertogenbosch–all within the last four seasons. Mahut, of course, is also famous for playing the longest match in the history of tennis against John Isner six years ago at the All-England Club–during which both men went on streaks of 84 consecutive service holds.

The world No. 51 opened on Monday with a 7-6(0), 6-4, 6-4 defeat of British wild card Brydan Klein, while Ferrer also got a favorable draw against grass-court novice Dudi Sela and dominated 6-2, 6-1, 6-1. Ferrer needs all the help he can get these days, as the 34-year-old Spaniard is just 23-13 this season and has dipped to 14th in the rankings. Following a routine fourth-round French Open loss to Tomas Berdych, Ferrer fell in the ‘s-Hertogenbosch quarterfinals to Gilles Muller and in the Halle opening round to Andreas Seppi. This is a great opportunity for Mahut to offer a free grass-court lesson and pick up a big victory over a top 15 opponent at a Grand Slam.

Pick: Mahut in 4

(9) Marin Cilic vs. Sergiy Stakhovsky

Like Mahut, Stakhovsky is no stranger to success on grass–specifically at Wimbledon. The Ukrainian upset Roger Federer in 2013 on his way to the third round and he also advanced to the last 32 in 2015. Struggling down at No. 94 in the world right now, the 30-year-old lost in the second round in Stuttgart and Halle but recovered to beat Yoshihito Nishioka 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 on Monday.
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Up next for Stakhovsky is a fifth career meeting with Cilic, who is sweeping the head-to-head series 3-0 at the ATP level and 4-0 overall. They most recently faced each other on the hard courts of Chennai in 2013, when Cilic prevailed 4-6, 6-2, 6-3. The 13th-ranked Croat is a disappointing 20-13 this season, which includes a quarterfinal showing in Indian Wells and runner-up performances in Marseille and Geneva. He is coming off a solid semifinal finish at Queen’s Club, where he succumbed to eventual champion Andy Murray 6-3, 4-6, 6-3. With momentum in hand, Cilic eased past Brian Baker 6-3, 7-5, 6-3 in his opener at the All-England Club. This should be a high-quality affair on grass, but the ninth seed is likely to maintain his head-to-head mastery of Stakhovsky.

Pick: Cilic in 4

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