Djokovic Wary Of Tsonga Threat: Wimbledon Round Of 16 Preview
Wimbledon, Great Britain
by ATP Staff|
Former Wimbledon champions Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray lead the charge in the top half of the draw, with former semi-finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and rising sensation Grigor Dimitrov also looking to make their mark on SW19 this fortnight.
“I know what threat he can cause on this surface,” Djokovic said of facing Tsonga ahead of their blockbuster Round of 16 clash on Monday.
Djokovic has won the previous 10 FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings, dating back to their four-set semi-final affair at the 2011 edition of The Championships, but the Serb understands how dangerous the Frenchman can be. “I expect him to serve well. I think that's his advantage. Obviously the serve in any corner. Coming to the net, he's a very aggressive player. If he's on, if he feels good on the certain day, he can beat anybody really.”
Watch Wimbledon 2011 Djokovic-Tsonga Semi-final Highlights
The top seed and 2011 Wimbledon champion Djokovic is bidding to reach the quarter-finals for the 21st straight Grand Slam and sixth consecutive Wimbledon. He currently occupies third place for the most consecutive quarter-final appearances at majors, behind Roger Federer (36) and Jimmy Connors (27).
Tsonga, a two-time semi-finalist at the All England Club (2011, ‘12) is bidding to become just the fifth player to hand Djokovic multiple Grand Slam defeats, joining Rafael Nadal (9), Roger Federer (6), Murray (2) and Marat Safin (2).
“It's going to be a new opportunity for me to play against one of the best players in the world,” said Tsonga. “That's what I'm looking for to make me a better player.”
Defending champion Murray, who is riding a 16-match win streak at the All England Club, will need to overcome big-serving Anderson if he is to reach the Wimbledon quarter-finals for the seventh successive year. Murray has dropped a mere 19 games in reaching the Round of 16 – the fewest he has ever dropped in reaching this stage at Wimbledon – and will hope to continue that form when he takes to Centre Court on Monday.
The South African Anderson is looking to become the first man from his country to reach the quarter-finals at SW19 since Wayne Ferreira in 1994. He reached the fourth round for the first time in six appearances with a five-set victory over Fabio Fognini on Friday.
“It will be a great experience for me,” said Anderson on facing Murray for a berth in his first Grand Slam quarter-final. “It's why I play this game, to play the greats, and at such a big tournament.”
Dimitrov and Mayer will square off for the first time with a berth in a maiden Wimbledon quarter-final on the line.
Dimitrov, who became the first Bulgarian to reach the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam at the 2014 Australian Open, will seek to extend his career-high win streak to nine, having claimed the Aegon Championships crown at Queen’s Club two weeks ago.
Mayer, meanwhile, continued his dream Wimbledon run with a straight-set victory over Andrey Kuznetsov in the third round. The 27 year old entered the fortnight with a 6-11 FedEx Win-Loss mark on grass and is now one of just five Argentines to reach the Round of 16 at The Championships since 1979, joining Juan Martin del Potro, David Nalbandian, Guillermo Coria and Guillermo Canas. A win over Dimitrov would give him his third victory over Top 20 opposition in 31 such encounters.
“Everyone is fighting to get further in the tournament,” said Dimitrov of Mayer. “The one thing is I'm not planning on underestimating my opponent.”
Cilic and Chardy meet for the first time in five years, when the Frenchman bested the World No. 29 in three sets on the clay of Munich, at the 2009 BMW Open by FWU AG.
Cilic is bidding to become the fourth Croat to reach the quarter-finals here at Wimbledon. Goran Ivanisevic (1994-96, 1998, 2001), Mario Ancic (2004, 2006, 2008) and Ivo Karlovic (2009) are the only Croatian men to reach the last eight at SW19.
By reaching the Round of 16 here, Cilic has equaled his best Wimbledon performance. He also progressed to the fourth round in 2008 (l. to Clement) and 2012 (l. to Murray). This is his eighth consecutive appearance at Wimbledon.
The 2005 Wimbledon boys’ champion Chardy is no stranger to the second week of a Grand Slam. A quarter-finalist at the 2013 Australian Open, the former World No. 25 is enjoying his best run on the lawns of the All England Club in reaching the fourth round.