In what looks to be the pick of the middle Sunday’s men’s matches, one-time finalist Tomas Berdych will face Alexander Zverev in what could well turn out to be a thriller. The match is slated to close out proceedings on Centre Court, although that could change if further scheduling alterations are made.
There has been little trouble for Berdych in his first two rounds with wins over Ivan Dodig and Benjamin Becker, the latter of which took him just 84 minutes. There were question marks after he lost his only grass warm up match to Marcos Baghdatis although neither of those opponents really have enough to trouble Berdych in best of five unless he has a disastrous day.
Berdych recognises that his next opponent can be tricky despite the 3-0 head to head he holds over the 19 year old already. All three of those matches were played on hard courts including one best of five match in the Davis Cup this year, which Zverev lost from 2-1 up.
“With Sascha (Zverev) I was playing some good battles. I mean, all of them went on the good side for me, but obviously he’s a young kid and he’s improving week by week.” said Berdych when asked of his opponent.
Their last match should indicate that Zverev is nudging ever closer to the second tier of top players that includes Berdych. The German has moved from No.83 to inside the top 30 since the start of the year and already has six top 20 wins, including one over Roger Federer in Halle a few weeks back. Zverev had to gut it out against an experienced opponent in Mikhail Youzhny in the last round, closing it out 6-2 in the fifth on Saturday.
After the shock loss of heavy favourite Novak Djokovic, many players eyes will have lit up at the opportunity for success without the dominant world No.1. However, these two players are on the opposite side and may still have to make it past another former champion in Andy Murray to make the final.
Prediction – Tomas Berdych in five sets