Novak Djokovic looks to extend his slam winning streak to 17 matches on Friday afternoon, taking on Denis Kudla in what should be a fairly routine match for the the World No.1. Djokovic remains the one to beat and is favoured as of now to win the tournament for the third time in a row. Awaiting the winner of this one will one of two players more familiar with the clay in Christian Garin or Pedro Martinez.
Kudla plays a counterpunching style that along with great athleticism, had served him fairly well as he made the top 60 a few years back. He has fallen back a bit in recent times but the grass has revitalised him. He made the final at Nottingham Challenger before qualifying for this tournament, backing that up with a five set win over No. 30 seed Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the opening round.
Djokovic did not put on a serving show in round two like he did against Jack Draper but it was a remarkable performance nonetheless against Kevin Anderson. He hit just six unforced errors in the 6-3 6-3 6-3 win over the South African while dealing well with the Anderson serve in his return games. “Making as few unforced errors as possible was one of the tactical goals today. I knew Kevin was going to serve big, I wouldn’t have too many chances to break. So I might as well try to play solid but not too risky, and I did much better than I thought I would. I mean, I believe in myself but it was almost flawless.” An extremely pleased Djokovic said afterwards.
Djokovic looks unstoppable right now and should make short work of Kudla, especially with the American not boasting the greatest of serves compared to his previous opponents. As it stands, the slippery Centre Court grass would appear to be his biggest roadblock on the way to the title.
Prediction – Novak Djokovic in straight sets