By: Ben Raby (www.twitter.com/benraby31)
Images by: Camerawork USA
Manic Monday has arrived with several Citi Open headliners in action today as the second week begins in earnest at Wimbledon.
Widely regarded as one of the greatest days on the tennis calendar, every Round-of-16 match in both the men’s and women’s draws will be played today at the All-England Club.
On the men’s side, six of the eight singles matches will feature a Citi Open headliner, as Kei Nishikori, Milos Raonic, David Goffin, Benoit Paire, Ugo Humbert and American Sam Querrey all look to secure a berth in the quarterfinals.
In the women’s draw, Citi Open commit Barbora Strycova will look to match her best Grand Slam result and advance to the Final-8.
Round 4 begins Monday at 6:00 a.m. EST.
Below are five Citi Open storylines ahead of third-round play at the All-England Club:
NISHIKORI REACHES ROUND 4 WITH MILESTONE WIN
Fresh off earning the 400th win of his ATP career, No. 8 Kei Nishikori will have history on his side Monday.
Nishikori, who will be looking to advance to the quarterfinals for the fifth consecutive Major tournament, faces Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan in the Round of 16.
Nishikori has owned the head-to-head series, having won all eight of their prior meetings, including each of the last six in straight sets.
The 2015 Citi Open champion improved to 5-0 lifetime against American Steve Johnson with a straight sets win in Round 3 on Saturday.
After earning a pair of five-set victories at the French Open last month, Nishikori said before Wimbledon that he was hoping to spend less time on the court at the All-England Club, particularly during the first week.
Nishikori has made good on his word so far, winning each of his three matches in straight sets while averaging fewer than two hours on court per match.
All signs are pointing towards a fresh and determined Nishikori entering the second week.
RAONIC CRUISES INTO FOURTH ROUND:
Canadian Milos Raonic is no stranger to deep runs at Wimbledon and the 2014 Citi Open champion is at it again at SW19. The No. 15 seed beat American Reilly Opelka in straight sets in their third-round match on Friday, winning 93% of his first serve points.
Raonic and Roger Federer are the only players to reach the Round-of-16 in the men’s draw in each of the last four years.
Raonic, who reached the semifinals at Wimbledon in 2014 and was the runner-up in 2016, has won each of his first three matches in straight-sets.
The top-ranked Canadian will next face No. 26 Guido Pella of Argentina. This will be their first head-to-head meeting. Pella is fresh off an upset of No. 4 Kevin Anderson in the third round.
AN ALL-AMERICAN ROUND 4 TILT:
Not unlike Nishikori and Raonic, Sam Querrey is also in a familiar spot as the American looks to reach the Wimbledon quarters for the third time in four years.
Querrey’s road to Round of 16 has included a first-round upset of No. 5 Dominic Thiem as well as straight-set triumphs over Andrey Rublev and John Millman.
Querrey fired 27 of his tournament-high 75 aces as he beat Millman 7-6(3), 7-6(10), 6-3 in their third-round match Saturday. Querrey had to dig deep and save a pair of set points in the marathon second-set tiebreak.
The 31-year-old has now won seven of his last eight matches overall, including a run to the Eastbourne final just before Wimbledon.
He’ll next face countryman Tennys Sandgren in an All-American fourth-round showdown. This will be their first career meeting.
GOFFIN RALLIES PAST MEDVEDEV IN FIVE-SET MARATHON:
No. 21 David Goffin showed tremendous fight in his third-round match as he rallied from a 4-1 fifth-set deficit en route to a victory over fellow Citi Open headliner and No.11 seed Daniil Medvedev.
Goffin ultimately took one of the best matches of the third round by a 4-6, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 score in 3 hours 30 minutes.
“I had the energy to fight, to come back and I think that was the key,” Goffin told reporters. “It was tough to finish, but such a nice battle and I’m really proud of the way I fought today.”
Despite falling in the third round, Medvedev is in position to crack the ATP’s Top-10 for the first time in his career provided no player ranked below him reaches the Wimbledon final.
Goffin, who will be competing in Washington for the third time in his career later this month, faces Fernando Verdasco of Spain in the Round of 16. The winner could face No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals.
STRYCOVA PULLS OFF UPSET TO REACH ROUND 4:
Competing at Wimbledon for the 17th time in her pro career, tour vet and Citi Open commit Barbora Strycova is on the verge of matching her best result at a Major.
The Czech native has yet to drop a set through three rounds after defeating No. 4 Kiki Bertens 7-5, 6-1 on Saturday. Strycova, 33, will next face No. 21 Elise Bertens with a berth in the quarterfinals at stake.
Strycova last reached the Final-8 at Wimbledon in 2014. Should she advance to the quarters this week, she would either face No. 6 Petra Kvitova or No. 19 Johanna Konta.
SEE YOU AT THE CITI OPEN:
Below are the Citi Open headliners who will take to the court on Wimbledon’s Manic Monday:
No. 8 Kei Nishikori (JPN) vs Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ)
No. 15 Milos Raonic (CAN) vs No. 26 Guido Pella (ARG)
No. 21 David Goffin (BEL) vs Fernando Verdasco (ESP)
No. 28 Benoit Paire (FRA) vs No. 23 Roberto Bautista-Agut (ESP)
Sam Querrey (USA) vs Tennys Sandgren (USA)
Ugo Humbert (FRA) vs No. 1 Novak Djokovic
WTA: Barbora Strycova (CZ) vs No. 21 Elise Mertens (BEL)