It's really starting to get interesting at the 2014 Wimbledon Championships.
Not only is this one of the year's most prestigious tournaments, but it also happens to be one of the most dramatic.
Due to such a strong field, we've already seen some of the world's top-ranked players make early exits from the tournament.
No. 7 David Ferrer was ousted by Andrey Kuznetsov on Wednesday, and No. 12 Ernests Gulbis shared the same fate at the hands of Sergiy Stakhovsky. On the women's side, No. 8 Victoria Azarenka and No. 12 Flavia Pennetta also failed to advance.
With a bevy of the world's most talented players still competing for spots in the third round on Day 4, we can certainly expect so see more of the same drama-filled action.
Let's take a look at Thursday's full schedule and predict how a few of the most prominent matches will unfold.
Day 3 Schedule
|2014 Wimbledon Day 4 Schedule|
|Date||Time (ET)||Event||TV Info|
|Thu, June 26||7 a.m.-11:30 a.m.||Early Round Action||ESPN|
|11:30 a.m.-4 p.m.||Early Round Action||ESPNEWS|
|2 p.m.-3:30 p.m.||Early Round Action||ESPN2|
The complete order of play can be found at Wimbledon.com.
Day 3 Predictions
(2) Rafael Nadal vs. Lukas Rosol
Based on the history between these two players, we should be in for a very intriguing match.
In 2012, Rosol defeated Nadal in the second round at Wimbledon in five sets. Well, it just so happens they meet in the same scenario once again in 2014.
Nadal defeated Martin Klizan in Round 1 despite an average performance, but the No. 2 seed still delighted the crowd with moments like this:
During a press conference after his win, he was asked if he had learned from his previous match against Rosol:
No, I lost. I lost because he's a good player. He's a player that can play very well on this surface. He's an aggressive player. It will be a tough match again. I know if I want to have chances to win, I need to play very well. That's what I'm going to try. If not, I don't have chances to be in the third round. But I'm going to fight for it.
Fight may be the key word for Nadal. After all, Rosol disposed of Benoit Paire in four sets during Round 1 and looked in good form.
Although, lightning won't strike twice here. Nadal is playing well enough to advance, even though Rosol should give him a little bit of trouble.
Prediction: Nadal def. Rosol; 6-4, 6-3, 4-6, 7-5
(1) Serena Williams vs. Chanelle Scheepers
After Williams' devastating early exit at Roland Garros, she entered Wimbledon with a bit of a chip on her shoulder.
It's almost easy to feel sorry for first-round opponent Anna Tatishvili, who Williams destroyed to the tune of 6-1, 6-2.
After her Round 1 victory, Williams had this simple statement in a press conference:
"Whenever I slip, I try to get up. That really, really motivates me."
Now, Williams carries that fire and momentum to the second round against Scheepers.
Scheepers looked solid in her opening match against American Christina McHale. The Russian defeated her opponent 6-3, 6-3 to move on in the tournament.
Still, Williams is on a rampage, and it appears she won't stop until another major title is acquired. A simple look at this video from ESPN Tennis gives a glimpse into how much Williams is pushing herself right now:
If she's delivering that kind of play in her doubles matches, just imagine what Scheepers is in for on Thursday during their singles bout.
Prediction: Williams def. Scheepers; 6-2, 6-2
(4) Roger Federer vs. Gilles Muller
We already know how magnificent Federer can be on grass. He showed that during another victory in Halle this year and once more in the first round at Wimbledon.
Federer has employed a new tactic of relying more on serves and volleys—something that helped him earn another title at Halle. Expect to see more of the same against Muller in Round 2 at the All England Club.
During a press conference, Federer explained his intentions:
As a traditional serve and volley player, which I'm not clearly any more, they're (opponents) used to taking return winners, passing shots.
It's the overall picture you have to be able to see, that it's worth it.
It's putting the pressure on the opponent, knowing that any short ball will be attacked, there will be not too much rhythm out there unless you decide you want it as a serve and volley player.
It's part of the whole serve and volley idea. It’s not just trying to serve and volley some more. It's really the bigger picture.
That's where you have to take some passing shots.
You have to be willing to dig deep on the volleys and not only think 'Only if I have high volleys it's good, otherwise if I have to volley deep I’m in trouble and lose the point every single time.'
I think there's a way to do it here. You need to be able to serve well, move well at net, anticipate well, come in on the right shots in the right way.
It certainly worked well for Federer in Round 1 against Paolo Lorenzi. The former world No. 1 won an impressive 70 percent of medium rallies and 39 percent of first-serve return points. Factor in his 77 percent of first-serve points won and 30 of 42 net points won, and you have sheer dominance.
More of the same should be forthcoming when Federer takes the court on Thursday.
Prediction: Federer def. Muller; 6-2, 6-4, 6-3
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