There is a high concentration of talent as we head into the later rounds of Wimbledon 2014, and Day 8 features some of the best players in the world looking to continue their tennis brilliance at the All England Club.
Rafael Nadal takes on a young upstart in the form of Nick Kyrgios, while Roger Federer will look to fend off the aggressive play of Tommy Robredo.
In the ladies' draw, Maria Sharapova and Simona Halep will attempt to move past their respective foes and make good on the window of opportunity that has opened up with the early exits of Venus and Serena Williams.
Let's take a look at the complete schedule for Day 8, followed by predictions for two of Tuesday's top matches.
|Tues., July 1||Centre Court, 8 a.m.-1 p.m.||ESPN2|
|Court One, 8 a.m.-11:30 a.m.||ESPN|
|Court One, 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m.||ESPNEWS|
A full draw and live bracket for each day can be found at Wimbledon.com.
|Gentlemen||Fourth round||Centre Court||Rafael Nadal vs. Nick Kyrgios||Nadal|
|Gentlemen||Fourth round||No. 1 Court||Tommy Robredo vs. Roger Federer||Federer|
|Gentlemen||Fourth round||No. 2 Court||Stan Wawrinka vs. Feliciano Lopez||Wawrinka|
|Gentlemen||Fourth round||No. 3 Court||Milos Raonic vs. Kei Nishikori||Nishikori|
|Ladies||Fourth round||Centre Court||Angelique Kerber vs. Maria Sharapova||Sharapova|
|Ladies||Quarterfinals||Centre Court||Petra Kvitova vs. Barbora Strycova||Kvitova|
|Ladies||Quarterfinals||No. 1 Court||Lucie Safarova vs. Ekaterina Makarova||Safarova|
|Ladies||Fourth round||No. 2 Court||Simona Halep vs. Zarina Diyas||Halep|
|Ladies||Fourth round||No. 3 Court||Sabine Lisicki vs. Yaroslava Shvedova||Lisicki|
Day 8 Predictions
(2) Rafael Nadal vs. Nick Kyrgios
Nadal may have been haunted by early exits in the past two editions of Wimbledon, but a loss to a 19-year-old wunderkind might really have him cursing those responsible for watering the grass at the All England Club.
Kyrgios is the lone unseeded player remaining in the men's singles draw. His presence in the fourth round is rather remarkable, as he's beaten some top talent to get to this point.
He took care of Stephane Robert in five sets in the first round and then truly made his mark against No. 13 Richard Gasquet, coming from two sets down to win 3-6, 6-7 (4-7), 6-4, 7-5, 10-8.
The New York Times' Christopher Clarey commended the young Australian's effort against Gasquet:
He then defeated fellow upstart Jiri Vesely in four sets to set up the clash against Nadal.
Nadal put together some of his finest tennis in his four-set win over Mikhail Kukushkin in the third round. Nadal dropped the first set 6-7 (4-7), then trounced Kukushkin 6-1, 6-1, 6-1 to take the match. He played a very polished match, committing just 12 unforced errors on the day.
What will be the outcome of Nadal-Kyrgios?
One would expect young Kyrgios to be a bit frightened heading into a match against Nadal, but he's seemed completely at ease.
This match should unfold in Nadal's typical pattern for this tournament. The pre-match jitters and looming threat of a shock upset will allow Kyrgios to steal the first set from the dominant Spaniard. After Nadal quiets his nerves, look for him to beat Kyrgios with his strength and veteran guile and take the remaining sets with relative ease.
Prediction: Nadal in four sets
(5) Maria Sharapova vs. (9) Angelique Kerber
This match was supposed to take place on Monday, but it was delayed due to rain. ESPN Tennis didn't seem to mind:
Sharapova's R16 match against Kerber pushed to tomorrow's schedule. That means we have Federer, Nadal, & Sharapova all competing on Day 8.— ESPNTennis (@ESPNTennis) June 30, 2014
Maria Sharapova has a golden opportunity to take home the Wimbledon trophy for the first time since her famous upset over Serena Williams in 2004. First, she will have to take on the accomplished Angelique Kerber.
Sharapova will have to be careful against Kerber's unorthodox style, as per tennis pro Laura Robson, writing for The Telegraph:
When you watch Angelique she hits the ball so awkwardly, but it has a knack of always going in. She gets a lot of balls back and hits plenty of deep ground strokes. I'm sure Maria will see that as a challenge and aim to keep the rallies short, looking to dominate from the off with aggressive shots.
Sharapova defeated an equally aggressive Alison Riske to get to this point, so she should be well-prepared to cut down on long rallies in this match. She tends to get stronger as the game goes on and gets used to the nuances of the grass courts.
Sports Illustrated noted how strongly she finished her match against Riske:
From1-3 down Maria Sharapova wins 11 straight games to finish the match, beats Alison Riske 63 60 to advance to the fourth round.— SI Tennis (@SI_Tennis) June 28, 2014
Kerber showed that she can battle adversity against Kirsten Flipkens in the third round. After dropping the first set 3-6, Kerber broke Flipkens' serve four times over the final two sets to vanquish her foe 6-3, 6-2 and complete the win.
This duel will certainly be an interesting contrast of styles. Sharapova might have the edge due to her stellar form in 2014—she is 31-6 on the year in singles play.
Kerber will look to draw Sharapova into making mistakes, but it will prove to be a difficult task and won't be enough for victory.
Prediction: Sharapova in three sets