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Six Sizzlers on a Wednesday of Quarter-Finals

A double-handed backhand from Simona Halep
by Nicholas McCarvel
Wednesday 2 July 2014

How do you solve a problem like two matches going on at the same time that you can’t miss?

You get two screens. Wimbledon requires it on Wednesday, the men’s and women’s draws down to a final eight after eight days of play. Here, a rundown of those six battles and more you can’t miss at the All England Club.

[3] Simona Halep (ROU) v [19] Sabine Lisicki (GER)
Centre Court, 12 noon
The highest seed remaining in the women’s draw, Halep (above) might be seen now as the favourite to win the title, though it was Lisicki who was in the final a year ago. These two square off to start the day an hour early on Centre Court, the Romanian leading their head-to-head 2-1, most recently a win on clay in Madrid this spring. Halep has an advantage in her corner with coach Wim Fissette, who formerly worked with Lisicki. The No.3 will look to counter Lisicki’s massive power, though there might be little the French Open finalist can do should the German hone in on her thundering forehand.

[13] Genie Bouchard (CAN) v [9] Angelique Kerber (GER)
No.1 Court, 12 noon
It’s confidence vs. confidence in this match, as Kerber follows up her shock win over Maria Sharapova on Tuesday by trying to make the Wimbledon semi-finals for a second time in her career (2012). Bouchard is the fast-rising Canadian, who at 20 is the only woman to have made the semi-finals of the two majors leading up to Wimbledon. It was in Paris that Bouchard scored a scorching win over Kerber, beating her 6-1, 6-2 in the fourth round. They’re 1-1 overall, but it’s hard to pick a favourite in this No.1 Court battle.

[3] Andy Murray (GBR) v [11] Grigor Dimitrov (BUL)
Centre Court, Second after 12pm
Centre Court will be bursting for this clash, which pits the current tennis “It” boy (the good-looking, Maria Sharapova-dating Dimitrov) against a nation’s hero and defending champion. Murray has the backing of a 3-1 head-to-head record against the No.11 seed, though Dimitrov won their last match in Acapulco earlier this year in a third-set tie-break. This match could go to five sets, Murray’s attrition, consistency and backcourt vigour up against the shot-making creativity of the 23-year-old Bulgarian.

[1] Novak Djokovic (SRB) v [26] Marin Cilic (CRO)
No.1 Court, Second after 12pm
It’s Boris vs. Ivan in this match, Boris Becker and Goran Ivanisevic being the respective coaches of Djokovic and Cilic. The top seed has been gaining steam, running away with a two straight-set matches after being stretched to four in round two. The Serb has a startling 9-0 record against his Croatian opponent, winning 21 of 24 sets played, including three of four in Roland Garros just weeks ago.

[4] Roger Federer (SUI) v [5] Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI)
Centre Court, Third after 12pm
If it’s possible, seven-time champion Federer has been flying under the radar this Championships, the Swiss man making little noise in four straight-set victories. He gets countryman and sometimes-doubles partner Wawrinka (also a good friend), the Australian Open winner who is just 2-13 against the Fed, though he won their last meeting on clay in Monte Carlo. But Centre Court is Federer’s cathedral, Wawrinka himself saying playing Roger here is like facing off against Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros.

[WC] Nick Kyrgios (AUS) v [8] Milos Raonic (CAN)
No.1 Court, Third after 12pm
There’s no Nadal left in this part of the draw, the 19-year-old Australian responsible for his dismissing in historic fashion on Tuesday. The wild card will now be charged with what might be a harder task than what he pulled off on Day Eight: follow it up. He’ll have to do it against Raonic, the big-serving Canadian who has been shooting his way up the rankings over the last three years. It’s big game vs. big game, though Raonic owns their only meeting, a three-set win in the first round of the French Open last month.

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