Eighth seed Dominic Thiem aims to make his first Grand Slam quarterfinal outside of the French Open this week at Wimbledon, though faces an extremely tough fourth round clash against 11th seed and former SW19 Tomas Berdych if he wants to get to that stage.
The two have only met once before, with Berdych easing past Thiem at the US Open in 2014, though the latter has improved massively since then. Thiem has also had the better 2017 of the two, though Berdych has been resurgent on grass over the past couple of weeks.
This is the final match of the day on Court 3, and the winner will face either Adrian Mannarino or second seed Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinal.
Road to the fourth round
Both Thiem and Berdych have faced three difficult opponents so far, though have mostly impressed to reach the second week.
After reaching the semifinals last year, Berdych faced an extremely tough first round match against Jeremy Chardy, though beat the Frenchman in four sets, and then recorded another four-set win, over Ryan Harrison, to reach the third round once again. He then put in an extremely solid performance to ease past David Ferrer in the third round, and will be aiming to reach the last eight at Wimbledon for the fifth time.
Thiem started against the potentially dangerous Vasek Pospisil, though eased past the big-serving Canadian to reach the second round. Following that, the Austrian secured a place in the third round for the first time, coming from a set down to beat former top-ten player Gilles Simon. Following that, Thiem put in another impressive performance to beat Jared Donaldson and reach the fourth round.
An important feature of this match is that both men are generally aggressive, so it will be interesting to see who will get the opportunity to dictate play the most. Naturally, serving will be crucial for both men, though the interesting battle will be between the strongest shots for both; Thiem’s one-handed backhand and Berdych’s forehand. They will each rely on these shots heavily, and it will be interesting to see if they can both get their respective best shots firing.
The surface, and the confidence of both players, will likely have an impact on this match as well. Berdych is the better grass court player of the two and has had a good grass court season, though has had an average season overall and will be facing an opponent who is ranked third on the Race To London. However, despite Thiem’s good form and confidence, the Austrian has generally struggled on grass in the past; he did win the title in Stuttgart last year, though fell to world number 222 Ramkumar Ramanathan in Antalya before Wimbledon this year, and will need to summon up a great performance to beat someone who has had strong success on this surface.
This could well be an extremely competitive match, perhaps the most competitive on the men’s side, and it will be interesting to see who is able to be on the front foot regularly. This could really go either way, though it seems with his recent improvement in form on grass, Berdych could just edge this.
Prediction: Tomas Berdych in five sets