Wimbledon Day 8 - Preview

Wimbledon Day 8 - Preview

WIMBLEDON – The second Tuesday of Wimbledon is traditionally ladies' day - when the four women's quarterfinal matches are played.

But rain Saturday and Monday put the schedule a little behind. And so Tuesday will be a bit of a mixed bag.

Maria Sharapova opens on Centre Court against No. 9 seed Angelique Kerber - but it's only a round-of-16 match, with No. 13 seed Eugenie Bouchard waiting for the winner in the quarterfinals.

And the fans on Centre Court and No. 1 Court will get an extra bonus, fourth-round men's matches that typically would have been played on Monday. They feature a couple of guys named Nadal and Federer, who know how to win this tournament.

Matches to watch

[2] Rafael Nadal vs. [WC] Nick Kyrgios

Kyrgios needed 10 match points to defeat No. 13 Richard Gasquet earlier in the tournament, but he made it and will face Rafael Nadal on Centre Court Tuesday

Nadal and Kyrgios, who could have played Monday, had to cool their heels a day as the tournament decided to keep things fair in the bottom half of the draw and play their fourth-round matches on the same day. Kyrgios, a 19-year-old Aussie, is one those up-and-comers who probably will be subjected to the same sort of overhype given to players like Grigor Dimitrov and Milos Raonic a couple of years ago.  But his age, and the fact that he's just now entering the top 100 with the result here, has spared him most of it so far.

He's flashy, and talented, with a big serve. This will be his first Wimbledon Centre Court experience, but Nadal, now 28, has dealt with a few flashy up-and-comers in his career.


[3] Simona Halep (ROU) vs. Zarina Diyas (KAZ)

We're mentioning this one mostly because no one else is. Halep has been a ghost during this tournament, through no fault of her own. She's the No. 3 seed. She was a French Open finalist a few weeks ago. But she's never gotten the big interview room, or even a decent court assignment. She's on No. 2 court for her fourth-round match Tuesday.

As for Diyas, she's fairly obscure. The most notable thing about her is that unlike most of the players from Kazakhstan these days, imported mostly from Russia and given citizenship, she's actually FROM Kazakhstan.


[8] Milos Raonic (CAN) vs. [9] Kei Nishikori (JPN)

These two have seen their careers rather closely linked the last couple of years. They couldn't be more different, but they're both from that "Generation Next" of players waiting in the wings for any openings to slip into, as the top four players continue to dominate the Grand Slams. They were scheduled to meet in the fourth round at the French Open, but Nishikori didn't make the date. They both made this one.

It should be a classic matchup between a great server and a terrific return with great foot speed and canny court craft. We'll see if it plays out that way.


[6] Petra Kvitova (CZE) vs. Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (CZE)

Crafty Czech Barbora Zahlavova Strycova has sliced her way to the Wimbledon quarterfinals.

The unseeded Zahlavova Strycova has had a tremendous WImbledon, by far the best of her career. But it could end here in the quarterfinals, if 2011 champion Kvitova is anywhere close to her recent form.

Zahlavova Strycova has made effective use of a slice forehand to change the pace up on her hard-hitting opponents so far. And it certainly tied No. 16 Caroline Wozniacki in knots in their fourth-round match Monday.

Kvitova's biggest challenge was a narrow win over an in-form Venus Williams in the third round. There's little to stop her from winning her second Wimbledon title except, as usual, herself.