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Wimbledon 2023 Mens Quarters: Each Player's Key To Win

The Wimbledon men's quarterfinals are here, and the tournament has been fantastic to watch. The level of tennis has been high, and while we've seen some favorites do their thing, we've also seen the next-gen arrive. Here's what each quarterfinalist needs to do, game-wise, to make the Wimbledon semis.

Novak Djokovic

Djokovic is the Wimbledon favorite, overwhelmingly, and for good reason. Rublev isn't an easy match for anyone, not even Novak. However, the head-to-head has favored Djokovic heavily - other than the loss in Belgrade, he hasn't even lost a set to the Russian. His best bet in this match is to rely on his typical tools.

Focusing on consistency, allowing the ultra-aggressive Rublev to make errors - a formula that has worked for Novak against many players - will be the game plan, at least to start. Deep, well-placed returns can force Rublev into rallies, and once the points on Novak's return games get past eight shots or so, they favor Djokovic considerably. Rublev also has a tendency to position himself a bit too aggressively to make winners, and Novak can take advantage if he's able to get the shot back.

On serve, he should aim to keep things quick as he has been, use the serve to get +1 combos at the net, etc... Rublev hasn't shown the ability to consistently return well against adept and consistent servers.



Andrey Rublev

Rublev has a big task in front of him, but Hurcacz showed yesterday that Djokovic is beatable in this tournament. His power is his best weapon, and he absolutely will need to use it to win this match. However, he will have to be careful. His tendency to go for winner-level speed on almost every shot can be a weakness against a player like Novak, who relies on his consistency and court positioning to dictate play.

Andrey will need to keep the aggression up but focus on constructing rallies and sacrificing some power to set up winners rather than immediately going for them. He's a better net player than he seems but hesitates to actually use his volley game, and the same goes with his ability to use drop shots and slices.

Most players, Rublev included, have a tendency to try and overhit, when playing Djokovic, in the hopes that they can break through with their sheer power. But Rublev's lone win against Novak actually came when he did the opposite. He still used his power, but he varied his shot selection, set up rallies, and in the most unlikely development possible, he bagled Novak in Belgrade, his hometown, of all places. Clay isn't grass, and an ATP250 isn't Wimbledon, but Rublev has the tools to beat Djokovic - he needs the confidence to bring them out.

Carlos Alcaraz

Alcaraz has been picking up the surface unbelievably well, and his win against Matteo Berrettini showed his ability to handle great grass courters. Against the explosive Rune, he faces a tough test; Holger is heating up and feeling extremely confident.

Alcaraz needs to avoid the tendencies he had when facing Berrettini early in the match - overhitting both in terms of power and angles, overcompensating for Matteo's forehand by over-predictably hitting to his backhand. However, his play in the last three sets gave a lot of the formula for the quarter.

He thoroughly used his variation, both in terms of shot selection and shot speed, to set up easy winners, and simplified the equation for himself. Once he got Matteo into rallies, the match was over. Against Rune, he'll need to do more of the same - construct points, stay aggressive but calculated, and let his groundstrokes do the talking. However, unlike the Berrettini match (4/16 on break points), he needs to take his chances.

Holger Rune

Rune faces a mammoth test, but he's in form, and in the only regulation match they've played, he actually beat Carlos. While Carlos excels in terms of variation and shot selection, Rune has a very similar skill set. He'll need to out-cat-and-mouse Alcaraz in rallies, or at least do that enough to make Alcaraz doubt himself.

Rune's got the full toolkit, and he needs to take it all out. He needs to get to the net, use drop shots, slices, etc... and find creative ways to outmaneuver Carlos. Alcaraz is still getting used to the pace of a grass court, and the corresponding need to shorten backswings. Rune has exploited a number of players, including Novak, by taking shots on the rise, and taking balls early and redirecting them could work quite well against Carlos.

Consistency and temperament are going to be important for Rune, and they're the two parts of his toolkit and aren't quite sharpened yet. However, any opening, any show of excessive youthfulness by Rune, and Carlos will exploit it.



Roman Safiullin

Given the trajectory of his career to this point, this run came out of nowhere for Roman. The world #92 was struggling to even make event draws in the clay and early grass season, and four impressive wins (two of them against ranked players) later, he finds himself in the final eight here at Wimbledon.

There's no doubt that he's a tremendous underdog against the talented Sinner, who will be a considerable step up from anyone he has played this tournament. Roman's best opportunity in this match will be to lean into his strengths. He has a fairly good serve, in terms of power, placement, and consistency. He'll need to use it to create free points/set up easy points for himself. Within his ground game, his backhand down-the-line and inside-out forehand are particularly dangerous weapons, and creating and using plenty of opportunities to win points with those shots will be part of the winning formula. He's also a fairly efficient net player, and should try to create volley chances for himself.

Sinner has struggled mentally at times on the grand slam stage recently when it comes to closing out, whether that's against Altmaier in the French, or with a 2-0 lead against Djokovic at last year's Wimbledon, etc... Roman needs to create doubt in Sinner's chances, and if he can ride that wave, anything can happen.

Jannik Sinner

The "next-gen" are having their wave at this tournament finally, and it is time for Sinner to evolve. As a heavy favorite against Safiullin, he has a golden chance to make his first grand slam semifinal. Sinner has breezed through the course of the tournament so far, and has the game right now to beat almost anyone in the field on his day.

When it comes to a talented but inconsistent player like Safiullin, the equation quickly becomes about complicating the game for Roman. Safiullin likes to take the short ball aggressively, so Sinner needs to counter that with pace and depth on his groundstrokes. Should he do that, the gap between the two players in terms of consistency will take over the game.

Efficent serving will help Sinner keep this affair relatively simple - Sinner isn't quite the server of his almost-anagram, Isner, but, he is quite good at creating free points with the shot, and should he serve at a high-enough percentage, won't let Roman into many of his service games. Sinner needs to be careful to not play with his food, and convert his break chances, the one aspect of his game that has perhaps lacked a bit this tournament.

Chris Eubanks

Eubanks is riding a fantastic wave of momentum, but he's shown flashes of ability to prove that he can make runs here and there. He's had his first slam win already coming into Wimbledon, he made a couple of nice runs at Atlanta in his earliest years, and broke through with an impressive quarterfinals run at Miami, losing to, ironically, his upcoming opponent, Medvedev.

Given his excellent serve and net game, it makes sense that grass is a friendly surface for him, and the American has taken well to grass, coming off a title win in Mallorca before this tournament. Against the wall that is Medvedev, Eubanks will need to lean into his weapons. Free points with the serve, taking the ball early to move Daniil around, depth and aggression on ground strokes - if he can make the service games simple early, he can put doubt into Daniil's mind early.

He'll need to be more consistent than ever, and take every chance he gets to win this affair, but it's not out of the realm of possibility by any means for the American to do that; he has the game and is on his ideal surface.

Daniil Medvedev

Medvedev, after having struggled for years on the Wimbledon grass, finally has had a draw line up for him beautifully to make his first semi here. Against a player in Eubanks, who has won his last nine matches and has a ton of momentum right now, he'll face a test.

Using his consistency to his advantage will have to be the equation. On his service games, he needs to keep it simple, and use his big serve to create free point. He's been doing it all tournament, and Chris isn't the best returner, so this will just be a matter of serving at a high percentage and keeping it simple.

On the return, he's not going to be able to get into every game - Eubanks' serve is just that good - but putting the ball into play will swing the rallies in his favor quickly, and Medvedev is too solid on both groundstrokes ends for Chris to consistently go stroke-for-stroke with him. Eubanks has the serve to get himself out of jams, so Medvedev can't waste opportunities to get breaks, nor can he give Eubanks a lot of momentum. However, the way their games stack up, this is a golden opportunity for Daniil.



 

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