In what promises to be an exciting clash between two fine shot makers, 11th seed and 2017 semifinalist Sam Querrey takes on former world #6 Gael Monfils for a place in the fourth round. Querrey had a career-best season last year, winning the title in Acapulco and reaching the last eight in New York along with his semifinal appearance in SW19, but his results have fallen off this year. Monfils, meanwhile, has never reached the second week at the Championships. Who will come out on top?
Querrey and Monfils have met twice with the Tricolour reigning over the Stars and Stripes on both occasions. Their first clash came over a decade ago in 2007 at the clay court tournament in Portschach, which has since relocated to Kitzbuhel, in the first round with Monfils winning 6-4 7-5. They did not face off again for nine years, renewing their rivalry two years ago in Washington in the quarterfinals, where Monfils finished strongly to topple Querrey 6-4 3-6 6-1.
Path to the third round
Querrey disappointed at the French Open and will likely also have been frustrated by his performance in the Queen’s Club quarterfinals where he lost 6-7 2-6 to eventual champion Marin Cilic. But back at Wimbledon, Querrey looked comfortable once again and began his tournament by dismissing Australian Jordan Thompson in straight sets 6-2 6-4 6-3. He was similarly untroubled in beating one-time vanquisher of Federer, Sergiy Stahkovsky, defeating the Ukrainian 7-6 6-3 6-3.
Monfils’ tournament began with a tough first round draw against his countryman Richard Gasquet, twice a Wimbledon semifinalist and in good form after winning the title in Rosmalen. But Monfils upset Gasquet 7-6 7-5 6-4 to progress to the second round. There he faced the veteran Paolo Lorenzi of Italy, who made the better start, taking the first set 6-3. But Monfils warmed to the task thereafter, and turned the match around to win 3-6 6-3 7-6 7-6.
How do they match up?
Both men can call upon significant power off the ground and when stepping to the line, but it is Querrey who is more comfortable on the front foot. With a huge first serve and an excellent forehand, the California native has no shortage of weapons. His backhand is a little inconsistent, but when Querrey is striking it well he can hit through the best of them, as he has shown over the past few years with victories over Nadal, Murray and Djokovic, three of the greatest defenders of all time.
He will need to be at his offensive best to get through the athletic Monfils. The Frenchman is astonishingly fast around the court and can reach balls that no others could. He often prefers to play on the defensive and wear down opponents, but when stepping into the court Monfils is capable of injecting serious power into his groundstrokes. His footwork does, however, occasionally fail him when he attempts to hit big.
Though Monfils has beaten Querrey in their two previous matches, the Frenchman is far more comfortable playing on hard courts and clay than he is on the grass and there is a reason he has never gone beyond the third round at Wimbledon. Expect him to fall at this hurdle again this year. Querrey’s big serve makes him almost impossible to break and after reaching the quarterfinals and semifinals in the last two years, he clearly enjoys playing at Wimbledon. Querrey in four.