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Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime returns to Corentin Moutet of France in a Men’s singles match during day three of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Wednesday, July 3, 2019. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime returns to Corentin Moutet of France in a Men’s singles match during day three of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Wednesday, July 3, 2019. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)|Associated Press

Wimbledon 1st Friday men: Abrams picks 3rd round action with Djokovic, FA2, Khachanov, Fabbiano, Goffin, Medvedev and more

Matches start at 6 am EDT,

Neal Abrams

Neal Abrams

Wimbledon 2019
Men’s Singles Third Round picks for Friday

Benoit Paire over Jiri Vesely
Qualifier Jiri Vesely stunned the world when he took out Sascha Zverev I the first round. But that win opened p the entire bottom half of the draw, and one of the ultimate beneficiaries will be France’s Benoit Paire. Paire simply had to take out clay courter Juan Ignacio Londero and then the injured Miomir Kecmanovic to move into the Third Round, and with a win over Vesely, Paire will match his best Wimbledon result--the Round of 16. A good draw cures all ills.

Kevin Anderson over Guido Pella
Anderson has satisfied my curiosity about the health of his elbow, and should assert his superiority over Guido Pella, a great player who excels on clay. The South African had no trouble with Pierre Hugues-Herbert but dropped a tie-breaker set to Janko Tipsarovic, but is playing with the precision of last year, when he reached the finals. He should roll over Pella, who came out of a section of the draw that had four clay courters.

Novak Djokovic over Hubert Hurkacz
Djokovic hasn’t been challenged yet in his first two straight set wins. But Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz will put up some significant resistance here in the Third Round. Hurkacz is 6’5”, and his serve comes down from a pretty significant perch to wreak havoc on the grass. If Djokovic has trouble returning serve, this match could be close and go a full five. If not, look for the Serb to exert control early.

Felix Auger-Aliasime over Ugo Humbert
An argument could be made that Humbert has had a bit of a rougher draw, having conquered both Gael Monfils and Marcel Granoliers on the way to this Third Round clash, but FA2 had Grigor Dimitrov in his sights just when Frenchman Corentin Moutet took out the tough Bulgarian. FA2 then quickly dispatched Moutet in four and here he is, playing top rate tennis. Humbert will get his games because of his top rate serve, but it won’t be quite enough. I like FA2, probably in four.

Karen Khachanov over Roberto Bautista Agut
This is when Karen Khachanov gets his toughest test. He has already pocketed two good wins, and has some momentum and is clearly confident. His second round four set win over Spain’s Feliciano Lopez was particularly impressive, coming as it did, just after Lopez won the singles and the doubles titles at the tournament at Queens Club. RBA is always tough, and has only played the minimum of six sets here, but if Khachanov serves well, RBA will be at a severe disadvantage and will grasp for return games.

David Goffin over Daniil Medvedev
These two guys played in this year’s Australian Open when the Russian won in straight sets. But Medvedev has a bad habit of throwing in a bummer of a match just when you thought he was on a roll, and this appears to be the time when that bummer can come. Neither guy has been tested in the Wimbledon fortnight yet, save for the one tiebreaker set the Russian dropped to Aussie Alexi Popyrin in the second round. I think this one comes down to who is more interested in winning, and I think it’s the Belgian, David Goffin.

Thomas Fabbiano over Fernando Verdasco
Thomas Fabbiano will emerge from the 2019 Wimbledon Championships as a newfound hero on the Men’s side. He has shown his best game at the absolute best time, and has dominated both Stefanos Tsitsipas and Dr. Ivo. He should take the party one more step with his matchup against Fernando Verdasco, a very tough lefty from Spain, but who, at age 35 is very beatable. Verdasco escaped a second round encounter with Brit #1 Kyle Edmund when Edmund had to battle a knee injury as well as Verdasco, but no knee injury has inflicted Fabbiano. Welcome to the big time, Thomas.

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