Day 6: De Minaur to face Nadal on Centre Court
Alex De Minaur and Rafael Nadal headline the Saturday schedule at Wimbledon on a day Nick Kyrgios, Ash Barty, Daria Gavrilova and Matt Ebden will also shoot for the fourth round.
Alex De Minaur faces the toughest test of his young career when he battles world No.1 Rafael Nadal on Centre Court at Wimbledon on Saturday.
The 19-year-old comes up against the two-time champion in the first match of the day’s play at 10pm AEST.
“(It will be an) amazing experience and I’m really looking forward to it, playing a legend like he is,” said De Minaur, who has won 13 of his past 15 matches on grass.
“But then once I get on court it’s just gonna be another match. Just like my first couple of rounds I’m going to go back out there, compete, have fun, and leave it all out there. Nothing changes.”
Nick Kyrgios is a player who has experience against Nadal. Back in 2014, the Aussie beat the Spanish superstar, who was ranked No.1 at that time too, on the same court to reach the quarterfinals.
“I honestly think he can cause some damage the next round,” Kyrgios said of De Minaur. “I don’t think Rafa is going to be liking the ball that’s going to come at him constantly for three hours. It’s going to be a tough ask for (Alex), but I think he could definitely cause a little bit of discomfort.”
Kyrgios will also be in action on Saturday; the 15th seed takes on Kei Nishikori, who beat another Aussie, Bernard Tomic, in four tough sets in the previous round.
Kyrgios and Nishikori are scheduled for the third and final match of the day on No.1 Court, which is likely to begin around 2.30am Sunday AEST.
“Incredibly tough,” Kyrgios said of the match-up. “Kei is a guy I’ve never had a win against before. Grass is probably his least favourite surface. But he’s capable on all surfaces. He’s a nightmare. He’s a great returner. Takes time away.”
Earlier in the day, however, is Ash Barty.
The 17th seed, through to the third round at Wimbledon for the first time, opens the No.3 Court schedule against 14th seed Daria Kasatkina at 8.30pm AEST.
“I haven’t played Daria before, ever – I don’t even actually know if we’ve practised together so it’s a bit of a different one for me,” Barty said after beating Eugenie Bouchard on the same court in the second round.
“(I’m) excited to be getting towards the business end, but we’re only a couple of matches in – there’s a hell of a long way to go.”
Two more Aussies, Matt Ebden and Daria Gavrilova, will play back-to-back on Court 18.
Ebden is first up at the same time as Barty, taking on former top-10 player Gilles Simon of France.
Gavrilova will then face Belarusian Aliaksandra Sasnovich – who stunned Petra Kvitova in the first round – at the same court on which she beat compatriot Sam Stosur in the second round.
“It feels pretty good (to reach this stage), especially with the way I’ve been playing … I feel like I’ve just been taking my chances and I’ve been pretty switched on from the get-go and I’ve played tough points and I’ve been pretty disciplined,” Gavrilova said.
Added Ebden: “I’m just going the best I can each day, and loving it. All the stuff aside, all the excitement, at the end of the day it’s Wimbledon – I just wanna go out and play some tennis, and do what I love doing.”