Third seed Rafael Nadal will face Joao Sousa of Portugal in the round of 16 match at Wimbledon on Monday.
Fresh from winning the French Open, Nadal is attempting to claim his second successive Grand Slam title. The Spaniard turned 33 last week, but he is still going strong. Winning at Wimbledon would hand him his 19th overall Grand Slam title, which will take him just one behind the record which is held by Roger Federer. So far, he looks in good stead to do that.
Nadal has dropped just one set in his first three matches at the Championships. He faced Yuichi Sugita in the first round and beat him 6-3, 6-1, 6-3. The second round match was the toughest yet, as he met Australian Nick Kyrgios. There is some bad blood between the two, and a fiery encounter ensued. Nadal prevailed 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(3) in the end. But the match was an intense one, and Nadal had to move into a different gear in the last two sets to get the win.
In the third round, he faced Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. He claimed a relatively easy 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 win over the Frenchman. Nadal was brilliant against Tsonga and played some great tennis. He has a 35-5 record this year, and he is 3-0 on grass so far in 2019. This is the first grass tournament he has played all year, but that has not hindered him at all.
Sousa’s path to the round of 16 has been a bit more arduous. He needed four sets in the first round to defeat the home favourite, Paul Jubb. In the second round, he faced 13th seed Marin Cilic. The Croatian was the favorite to win the match, but Sousa had other ideas. He won 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 in straight sets to progress to the third round. Cilic had reached the Wimbledon final in 2017, but Sousa claimed an impressive win.
He faced Dan Evans in the last round, and the match went the distance. Sousa won 6-4, 4-6, 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 in the end to progress to the round of 16. It was a very close game, but the Portuguese managed to get the better of Evans. Sousa has a losing record this year as the 30-year-old is 16-17 in 2019. But he is 6-3 on grass, which is encouraging.
This year has already seen Sousa achieve his best finish at Wimbledon. His previous best finish came in 2016 when he reached the third round. Last year, he lost in the first round to Sergiy Stakhovsky. These two players have met twice before, with Nadal winning both matches. The last of those came back in 2016.
Rafael Nadal vs Joao Sousa Prediction
Nadal will be favorite to claim yet another win this time. He should be confident of beating Sousa in straight sets to progress to the quarter-finals. Nadal’s experience at this level should be too much for the Portuguese who will likely end his Wimbledon journey on Monday.