Wimbledon 2012: matches to watch, day seven

Today's highlights include Andy Murray v Marin Cilic, Roger Federer v Xavier Malisse and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga v Mardy Fish

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Andy Murray (GBR)(4) v Marin Cilic (CRO)(16) – 2nd on No.1 Court

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Murray comes into his fourth round match at a significant advantage over Cilic – he didn’t have to win a mammoth 17 games in the fifth set to book his place in today’s encounter. However, the British hopeful played far from his best tennis in his four set victory over Marcos Baghdatis and has acknowledged the need to improve if he wants to continue deep into the tournament. Queen’s champion Cilic represents a significant hurdle, even on tired legs, and Murray’s flock of fans will be praying he can rediscover the form we glimpsed in Saturday’s 6-1 final set. The fourth seed was set a tough test in the first three rounds. He did the job, booking his place in the second week of the tournament, but if his game does not step up a gear, an in-form Cilic may prove a bridge too far.

Roger Federer (SUI)(3) v Xavier Malisse (BEL) – 1st on Centre Court

Having grown up together on the junior circuit, Malisse won the pair’s first senior encounter in the Davis Cup back in 1999 but, 13 years later, you’d be a fool not to favour third-seeded Roger Federer. The Belgian is a grass-court specialist, despatching two seeds (Fernando Verdasco and Giles Simon) in his run to the fourth round. However, their past Wimbledon records are worlds apart; Federer is a six-time champion and Malisse’s best run ended at the semi-finals. Federer’s hunger to reclaim his title is palpable, but after his two set blip against Julien Benneteau in round three, the Swiss will be wary of his dangerous opponent who’s on something of a role in this year’s tournament.

Francesca Schiavone (ITA)(24) v Petra Kvitova (CZE)(4) – 1st on No.3 Court

32-year-old Francesca Schiavone and 22-year-old Petra Kvitova are at opposing ends of their tennis careers. The Italian veteran has made 48 consecutive Grand Slam appearances – the most of any player on tour – while the fourth-seeded Czech was the first player born in the 1990s to win a Slam when she triumphed at Wimbledon last year. 2010 French Open champion Schiavone leads their head-to-head 2-1, but Kvitova has recovered from a first-round wobble to storm through to the fourth round, overpowering British hopeful Elena Baltacha 6-0 6-4 and Varvara Lepchenko 6-1 6-0. Her impressive record and powerful baseline game are likely to send her deep into the tournament, but don’t write off Schiavone, whose ferocity on court has led to great success in the later stages of her career. 

David Ferrer (ESP)(7) v Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG)(9) – 3rd on No.1 Court

The 6ft 6in Argentinean made headlines around the world when he shocked Roger Federer to win the US Open final back in 2009. Since then a wrist injury has hampered his success and he’s had to fight to regain his position in the top 10 rankings. Now back on track, he faces the seventh seed David Ferrer, a formidable opponent who made a dogged comeback from a set down to knock out former finalist Andy Roddick on Saturday. Neither player has been beyond the fourth round and both are anticipating a gritty baseline battle to book a place in the quarter finals. If the sun shines long enough for this battle to commence, spectators on No.1 Court are in for a treat…

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA)(5) v Mardy Fish (USA)(10) – 3rd on No.2 Court

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Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is on a roll. Yet to drop his service game in the first three rounds (that’s 73 holds!), the popular Frenchman’s booming serve and sizzling forehands are well-suited to the grass court and there are countless reasons he is tipped as the player to challenge the dominant trio of Djokovic, Nadal and Federer. Mardy Fish, the tenth seed, is playing his first tournament since receiving treatment for an irregular heartbeat back in May. But the American has returned with a bang, reaching the final 16 for only the second time at Wimbledon by beating promising Belgian wildcard David Goffin in the third round. It is a brave man to take on Tsonga in the kind of form he’s in, but Fish is certainly a player of the calibre to test his abilities. Prediction: the Frenchman triumphs in four sets.