The most expected match of the Wimbledon round 3 is by far the clash between the Big4 generation and #NextGen. 1999 born and Aussie hope, Alex De Minaur, will face the huge champion and recent French Open winner, Rafa Nadal.
Alex De Minaur is a young lad from Australia, with a height of 1.80 m, using right-hand forehand and the double-handed backhand. The most important aspect about his game is that he is under the safe wing of Lleyton Hewitt, but also coached by Adolfo Gutierrez. The Demon’s year so far was pretty busy, playing 50 matches and winning 34 of them. During this period he got to the SF of Brisbane (winning against Raonic and Johnson), to the F of Sydney (winning against Verdasco, Dzumhur, Lopez, and Paire), F`s of Alicante Challenger and Surbiton Challenger and winning the Nottingham 2 Challenger. Grass has to be his best surface, by far, as his results in 2018 show. He has 13 wins and 2 losses on this special surface this year, winning against players like Ebden (red-hot), Fritz, and Evans. He has reached a final and won a challenger title so far, and his results in Wimbledon are very good too, winning against Cecchinato and Herbert, both in 4 sets. Both sets he lost were tie-breaks, each of them in the 2nd set.
Nadal’s year so far has been extraordinary, as usual, winning 31 matches and losing only 2 (Thiem and Cilic by Ret.). He won Monte Carlo Masters, Barcelona, Rome Masters and French Open (all on clay). His only matches on hard courts were in Australia (where he retired in the QF against Cilic), and only grass matches this year were in Hurlingham Exhibition (won 7-6 7-5 to Ebden and lost 7-6 7-5 to Pouille), and the 2 matches played in Wimbledon (6-3 6-3 6-2 ag. Sela and 6-4 6-3 6-4 ag. Kukushkin).
The past results of Nadal in Wimbledon (since having knee problems back in the day, around 2011) are horrible for his standard and not even close to the clay court results. He lost in the 2nd round against Rosol in 2012, lost in the 1st round against Darcis in 2013, lost in R16 against Kyrgios in 2014 (lost set in each of the other 3 wins there that year), lost to Brown in the 2nd round in 2015, didn’t play n 2016 and lost in R16 to Muller (in 5 sets 15-13 in decider) in 2017.
These stats show how bad he is playing on grass (bad for his level), and avoiding any competitive grass tournaments prior to Wimbledon can only make him more vulnerable. His matches against Sela and Kukushkin were both hard-earned victories (despite being 3 setters). Against Sela, he broke 6 times and got broken 1 time, while against Kukushkin he broke 5 times and got broken 2 times. The stats against Kukushkin say another story, tho. A story where the Kazakh had a real chance, but couldn’t convert when it mattered most. He converted just 2 BPs from 13 possible. He missed easy shots when it mattered most. Kukushkin was always on the baseline and attacking everything with his forehand and backhand. His backhand down the line made him easier to win points, while Nadal was on the back-foot nearly every time when on the backhand side. I would definitely say that this win was very fortunate to have been in 3 sets.
De Minaur, also worth mentioning, is a former finalist in Wimbledon juniors tournament- lost to Shapovalov back in 2016.
De Minaur has a good serve, hitting 8 aces against Cecchinato and 7 aces against Herbert, but also has a very good return game and very reliable ground-strokes … getting aces against him only 8 times by Cecchinato and only 6 times by Herbert (both very good servers themselves). De Minaur won 76% 1st serve and 64% 2nd serves against Cecchi (71% service points won – 89/126), and 78% 1st serves and 61% 2nd serves against Herbert (70% service points won – 99/141). Nadal, on the other hand, struggled a bit against Kukushkin, winning only 66% of the service points (67/101), BUT saved 85% of the breakpoints (over-stepped in important moments).
The match-up is fine for De Minaur, despite having on the other side a 2x former Wimbledon champion. Nadal cannot use his huge top-spin out of his forehand, because the grass won’t rotate that much the ball after it touched the ground. De Minaur has a very good backhand (better than the forehand, in my opinion) and also knows how to use the BH down the line (which caused Nadal so many problems in the past). De Minaur played in the past 52 weeks 9 matches against lefties, winning 8 of them. Best names he defeated were Verdasco in Sydney, Marterer in Irving, Bemelmans in Miami, and Melzer in Nottingham on grass.
Betting wise, I would suggest taking on De Minaur to win the first set at 4.65 by Pinnacle (3 units), and De Minaur +7 games with 1.99 by 1xBet (10 units).