Wimbledon fourth round preview: Grigor Dimitrov vs Roger Federer

At Wimbledon, the second Monday is known as Manic Monday as all 16 fourth round singles match in the men's singles and women's singles are set to be completed. 13th seed Grigor Dimitrov and third seed Roger Federer will do battle for the sixth time, and the seven-time Wimbledon champion has won all of their previous five encounters.

This fourth round clash between Dimitrov and Federer will be extremely close as both players have not dropped a set en route to the fourth round. The former world number eight struggled for the past couple of years, after reaching the semifinals three years ago at SW19. Nevertheless, the Bulgarian has improved his form in 2017 after winning two titles in Brisbane and Sofia earlier this year. The 26-year-old was tantalizingly close to reaching his first Grand Slam final at the Australian Open but he was beaten by Rafael Nadal in a five-set thriller.

Federer has been one of the most consistent players in 2017 along with Nadal, and both players have claimed four titles each. The former world number one returned from a lengthy injury lay-off after he injured his knee last year, and took the rest of the year off. Nonetheless, the third seed claimed his 18th Grand Slam singles title in Melbourne, when he defeated Nadal in five sets. The seven-time champion also completed the Sunshine Double at Indian Wells and Miami. The 35-year-old opted to skip the entire clay court season, and he claimed his ninth title in Halle just before Wimbledon, and he is full of confidence.

Dimitrov's route to Manic Monday

The 13th seed had a tough first round encounter on paper against Diego Schwartzman. The diminutive Argentine gave Novak Djokovic a huge scare in the third round at the French Open as he led by a set and two sets to one. However, he was unable to sustain his high level of play as injury intervened. Nonetheless, "Baby Fed" defeated Schwartzman, 7-6(4), 6-2, 6-2 which is a good victory to get his campaign underway. Dimitrov dispatched 2006 Australian Open runner-up Marcos Baghdatis, 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 and in the third round, he only played two sets as Dudi Sela was injured, and felt the effects of his five-set clash with 23rd seed John Isner in the previous round. The Bulgarian has reached the fourth round for the first time since 2014.

The 13th seed has progressing through the draw quietly (Photo by Adrian Dennis / Getty)
The 13th seed has progressed through the draw quietly (Photo by Adrian Dennis / Getty)

Federer's route to Manic Monday

The 18-time Grand Slam champion's progression through to the fourth round for the 15th time has been serene. The world number five has played all three of his matches on Centre Court, and he has hardly broken a sweat. Federer's first round clash with Alexandr Dolgopolov could have been a lot tougher but the Ukranian was suffering from injury, and he retired in the second set. Federer had a tougher test against Dusan Lajovic in the second round, and it
was a closely competitive first set but the Serb was unable to keep up with Federer, who was victorious, 7-6(0), 6-3, 6-2. For the fifth time, the Swiss number two was up against 27th seed Mischa Zverev. The pair have played against each other three times this year but the German has never won a set against Federer. The 35-year-old sent the elder Zverev brother packing, 7-6(3), 6-4, 6-4 advancing to the fourth round once again. Federer's victory over Zverev was significant as he overtook Serena Williams in terms of match wins at Grand Slams as he now leads the way with 317.

Their history

As aforementioned, the two seeded players have met on five occasions, and Federer has never lost to Dimitrov. All of their previous encounters have taken place on hard courts. The third seed won their first two meetings in the quarterfinals in Basel in successive years in 2013 and 2014 in straight sets. They met in the semifinals in Brisbane in 2015 which a comprehensive, 6-2, 6-2 victory for Federer. Furthermore, their fourth encounter in Brisbane a year later was the first time they went beyond two sets. The Swiss maestro defeated Dimitrov, 6-4, 6-7(4), 6-4. Their most significant encounter to date was their third round clash in the third round of the Australian Open in 2016. The former world number one dispatched the 13th seed, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4.

The former world number one has excelled on Centre Court once again (Photo by Clive Brunskill / Getty)
The former world number one has excelled on Centre Court once again (Photo by Clive Brunskill / Getty)

Who reaches the quarterfinals?

Federer's backhand has significantly improved in 2017 as he steps on the court, and he takes the ball early, forcing more errors from his opponents. The seven-time champion will need to serve well as usual, and his forehand and backhands have been impressive throughout the first week. The former world number one has not been tested and Dimitrov will be a good test for him. The 13th seed has raised his level once more in 2017 to make himself a contender for this year's Championships. However, the 26-year-old has struggled over the years against The Big Four, and he may struggle against an in-form Federer once more.

Dimitrov moves exceptionally well on grass, and his game is slightly similar to Federer's. Both players will engage in entertaining rallies on Centre Court, and the former world number one did have to face some break points against Zverev. He could have a few problems against the Bulgarian. Nonetheless, the seven-time champion may drop a set but ultimately, he should have too much for Dimitrov. The former world number one is the bookmakers' favorite to clinch a record-extending eighth Wimbledon title.

This will be the final match scheduled on Centre Court, and the winner of this enticing encounter will face sixth seed Milos Raonic or 10th seed Alexander Zverev in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.

Prediction: Federer in four sets