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Wednesday marks the start of the quarterfinals at Wimbledon, and the action could not be hotter. We’ve got some familiar names like Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer with us, and some unexpected names like Marton Fucsovics and Hubert Hurkacz. I’m feeling at least one of the underdogs on Wednesday, and I’ll explain why.

Karen Khachanov (+230) vs. Denis Shapovalov (-300)

If you’re counting, this will be my fourth time in five matches fading Khachanov, who is surprisingly the last Russian standing. The thing about it is, he was so poor in his Fourth Round win over Sebastian Korda that he’s begging for it.

Khachanov was broken six (6) times in the fifth and final set, and still managed to win. His composure couldn’t have been worse under pressure, and the younger and inexperienced Korda donated the match to him many times. He’s never had the mental fortitude to perform at the highest level, at least over the last few seasons, and his talent is borderline at best.

Denis Shapovalov is a player that should simply hit Khachanov off the court, and comes in with a win in their only meeting, at the 2019 Davis Cup. The Canadian left-hander has arguably the biggest game on tour, but his confidence is always what’s held him back.

On these grass surfaces, where his groundstrokes are more powerful than ever, Shapovalov is right at home and has been explosive. The grass has dried in recent days which should give him an even bigger edge here, and as well as Khachanov’s defended in points, he’s failed to play anyone so far at Wimbledon who could put him away with sheer velocity. He’s in for a rude awakening.

Edge: Shapovalov -4.5 Games

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Matteo Berrettini (-375) vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime (+280)

Berrettini is a bit more than a “servebot,” someone who’s uber-reliant on their serve and lacks anything else, but he’s not a very dynamic player. He can hit just about anyone off the court with his forehand and serve, but someone who packs as big of a punch and can use their speed to get to the net can give him a great run.

That’s what we have in young Felix Auger-Aliassime, who has been overpowering his opponents all week with his unique, relentless groundstrokes. His grass court record this year of 10-2 is right up there with Berrettini’s 9-0 mark, and the surface may be the best for both players.

FAA’s form closely resembles his form in 2019, when he lost to Berrettini on the grass in the Stuttgart final 6-4, 7-6 in one of the tighest tiebreaks of the year. The difference here is that he’s working with Toni Nadal now, and seems to be much-improved mentally. The match he came through in five sets against Alex Zverev after dropping the third and fourth sets was proof; he simply never would have won that match a year ago, and did blow a 2-0 lead back at the Australian Open.

I believe FAA will once again get himself to the precipice of victory, having just played one of the biggest servers and groundstrokers in the game in Zverev. That should be a great warmup, and should give him a great chance of winning. I’m going to have exposure to the moneyline, but I love the spread here given how big both of these servers are. I think we see multiple tiebreaks.

Edge: Auger-Aliassime +4.5 Games

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