Brian Baker is one of two Americans among the 16 players remaining in the Wimbledon men’s draw. If all goes well Monday, he and Mardy Fish would meet in a Fourth of July, all-American quarterfinal clash Wednesday.
But first things first.
Baker faces No. 27 seed Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany and Fish plays No. 5 seed Jo-Wilfred Tsonga on Monday.
"I know [Kohlschreiber] moves really well and has a solid chip backhand,'' Baker told The City Paper over the weekend. “I've also heard that he likes to dictate points with his forehand.
“I've never played him in a match or practiced with him so that's what I have.''
The Nashville native also has his latest opportunity to add to what already is a remarkable return after six years away from the ATP Tour because of injuries.
Wimbledon is the second major tournament in which he has played this year and just his third all-time. He earned his way into the field when he won three matches in a qualifying event in the preceding week.
Baker's three wins in this event are by far his best Grand Slam showing of his career. He won his first round match in the 2004 U.S. Open before the injuries hit, then won his first-round match at the French Open last month.
"Feeling pretty good so far,” he said. “I can't really expect to be perfect after playing six matches [three qualifying, three main draw], but I feel fine on the court.''
His is third match Monday on Court 12, following two women's matches beginning at 5:30 a.m. (CDT). It likely will not start before at least 9 or 9:30 a.m.
The 27-year-old knows he goes in as the underdog, but says he's ready for the challenge.
"I'm sure I'll be the underdog again going in,'' he said in a courtside interview just after his third round win over Benoit Paire of France Saturday. "But I'm kind of glad being the hunter going in.''