After an extended grass court swing, the WTA/ATP move to the third grand-slam of the year, and arguably the most prestigious one, at the All England Club, Wimbledon! I’ve decided not to do a preview post this year, as my previous ones have all fallen apart after the first few hours play (sob). I am excited to have time off work booked until 12th July, so i will be at home from R1 until the end of the Quarter Finals (yay!). Last year i hated having to work through it all, and i felt like i missed out on a lot. Here is my predictions for each match scheduled for the bottom half on day 1.
Round 1, Day 1, Bottom Half
Dominika Cibulkova df Andrea Petkovic (3 sets) – Both players have been slightly struggling of late to log wins, and are seemingly both low in confidence. The H2H does trouble me as Cibulkova has lost her last 5 matches against Petko on tour. I hope that Dominika can use her good memories from here last year (QF) to see her way through.
Danka Kovinic df Jenifer Brady (3 sets) – I haven’t really heard of Jenifer Brady playing well since Australia, whereas Kovinic has quietly been winning and logging matches on the ITF tour. We’ve seen it time and time again, that sometimes coming in match tight can really help when playing up in the WTA tour again.
Naomi Broady df Irina-Camelia Begu (2 sets) – Although Begu made the final of Southsea ITF last week, I feel Broady has played some good tennis throughout the grass season. Broady tends to play well when playing with a pro crowd, so i’m hoping that she can win a round here once more.
Sabine Lisicki df Ana Konjuh (3 sets) – This is going to be a fun one! Both players play very well on grass. This is Lisicki’s second tournament of the year, but one where she has always logged her best results. I think it’ll be a toughie (especially for viewers…) but i’m hoping Sabine can use her good memories from here and take the win.
Barbora Strycova df Veronica Cepede-Royg (2 sets) – Cepede-Royg seems to be everywhere recently, which isn’t a bad thing! I don’t think her game is suited to grass, unlike her opponent Strycova, who is a previous quarter finalist here.
Naomi Osaka df Sara Sorribes-Tormo (2 sets) – Don’t see this being a challenge for Naomi, who is playing Wimbledon for the first time. Seeing her serve live in Birmingham was quite something, it’s big!
Qiang Wang df Kai-Chen Chang (2 sets) – This is a big opportunity for both players, but i’ve seen more of Wang, and know she has a good game when playing well.
Venus Williams df Elise Mertens (2 sets) – A RG match up here for Venus. Hopefully the unfortunate news story that broke a couple of days ago won’t affect her. Based on each others games/surface, this should be a routine match for Venus.
Jelena Ostapenko df Aliaksandra Sasnovich (2 sets) – Roland Garros winner comes into Wimbledon as the hunted not the hunter. She played well in Eastbourne, and has a good game for grass. I don’t see too many problems for Penko here.
Francoise Abanda df Kurumi Nara (3 sets) – Abanda has done extremely well to qualify for her second straight major. I really enjoy watching her when she’s playing well. I think coming through qualifying may give her the edge in this match.
Camila Giorgi df Alize Cornet (2 sets) – Camila played some great tennis in Birmingham before sadly having to retire in her quarter final match. Cornet hasn’t looked convincing during the grass season. This could be a dramatic popcorn match. I think i’ll be starting with this one Monday morning!
Madison Keys df Nao Hibino (2 sets) – Despite having a second wrist surgery a few months ago, Madison Keys comes into her favored grand slam saying she’s ready to play. I hope she is fully fit, as she could be a surprise contender.
Carina Witthoeft df Mirijana Lucic-Baroni (2 sets) – Lucic has been struggling with injury of late, whereas Carina seems to be playing some good consistent tennis. This could be a fun match if both are playing well.
Aryna Sabalenka df Irina Khromacheva (2 sets) – Other than what i saw from Sabalenka during the Fed Cup semi final this year, I don’t know too much about this two players. I might try and give this match a view, as i always like watching new people.
Francesca Schiavone df Mandy Minella (2 sets) – Playing what possibly could be her last Wimbledon, Fran has quite a good draw here. Having logged a good win over Bouchard in Mallorca, Fran plays a player who is seemingly injured, having retired from her first match in Eastbourne.
Ashleigh Barty df Elina Svitolina (2 sets) – This is probably going to be the biggest upset on Day 1. Barty made the final in Birmingham, Quarter Finals in Nottingham, and won the doubles title in Birmingham and made the final of the doubles in Eastbourne. She has a really good slice that works wonders on the grass. Elina on the other hand has never really played her best at Wimbledon, and almost withdrew from the event with an Achilles injury.
Johanna Konta df Su-Wei Hsieh (2 sets) – A repeat of R1 of the French Open here. Jo has a better game for grass compared to the clay. I am hoping the injury developed from a frankly nasty and awful fall in Eastbourne doesn’t come into play here. Konta has played well over the grass season making the final in Nottingham, and the semi finals once more in her home event of Eastbourne (defeating the reigning RG champ, and world number 1 both on the same day!).
Donna Vekic df Natalia Vikhlantseva (3 sets) – Both of these players can play very well on the grass. Donna comes into Wimbledon having won Nottingham, and Natalia comes in having made the final in Den Bosch. This could be a hotly contested battle. Here’s hoping both play equally as well.
Katerina Siniakova df Maria Sakkari (3 sets) – Sakkari is a very gritty player who can trouble most players on her day. I feel Siniakova is more consistent, AS LONG as she keeps her emotions in check.
Krystina Pliskova df Roberta Vinci (2 sets) – This could be another interesting match if both play well. I feel the surface suits both players, but Krystina has the upper hand in the H2H, winning both matches played this year.
Jana Cepelova df Caroline Garcia (3 sets) – Cepelova always seems to play well against seeds in the opening rounds of grandslams. Last year she knocked out Garbine Muguruza in the second round. Garcia played well at Roland Garros, and made the semi finals in Mallorca. I just for some reason feel an upset on the cards here.
Ying-Ying Duan df Ana Bogdan (2 sets) – Duan is arguably having the best season of her career, and this is a great opportunity to get another grand slam match win under her belt.
Madison Brengle df Richel Hogenkamp (3 sets) – This was a tough one to call. I feel Madison is a tad more consistent with her game compared to Richel, and has a previous win over Richel on grass.
Petra Kvitova df Johanna Larsson (2 sets) – I just love seeing Petra’s name in draws at the moment. 6 months ago it looked very unlikely we’d even see her play this season, let alone have her as one of the favorites for the title. I was constantly astonished by the way she tore past players to take the Birmingham title… Kudos & Bravo Petra, you’re incredible!
Elena Vesnina df Anna Blinkova (2 sets) – Elena is defending Semi Final points this year, so needs to be ready for the challenge. Blinkova is a young promising player, however i feel Vesnina *should* have this match locked from the outset.
Cici Bellis df Victoria Azarenka (2 sets) – This was a toughie to call. Usually i would 100% back Vika, but i feel it is still very early in her comeback to predict big things. Cici is having a breakthrough opening full season on the tour, and has already logged wins over some great caliber players. This will be her first Wimbledon, however her run to the semi finals in Mallorca has made me consider her the favorite in this match.
Heather Watson df Maryna Zanevska (2 sets) – This is an ideal opener for Heather to get the win under her belt. She had a really positive Eastbourne making the semi finals defeating a plethora of top 40 players on route. I feel Heather could do well this week if she continues this good run of form…
Anastasija Sevastova df Yulia Putintseva (3 sets) – Mallorca champion Sevastova comes into Wimbledon with a healthy number of grass wins under her belt. I feel she’ll have the upper hand over Putintseva, but i would never expect Yulia not to put up stern resistance.
Carla Suarez-Navarro df Eugenie Bouchard (3 sets) – Although a previous finalist here, I just feel Genie’s head isn’t fully engaged in her tennis career at the moment, and until she makes it a priority again, the losses may continue.
Shuai Peng df Marketa Vondrousova (3 sets) – I really want to try and watch this one! Vondrousova has impressed so many people this year breaking onto the scene. I just feel on grass, Peng may have the upper edge.
Laura Robson df Beatriz Haddad-Maia (3 sets) – PLEASE LAURA!! I feel this is a very winnable match for Laura if she is focuses, confident and doesn’t let the nerves get to her. I’ll try and watch some of this if i can, but i’m feeling hopeful!
Simona Halep df Marina Erakovic (2 sets) – Nearly went for an upset here, but I just feel Simona has been really focused on tennis recently and seems to be in a positive place. Hopefully her last two losses from a set and a break up won’t be on her mind too much.
Do you agree/disagree with my predictions? let me know either in the comments section, or via twitter @gamesetpaulwta