Wimbledon: Tsitsipas - Kyrgios, S. Williams - Pliskova, Murray - Isner… The 9 matches we want to see in the first week

Wimbledon: Tsitsipas – Kyrgios, S. Williams – Pliskova, Murray – Isner… The 9 matches we want to see in the first week

Simona Halep – Karolina Muchova

1st round, ladies’ singles

Sacred in 2019 on the lawn of the All England Club, will Simona Halep have the honor of opening hostilities on Tuesday on the Center Court? Retired, defending champion Ashleigh Barty, who was to have this prerogative, has in any case made a request to this effect. At the time of writing these lines, the organization of the tournament is hesitating between the Romanian and the world number 1 Iga Swiatek. But if it needed an additional argument in his favor, the identity of his opponent in the 1st round would be a weighty one.

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Halep will thus cross entry iron with Karolina Muchova who has already played two quarter-finals (2019 and 2021) at Wimbledon. The Czech’s delicious backhand slice, her ability to get into the net and the quality of her serve make her a formidable player on grass, even if she has fallen to 82nd place in the world (she was Top 20 last year ). The new protégé of Patrick Mouratoglou, who withdrew this Friday from Bad Homburg because of neck pain, will therefore have to be wary. It is undoubtedly the poster of the 1st round in the women’s draw.

Simona Halep with the Wimbledon trophy in 2019

Credit: Getty Images

Jannik Sinner – Stan Wawrinka

1st round, men’s singles

There’s nothing like a duel of big hitters to get the tournament off to a good start. With Jannik Sinner and Stan Wawrinka, British spectators will be served from this point of view: the ball should travel very quickly between the two men. The Italian, seeded number 10, will probably have to be wary of the Swiss veteran, even if he is still far from his best level and needed an invitation to enter the table.

Even if he has been struggling since his return from injury in April, Wawrinka is capable of doing damage in one game. He also showed it against Frances Tiafoe at Queen’s in preparation. His main difficulty at the moment is to chain performances. We will have to be all the more on our guard for Sinner as he himself could not really prepare on the grass because of his left knee injury at Roland-Garros.

Stan Wawrinka at Queen’s in 2022

Credit: Getty Images

Felix Auger-Aliassime – Maxime Cressy

1st round, men’s singles

He was one of the players to avoid for the top seeds. Admittedly, Maxime Cressy was probably less frightening to the top names than a Nick Kyrgios and or an Andy Murray, but the American with French origins looks like a hell of a trap. Especially on cool, slippery grass at the start of the first week. Quarter-finalist last year, Félix Auger-Aliassime therefore had the misfortune to fall on the server-volleyball player.

If he is now very regular in Grand Slams, the Canadian has the unfortunate tendency to start his fortnights a bit like a diesel. However, if he is not ultra-concentrated against a Cressy who reached the eighth at the Australian Open and who beat Reilly Opelka, Daniel Evans and Cameron Norrie this week on the grass of Eastbourne, he could have a very bad surprise. In any case, the opposition of styles promises spectacle.

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Emma Raducanu – Caroline Garcia

2nd round, ladies’ singles

We are now entering the realm of projection and wishing. Much awaited by the British public after her round of 16 last year and especially her triumph at the US Open in stride, Emma Raducanu however approaches this Wimbledon in uncertainty. Injured in the ribs in Nottingham, she favored rest to be in a condition to play in the tournament. Challenging Alison Van Uytvanck in these conditions is not easy, but if she manages to overcome the obstacle, then she could find Caroline Garcia in 2nd.

The French, who found colors this week in Bad Homburg (semi-final at least) will already have to get rid of a British entry, the guest Yuriko Miyazaki, 206th in the world. But if it takes place, this match against Raducanu promises to be particularly interesting. Admittedly, Garcia would then have to face a whole people, but her opponent is having a difficult 2022 season, because of her new status as Grand Slam champion at 19. A great challenge in perspective for the Lyonnaise.

Andy Murray – John Isner

2nd round, men’s singles

If Raducanu is the new darling of the British public, his hero remains Andy Murray. And despite his 35 years and a metal hip, the interested party raises renewed hopes thanks in particular to a final in Stuttgart, a rediscovered quality of movement and a reformed duo with the coach who had led him to the title in 2013 and 2016, Ivan Lendl. If he is recovered from his abdominal injury, he should dismiss James Duckworth in the 1st round to logically challenge John Isner in the 2nd.

This duel of veterans – the American giant now has 37 springs on the clock – would certainly produce some epic streaks of lawn tennis. Between a server of the quality of Isner, a former semi-finalist moreover, and a raiser of the caliber of Murray, there could be all the more sparks as the two players have experienced a number of anthology matches at Wimbledon, Nicolas Mahut, Kevin Anderson or even Fernando Verdasco still remember it.

Richard Gasquet – Marin Cilic

2nd round, men’s singles

At Wimbledon, Richard Gasquet experienced his share of emotions. It was on the London turf that the Frenchman achieved his best Grand Slam performances, notably with two semi-finals in 2007 and 2015. Seeing him on this surface which devotes technical precision remains a treat, even if at 36 , the test of the five sets is increasingly difficult to take up. If he manages to beat Joao Sousa, a second round against Marin Cilic would not displease us.

In the event of a duel, the Croatian would obviously start as the favorite. Firstly because he himself reached the final of the tournament in 2017, and above all because Roland-Garros has devoted his great comeback to business and in the Top 20 thanks to a good semi-final. If he is as precise at the All England Club as on Parisian soil, he could be a formidable outsider thanks to his service. This possible 2nd round would certainly offer a profusion of long-line winning backhands (one hand for the French and two for the Croatian side).

Cilic comes after Bublik

Serena Williams – Karolina Pliskova

3rd round, ladies’ singles

At this stage, it is often about bets based on the logic of the heads of series of the various tables, or on the antecedents of the players concerned. Seven times crowned at Wimbledon, Serena Williams is clearly part of the second category. A year after her last singles match at the same venue, where is the American? She herself probably doesn’t know, even though she won two doubles matches with Ons Jabeur this week at Eastbourne.

So there is no guarantee that Queen Serena will pass the 1st round against Harmony Tan, 113th in the world, which would have passed for a formality a few years ago. But if she succeeds and gains momentum, a theoretical poster against Karolina Pliskova, semi-finalist in 2021, is on the program for the 3rd round. Between these two monsters of power, the battering should fuse and the outcome would be uncertain, both because of the context and their history: they are tied 2-2 in their confrontations, the Czech having won during the last at the 2019 Australian Open.

Cori Gauff – Amanda Anisimova

3rd round, ladies’ singles

Finalist at Roland-Garros at only 18 years old, Cori Gauff is already a multi-surface player. Because if it shone in the Grand Slam on Parisian clay, it was at Wimbledon that the phenomenon of precocity became known to the general public. Three years ago, she thus became the youngest player to emerge from the qualifications, joining the second week in stride. This year, she hopes to push the adventure further, but a major obstacle could stand in her way: Amanda Anisimova in the 3rd round.

If the logic of the table is respected, this 100% American clash promises between two young talents who will face each other regularly in the years to come. Anisimova is not as close to the Top 10 as Gauff, but she has a Major half at Roland-Garros (2019). Her ability to move the ball forward without apparent effort makes her a threat, despite perhaps still too great tactical flaws on grass (she has not yet passed the second round at Wimbledon). With them, US women’s tennis has a bright future ahead of it.

Stefanos Tsitsipas – Nick Kyrgios

3rd round, men’s singles

If we are still far from it, this 3rd round would certainly serve as the ideal conclusion to the first week. Difficult to dream of a better poster at this stage in terms of raw talent and contrasts both technically and in character. If they assume their rank, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Nick Kyrgios have an appointment for an electric face-to-face with a place in the knockout stages of Wimbledon at stake, which has not happened to the Greek since 2018 and the Australian since 2016.

Kyrgios probably worried all the leaders before the draw, in his misfortune to inherit it, Tsitsipas will have at least two rounds to gain confidence. Despite his ranking (45th), the Aussie has a small ascendancy over Tsitsipas: he leads 3-1 in their duels and has just won on grass in Halle against him after a high performance match. The Greek, however, prepared better than in previous years on grass, progressing in particular in backhand slices. Whatever happens, this popcorn match should be worth a watch and give the winner a lot of confidence in week two. We salivate in advance.

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