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Ricky’s Preview And Picks For 10sBalls • Wimbledon’s First Round • Including Dimitrov vs. Wawrinka

By Ricky Dimon


Wimbledon gets underway on Monday and the action will be fast and furious throughout the grounds of the All-England Club . First-round men’s matches include Grigor Dimitrov vs. Stan Wawrinka, Richard Gasquet vs. Gael Monfils, and Fernando Verdasco vs. Frances Tiafoe.


Ricky takes a look at some of the more intriguing opening-round matchups


Stan Wawrinka vs. (6) Grigor Dimitrov

On paper, this is by far the biggest match of the entire first round. When these guys are at their best, it’s a matchup worthy of a slam semifinal. Neither one, though, is in peak form right now. Wawrinka, of course, is struggling the most. He is just 5-9 in his comeback from a knee problem and got thrashed by Andy Murray in the Eastbourne opening round. Dimitrov is a modest 19-12 in 2018 and must make a move if he wants a chance of defending his Nitto ATP Finals title, but the Bulgarian should have more than enough to take care of a rusty opponent. Dimitrov in 3.


Gael Monfils vs. (23) Richard Gaquet

Gasquet was the recent champion on the grass of ‘s-Hertogenbosch and Monfils was–until reaching the Antalya semis–just 11-11 in his last 22 matches since beginning the year 5-0 with a title in Doha. But both Frenchmen will probably find a way to make this go five. Monfils has been ousted from Wimbledon by a compatriot the last three years, and in five sets every time. Moreover, the last three non-retirement meetings between Monfils and Gasquet have all needed final sets, including a 6-2, 6-7(7), 7-6(4) victory for Monfils last summer on the Eastbourne grass. Gasquet should probably win this in less than five; he probably wont. Gasquet in 5.


(17) Lucas Pouille vs. (WC) Denis Kudla

Facing a wild card ranked No. 83 in the world does not look to bad on the surface for Pouille. But the Frenchman will know as well as anyone that this could be a rough one. Kudla is well-known as a grass-court specialist, with a fourth-round showing at Wimbledon in 2015 and a recent semifinal run in Halle among his accolades. Pouille, meanwhile, is 5-9 in his last 14 tournament matches. Based on the surface and current form, the upset alert can be sounded. Kudla in 5.


(1) Roger Federer vs. Dusan Lajovic

This is a rematch of a second-round meeting last year at Wimbledon, where Federer cruised 7-6(0), 6-3, 6-2 and went on to capture his eighth Wimbledon title. The Swiss’ strategy to skip the clay-court swing worked out perfectly in 2017 and he did exactly the same thing in 2018, as well. Once again, he won one of his two grass-court warmups. Federer may not be in peak form right now, but time and time again he finds it at the All-England Club. Count on him doing just that this summer. Federer in 3.


Dudi Sela vs. (2) Rafael Nadal

Both of their previous meetings have gone the Nadal’s way; 6-1, 6-0, 7-5 at the 2015 Australian Open and 6-3, 6-4 at last year’s Miami Masters. Is an upset possible this time around? Probably not, as Sela isn’t the prototypical Nadal kill. Yes, Nadal can lose to this type of opponent every now and then (Steve Darcis at Wimbledon in 2013, anyone?!?!). But the world No. 1 is an awesome 30-2 in 2018, and 30-1 not including retirements. This should be one-way traffic as Nadal sinks his teeth into the surface change from clay to grass. Nadal in 3.


Frances Tiafoe vs. (30) Fernando Verdasco

Two of the biggest forehands in tennis will be on display here. That is just about where the similarities end, because Tiafoe is in the early stages of his career and Verdasco is a 34-year-old lefty who is in his 18th season as a pro. Although the Spaniard has never won a grass-court title and only one of his 23 ATP finals has come on grass, he has advanced to the second week at Wimbledon four times—including a quarterfinal appearance in 2013. Tiafoe defeated Robin Haase during first-round action at the All-England Club and the American recently reached the quarterfinals at Queen’s Club. Tiafoe in 5.


Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.


Want a quick laugh From Dusan Vemic? click below


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