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Ricky’s Picks For Day 1 At Wimbledon, Including Djokovic vs. Kohlschreiber And Anderson vs. Herbert

Novak Djokovic of Serbia in action during a training session at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London, on Sunday, June 30, 2019. EPA-EFE/PETER KLAUNZER EDITORIAL USE ONLY; NO SALES, NO ARCHIVES

By Ricky Dimon

 

The time has come. Wimbledon is here!

 

It all gets started on Monday, when the defending men’s champion takes his traditional place on Centre Court. Novak Djokovic will begin his quest for a second straight title against Philipp Kohlschreiber, while 2018 runner-up Kevin Anderson is also in action.

 

Ricky previews some of best matchups and makes his predictions.

 

(1) Novak Djokovic vs. Philipp Kohlschreiber

Djokovic and Kohlschreiber will be facing each other for the 13th time in their careers. The head-to-head series stands at 10-2 in Djokovic’s favor, but Kohlschreiber’s second victory came earlier in 2019 at Indian Wells via a 6-4, 6-4 decision. But to say that the tide turned on clay this spring would be a gross understatement. Djokovic restored order by prevailing 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 in Monte-Carlo and then crushing Kohlschreiber 6-3, 6-0 in Rome.

With the world No. 1’s motivation level obviously heightened at a major, more dominance can be expected. That is exactly what transpired at the All-England Club in 2015, when Djokovic coasted 6-4, 6-4, 6-4–also in the opening round. He has plenty of momentum from the clay-court swing, during which he won the Madrid title, finished runner-up in Rome, and reached the Roland Garros semis (lost to Dominic Thiem in five sets).

Prediction: Djokovic in 3

 

(4) Kevin Anderson vs. Pierre-Hugues Herbert

Anderson went all the way to the Wimbledon final last summer, but it wouldn’t be that big of a shock if he exits in round one this time around. The 6’8” South African has been plagued by elbow problems this season and his comeback at Queen’s Club was unspectacular.

All of that, however, is simply to say that this one will be competitive. I don’t see Herbert–Andy Murray’s doubles partner this upcoming fortnight–actually winning. Although the Frenchman is an all-court player, he would rather face Anderson on clay.

Prediction: Anderson in 4

 

(Q) Jiri Vesely vs. (6) Alexander Zverev

Zverev has still never advanced to a major semi, but this time around he would not have to go through Djokovic in the quarters like he did–or failed to do–at the French Open. He also reached the French Open QFs in 2017, so it’s not like he is completely hopeless at slams.

Up first for thee fifth-ranked German is Vesely. It has already been a productive stay in London for the 108th-ranked Czech, who did not drop a set in qualifying while beating Simone Bolelli, Andrian Menendez-Maceiras, and Tommy Paul. In fact, not a single set was more competitive than 6-4. Still, Vesely owns just one win over anyone in thee top 65 since Wimbledon last summer.

Prediction: Zverev in 3

 

Grigor Dimitrov vs. (Q) Corentin Moutet

Not unlike in Anderson vs. Herbert, a big-name player who is slumping (Dimitrov) will make for a competitive first-round contest. And similar to Herbert, Moutet is a Frenchman in fine form. The up-and-coming lefty reached the third round at the French and already has three qualifying wins under his belt at Wimbledon.

Unfortunately for Moutet, Dimitrov is showing signs of life. The Bulgarian beat Marin Cilic at Roland Garros and then lost to Stan Wawrinka in three tiebreakers–a high-quality affair. And he has always been dangerous at this grass-court major.

Prediction: Dimitrov in 5

 

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

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