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10sBalls News • Ricky’s picks for Wimbledon Day 1: Hurkacz vs. Davidovich Fokina and Bublik vs. Fucsovics

Hubert Hurkacz of Poland plays Monte-Carlo finalist Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in a Wimbledon opener. EPA-EFE/VICKIE FLORES EDITORIAL USE ONLY

By Ricky Dimon

Wimbledon gets underway on Monday, when 2021 semifinalist Hubert Hurkacz will begin against a tough opponent in Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. Another intriguing first-rounder features Alexander Bublik and Marton Fucsovics.

Here are my previews and picks for two of the best matchups.

Alejandro Davidovich Fokina vs. (7) Hubert Hurkacz

Hurkacz and Davidovich Fokina will be squaring off for the fifth time their careers and for the second time this season when they meet again in round one of Wimbledon on Monday. The head-to-head series is all tied up at two wins apiece following Hurkacz’s 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(5) victory at the Madrid Masters. Davidovich Fokina took each of their first two encounters before Hurkacz got on the scoreboard by prevailing 6-1, 6-7(3), 6-1 at last summer’s Cincinnati Masters.

Thanks to both his general grass-court prowess and his recent form, Hurkacz has to be considered among the favorites to win Wimbledon. The 10th-ranked Pole made a run to the semifinals last year and he is heading to London with even more confidence after lifting the Halle trophy. Davidovich Fokina is 7-8 lifetime on grass, including 2-2 this season after retiring against Pedro Martinez in Eastbourne. Given that the 38th-ranked Spaniard is a question mark whereas the are no concerns whatsoever about Hurkacz right now, this should be straightforward.

Pick: Hurkacz in 3

Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik in action against Great Britain’s Jack Draper during their match on day 3 at the Cinch Championships at the Queen’s Club in London, Britain, 16 June 2021. EPA-EFE/VICKIE FLORES

Alexander Bublik vs. Marton Fucsovics

With no ranking points being awarded at Wimbledon this year, Fucsovics is guaranteed to lose 360 from his 2021 quarterfinal performance. The 57th-ranked Hungarian may not have to deal with the pressure of defending those points, but he also isn’t happy; he has made no secret about his disgust with the ATP’s decision about ranking points after the All-England banned Russians and Belarusians from participating. Fucsovics has not played will since Wimbledon last season, so he is projected to fall outside the top 100 at the end of this tournament.

Up first for him on Monday is Bublik, who leads the head-to-head series 3-1 (2-0 at the ATP level). They most recently faced each other last spring on the red clay of Madrid, where Bublik cruised 7-6(5), 6-3. The 39th-ranked Kazakh has advanced at least one round in all three of his grass-court events this month, including a quarterfinal effort in Eastbourne (lost to eventual champion Taylor Fritz). This could be one of the best matches in the entire first-round, with a slight edge going to Bublik because of his fondness for grass and Fucsovic’s recent struggles.

Pick: Bublik in 5

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