Jun 26, 2022

2022 Wimbledon WTA Round One

Swiatek vs Fett :

Iga skipped all the warmup events for this and still sits as an overwhelming favorite in the futures markets for Wimbledon (+150 on most sites with the next closest player being Jabeur at +700). She has a pretty simple round one and two here but her first test will likely be against Cornet in round 3. She isn’t completely new on grass, but every round she plays will get a lot of scrutiny since the level she’s reached during this unbeaten streak seems to be a new peak in every situation. Fett did well to qualify, but this is one-way traffic. Swiatek in 2.

Kartal vs Kovinic :

This will be an interesting match. Danka Kovinic has only played one warmup match, losing in straights to Magda Linette. Her opponent, a wildcard from Britain, is relatively unknown on tour, but one look at her recent match history shows just as much green as the Wimbledon grounds. Kartal has been dominating the ITF events she’s played and bookmakers have given her the nod here, making her a -200 favorite to win. Part of that price is the hometown investment that’s expected, and Kovinic not really being a household name on grass. Comfort on grass and the hometown crowd will give Kartal a boost, and Kovinic is mostly a big threat on claycourt. Kartal’s been hitting with good depth in the past few weeks and moves the ball well on her forehand, so she might just sneak by here. I don’t like writing off a tour level player completely though, as Kartal’s wins have been frequent but mostly been against fringe tour players. Kartal in 3.

Liu vs Parrizas-Diaz :

Both these players have been losing most of their matches this grass season, but Diaz has been to a third set in both losses against Frech and Kanepi, who are a cut about Tatjana Maria and Niemeier on paper (whom Liu lost to in straights). Liu thrives on exposing her opponents movement and struggles with power. This makes NPD a really tough out since she’s really quick and plays extremely solid from the baseline. Parrizas-Diaz has an edge in power, and she should win this. NPD in 2.

Cornet vs Putintseva :

This draw is incredibly full of close and unpredictable matchups, and it makes predictions difficult but the tournament itself will be excellent. Putintseva is having a somewhat subpar year by her standards, but she won her opener at Eastbourne and pushed Kalinina to a third. Kalinina seems like she’s going to be a problem on grass, so this match against Cornet isn’t as straightforward as her solid play at Bad Homburg might suggest. Wins against Kerber and Maria are solid, and eventual champion Garcia and Cornet were neck and neck until the third set where Garcia won with a late break (7-6, 3-6, 7-5). I like her in this matchup, but it could be a long day at the office. Cornet thrives on extending rallies, keeping the ball high and out of her opponents strikezone and these are both a big part of Putintseva’s plan. Expect a long match with a number of breaks. Cornet in 2 long sets.

Teichmann vs Tomljanovic :

I was a bit surprised to see Tomljanovic favored here even with her decent run on grass. She’s beaten Krunic, Boulter, and Wang in recent weeks, but Teichmann sits on my mind as one of the better players on tour and one of the best at negating her opponents offense. Teichmann’s 0-2 in her warmup events, but third set losses to Saville and Dart aren’t so bad. One of the good things about being presented bookie lines is that I have things wrong sometimes, and a little research shows me that Teichmann hasn’t won a match on grass since 2019. Looks like Ajla will finally get going at a major. Tomljanovic in 2.

Harrison vs Rus :

Pretty cool honestly to see C. Harrison in both the men’s and women’s qualifying. Catherine is playing in her first main draw and the lack of ranking points is rough but the prize money is still nice. Her qualifier level is good enough to make this competitive, but Rus has always done her best work on grass. Her lefty serve gets wide very well, and her backhand slice really slides through the court well. Rus in 3.

Golubic vs Petkovic :

Andrea Petkovic had a really nice start to her grass season, handing Muguruza a straight set loss. Things got tougher from there though, as she ran into peak Sasnovich in the next round and drew Kasatkina in Bad Homburg. Golubic can commiserate on tough draws, as she managed to find Garcia randomly playing lights out grasscourt tennis in Birmingham and Marta Kostyuk in Eastbourne. Golubic will be the more consistent of the two and wins against Tomljanovic and Watson are a good indication that she is prepared to win if she can get the lead. Victorija’s one hander is probably the best on tour and Petkovic can be a tiny bit inconsistent when her timing is off. Grass is a good candidate for rushing Petko, who can always compete with the top tier but only when she finds her best game. Golubic in 2-3.

Zanevska vs Krejicokova :

Krejcikova’s loss at the French Open to Parry was inspiring stuff from Parry, but Krejcikova’s reaction was pretty tough to watch. It looked like the cumulative result of injuries keeping her away from the game she loves. Rehabbing and coming back only for a new part to fail is really frustrating, so I think most of the tour and the fans are hoping she can stay healthy for the rest of the year. COVID managed to add another withdrawal for her a few weeks ago, so this may be the most annoyed we’ll see the easygoing champion. Zanevska is going to be a problem on tour on clay for a while, but she’s not really there yet on grass. Krejcikova is a favorite here even with the lack of matchplay, but I wouldn’t bet on players nursing or returning from injuries. Krejcikova in 2.

Muguruza vs Minnen :

Kvitova was my pick for darkhorse value in the futures market, sitting at something like +2500 a week ago. Since she’s gone on a finals run, that probably changes my choice to Muguruza. The best thing about Muguruza’s slump is that it’s standard for her. She just starts losing matches and keeps it up for months. It hasn’t been an injury issue that’s caused her recent slump, and she’s shown a Sloane Stephens-esque ability to turn it up at the right moment and make a deep run. She has the serve and power to hit through the grass at Wimbledon, and has had good success here in the past. This opener is tricky on paper since Minnen is one of the tours best servers, but Greetje hasn’t really been winning many matches lately. Muguruza in 2, and if she wins her second round against Stephens/Zheng she may be primed for a great run. Each round for her (likely Andreescu in rd 3) gets a little harder, but these player play a very similar style to her and Muguruza often outhits her opponents to great success (the WTF matches against Kontaveit are a good example).

Zheng vs Stephens :

Interesting match here. Zheng has a better serve than Sloane, and plays a really sharp offense when she has time. Her grasscourt play is leaving a little to be desired though, and Stephens generally wins a few rounds at Wimbledon. I’d love to say Sloane’s loss to Swan is a bad sign, but she’s made it pretty clear that she doesn’t really play hard outside of the majors. Her experience should get her through here, but this is likely the last time she beats Zheng. Stephens in 3.

Bektas vs Andreescu :

Last week I was hoping for Bektas to make a run in qualifying. I saw her first in the Australian Open qualifying, and it was pretty clear that her technical skill was there and that her athleticism and court sense were tour level. I ended my rant by saying that the way she can ball reminded me of Andreescu, so this is not the first round matchup I was hoping for. Bektas is going to make it on tour, but she’s at a big power disadvantage here. It’s similar to Masarova; she can beat everyone outside the top 100 but the top players just look a bit stronger in the hitting department. Andreescu isn’t in her best form, but she’s played a handful of warmup matches and should get through here. Andreescu in 2.

Vandeweghe vs Rybakina :

Coco Vandeweghe is in as a lucky loser here, and this match is almost winnable. Vandeweghe has easy power and can hit clean winners from pretty much anywhere on the court. She can also miss simple shots and let her temper and poor attitude get the best of her. Boasting the same power but a better ‘tude is Rybakina, whose largest tantrum amounts to a moderately sad face. Rybakina’s height and big swings seem to be holding her back a little on grass, and that makes it a bad spot here to back Rybakina. She should win, but she’s 0-2 in warmups and we’ve all seen the damage that lucky losers can do in draws. It basically makes the tournaments a freeroll and that tends to open up players games and let them play without pressure or expectations. I’m sure I’ll be proven wrong, and I don’t really want Coco to win, but this could wind up in a 3rd. Rybakina in 3.

Rogers vs Martic :

Shelby I love ya but if I have to watch one more bag check I’m going to sneeze. Rogers should win this match, and I hate to just compare recent match history but that’s a lot of what the tour is. Winning begets winning and all that good stuff, and Rogers is having a good year while Martic is struggling to find form. I’d point to Rogers win against Bouzkova as a good sign that she’ll be able to deal with Martic’s aggressive baselining, and her slight edge in power on the forehand side should give her a safe zone to hit to in neutral rallies. Rogers in 2.

Kucova vs Pigossi :

Pigossi is one of the most promising clay court talents. Her, Jimenez Kasintseva, Parry, and Udvardy are going to really make an impact in the next few years, but I find her +170 price a little odd here. Kucova is no world-beater, but Pigossi has never played a professional match on grass (including ITF). Maybe it won’t matter since Pigossi is such a good player, but your first match on grass is a really tough thing to win especially against a tour veteran like Kucova. I’d be wary of betting in this one, but Kucova in 2.

Masarova vs Dart :

Harriet Dart seemed like a player who lacked power and a real solid weapon to play behind. She’d win the matches where her opponents made errors, but would get outhit a bit too often. I was wrong though, and her performance at Eastbourne shows that when she’s comfortable she’s a completely different player. This is a winnable first round against a great baseliner without much grasscourt experience. Masarova getting into the main draw at 137 is pretty wild, but Wimbledon’s ban has kept 15 players out of the event where the ATP ban only removed 5 players (Disclaimer : turtles cannot count good). Dart in 2.

Vekic vs Pegula :

Pegula chose to switch the warmup tournaments on grass, which leaves her on shaky ground in this first round contest against Vekic. Donna Vekic has really struggled to find form but she played some solid tennis in Eastbourne and her power has always been a great equalizer against the bigger names on tour. If Pegula has a slow start, Vekic can win this, and it’s hard to imagine her playing her best after a month off of tennis. Vekic in 2 or Pegula in 3.

Badosa vs Chirico :

Badosa is -1000 for this match, and I’m sure that’s fair for balancing the money coming in but I expect this match to be a bit closer. Badosa is still carrying a shoulder injury that caused her to withdraw at Roland Garros, and she lost her first grass warmup against Burrage in straight sets. Chirico is in no way a tour regular, but her game is right at the fringe and she came through a tricky qualifying draw (Jani and Diechmann are both really tough outs). If Badosa is healthy, she can win this in straights. If not, there’s a good chance this winds up in a third. Badosa in 2-3.

Pacquet vs Bara :

Bara is a claycourt terror, so this isn’t ideal. Pacquet is also best on clay, but she has a pretty good serve which should pay dividends if she’s able to get to the business end of sets. I don’t love her movement, but she did at least attend a warmup event in Gaiba. Pacquet in 3.

Bogdan vs Yastremska :

Ana Bogdan is the Anna Konjuh of Sorana Cirstea’s. She’s really not who you want to play in an early round of a major, and she’s coming off two solid wins against Rus and future Clara Tauson Linda Fruhvirtova in Gaiba, Italy. Her and Yastremska are likely to play one of the fastest paced first rounds here, as both can hit the fuzz off the ball and neither backs off the baseline. Yastremska has won their two previous meetings, but it really isn’t prudent to assume she’ll play her best as she routinely loses and finds the plot during matches. Bogdan will be more consistent player but Yastremska will likely find the finish line. Yastremska in 3.

Kvitova vs Paolini :

Petra Kvitova played great last week and it’s refreshing to see her finding her range on grass. When I consider players who can upend Swiatek’s run I mostly think of peak offenses like Kvitova and Jabeur and Pliskova who can hold serve at a high percentage. Kvitova has a chance to continue her run here, and Paolini is a good opener for Kvitova to work on her returning which will be key in her next round if she faces Yastremska. Kvitova in 2.

Giorgi vs Frech :

Giorgi’s power and consistent offense make her a threat against anyone on grass, and it was on display in Eastbourne last week as she beat Muguruza and Tomova before falling to eventual champion Ostapenko. Her opponent her Frech is one of those playersin the second tier like Linette (oddly from the same country) who are promising but struggle to put together multiple wins in a row. The tour is real tough these days, and Giorgi is likely to be fresh for this and playing some of her best tennis. Giorgi in 2.

Peterson vs Schmiedlova :

Neither has played a warmup here, but Peterson is a bit better on grass generally. She has a better serve, and plays a more offensive style than Schmiedlova. Peterson in 2.

PS I don’t know why I felt offended that they chose to skip the warmups, or why I felt making their writeup shorter was somehow justified, but it feels a bit of storytelling to really say a lot about players who are coming in at unknown levels and with unknown health levels. I wish them both luck, but I can’t really discuss what’s gonna happen because I don’t really know.

Flipkens vs Fourlis :

Flipkens will retire at Wimbledon this year, and she’s a good shout to win this match and make it a second round retirement via Halep. Fourlis did well to qualify, besting Podoroska and Ponchet, but she’s never really won many matches against top 100 players thus far. Flipkens thrives on grass since she plays a very technically sound game with a lot of slices mixed in, and she should have an edge here especially considering she bested Elise Mertens this month to make a quarterfinal in Eastbourne. Flipkens in 2.

Muchova vs Halep :

Muchova is dangerous floater in any draw at this point, but she’s coming off a straight sets loss to Jabeur and Halep just showed some vintage form this past week. The one question mark that stands out the most is her withdrawal due to a neck issue. Lots of players pull out of the tournaments the week before a major to get proper rest, and the injuries listed often don’t exist. That’s a terribly rude thing to say to a player with an actual injury, but oof it’s amazing how often professional tennis players with a chance to win a major find themselves with minor injuries in the later rounds of the week prior. Halep might be fine, and that spells a good run here. With Flipkens in the second round, both of these players could see a simple trip to the third round as a reward for coming through. Muchova’s tennis is world class, but it’s unclear if she’s match-ready yet. Halep in 2.

Gauff vs Ruse :

Cori Gauff is one of the most popular options in the betting markets for Wimbledon, which is fair since she made the 4th round as a 15 year old, made the finals of RG, and won a few matches in her warmup event in Berlin before losing 7-6, 6-2 to Jabeur. Elena Ruse is where Gauff was a few years ago which sounds crazy, but she’s a very promising young talent who’s yet to really find their range on tour. She can beat the lower half of the top 100, but is probably going down in two sets here given her straight sets loss to Lauren Davis last week. Gauff in 2.

Schunkpocalypse vs Buzarnescu :

I’m a huge fan of Schunk’s game. She’s lefty, she crushes the ball, and she has a great attitude. Her best attribute is her serve, so grass-court tennis is really ideal for her. She didn’t have much trouble in qualifying, and I think this first round is winnable. Buzarnescu is always going to challenge her opponents to hit extra shots, but she tends to isolate her opponents backhands and Schunk is a lefty so those patterns won’t work. Schunk in 2. Go Schunk!

Brengle vs Davis :

I’d love to say I know who’s going to win here, but I don’t. Books don’t either, as this has been listed at even odds. Both are solid baseliners, neither has a serve, and they’ve split their previous matches almost down the middle (3-2 for Davis). I think Brengle has the higher upside, but she’s been slumping and Davis has won a handful of grass matches this season. Davis in 3.

Wang vs Anisimova :

Anisimova doesn’t seem to be struggling to find form this season, and she’s already had one quarterfinal showing this grass season. HOW ARE PEOPLE DOING THIS GRASS SEASON? TALK ABOUT THE GRASS SEASON! LIST THE RESULTS OF THE GRASS SEASON! I’m sorry honestly if this feels monotonous, but grass is such a unique surface that there really isn’t much else to refer to when gauging ability. The players whose games translate well win, and everyone else picks up checks and flies to North America. Wang beat Korpatsch which is a nice win, but she probably can’t hang in this one. Anisimova in 2.

Tormo vs McHale :

McHale was solid in qualifying, and I’m always cheering for former tour players to just go the hard route back into tournaments and play qualifiers so it was cool to see her get through. Tormo is something like -400 for this match which is kinda confusing given her struggles on grass so far. She does lead the h2h 2-0 but McHale is in great form and I would expect this to go to a third set. Tormo doesn’t hit big enough to put McHale away, and similarly McHale doesn’t have the serving to really force Tormo into quick rallies. Leaning into a puzzling upset here. McHale in 3.

Williams vs Tan :

Surprised to see Serena listed only at -357. Maybe it was just the warmup video I saw, but it seemed like her movement wasn’t perfect. Still, the sound the ball makes off her racquet is enough to remind us that she’s a threat to win a few rounds here. Her movement isn’t what it used to be, and she’s definitely going to have some match rust, but everyone gets to serve and hers is one of the best the tour has ever seen. Harmony Tan is no grass-court terror, but she won three in a row in Gaiba and I would expect every round to be a significant test for Serena. This is a soft section of the draw if Serena can get going. Can she? Williams in 2-3 is likely but at -357 the books are likely to see a flood of casual fans betting on Serena so I almost think an upset via rust is incoming.

Burel vs Boulter :

Katie Boulter is definitely deserving off this wildcard, and her opponent Clara Burel hasn’t played a warmup event. This should be a straight sets win for Boulter, setting up a rematch with Pliskova who she beat in Eastbourne.

Martincova vs Pliskova :

Pliskova is always going to struggle when her opponents can expose her movement. As one of the taller players on tour (I estimate her to be 7’8”) her lateral movement isn’t the best, so matches against big hitters like Martincova can be dangerous. I’d expect a similar result to last year’s event, where Pliskova won in two close sets. Pliskova in 2.

Collins vs Bouzkova :

Collins is an unknown commodity heading into this clash. Bouzkova has played twice as much tennis as her this year, and Collins played 0 warmup events. I like Collins anytime she’s healthy on just about any surface against just about any player, but I don’t like rusty Collins against one of the more difficult baseliners to beat on a specialty surface. Bouzkova in 2.

Bronzetti vs Li :

I’m a big fan of Ann Li’s game but ze results aren’t always there. I’m a big fan of Bronzetti’s game but grass definitely isn’t her best surface. Should be a close contest, and this hinges on Li’s aggression. If she gets on the front foot and keeps the ball in she’ll roll since Bronzetti’s experience is lacking. If Li tries to just hit through Bronzetti from behind the baseline she’ll lose as Lucia’s swings are a lot more stable and less error prone. Li in 3.

Siniakova vs Chwalinska :

It’s funny to think that a player who just played three with an in-form Halep could struggle against a qualifier who played three with Vandeweghe, but that’s sorta what I expect here. Chwalinska’s serving really impressed me, and that’s something that’s hard to overcome on grass. Siniakova should win here, but I don’t think it will be quick. Unfortunately, Maja had her knee taped up pretty heavily by the end of qualifying, so her movement could be hampered. Siniakova in two close sets.

In-Albon vs Riske :

Nice for In-Albon to be getting into main draws already, and despite her relative inexperience this is a great spot. Alison Riske has a bigger serve, and can be a real terror on the grass. Idk why I call people terrors, but I do, and she’s one! The good thing about playing Riske is her forehand production is really quite unorthodox and she can lose her range for multiple games. The bad thing is that her funky approach is hard to read and for a new tour player that spells trouble. Riske in 2.

Zhang vs Doi :

Zhang played great the last few weeks. She should roll her despite Doi’s quality defending. Zhang in 2.

Kostyuk vs Swan :

I haven’t really seen Swan play much, but her ITF results have been solid. She’ll press Kostyuk here, and given Marta’s temper there’s a decent chance Swan can win a set. I don’t expect her to win two though. Kostyuk in 3.

Garcia vs Miyazaki :

Great paycheck for Miyazaki. Garcia has found her serve and her forehand though, and should win at least 3 rounds here. Garcia in 2.

Van Uytvanck vs Raducanu :

Unfortunately, it seems like Raducanu is not healthy for her home slam. She had a great run last year before a withdrawal due to a panic attack in the round of 16. She could still do some damage here, but she had a side issue against Golubic that didn’t allow her to complete a set and she’s withdrawn from a handful of matches already this year. Injuries tend to compound when you play through them, so hopefully she’ll either take some time off before her USO defense if she’s not 100% here. Van Uytvanck is in the top 10 servers on tour, and she just won the challenger in Gaiba which was basically completely comprised of top 150 players. She’ll be favored to win here due to Emma’s inconsistency and her physical state, and Raducanu will certainly delight the crowd if she can avoid the loss. The good thing about Raducanu is that her shots, with full commitment, are strong enough to yield errors. Her backhand motion is near perfect and the way she leans into it is enough to work against AVU who tends to reflect the ball at a very level height. This can be tough to control against power. Van Uytvanck via withdrawal is what I honestly expect, but AVU in 3 is what will likely happen if they take the court.

Kerber vs Mladenovic :

Give credit to Mladenovic, she’s been struggling on tour and dropped down the win a W60 title this month. It was clay though, so her prospects here aren’t great. Kerber is a threat to make the second week at any event, but grass really magnifies the spin on her serve and lets her drag opponents wide. This and her forehand down the line mean cheap points all fortnight long from the ad side, and this is a solid chance to start the tournament off with a straight sets win. Kerber in 2.

Linette vs Contreras Gomez :

I don’t wanna play Contreras Gomez. She keeps winding up in spots where she’s an underdog, and she keeps winning. This is a clay specialist showing up to Wimbledon and rolling through the draw. The qualies were admittedly weaker here, but FCG has gotten herself to 157 in the rankings, and there’s a good chance that she’ll be able to qualify for and win matches in a few hardcourt events this summer. She’s also passed Renata Zarazua as the new Mexican #1 which is neato. In this one, she’ll likely be second best despite her lockdown baselining. Linette has a good serve and has been in decent form of late. She’s been close to some huge upsets on tour a few times and has a good chance to beat Kerber in round two. Linette in 2.

Zidansek vs Udvardy :

Panna Udvardy doesn’t have much grass experience which makes Zidansek a deserved favorite here even though she’s not much for grass either. Zidansek in 2.

Osorio vs Mertens :

Good chance for Mertens to redeem herself after some puzzling losses to Flipkens, McNally, and AVU. Elise is one of the most consistent players on tour, so I’d expect her to find her range again soon similar to RBA who slumped then made a finals this past week. Mertens slump makes Osorio a candidate for the second round, but she hasn’t really imposed herself in her warmup matches either. I’d expect a tough contest with Mertens proving a little more efficient on serve. Mertens in 3.

Kanepi vs Parry :

Kaia used to be a “4 majors a year” tournament player. It’s been really nice seeing her more active on tour and the results have come along with the hard work. Maybe two seasons ago she showed up in just unreal shape and she’s maintained it since then. Grass suits her game, and Parry’s one-handed backhand will struggle a little against her opponents pace. Kanepi in 2.

Tauson vs Hontama :

This one is interesting. Mai Hontama is one of the more difficult players to hit through, and she’s had 5 grasscourt matches (including a 3 match winstreak through qualifing obv) while Tauson hasn’t played since Madrid with a back injury. It’s unclear if she’ll be 100% healthy here, but she definitely won’t be sharp in the early stages of her first match back. Tauson has the serve and the power off both wings to beat anyone on tour (for real, anyone) but tennis is a game of minimizing errors and you need matches to do that. Hontama may sneak by here. Hontama in 3.

Marino vs Kawa :

Rebecca Marino has done the work and is into her first main draw at a major without qualifying or a wildcard. I don’t particularly understand why she’s such a large favorite (-600) against Kawa, especially since Kawa has just defeated French Open standout Leolia Jeanjean in the final round of qualifying. Marino’s main weapon is her serve, and that should be enough to edge her through here. Kawa can ball though, and Marino isn’t exactly a defensive wizard. Marino in 2 close sets.

Bjorklund vs Jabeur :

Jabeur pulled out of her and Serena’s doubles with an injury which is scary news for her fans. It is amazing to consider how she went from being a clay specialist slated as an underdog in all her matches to being the #2 player on tour and one of the favorites to win a major. I love it. She deserves it. If she’s healthy here, this is a simple match. Bjorklund plays a very probing style of tennis and generally wears down her opponents backhand with inside-out forehand of varying depth and pace, but Jabeur’s slice is more than capable of handling that. Jabeur in 2.

Sakkari vs Hives :

Zoe Hives is a promising young player and coming through qualifying at a major is a great sign for her future. Sakkari is so good though that her not having a major yet almost seems like a problem. Sakkari’s serving will be a decider against any lower tier opponents, and her defensive physicality will negate their ability to hold serve. Sakkari wears down opponents physically better than anyone on tour, she just forgets to keep doing it in the high profile moments and resorts to bailout dropshots. That won’t happen here. Sakkari in 2.

Saville vs Tomova :

Nice for Saville to get a wildcard, as she’s been working hard to get back in the top 100. Her defense is tough to hit through, but she tends to resort to playing balls with a lot of height and trying to maneuver her opponents. On grass, it’s almost better to just go right at them with pace because of the low bounces that you can benefit from. Tomova is the bigger hitter here, and should win. Tomova in 3.

Sharma vs Maria :

Sharma has been the beneficiary of a number of wildcards, but she did the hard work to get through qualifying here when asked. I like it, and Sharma’s inconsistency is only something I gripe about because her tennis is clearly top 30 stuff when she is hitting the court. Tatjana Maria is guaranteed to make life tough on Sharma here. She hits slices off both wings almost nonstop and Sharma is going to make a bunch of errors since her backhand can decelerate and lose shape during normal conditions. Where I see trouble for Maria is that the endless slices can sometimes play players into form. If Sharma is going to make a run here, I’d expect it late in the second set. For now though, Maria has to be a pretty solid favorite. Maria in 2 or Sharma in 3.

Trevisan vs Cocciaretto:

Tricky spot. Trevisan is playing the best tennis of her life but grass doesn’t really benefit her game at all. Cocciaretto is entering under a protected ranking, and has a huge serve but hasn’t played any grass matches. Small edge to Trevisan but the upset could easily happen here as well as Cocciaretto can serve. Trevisan in 3.

Gorgodze vs Begu :

Neither of these two have played warmup matches, but Begu has a bigger serve and way more power than her opponent. Begu in 2.

Wickmayer vs Zhu :

I really like Wickmayer’s game on grass, and she was solid in qualifying. She should win this in 2.

Dodin vs Ostapenko :

Ostapenko won a title and it was only a few hours later that I even considered she might be on the short list of favorites for the Wimbledon title. Her inconsistency is legendary, but her power is also. If she’s on, this is one way traffic and she appears to have found her form. How can someone so tiny return Kvitova’s serve? Dodin has a similar level of power in her delivery but grass is likely to rush her into errors during rallies since she’s already pretty much redlining to hang in rallies on fast hardcourt. Ostapenko in 2.

Bencic vs Wang :

Bencic is a darkhorse for the title here also. I wonder where that expression comes from, but it’s 2am and I want to sleep so I won’t look it up. Ok I looked it up. It’s from a Benjamin Disraeli novel about a Duke. That’s not very exciting, but whatever. Wang’s approach is to take the ball early and overwhelm her opponent with pace. Sound familiar? Bencic is the better of these two at the moment and Wang will have a tough time imposing herself since they’re looking to do the same exact thing. Bencic in 2.

Korpatsch vs Watson :

This is it. Watson is a server, and this is grass season. Go on, Heather. Do the thing. It’s Wimbledon. She’s gotta do it right? Losses to Tsurenko and Marino make this less than a gimme, but Korpatsch is really not a huge threat here. Right? RIGHT? Idk. Watson has the offense to put this away, and she’s generally not so inconsistent in her losses as much as she’s outhit. Watson in 3.

Inglis vs Galfi :

Interesting to see Galfi open as a -250 favorite here. She hits way bigger than Inglis but Madison has had a good run through qualifying. Galfi’s price is partially due to her power and upside, and partially due to the W10 title won over Burrage last week. Wins over Volynets and Wickmayer are actually pretty impressive, and I now regret questioning the -250 price tag but hey, it’s too late now as I’ve already seen the finish line and my work ethic is officially traaaaash. Galfi playing consistent is a huge problem for the tour. She hits huge. I’m talking super big. Like picture a pineapple. Now picture a hippomotamus. Now picture something even bigger. Now picture Dalma Galfi’s forehand. Whoa, right? I still think Inglis will make this tricky, but I saw 0 of the W10 run so I’m likely missing infos. Galfi in 2 close sets.

Juvan vs Haddad Maia :

It isn’t unthinkable given her run that Haddad Maia could threaten for the title here. Her height gives her serve a little extra pop and she’s ultra consistent which counts for a lot on a surface that creates errors off normal rally balls. Juvan probably loses this one in two, and Haddad vs Galfi will be good popcorn. Real good popcorn. Like, picture some popcorn. Now make it better. Haddad Maia in 2. I promise I’ll make more sense next round.

Kalinina vs Bondar :

Interestingly, these are both serving specialists who thrive on clay. Kalinina doesn’t seem to know that though, and she’s been a real problem on grass this past month. Her T-serve is excellent, and wins against Cirstea, Sakkari, and Putintseva are well beyond anything that Bondar is likely to produce. If Anhelina finds consistency at her peak level, she’s a threat to any given opponent. The WTA is so freaking exciting right now, and so is having only three matches left. Kalinina in 2.

Burrage vs Tsurenko :

This is a spicy one. Probably the best match of the first round. Burrage and Tsurenko aren’t going to win the title here, but they’ve been notching a ton of wins in the past few weeks. I love a match that isn’t decided by errors, and this will likely be high quality tennis throughout. Most players have played 3-4 matches leading into Wimbledon. Tsurenko has won 7. Burrage has 10. 10? 10 IS A LOT! TEN IS SO MANY! CMON! GET HYPED FOR THIS MAAAAAAATCH. Definitely getting a little squirrely upstairs here and for that I apologize. Tsurenko forfeited her last match against Haddad Maia, but I expect her to be healthy here. I expect Burrage to have a bit more power than the veteran Tsurenko, and given the volume Burrage is playing she’ll be able to keep her errors to a minimum. I like her chances here, and she’s worked herself to 169 in the rankings so there’s a good chance she won’t need a wildcard by next year. Burrage in 3, but I would watch 8 sets of this matchup if that is available.

Niemeier vs Wang :

Julie Niemeier crushes the ball. Both wings, both directions, at will. Who knew tennis could be so fun? Not me. Not before the beginning of the age of Niemeier. She’s taken Kasatkina and Bencic to deciding sets, and that’s really a great sign for the young German. Wang hasn’t played any warmup matches, and I realize it’s small-minded to just pick against everyone who didn’t warm up, but I think that’s exactly what I did thus far. Does using thus make me smart even though I’ve employed a dumb blanket strategy? No. My pet caterpillar is shaking its head no. Or it’s eating a leaf. Idk. Niemeier in 2.

Kontaveit vs Pera :

Pera is coming off a thigh injury. Kontaveit had COVID and is coming off two first round losses on clay. Neither has played a warmup event. Kontaveit is at another level but this will be an interesting spot to learn a little about her level here. Niemeier might inheir the bottom half of the draw if Kontaveit isn’t ready, and I’m ready to live in that world. Kontaveit in 2 or 3 if she’s rusty.