Wimbledon 2021: Round 1: Predictions: Barty, Djokovic, Tsitsipas, and Serena take centre-stage
Wimbledon 2021: Round 1 Preview & Prediction
We are all set for the 3rd grand slam of the year. The oldest tennis tournament, Wimbledon, will take place from June 28 to July 11, 2021. The fans have been abuzz after the main draw for men’s and women’s sections were released.
Sportco analyzes 10 interesting matches that can keep everyone hooked for the First Round of Wimbledon
1) Ashleigh Barty vs Carla Suárez Navarro
This is the first-ever meeting between the two.
Top seed Ashleigh Barty is playing her first match after retiring hurt against Magda Linette due to a hip injury in the second round at Roland Garros. The Australian is featuring in her first grass-court match this year and will be rusty at the start.
Navarro is featuring in her farewell tour after announcing her retirement plans. The World number 138 successfully defeated cancer (Hodgkin’s lymphoma). Interestingly, the Spaniard is also playing her first match on grass this season.
Barty’s backhand slice will go all out against Navarro’s topspin heavy forehand. The World number 1’s ability to get free points on her serve will help her defeat the experienced Spaniard.
Wimbledon 2021: Round 1 Predictions - Ashleigh Barty to win in straight sets against Carlos Suárez Navarro
2) Novak Djokovic vs Jack Draper
This is their first clash on the ATP Tour
Novak Djokovic warmed up for Wimbledon 2021 by reaching the doubles finals at the Mallorca Open with Carlos Gomez Herrera. The Serb practiced with Italians, Matteo Berrettini and Jannik Sinner in London.
Interestingly, Novak asked tips about Jack Draper’s game to Sinner. This was because Draper had beaten Jannik Sinner in straight sets in the Queen’s Club Championships.
Draper’s ATP rankings have increased from 309 to 250 after he reached the quarters at Queen’s. The southpaw is a former Wimbledon Boys singles runner-up (2018). 2-time defending champion Djokovic will be wary of Jack’s attacking game and big serve. The effectiveness of the two-handed backhands of both the players will decide the outcome.
Wimbledon 2021: Round 1: Predictions - Novak Djokovic to win in straight sets against Jack Draper
3) Iga Swiatek vs Hsieh Su-Wei
Iga Swiatek leads H2H 1-0 against Hsieh Su-Wei
Swiatek’s confidence will be down after a 4-6 6-0 6-1 thrashing against Daria Kasatkina in the pre-quarters at the Eastbourne Open. The 7th seed is not comfortable on grass and looks shaky in her court coverage.
Meanwhile, Hsieh lost her opener in 3 sets to Marie Bouzkova at the Birmingham Classic. However, the World number 69 reached the doubles semis with Elise Mertens. The Taiwanese player is blessed with crafty shotmaking.
Hsieh Su-Wei is very experienced having won the Wimbledon doubles title in 2019 with Barbora Strycova. Despite her inconsistency, Swiatek’s clever drop shots from the baseline and transition from attack to defense will help her survive.
"Even though I am the seventh seed, I don't give myself more pressure because I know that I don't have experience,” remarked 20-year-old Iga Swiatek ahead of her tricky clash against Hsieh.
Wimbledon 2021: Round 1 Predictions - Iga Swiatek to win in 3 sets against Hsieh Su-Wei.
4) Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Frances Tiafoe
Tsitsipas leads the Head-to-Head record 1-0 against Tiafoe.
Tsitsipas will have to start afresh after the tough 5-set loss to Djokovic in the finals of the French Open. Stefanos prepared for Wimbledon 2021 by practicing with Andy Murray and Fernando Verdasco.
Tiafoe reached the quarters at Queen’s but lost in the first round to Brit Liam Broady in the ATP-250 Eastbourne Open.
Interestingly, both Tsitsipas and Tiafoe lost in the first round of the last Wimbledon edition in 2019. They were beaten by Italians, Thomas Fabbiano and Fabio Fognini in 5 sets each respectively.
Tsitsipas’s all-around game will help get through this battle of right-handers. Tiafoe can clinch a set against the 3rd seeded Greek.
Wimbledon 2021: Round 1 Predictions - Stefanos Tsitsipas to win in four sets against Frances Tiafoe
5) Serena Williams vs Aliaksandra Sasnovich
This is their first meeting
Serena Williams is playing her first match on grass this year. The 23-time grand slam champion reached the Wimbledon 2019 finals and lost in straight sets to Simona Halep.
Sasnovich was defeated in straight sets in the qualifiers of the Berlin Open by Australian Priscilla Hon. The World number 100 has a woeful 11-11 win-loss record in 2021.
The pressure of winning the elusive 24th major title will affect Serena’s game and she would commit many unforced errors. The American practiced intensely with her hitting partner Jermaine Jenkins and her elder sister Venus Williams.
If Serena serves strong, she will have it easy against the right-hander Sasnovich. The Belarusian does have all the weapons, having stunned former champion Petra Kvitova in the first round of Wimbledon 2018.
Wimbledon 2021: Round 1 Predictions - Serena Williams to win in straight sets against Aliaksandra Sasnovich.
6) Andy Murray vs Nikoloz Basilashvili
This is their first meeting on the tour
2-time Wimbledon champion Andy Murray will have his task cut out against the 24th seed Basilashvili. This clash will go down to the wire as both are right-handers and possess a potent two-handed backhand.
The Georgian reached the semifinals of the Halle Open losing to Andrey Rublev in 3 sets. Nikoloz will target a deep run in Wimbledon 2021 after losing in straight sets in the second round in 2019 to Dan Evans. The World number 28 has an inconsistent 19-16 win-loss record this year.
Despite being ranked 119, Murray knows the conditions quite well. Andy practiced with 8-time Wimbledon champion Federer. Basilashvili’s weak second serve will favour Murray. Expect the match to have a couple of tiebreaks and long rallies.
Wimbledon 2021: Round 1 Predictions - Andy Murray to win in five sets against Nikoloz Basilashvili
7) Bianca Andreescu vs Alizé Cornet
Cornet leads the H2H 1-0
Bianca Andreescu lost to Alize Cornet 7-6(2) 7-5 11 days ago in the pre-quarters of the Berlin Open. The Canadian suffered another straight-set defeat to Anett Konteveit in the pre-quarters at the Eastbourne Open.
Cornet is in better form after reaching the semifinals at Berlin. She later lost in 3 sets to Victoria Azarenka in the round of 16 at the Bad Homburg Open after failing to convert 4 match points.
This will be a three-setter as both players have similar game styles (right-handers and two-handed backhands). They are not big servers and typically play tiring rallies.
Andreescu has to reduce her count of double faults and improve her breakpoint conversion rate. The 5th seed needs to hit more cross-court backhand winners to defeat the experienced Cornet who is a decade older.
Wimbledon 2021: Round 1 Predictions - Bianca Andreescu to beat Alizé Cornet in 3 sets
8) Daniil Medvedev vs Jan-Lennard Struff
Medvedev leads the Head-to-Head 3-1
Daniil Medvedev is in fabulous form after winning the ATP-250 Mallorca Open. He defeated Sam Querrey 6-4 6-2 in the finals. The Russian did not commit any double faults, fired 10 aces, and won 89% of his first-serve points.
Struff will be confident having defeated Medvedev in straight sets in the first round at Halle. The German also played at Mallorca but lost 7-6(3) 6-3 against Frenchman Adrian Mannarino. Jan-Lennard knows Medvedev’s strengths as he was his doubles partner in the Paris Masters 2020.
Struff’s big serving and efficient breakpoint conversion rate will battle it out against Daniil’s athleticism and unorthodox returning. The second seed is in good touch on grass and will beat the German after losing a set.
Wimbledon 2021: Round 1 Predictions - Daniil Medvedev to win in 4 sets against Jan-Lennard Struff.
9) Ugo Humbert vs Nick Kyrgios
Humbert and Krygios are tied at 1-1 in head-to-head meetings.
Humbert won the Halle Open defeating top-10 stars Alexander Zverev in the pre-quarters and Andrey Rublev in the finals. The 23-year-old also featured in the Mallorca Open but gave a walkover to Querrey in the pre-quarters.
Kyrgios is playing his first match after 4 months. The Next-Gen star was in action in the Australian Open 2021 where he lost to Dominic Thiem in 5 sets in the third round.
Kyrgios and Humbert were also involved in an epic 5-setter in the second round at Melbourne Park this year. The Australian had the last laugh in a match that featured 56 aces in total.
Despite Humbert’s impressive run on grass, Kyrgios has an ammunition of shots (tweeners, volleys, and under-arm serve). The 26-year-old’s pyrotechnics could be the difference in this big-serving battle.
"Nobody wants to face me in the first round, I feel that I can beat 50% of the draw, at the start of my career, I was like a disgrace to the game, now every time I touch a court it is fully packed and I am always on the tennis social media, I take it as a vacation and I want to go out there and have fun,” said Kyrgios ahead of the blockbuster encounter against the in-form Humbert.
Wimbledon 2021: Round 1 Predictions - Nick Kyrgios to edge Ugo Humbert in 5 sets.
10) Jannik Sinner vs Marton Fucsovics
Head-to-Head record is level at 1-1 between Sinner and Fucsovics
The talented Sinner starts off against the Ironman Fucsovics. The Italian lost 7-6(6) 7-6(2) to Jack Draper in Queen’s. He also played doubles with Feliciano Lopez and reached the pre-quarters.
Fucsovics lost 6-3 6-1 to Humbert in the Stuttgart Open. The Hungarian was knocked out by Kwon Soon-woo in 3 sets in the pre-quarters of the Eastbourne Open.
Jannik Sinner trained with Murray in the Queen’s club followed by hitting sessions with Djokovic and his coach Goran Ivanisevic in Wimbledon.
Marton peaks in grand slams and his two-handed backhand can trouble the higher-ranked players. He has to be fearless as it is his first grass-court meeting against Sinner. The Hungarian needs to win 70% of his first-serve points to upset the Italian who will find it tough to close out sets.
Wimbledon 2021: Round 1 Predictions - Jannik Sinner to beat Marton Fucsovics in 4 sets
So dear fans, what are your expectations from round 1 of Wimbledon? Do you predict any big upsets? Let us know in the comments below.
Featured Image Credits - Associated Press (AP)