Nick’s Picks- Wimbledon 1st Round
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) vs. Lleyton Hewitt (AUS)
Hewitt received a wild card from Wimbledon and I feel it was well deserved. He’s play very hard here over the years, including have won the title back in 2002. Does he have enough to beat Tsonga right now? I am not sure. Tsonga has the bigger weapons, is younger and is certainly the favorite. He has a tendency to lose focus at times, and if he does that Hewitt will pounce all over him. Hewitt needs to be careful because if he finds himself too far behind the baseline, Tsonga will crush winners from all over the court. If Hewitt is able to get on a roll and use his sheer determination and willpower then he could win this match. I just think that’s a lot to ask from him at this point in his career.
Nick’s Pick – Tsonga in 4 sets
Andy Murray (GBR) vs. Nikolay Davydenko (RUS)
Murray began 2012 playing great tennis, but the summer has been a bit up and down. Now that he’s back on grass and playing in front of the home fans we will have to see what kind of impact that has on him. He’s been to the semis here three straight years and he’s still looking to breakthrough and win his first Grand Slam title. If he could pull that off at Wimbledon he will go down as a legend in Great Britain! He’s got a tough opponent in the first round in Davydenko. The former ton-ten player isn’t the same guy he was a few years ago, but he still can move well and make you work hard for every point. Murray should be able to win this match, but Davydenko won’t go down without a fight.
Nick’s Pick – Murray in 4 sets
Tomas Berdych (CZE) vs. Ernests Gulbis (LAT)
This is a match between two guys who have gone in different directions as of late. Berdych is a few years older, but both were surrounded by praise at a young age. Everyone thought Gulbis was going to be a top player, but he hasn’t lived up to that billing and he finds himself around 80 in the world. He’s got the tools and the talent, but he can’t seem to put it together on the big stage. There is no doubt that when playing his best, Gulbis can compete with the top guys. I just don’t think he can do it right now. Berdych has all the weapons, he’s confident on grass and he isn’t afraid of anyone.
Nick’s Pick – I think Berdych wins in three, maybe four sets.
Mikhail Youzhny (RUS) vs. Donald Young (USA)
It has not been a good year for DY. He hasn’t won a match since Memphis in February and comes in with a 2-13 record on the year. Last year, he turned it on in the summer after Wimbledon and he needs to do that again this year otherwise he is going to find himself slipping down in the rankings. Being a lefty will give him a little advantage in this match, especially during the first week, because he can slide the serve out wide. I don’t think that’s going to be enough to beat Youzhny though. The Russian is tough as nails, he moves well and he has an excellent one-handed backhand. He will get back too many balls for DY and I just feel he’s got too much for the young American.
Nick’s Pick – Youzhny could lose a set, but I think he moves on.
Kim Clijsters (BEL) vs. Jelena Jankovic (SRB)
This is certainly the match to watch on the ladies side in the first round. You’ve got two former world #1′s going at it. The big question here is definitely Clijsters’ health. I’ve got no idea about what kind of state she’s in physically and that will be the determining factor in this match. She is one of the greatest competitors we’ve ever seen in the women’s game, so even if she is a little worn down you have to like her chances. I am not sure I would’ve said that a few years ago with Jankovic, but she isn’t the same girl that was on top of the women’s game in 2008. She has all the tools, but she doesn’t have the confidence she needs to win the big points at the Grand Slams. She can win this match, but it depends on Clijster’s health.
Nick’s Pick – This could go either way, but I give the edge to Clijsters.
Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP) vs. Samantha Stosur (AUS)
Suarez Navarro hasn’t played on the grass at Wimbledon since 2009, but she is a tough out. She moves really well and has a superb one-handed backhand. She is crafty on the court and she will make Stosur work. What she cannot do is hurt Stosur at all. She doesn’t have the weapons to push Stosur back, especially on the serve. Stosur should be able to control play and with that big kick serve she should win her service games with little problems. The one thing you have to watch out for is unforced errors from Stosur. She made a ton against Errani in the semis at Roland Garros and it cost her the match. If she plays sloppy, watch out!
Nick’s Pick – Gotta pick Stosur here, but this will be fun to watch.
Victoria Azarenka (BLR) vs. Irina Falconi (USA)
I love watching Falconi play. She competes for every point and works so hard. She won the fans over with her performance at the 2011 US Open, and a win here would definitely be one of the biggest of her career. She moves well, but I’m not sure has the weapons to beat Azarenka on grass. What she can try to do is frustrate Azarenka, because when she gets down on herself she can really lose focus. The other thing to listen for in this match is the grunting. The British fans don’t like it and there will be plenty of talk about it in the papers throughout the tournament. Azarenka will have to shrug that off if she wants to win this title. I give the edge to Azarenka, but she is going to have to work to win this match.
Nick’s Pick – Going with Azarenka in two tough sets.