After Jason Kubler, Alex Bolt and John-Patrick Smith navigated their way through Wimbledon qualifying at Roehampton the Australian contingent going into Wimbledon was made up of nine men and four women for the Gentlemen’s and Ladies singles titles. Following the withdrawal of Spanish 14th seed Roberto Bautista-Agut Bernard Tomic was gifted a spot in the main draw as a lucky-loser to take the number of men competing in the singles up to 10.
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Photo: LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 01: Bernard Tomic of Australia practices on court during training for the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club at Wimbledon on July 1, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Men’s singles, first round
– ranking in brackets, seeding before the player’s name
15-Nick Kyrgios (18) v Denis Istomin (92) (UZB)
– Head-to-head favours Kyrgios 2-0. A first-round win for Kyrgios in 2015 at the French Open and the pairing first met in 2014 on grass during a world group playoff in Davis Cup. Kyrgios should be too good for his round one opponent and book a round two matchup against either Marius Copil or Robin Haase. After making his singles return at Stuttgart a few weeks ago, the big-serving Australian has had two semi-finals appearances at grass court tournaments, an ideal preparation. Istomin cannot be taken for granted as he recently reached the quarterfinals at Stuttgart.
James Duckworth (748) PR v 4-Alexander Zverev (3) (GER)
– James Duckworth could pull off an upset against the world no. 3, but fourth seed at Wimbledon Alexander Zverev. Duckworth got into the tournament using his protected ranking after a long period out of the competition. He was competitive in his comeback and Roland Garros against Marin Cilic and then made the final at a clay court ITF event before retiring after the first set. Zverev lost in the first round of the Gerry Weber event to the eventual champion Borna Coric, so has little competitive time on grass. He can be a bit off in grand slam tournaments but should defeat Duckworth, but if he has an off day we might see a big upset in the first meeting between these two players.
Matt Ebden (51) v 10 David Goffin (9) (BEL)
– Australia’s Matthew Ebden will be looking to break a 3-0 head-to-head run for against Goffin. The Belgium player missed last year’s Wimbledon event, but reached the fourth round in 2015 and 2016. Goffin’s played just the one match at the grass-court lead-up events, losing in the first round at the Fever-Tree Championships held at the Queen’s Club. He did, however, lose to Feliciano Lopez the defending champion. Ebden, on the other hand, has 13 matches on the grass under his belt, reaching the quarterfinals at the Gerry Weber Open and the semifinals at s-Hertogenbosch and Surbiton an ATP Challenger event. Ebden is a good chance to knock out the no. 10 seed.
Jordan Thompson (101) v 11-Sam Querrey (13)
– Based on rankings you would have to give this match to the big American. Querrey is 198 cm and possesses a big serve. Querrey leads the head-to-head 1-0 after a win in the R16 at Queen’s in 2017. Thompson has mostly been playing on the ATP Challenger tour in 2018 and hasn’t had much success on the ATP tour. Querrey was a quarterfinalist in 2016 and reached the semifinals in 2017. This all points to a win for Querrey.
Alex Bolt (204) Q v 21-Kyle Edmund (17) (GBR)
– This is the first meeting between the Australian and Brit. Bolt got through qualifying to reach this matchup and is playing at Wimbledon for the first time. Edmund who reached the semifinals at the Australian Open doesn’t have a good record at Wimbledon after four first-round losses from 2013-16 and a second-round appearance last year. Edmund had two wins and two losses in the grass court lead up events, while Bolt got four games on grass at the s-Hertogenbosch event including two in qualifying. Bolt did lose first round at the next tournament he played at an ATP Challenger event before stringing three wins together at Roehampton, to qualify. If Edmund is feeling the pressure of the British public watching their top player, we could see an upset. The seeding committee did not show confidence in Edmund as he is ranked at 17 but was seeded at 21.
Alex De Minaur (80) v 29-Marco Cecchinato (29) (ITA)
– Until winning a second-round match at the French Open on the way to the semis, Cecchinato hadn’t won a grand slam singles match after four attempts. He followed up his impressive run at Roland Garros with a semifinal appearance at Eastbourne where his lost to Lukas Lacko. De Minaur has been working with the 2002 Wimbledon champion Lleyton Hewitt, this could give the young Australian the edge on grass. I am tipping an upset with de Minaur winning in four sets.
John Millman (56) v Stefano Travaglia (137) (ITA)
– Australia’s John Millman is playing in his fourth straight Wimbledon main draw and reached the third round in 2016. He faces an Italian qualifier who played his first Wimbledon tournament last year losing in the first round. Millman and Travaglia are meeting for the first time. The Italian won the Marbella ATP Challenger tour event on clay in late March, apart from that he has done little on the tour this year. Millman also won on clay at an ATP Challenger event at the start of May. He also played six matches on grass at Queen’s and Eastbourne. With a bit of match play on grass Millman should get past Travaglia.
Bernard Tomic (184) v Hubert Hurkacz (122) (POL)
– Both Tomic and Hurkacz felt the disappointment of losing their third round match at the qualifying tournament, only to both get the call-up as a lucky loser. Tomic said he was feeling sick when he was bundled out of the qualifying. Before his third match he was looking in good form. At s-Hertogenbosch, Tomic had gone all the way from qualifying to the semifinals where he lost to Richard Gasquet. Tomic has a career high of 17 and has reached the quarterfinals back in 2011 and the fouth round in 2013 and 2016. Since losing in the first round at the 2017 Wimbledon event, it has been a year to forget for Tomic. He does however looked to have turned things around and should overcome the Polish player.
Jason Kubler (147) Q v Guido Pella (82) (ARG)
– Jason Kubler’s journey to the main draw at Wimbledon is an inspirational one. He could have easily walked away from tennis after six knee surgeries, but here he is, ready to take on Argentine Guido Pella after coming through the Roehampton qualifying event. Pella has lost at Wimbledon in two first-round appearances in 2013 and 2106. Pella made the third round at Stuttgart before losing to Roger Federer, however, he lost in the first match at his next two grass court tournaments including a qualifying match at Halle and the first round of the ATP 250 event at Antalya in Turkey. With a boost in confidence after qualifying Kubler has an excellent opportunity to set up a second-round match against last year’s runner-up Marin Cilic.
John-Patrick Smith (211) Q v Andreas Seppi (50) (ITA)
– Patrick Smith is another of the Australian qualifiers. He will be looking for his first grand slam singles win after first round losses at the 2013 Australian Open, 2015 Wimbledon and the US Open in 2015 and 2017. Seppi, on the other hand, is a seasoned veteran with 13 Wimbledon main-draw tournaments to his name. Seppi reached the fourth round in 2013 and the second round at the past two Wimbledon tournaments. Seppi reached the quarterfinals at the Halle tournament and should have the edge over his Australian opponent, although it is not out of the question for Smith to pull off an upset.