By Jake Davies
- Karolina Pliskova vs Magdalena Rybarikova
- Angelique Kerber vs Kirsten Flipkens
- Juan Martin Del Potro vs Ernests Gulbis
LONDON, UK – Is Karolina Pliskova emerging as a possible champion here? She leads our Three to See for Day Four at Wimbledon.
Karolina Pliskova  vs Magdalena Rybarikova H2H: First meeting
Confidence often comes through playing well and gives you that confidence to express yourself on the court. That can be said for Karolina Pliskova and Magdalena Rybarikova, who have both notched up an impressive array of victories on the grass court in the lead up to Wimbledon. Pliskova has amassed the more high-profile wins on the WTA tour, but Rybarikova has hardly lost a match on the ITF circuit, not only on grass, but for the majority of the season. This is a serious early test for the No.3 seed, who is now seen as the favourite to many to win her first major title this summer.
The Slovakian has won 14 of her last 15 matches since getting on the grass, where she won titles in Surbiton and Ilkley, so her tennis is in a great place and her style of play should really cause a few problems to Pliskova on Centre Court.
Rybarikova incorporates a game style where she uses a lot of variety, changes the pace of the ball and often slices off the backhand. She will try to keep the ball as low as possible in order to make Pliskova much less effective and much less comfortable with the height of the ball. The higher the ball, the more confident Pliskova will be in becoming the aggressor and imposing her game on Rybarikova.
Pliskova’s Eastbourne title win has given her that security and knowledge that she can go far at this year’s tournament, having beaten some quality players last week at Devonshire Park.
Prediction: Pliskova in three sets.
Angelique Kerber vs Kirsten Flipkens H2H: Kerber leads 1-0
Angelique Kerber‘s struggles at the top of the food chain has been well-documented and she will need to get to the final of Wimbledon to maintain her place at the top. Facing her in the second round is a former Wimbledon semi-finalist in Kirsten Flipkens, who knows her way around a grass court.
I think the pressure on Kerber’s shoulders will only disappear when she doesn’t have the points to defend and the titles to try to keep hold of. It will be interesting to see how Kerber plays if she loses the World No.1 ranking and whether that allows her to swing with reckless abandon during her matches.
With that being said, I think the German will get through this match and to maintain her stranglehold on the top spot for another round at least.
Prediction: Kerber in two sets.
Juan Martin Del Potro vs Ernests Gulbis H2H: Del Potro leads 4-2
Juan Martin Del Potro‘s return to tennis, overcoming another wrist injury and winning the Davis Cup for his country, was one of tennis’ special moments and commendable accomplishments. Now he is trying to bottle some of the magic he produced for Argentina and use it for Grand Slam matches in 2017. He had over two years away from playing in majors, so it is remarkable to see the Argentinian as competitive as he is after years of struggle after struggle.
His second round opponent is Ernests Gulbis, who is one of the most unconventional players on and off the court. He has his own unique preparation on the forehand side. His more potent weapon is the backhand side, which he plays with great disguise and tends to flatten it out a lot. The issue when watching Gulbis is managing that unforced error count because of the nature of his game and the high risks he takes on court.
Del Potro leads the head-to-head 4-2 and I expect the Argentinian to get the victory for the fifth time against Gulbis.
Prediction: Del Potro in four sets.
Play on the outer courts starts at 11:30am, with Centre & No. 1 Court starting at 1pm, BST.
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