By Kieran Jackson

  • Dudi Sela vs Rafael Nadal [2]
  • Angelique Kerber [11] vs Vera Zvonareva [Q]
  • Jeremy Chardy vs Denis Shapovalov [26]
WIMBLEDON, UK – First round matches continue on Day 2 at Wimbledon. Here’s three to look out for: two in the men’s singles and one in the women’s singles.

 

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Dudi Sela vs Rafael Nadal [2] | H2H: Nadal leads 2-0

Following his 11th title at Roland Garros four weeks ago, two-time Wimbledon champion Rafael Nadal  plays his first match on grass against 33-year-old journeyman Dudi Sela. The Spaniard, who won the title at the All England Club in 2008 and 2010, has struggled in recent years on the grass, having not gone further than the fourth round since 2011, when he lost in the final to Novak Djokovic .

It remains to be seen how Nadal will adapt his intense style of play to a surface which has given him problems with his knees over the years. Israeli Sela, who is currently the World No. 127, should be a perfect opening test – second match on Centre Court – and give a good assessment of whether the 17-time Grand Slam champion can compete deep into the next fortnight.

Prediction: Nadal in three sets

 

Angelique Kerber [11] vs Vera Zvonareva [Q] | H2H: First meeting

 

This is an intriguing first-round match-up, between two former Wimbledon finalists. World No. 10 Angelique Kerber, who lost in the 2016 final to Serena Williams, has had a resurgent year, winning a title in Sydney and losing in tight three-set matches to Simona Halep  at both the Australian Open and French Open, and will come into the tournament after a run to the semi-finals at Eastbourne last week.

On the other hand, 2010 finalist Vera Zvonareva  has been on the comeback trail ever since her return last year, from a two-year hiatus to give birth. The former World No. 2 from Russia is currently the World No. 142, and came through qualifying at Roehampton last week without dropping a set. On this occasion, expect Kerber to be too strong on the day, but Zvonareva will not go down without a fight.

Prediction: Kerber in two sets

 

Jeremy Chardy vs Denis Shapovalov [26] | H2H: First meeting

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Although at the time of writing this match has bizarrely not been assigned to a court, this could well be the match of the day. Frenchman Jeremy Chardy comes into the tournament in a rich vein of form on the grass, having won the Surbiton Challenger at the beginning of June, followed by a run to the final at s-Hertogenbosch and the semi-finals at Queen’s. With a surge up the rankings consequently ensuing, from 86 at the end of May to 46 at the beginning of the tournament, the 31-year-old is the most in-form unseeded player in the draw. His booming serve and aggressive inside-out forehand will be a brutal examination of Denis Shapovalov’s returning attributes throughout the match.

For Shapovalov, the 19-year-old’s meteoric rise has been astonishing. From winning the boys singles title at the All England Club two years ago, to coming into the men’s draw as the World No. 25, the Canadian’s lefty game is a joy to watch. It will be interesting to see how Shapovalov’s serve holds up against an aggressive baseliner such as Chardy, especially when break of serve opportunities will be hard to come by for Shapovalov. Whatever the outcome, it will be a high-quality first round encounter.

Prediction: Chardy in four sets

 First-round action continues on Tuesday, with play starting on the outside courts at 11:30 BST, and on Court 1 and Centre Court at 13:00 BST.

 

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