By Jake Davies

  • Caroline Wozniacki [2] vs Ekaterina Makarova
  • Roger Federer [1] vs Lukas Lacko
  • Karolina Pliskova [7] vs Victoria Azarenka
WIMBLEDON, UNITED KINGDOM – Caroline Wozniacki, Roger Federer and Karolina Pliskova lead our three-to-see on Day 3 of Wimbledon 2018 as the second round matches take shape.

 

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Caroline Wozniacki [2] vs Ekaterina Makarova H2H: Wozniacki leads 7-1

The first of the matches to keep a beady eye on on Day 3 of Wimbledon is the match featuring the newly-crowned Eastbourne champion Caroline Wozniacki and Russia’s Ekaterina Makarova.

Makarova is capable of creating some incredibly high moments on the grass surface. The Russian won the 2010 tournament in Eastbourne and she’s a former Wimbledon quarter-finalist, so it is safe to say that she is one of the dangerous floaters in the draw that most of the top players would rather avoid.

With that being said, Wozniacki owns a 7-1 head-to-head record against Makarova and that is partly down to the fact that Makarova’s left-handed serve goes straight into Wozniacki’s strong backhand return, so in many ways she nullifies the strengths that the Russian brings to the tennis court. Wozniacki will go in as favourite after her exploits in Eastbourne, winning her second title there, her first since 2009 and continued her frightening form by losing just three games to Varvara Lepchenko in the opening round. I think that Wozniacki’s lethal combination of consistency and attacking the right ball is something that will guide her into the third round of Wimbledon.

 Prediction: Wozniacki in two sets

 

Roger Federer [1] vs Lukas Lacko H2H: Federer leads 2-0

Roger Federer in the first round of Wimbledon 2018

Roger Federer in the first round of Wimbledon 2018 | (GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images)

Roger Federer started off his Wimbledon campaign in fine form as he dispatched of Dusan Lajovic in straight sets. Federer’s grass court preparation went very well, after winning the title in Stuttgart, but falling short in the Halle final, losing to Borna Coric in that final. The World No.2 is in hot pursuit of his ninth title here at Wimbledon, but his next opponent is someone that also loves the grass – Slovakia’s Lukas Lacko.

Lacko experienced perhaps his best moment on the ATP tour as he rallied his way into just his second ever ATP final, where he lost to Mischa Zverev in last week’s Eastbourne final. During that week, Lacko played some fine tennis and really demonstrated how well his heavier forehand side can react to the faster conditions of a grass court and he will need all of that to cause a severe upset against Federer on Wednesday.

The key for Lacko to make this competitive is to try to match what Federer is going to produce on serve, then make the most of the opportunities that come his way when he gets a rare look at a break point. Federer should really have too much experience and too much nouse in these particular surroundings against a player that has very rarely been able to take down these big seeds. Lacko 0-18 lifetime against Top-10 opponents and has only ever beaten two Top-20 players in his career, with one of them coming last week in Eastbourne against No.11 Diego Schwartzman. It really is a huge ask for the Slovakian.

Prediction: Federer in straight sets

 

Karolina Pliskova [7] vs Victoria Azarenka H2H: Azarenka leads 3-2

Karolina Pliskova in the first round of Wimbledon 2018

Karolina Pliskova in the first round of Wimbledon 2018 | Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

In one of the pick of the women’s matches, big-serving Karolina Pliskova takes on former Wimbledon semi-finalist Victoria Azarenka, who is still looking to return to the level that took her to the top of the women’s rankings and helped shoot her towards two Grand Slam titles.

The focus for Pliskova will be to take care of the things she can control on her side of the court. The stability and reliability of her game really revolves around how well she is serving and how well she is tackling the first ball after the serve and that is something she has to do well in this match if she is to progress in the third round. Pliskova really struggled to find the continuity on her serve in the first two sets against Harriet Dart and she will not be afforded the breathing room to get by on poor serving against one of the game’s best returners of a tennis ball in the shape of Azarenka.

Azarenka plays her best tennis on a faster hard court, but she will fancy her chances of taking down one of the top seeds just by her ability to make something out of nothing when it comes to the forehand and backhand return, but also her fighting spirit in matches. If Pliskova even slightly has a bit of an off day, Azarenka will be around to pounce when the opportunity presents itself.

Prediction: Pliskova in three sets

Play continues on Day Three of Wimbledon starting at 11:30am on all courts except Centre Court & No. 1 Court, which start at 1pm (all times BST).

 

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