The Wimbledon 2022 competition gets underway on Monday as half of the first round of the singles draws are played out across the many courts around the grounds at SW19 as the grass court marquee event starts out.
As with any Grand Slam we don’t need to wait a round for the big names to come out to play, they are on show right from the off on Monday. As is tradition in this tournament the defending men’s champion will open up play.
That happens on the Centre Court where Novak Djokovic will be the first seeded player to step onto the hallowed turf. He has a first round date with Soonwoo Kwon to begin his title defence. Once they are done the remainder of the day on the main court is all about the two British Grand Slam champions. Emma Raducanu is the first of them on court. She faces off against an Alison van Uytvanck who has already won two titles on the grass and is a bookmaker favourite as a result. The final match on Centre on Monday sees Andy Murray starting his quest for another Slam when he meets James Duckworth.
We have a good schedule over on Court 1 which is good because there is some rain around so at least we’ll definitely see action on this court with it having the roof. Ons Jabeur has been in the spotlight recently for her doubles exploits and she’ll open up the action over on Court 1 when she meets Mirjam Bjorklund. There is only the one men’s match on this court on Monday and it sees the new superstar Carlos Alcaraz going up against Jan-Lennard Struff. The final match on this court sees our outright bet Angelique Kerber meeting Kiki Mladenovic.
They always say that sees need to be wary out on Court 2 and the British number one will certainly need to heed that warning when Cameron Norrie takes on Pablo Andujar. When they are done the highest female player on show on Monday takes to the court when Anett Kontaveit meets Bernarda Pera. One of the ties of the first round takes place in the second men’s match on this court when Jannik Sinner takes on Stanislas Wawrinka before the schedule is closed out with the Greek star Maria Sakkari taking on Zoe Hives.
The pick of the first round matches in the men’s draw opens up the show on Monday when the semi-finalist of 2021, Hubert Hurkacz, takes on the former boys champion Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. When they are done Danielle Collins will look to make it through when she meets Marie Bouzkova before Heather Watson graces the courts at SW19 for the first time this week. She takes on Tamara Korpatsch before Ryan Peniston meets Henri Laaksonen in the final match on this court.
Best of the Rest
All the courts are being used for singles action on Monday which means we have seeds dotted all around the grounds. Casper Ruud is one of those and he’ll be out on Court 12 along with the form horse Beatriz Haddad Maia, Belinda Bencic and Girgor Dimitrov. If you have a ground pass and head out to Court 18 you won’t be disappointed either as out there John Isner is a seeded player on show. Elsewhere, Tommy Paul, Elise Mertens, Martina Trevisan and Reilly Opelka will all be on Court 4 while Alison Riske is on Court 10 and Jelena Ostapenko is on Court 14.
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I’ll go with a couple of bets over the course of the day in the men’s draw and the first of those comes in the big match on Court 1 where I expect the seasoned grass court play and big serve of Jan-Lennard Struff to keep Carlos Alcaraz honest even if it isn’t enough to get the better of the Spaniard. I actually think the German can win this but it is early in the tournament so I’ll take the handicap. Alcaraz was due to play Queens but then pulled out with an elbow injury and although he was fit enough to play a couple of exhibitions at Hurlingham last week, he lost them both to Frances Tiafoe and Casper Ruud, neither of whom would like grass as their favourite surface. Alcaraz doesn’t either which could be telling. Struff has played four matches on the grass this season and although he has lost three of them, he went down in two breakers to Lorenzo Sonego in one and in a deciding breaker to Ilya Ivashka in another. He has the serve and the comfort on the surface to give Alcaraz a run for his money here.
The other bet I like is for Christian Harrison to build on his successful qualifying campaign when he takes on Jay Clarke. You would imagine Clarke would enjoy the grass court season being from Britain and growing up on the surface but he is actually 5-20 in his last 25 matches on it which is a terrible record. To be fair to Clarke he won a Challenger and made the final of another earlier in the season but they were on a hard court and his form has dipped in the last six weeks or so. Harrison has gone the other way. He qualified for some of the American clay events earlier in the year and made the final in Savannah last month and now he has qualified for this tournament. Winning matches breeds confidence and only one of these has been doing that recently so I like Harrison in this one.
I’ll go with a couple in the women’s draw as well on Monday with the first of those to be opposing Danielle Collins with Marie Bouzkova. Both these women have had Covid in the last month or so but the Czech managed to get a game in at Eastbourne last week which I think will serve her well here whereas this will be the first time the American has played since the French Open. Collins hasn’t really shown much of a pedigree on this surface and is someone who wants to pound the ball at every opportunity, something she might not be able to do on a grass court, especially if the rain makes the air a little heavy. Bouzkova lost that match at Eastbourne but she went down in three sets to Shelby Rogers having taken the first set. It was probably inactivity which caught the Czech player out there but she is actually 22-9 in 2022 and 8-8 on grass in the last few years. Collins has only played six tournaments and since Miami in March she is only 3-3 and on grass in her career she is 5-7. I see no reason why Bouzkova is such an outsider here.
I’ll also take the seemingly back to form or back where she is most comfortably Yanina Wickmayer to come through against Lin Zhu. The Chinese player is 3-10 on grass in the last four years including 0-2 this year with a pair of defeats to Jodie Burrage in Surbiton and Nottingham. To be fair to Zhu she qualified for the French Open but hasn’t won since then. Wickmayer was out of the game last year having had a child but she is making her way back up the rankings this term with a 10-8 record in 2022. Importantly though she dominated three qualifying matches to make it into this tournament and this is a player who has a fine history on grass, not least in 2019 where she won seven of her 10 matches which included qualifying for Wimbledon and winning a match in the main draw. Wickmayer made the fourth round here in 2011 and has made the third round another three times. She is the more comfortable of the two on grass and I expect her to come through with a bit in hand here.
Back J-L.Struff (+5.5 games) to beat C.Alcaraz for a 3/10 stake at 1.83 with Bet365
Back M.Bouzkova to beat D.Collins for a 3/10 stake at 2.20 with Bet365
Back C.Harrison to beat J.Clarke for a 3/10 stake at 1.91 with William Hill
Back him here:
Back Y.Wickmayer to beat L.Zhu for a 3/10 stake at 1.73 with Boylesports
Back her here: