The first week of Wimbledon 2018 is now well underway and it’s been a great start to the championships with superb weather and already plenty of entertaining matches, shocks and upsets. Top seed Federer got the championships off to an impressive start on Centre Court beating the talented but inexperienced Lajovic in straight sets and second seed Nadal followed suit on Tuesday dispatching veteran Sela in straight sets.
Other top ten seeds to impress winning their openers were third seed Cilic who beat Nishioka from Japan in straight sets, fourth seed Sascha Zverev did the same on Tuesday against Australian Thompson and fifth seed Del Potro kept German Gojowczyk in check also winning in straight sets. Eighth seed Anderson and ninth seed Isner got back to winning ways after some disappointing results in the lead up to Wimbledon on grass, beating Gombos from Slovakia and Maden from Germany respectively, both in straight sets.
The men’s draw doesn’t usually see many upsets in the first round with most of the top-20 seeds and favourites winning on most occasions. However, this year’s first round has witnessed plenty of upsets from a seeding perspective, including some of the top ten players. Sixth seed Dimitrov’s disappointing season continued when he was knocked out by Wawrinka and, while it was an unlucky draw given Wawrinka’s pedigree, there is still no excuse for the Bulgarian as he shouldn’t be losing these types of matches as an established top ten player.
Seventh seed Thiem ended up retiring from his first round encounter against veteran Baghdatis. Thiem clearly was not 100% during the match having to get treatment on a back problem and he retired early in the third set when he was 2-0 down. Tenth seed Goffin became the third top ten player to bite the dust in the first round losing to the veteran Ebden (Halle semi-finalist) in straight sets. Ebden is deservedly experiencing one of the best periods of his long and injury ravaged career. It’s a bit worrying that three young top ten players are struggling physically at this stage of the season and losing in the first round of a Grand Slam. However, it could be that they are more prone than others with all three being slightly built.
Other men’s seeded players of note who were beaten in the first round by lower ranked unseeded opposition were sixteenth seed and Federer’s conqueror at Halle Coric, who was thrashed by Medvedev in straight sets, Carreno-Busta seeded twenty lost against Albot in five sets and the out of form Sock seeded 18 was defeated by the Italian Berrettini.
From a British perspective Kyle Edmund is the only male British player left in the draw after Corrie ironically lost against the more experienced Bedene from Slovakia. I say ironically because, this time last year, Bedene was still a British player after switching his nationality but then changed his mind after realising he could not play in the Davis Cup as he had already played for his home nation. The other British male players to lose in the first round were Broady who lost in straight sets and a new name emerging on to the seen Jay Clarke who impressed losing to veteran Gulbis in five sets.
As is usually the case at Grand Slams there were plenty of upsets in the first round of the women’s championships again. The highest profile ones were fourth seed and 2018 French Open finalist Stephens crashing out in straight sets against Vekic, fifth seed Svitolina was sent packing by Maria (Germany) in three sets and two time Wimbledon winner and eighth seed Kvitova was defeated by Sasnovich from Belarus in three sets.
British number one Jo Konta came through a tight opener in straight sets against Russian Vikhlyantseva and hopefully the win will give her a bit more confidence and freedom for her second round match against Cibulkova tomorrow. There were no less than eight British women in this year’s draw and encouragingly three are left standing after the first round. Konta seeded twenty two as mentioned above and the promising new young talent of Swan and Boulter, who are both unseeded and they both won against more experienced higher ranked opponents.
From a second round betting perspective there’s a few matches that I like and that will hopefully return a profit like the first round bets. Favourites Kohlschreiber and Mannarino both excel on grass and they should prove to good for the out of form Muller and Harrison respectively as they lead their respective head-to-heads 3-0 and 2-1. The matches between young guns McDonald from the USA and Jarry from Chile and Donaldson from the USA and Tsitsipas from Greece should be both close affairs, as they players are all inexperienced on grass and they’re closely matched in terms of form and ability, which should lead to long drawn out affairs that are likely to go to four or five sets.