Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 July 2019

Wimbledon 2017: Djokovic, Federer and Kerber feature in the five matches to watch on Day 2

The German world No 1 will open proceedings on Centre Court, followed by three-time champion Djokovic.

Roger Federer begins his pursuit of an eighth Wimbledon title against Alexandr Dolgopolov on Centre Court. Peter Klaunzer / EPA
Roger Federer begins his pursuit of an eighth Wimbledon title against Alexandr Dolgopolov on Centre Court. Peter Klaunzer / EPA

The action continues in the men's and women's singles on Day 2 at Wimbledon. Here, we pick the five must see matches of the day.

Angelique Kerber (1) v Irina Falconi - first on Centre Court (4pm UAE time)

After the best season of her career in 2016, Kerber is now experiencing one of her most frustrating. Winner of two grand slam titles and last year's Wimbledon finallist, Kerber remains trophyless this year. Indeed, she's only reached one final. Despite her struggles, she remains the women's world No 1 but will need to go deep at Wimbledon to maintain her top status. While she should have few problems against world No 247 Falconi, such has been the German's erratic form this year, it is far from a certain victory. A run to the quarter-finals at Eastbourne last week gave Kerber some much-needed time on the grass, and there were flashes of her brilliance during wins over Kristyna Pliskova and Lara Arruabarrena. Still well off her best, but Kerber should have few problems against Falconi on Tuesday.

Novak Djokovic (2) v Martin Klizan - second on Centre Court

Much has been made of Djokovic's indifferent form this season. He entered Wimbledon last year holding all four grand slam titles. This year he has none. A slip to No 4 in the world rankings, an elbow injury, splitting with his entire coaching staff, and "private issues" have meant the past 12 months have been the rockiest of the Serb's remarkable career. However, he is showing a semblance of form at just the right time. He marched untroubled to the Eastbourne title last week, albeit in a rather uncompetitive field, and let's not forget he is a three-time Wimbledon champion. Djokovic faces a potentially tricky first round opponent in Klizan, the world No 47 from Slovakia. Klizan, 27, is a player who thrives on the big occasion, as shown by his two ATP Tour 500 titles he collected last season in Hamburg and Rotterdam, so he will not be fazed by facing Djokovic on Centre Court at Wimbledon. While Klizan could make things awkward for Djokovic, expect the Serb to book his place in Round 2.

Alexandr Dolgopolov v Roger Federer (3) - third on Centre Court

Arguably the greatest Wimbledon champion of all time can put the debate to bed if he goes on to claim a record eighth title at the All England Club. After a lengthy rest during the clay court season, a refreshed Federer completed his Wimbledon preparation with a ninth Halle Open title last week and is the favourite to win his 19th grand slam. Whether the time away from competition will have any effect will likely only tell during the latter stages of the tournament, but he meets a player in the first round he needs to take seriously. Dolgopolov is a player capable of producing the sublime and the ridiculous. When the Ukrainian catches hot he can be virtually unplayable, but his maverick approach often comes unstuck against the top players. Federer holds a 3-0 win-loss record against Dolgopolov. He should make it 4-0 after Tuesday.

Karolina Pliskova (3) v Evgeniya Rodna - second on Court One

With only two former Wimbledon champions in the women's field - Petra Kvitova and Venus Williams - there is a strong possibility of a first-time winner this year. Leading the charge is Czech world No 3 Pliskova, the pre-tournament favourite. She has already adapted well to the grass courts, winning the title in Eastbourne and generally looks like the player to beat at Wimbledon. Her opponent, Rodina from Russia, should pose few problems, although the world No 80 has spent plenty of time on grass, playing three tournaments in the build-up to Wimbledon. Anything less than an emphatic win for Pliskova would be a surprise.

Dominic Thiem (8) v Vasek Pospisil - third on Court One

Apart from Stan Wawrinka and the retired Nick Kyrgios, there was a lack of top seeds to fall on Day 1. A glance over the order of play for Day 2 would suggest more of the same, but this match-up between Thiem and Pospisil has the potential to shake things up. Thiem is enjoying another successful season, with the world No 8 from Austria reaching the semi-finals of the French Open, but he has so far struggled to adapt to grass. Beaten in the second round of Halle and thoroughly outplayed by world No 222 Ramkumar Ramanathan in Antalya, Thiem's Wimbledon preparation has been less than ideal. On the other side of the net will be the big-serving Canadian Pospisil who is at his most comfortable on the grass. While Thiem has played just three matches on grass, Pospisil has played three tournaments, reaching the quarter-finals at s-Hertogenbosch. This will be a big test for Thiem.

Updated: July 4, 2017 10:59 AM



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