Francesca Jones announced her Grand Slam presence in Melbourne, and now has a chance to take on one of the brightest prospects on the WTA Tour. A couple of years ago a 15-year-old Coco Gauff took herself to the hearts of the Wimbledon public, coming through qualifying on a tremendous run.
Two years on, she has matured, she has titles under her belt, and she has a lot of experience at this level – something that Jones is gradually building up. But playing in front of a home crowd will be something else – and something that the feisty Jones will feed off.
Where Gauff has on court smarts, Jones is equally gritty and plays an up-and-at-‘em game with a topspin forehand that grinds her opponents down. When that forehand is firing well, everything else comes together. She might lack the experience, but she will certainly bring the fight!
Prediction: Gauff in three sets.
Samantha Murray Sharan [W] v Sorana Cirstea | H2H & Match Fundamentals
Perhaps more successful as a doubles player in recent times, Samantha Murray Sharan has been in the main draw of Wimbledon a couple of times, so will have the experience of playing in front of a home crowd, but plies her trade primarily on the ITF circuit.
While Sorana Cirstea has been here plenty of times, her previous best performances have only taken her as far as the third rounds, and she has yet to notch up a win on the grass.
Sadly, Murray Sharan has much the same lack of luck on the green this year, and experience stands Cirstea in slightly better stead.
Prediction: Cirstea in straight sets.
Emma Raducanu [W] v Vitalia Diatchenko [Q] | H2H & Match Fundamentals
The last of the wildcards gets the last of the matches out on Court 17 as Emma Raducanu takes on Russian qualifier Vitalia Diatchenko. The Brit dropped down to ITF levels to get a couple of match wins under her belt but Diatchenko will come in with a lot of grass under her feet having reached the main draw in Birmingham through qualifying, and through qualifying here.
The Brit has a big serve, good movement, and big groundstrokes – and will look to put her aggressive returning to good use. The Russian has similar traits so this could be one of the closer match-ups of the wildcards today
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