Tennis | Wimbledon 2023 | Elena Rybakina faces Rogers in title defence, Thiem and Tsitsipas clash on day two

By Tony Fairbairn at Wimbledon

  • Elena Rybakina [3] v Shelby Rogers
  • Stefanos Tsitsipas [5] v Dominic Thiem
  • Maria Sakkari [8] v Marta Kostyuk
LONDON, ENGLAND – Elena Rybakina will begin her title defence against Shelby Rogers as Stefanos Tsitsipas and Dominic Thiem clash in a blockbuster opening round on day two of Wimbledon.


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Elena Rybakina [3] v Shelby Rogers H2H & Match Fundamentals

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Elena Rybakina [3] v Shelby Rogers H2H: Rybakina leads 3-2
Wimbledon 2023 London, England
Grass (O) Prize Money: £55,000
First on Centre Court (13:30 BST) BBC Sport

Elena Rybakina’s preparations for her first Grand Slam title defence have been far from ideal as a viral illness saw her withdraw from both Roland Garros and Eastbourne. However rule the third seed out at your peril as Rybakina performs best when she’s under the radar as was the case at the Australian Open when she reached the final. Rybakina’s flawless power mixed with smart shot selection means that she is a danger to any player in the second week as the Kazakh will use the first week to build up her confidence and momentum.

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However to even think about the second week, Rybakina needs to win three matches first and her first obstacle is American Shelby Rogers. The American doesn’t enter Wimbledon in the best form in the world having lost her last four matches with her last win taking place in Madrid. However Rogers has a consistent game with some big shots at her disposal and is more than capable of beating some of the best players in the world. Now Rogers looks to add another upset to her collection and elevate her game with all the pressure on Rybakina.

Rybakina will look to find her confidence on serve in the early stages as she looks to dictate play by creating space on the court with her forehand. Meanwhile Rogers will look to maintain a consistent level on serve and play smartly on return by extending the rallies and finding the right moments to be aggressive. Rybakina will be nervous to start with but the Kazakh should find her form and edge to a tense opening round victory on Centre Court.

Prediction: Rybakina in three sets.


Stefanos Tsitsipas [5] v Dominic Thiem H2H & Match Fundamentals

Stefanos Tsitsipas [5] v Dominic Thiem H2H: Thiem leads 5-4
Wimbledon 2023 London, England
Grass (O) Prize Money: £55,000

After a consistent clay court swing which ended in a heavy defeat to Carlos Alcaraz, Stefanos Tsitsipas has had a very poor grass court season which has seen him win one match from three ATP main draw events. The Australian Open finalist has been underachieving significantly since his run in Melbourne and the Greek will be desperate for something to build on at Wimbledon.

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However it’s not an easy start to Wimbledon for Tsitsipas as he takes on former Grand Slam champion Dominic Thiem. The Austrian has been slowly rebuilding his ranking but not at a quick enough rate for his high expectations. Thiem has lost five of his last six matches and is yet to regain the potential, confidence and athleticism that saw him win the US Open in 2020. Now on a quicker surface where there is not much need to use power and strength, Thiem will look to raise his level of performance and achieve one of the biggest wins of his season.

Tsitsipas will look to mix up his serving patterns and use his backhand to finish off well-constructed points as he looks to be clinical on return. Meanwhile Thiem will look to be proactive and use depth as well as spin to force errors from Tsitsipas as he looks to rush the fifth seed. This is a match between two players who need a good performance here let alone win with there expected to be plenty of ebbs and flows during the contest. In the end Tsitsipas should have too much quality and consistency in this very scrappy and tense match.

Prediction: Tsitsipas in four sets.



Maria Sakkari [8] v Marta Kostyuk H2H & Match Fundamentals

Maria Sakkari [8] v Marta Kostyuk H2H: Sakkari leads 2-0
Wimbledon 2023 London, England
Grass (O) Prize Money: £55,000

Maria Sakkari remains undeterred after her early exit at Roland Garros to eventual finalist Karolina Muchova. The Greek’s big serve and physicality is effective on grass and that proved to be the case in Berlin where she reached the semi-finals. However Sakkari’s mentality in the latter stages of tournaments remains a problem and further justifies why people have doubts about the eighth seed going deep at Grand Slams. Can Sakkari prove people wrong and make a deep run at Wimbledon?

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A very tricky opening match against Marta Kostyuk will put that to the test. The Ukrainian has big potential with an aggressive game style as well as effective decision-making. However since winning the title in Austin in March, Kostyuk has struggled to gain wins on multiple surfaces. The 21 year-old will want to regain the momentum some point soon ahead of the US hard court swing and there would be no better place to do it then at Wimbledon against a top ten player.

Sakkari will look to dominate on serve as she looks to open up the space on the court and attack Kostuk’s defensive game with some powerful forehands. Meanwhile Kostyuk will look to make some powerful and deep returns to neutralise Sakkari’s attacking game as well as coming to the net to finish off the points quickly. This will be a tough test for Sakkari as this has all the makings for an upset but in the end Sakkari’s recent confidence should get her through this match.

Prediction: Sakkari in three sets.



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