The year is 2023 and Venus Williams is still grinding out wins as the 43 year-old displayed her resilience by edging past Camila Giorgi in three sets in Birmingham before going out to eventual champion Jelena Ostapenko. The five-time champion continues to hit the ball flawlessly as her serve continues to be a threat on the tour. Now making her 24th appearance at Wimbledon, Williams is looking to show age is just a number as she looks to create more memories at her favourite Grand Slam.
Standing in Williams’ way is another player who is making a gradual return to the tour in the form of Elina Svitolina. After becoming a mother, Svitolina’s return to the tour hasn’t been an easy one but the Ukrainian built some much needed momentum in the clay court swing by winning Strasbourg and reaching the quarter-finals at Roland Garros. Svitolina’s improved confidence from the baseline is an important platform for her to build on as she now has a deep run at Wimbledon firmly in her sights.
Williams will look to continue her powerful serving on the first serve and will look to test Svitolina’s movement on grass. Meanwhile the Ukrainian will look to make a lot of block returns and extend the rallies as she looks to test the 43 year-old’s stamina and physicality. This could be an incredible spectacle and a match that couldn’t be set up any more perfectly with Williams’ lack of match practice neutralised by Svitolina’s uncomfortable movement on grass. In the end Williams should edge this match as long as she can keep maintain her stamina.
Prediction: Williams in three sets.
Nick Kyrgios  v David Goffin H2H & Match Fundamentals
A lot has changed since Nick Kyrgios made that incredible run to the final last year where he narrowly lost to Novak Djokovic. The Australian’s season has been halted due to injury with limited match play affecting his build-up to Wimbledon. It was evident in Stuttgart that Kyrgios is not at his physical best as that was the only match he has played this year. However you can never count out Kyrgios’ natural talent and a visit to the place of his only Grand Slam singles final may be the boost he needs to elevate his game to new heights.
First up for Kyrgios is another player who had a successful Wimbledon last year in the form of David Goffin. The Belgian was offered a wildcard to this year’s tournament having reached the quarter-finals at Wimbledon in the last two editions that he has played the tournament. Goffin’s tournament was ultimately ended by Cameron Norrie in a five set thriller and it is evident that the Belgian has all the tools to cause any player problems on this surface. Despite an underwhelming season, Goffin will hope a return to Wimbledon will be the start of a successful second half to the year.
Kyrgios will look to serve accurately and keep the tempo of the match at a quick pace as he will look to rush Goffin into errors with his big forehand. Meanwhile the Belgian will look to do the opposite as he looks to extend the rallies and slow the pace of the match as well as using the dropshot to test Kyrgios’ movement. Despite Kyrgios’s talent, the 30th seed’s lack of fitness will cost him here as Goffin should edge into the second round.
Prediction: Goffin in four sets.
Coco Gauff  v Sofia Kenin [Q] H2H & Match Fundamentals
After a rocky few months leading up to Roland Garros, Coco Gauff has produced an encouraging last few weeks where she reached the quarter-finals in Paris losing to Iga Swiatek. That was followed up by a run to the semi-finals in Eastbourne as the seventh seed seems to have momentum on her side. Now it’s time for the American to fulfil her potential as she may never have a better opportunity to win a Grand Slam at this stage of her career.
First up for Gauff is former Australian Open champion Sofia Keninwho has been grinding her way back up the world rankings after dealing with injuries. The American came through qualifying to reach the main draw and is looking to translate her aggressive baseline game onto the grass courts. A deep run at Wimbledon could be enough for Kenin to rise back up to the world’s top 100 as she looks to rediscover that form that saw her be in the world’s top ten regularly.
Gauff will look to set the tempo of the match with her serve as she looks to construct patterns of play on her forehand to allow her to remain aggressive. Meanwhile Kenin will look to extend the rallies and use the angles to create space on the court for effective winners. This should be a competitive match with both players looking to seize a massive opportunity but in the end Gauff’s quality and aggression should give her the slight edge.
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