Wimbledon R1 previews and picks: Djokovic vs. Kohlschreiber, Gabashvili vs. Zverev

Djoker 1Novak Djokovic will kick off his Wimbledon campaign against tough first-round opponent Philipp Kohlschreiber on Monday. Teymuraz Gabashvili and Alexander Zverev are also part of the schedule.

(1) Novak Djokovic vs. Philipp Kohlschreiber

Djokovic and Kohlschreiber will be squaring off for the eighth time in their careers when they clash in the Wimbledon first round on Monday. Kohlschreiber upset Djokovic 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 at the French Open in 2009, but the Serb has since won five in a row and he is now 2-1 at the German’s expense in Grand Slam competition. The two veterans faced each other three times in 2014, with Djokovic getting the job done in Rome, at the U.S. Open, and on the indoor hard courts of Paris.

Kohlschreiber just barely missed out on a seed at No. 33 in the world and as an extremely dangerous opponent he will not be underestimated. The 31-year-old also had to go up against Roger Federer in the Halle first round earlier this month and the Swiss just barely survived 7-6(8), 3-6, 7-6(5). Kohlschreiber preceded that with a quarterfinal showing in Stuttgart, so has plenty of grass-court practice under his belt. Djokovic, on the other hand, has not played since Roland Garros. It should not take long for him to get comfortable on grass as the defending champion and two-time winner at the All-England Club. Count on the top seed, who is 41-3 on the season, passing this stern test without too much trouble.

Pick: Djokovic in 3 losing 11-14 games

Teymuraz Gabashvili vs. Alexander Zverev

This will be Zverev’s first-ever appearance in the main draw of a Grand Slam. The 18-year-old German previously failed in qualifying attempts at the three most recent majors, but he gained direct entry this time around thanks to having surged to No. 76 in the world. Zverev owns six of his 10 career ATP-level match victories this season and he is coming off a third-round performance on the grass courts of Nottingham.

Up first for the youngster on Monday is Gabashvili in what will be their only head-to-head meeting to date. Gabashvili is utterly averse to grass, which explains why he went back to the Challenger level to play one event on clay and another on hard courts in between the French Open and Wimbledon. The 30-year-old Russian is 1-6 lifetime in main-draw action at the All-England Club. He is a modest 8-12 at the ATP level this year after making a run to the fourth round at Roland Garros. Grass will not treat him so kindly.

Pick: Zverev in 4

17 Comments on Wimbledon R1 previews and picks: Djokovic vs. Kohlschreiber, Gabashvili vs. Zverev

  1. I think Kohls will at least take a set off Nole. Kohls can crumble anytime but I think he will do well against a slightly vulnerable Djokovic in the first round.

    WIll be good to see Zverev advancing!

  2. Ricky: —Djokovic, on the other hand, has not played since Roland Garros—

    Djoko played 2 matches at the Boodles (exhibition event) this week.

      • Gussie: Did you watch any of the matches other than Rafa?
        The players are under orders to be ‘amusing’ and give the spectators what they want. i.e. fool around for the benefit of an audience made up largely of drunken Hooray Henrys, Sloane Rangers and downright Slappers.
        Thankfully Rafa and Haase treated it as a pre-Wimby warm up and didn’t pander to the spectators apart from when Rafa changed his shirt amidst shrieks from a gaggle of baying women.


      • ed ( at 2:30 pm),

        No, I didn’t watch other matches. I took a quick look at some matches, I can’t say that it was ‘watching’. 🙂

  3. Kohls was unable to win 4-5 service games all three sets. Served a double fault in two of these games and did not play well under pressure. Novak was very good though. 10/10 for an opening round performance against a tricky opponent.

    Ricky got the prediction spot on

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