Wimbledon R1 previews and picks: Federer vs. Dzumhur, Simon vs. Almagro

SimonRoger Federer’s quest for an eighth Wimbledon title will begin on Tuesday against Damir Dzumhur. Gilles Simon and Nicolas Almagro are also in first-round action.

Damir Dzumhur vs. (2) Roger Federer

Federer and Dzumhur will be going head-to-head for the second time in their careers and for the second time in as many Grand Slams when they collide again in the Wimbledon first round on Tuesday. They just faced each other in the last 32 of the French Open, with Federer cruising 6-4, 6-3, 6-2. Dzumhur is far unluckier this time around having to go up against the world No. 2 right off the bat. The 23-year-old Bosnian also will not be helped by the surface change, as he prefers a slower court. Dzumhur did not play on grass in between Roland Garros and Wimbledon and this is his debut appearance in the main draw at the All-England Club. He previously failed in qualifying attempts in 2012 and 2014.

As for Federer, of course, he is a seven-time champion of this event. Title No. 8 almost came last summer, when the Swiss reached another final before succumbing to Novak Djokovic in five sets. Federer looks poised for more success after bouncing back nicely from a French Open quarterfinal loss to Stan Wawrinka by lifting the Halle trophy. The second seed is going to impose his will on Dzumhur right from the start on this fast surface and he should coast into round two after no more than an hour and change.

Pick: Federer in 3 losing 8-10 games

Nicolas Almagro vs. (12) Gilles Simon

With Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gael Monfils possibly plagued by injuries (as usual), Simon could be France’s best hope to reach the second week in SW19. It also helps that the 12th seed has an apparently favorable draw on his hands. That does not, however, mean that his first-rounder will be a cakewalk. Almagro can be dangerous on all surfaces, but Simon is a clear favorite on paper based on current form. The former world No. 6 is 28-13 for the season and already owns five grass-court victories. He reached the Queen’s Club semifinals before advancing to the quarters in Nottingham.

Up next for Simon is a fifth career meeting with Almagro on Tuesday. The two veterans have not faced each other since 2012, so the head-to-head series still stands at two wins apiece. Almagro has an underrated serve and he can be dangerous on all surfaces, but he would obviously prefer to contest this one on clay. He has not ventured onto grass a single time since the French Open. Still on the comeback trail following an extended absence as a result of a foot injury, Almagro is toiling down at No. 145 in the world. With a confident Simon on the other side of the net, Almagro will have to wait until later in the summer to continue his climb back up the rankings.

Pick: Simon in 4

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