Wimbledon R1 previews and predictions: Sock vs. Gulbis, Anderson vs. Istomin

Wimbledon will get underway on Monday, when the schedule features a showdown between Jack Sock and Ernests Gulbis. Kevin Anderson and Denis Istomin are also kicking off their campaigns.

(27) Jack Sock vs. Ernests Gulbis

Sock and Gulbis will be going head-to-head for the first time in their careers when they clash in round one of Wimbledon on Monday. This is a showdown between two players with undeniable talent who are prone to bouts of inconsistency and prefer playing on either hard courts or clay as opposed to grass. Gulbis, for example, reached the French Open quarterfinals in 2008 and the semis in 2014 while also making a U.S. Open fourth-round appearance in 2007, but he has advanced past the last 64 at the All-England Club only once (in 2013) and even then he lost in the third round. The 61st-ranked Latvian had been in disastrous form this season prior to Roland Garros but suddenly played well and also benefited from Jo-Wilfried Tsonga’s retirement to punch a ticket to the last 16.

Sock’s French Open campaign was all lined up to be a great one thanks to a favorable draw. The 26th-ranked American faced Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the last 32 for the right to meet a less-than-100 percent Milos Raonic, but Sock fell to the Spaniard in five sets (Ramos-Vinolas ended up rolling over Raonic in straight sets to reach the quarters). The No. 27 seed is a former Wimbledon doubles champion (2014, with Vasek Pospisil), but he owns a mere 1-2 lifetime record in singles at the All-England Club. This is a good opportunity for Sock to pick up a somewhat rare grass-court victory.

Pick: Sock in 5

Denis Istomin vs. (20) Kevin Anderson

Anderson and Istomin will be squaring off for the third time in their careers on Monday. Both of their previous encounters have gone Anderson’s way; 6-4, 6-3 on the hard courts of Sydney in 2013 and 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 later that season in Atlanta, also in a quarterfinal contest. The 6’8” South African flirted with World Tour Finals qualification last year, when a fourth-round Wimbledon appearance saw him lead eventual champion Novak Djokovic by two sets to love. Anderson’s 2016 campaign, however, has been plagued by injury and he is struggling down at 24th in the world. The No. 20 seed lost in the Queen’s Club first round as a qualifier to Bernard Tomic before falling as the top seed in Nottingham to eventual champion Steve Johnson in the quarters.
Anderson 2
Istomin is an established force on grass, with his only ATP title having come last summer in Nottingham. The 65th-ranked Uzbek also boasts a winning record at Wimbledon (8-7), highlighted by a fourth-round run 2012 and two additional trips to the last 32. This season, however, Istomin is a horrendous 4-16 at the ATP level. His Nottingham title defense amounted to nothing more than a first-round setback at the hands of Damir Dzumhur, a result that will send him tumbling approximately 50 spots down the rankings to well outside the top 100. Even though Anderson is not at his best these days, he should have little trouble adding to Istomin’s pain.

Pick: Anderson in 4

6 Comments on Wimbledon R1 previews and predictions: Sock vs. Gulbis, Anderson vs. Istomin

  1. Stinging loss for Anderson as he bows out in five from two sets to love up. And sock was businesslike with a comfortable 4 4 and 4 win over gulbis.

    • Just checking the score of anderson’s match was tough. Losing in five sets after being up two sets. That is not a good feeling.

      Sock won easier that I thought he would. Good for him.

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