Wimbledon R1 previews and predictions: Monfils vs. Chardy, Karlovic vs. Coric

A pair of intriguing showdowns between countrymen will be part of Monday’s schedule at Wimbledon. Gael Monfils is facing fellow Frenchman Jeremy Chardy, while an all-Croat affair pits big-serving Ivo Karlovic against counter-puncher Borna Coric.

(17) Gael Monfils vs. Jeremy Chardy

Monfils and Chardy will be going head-to-head for the third time in their careers when they meet for the first time in seven years in the opening round of Wimbledon on Monday. Each of their two previous encounters have gone Monfils’ way; 7-6(2), 7-6(6) in the final of the Marrakech Challenger in 2008 and 6-1, 6-4, 6-3 during first-round action at the U.S. Open one season later. After squaring off on clay and a hard court, the two Frenchmen will now be colliding on grass.

Although neither player is a specialist on any surface, the slick stuff is probably less advantageous for Monfils. The world No. 16 is a modest 11-7 lifetime at the All-England Club and has never advanced past the third round. He will be making his first appearance since the Rome Masters, having missed Roland Garros because of a virus. Chardy turned in a third-round performance at the French Open, where he ultimately fell to Stan Wawrinka in straight sets. The world No. 34 is an even 14-14 for the season after losing his only grass-court warmup match to Jiri Vesely 7-6(3), 6-7(5), 6-4 at Queen’s Club. When healthy, Monfils has been focused, motivated, and productive in 2016. He should be eager to get back on track on the heels of such an all-timed absence this spring.

Pick: Monfils in 4

Borna Coric vs. (23) Ivo Karlovic

Coric and Karlovic could be teammates when Croatia visits the United States for Davis Cup quarterfinal action next month. For now, however, they will be adversaries in the Wimbledon first round on Monday. They have previously faced each other on one occasion, when Karlovic prevailed 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 on the clay courts of Bucharest in 2015. Coric’s momentum has stalled just a little bit since his breakout on tour in the fall of 2014 and early last season, but he still registers at a decent 49th in the world. The 19-year-old is an even 16-16 for his 2016 campaign and is coming off a tough opening-round Halle loss to David Goffin in three tight sets.
Karlovic 1
Karlovic, of course, will be happy to contest this one on grass. The 37-year-old is a former Wimbledon quarterfinalist (2009) and he advanced to the fourth round last summer. In his first-ever match at the All-England Club, Karlovic famously upset defending champion Lleyton Hewitt in 2003. Injuries have been a problem for the world No. 31 of late, but he reached the third round of the French Open and compiled a decent 3-2 record at a pair of grass-court events earlier this month in ‘s-Hertogenbosch and Halle. On this surface, Karlovic should ride his ridiculously big serve to a hard-fought victory over his much younger compatriot.

Pick: Karlovic in 4

4 Comments on Wimbledon R1 previews and predictions: Monfils vs. Chardy, Karlovic vs. Coric

  1. I think Chardy has a solid chance but I’m gonna pick Monfils to fight through in four. In the battle of the Croats, I’m picking Dr. Ivo to find a way past Coric in 5 though I could also see that one going the other way.

  2. Monfils should win this in 4, and I think Ivo wins in 3 – don’t see Coric being very good on grass yet

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