Wimbledon R1 previews and predictions: Thiem vs. Mayer, Tomic vs. Verdasco

An intriguing first-round contest at Wimbledon on Tuesday will pit Dominic Thiem against Florian Mayer for the second time already this month. Bernard Tomic and Fernando Verdasco are also part of a blockbuster schedule.

(8) Dominic Thiem vs. (PR) Florian Mayer

Thiem will be playing a second consecutive match against Mayer when they take the court at Wimbledon on Tuesday. A recent semifinal showdown on the grass courts of Halle saw Mayer upset Thiem 6-3, 6-4 on the German’s way to the second ATP title of his career. For Mayer, the success came almost completely out of nowhere. The injury-plagued 32-year-old had been just 2-4 at the ATP level this season and was barely inside the top 200 when the Halle tournament began. He soared 112 spots to 80th in the world and will have direct entry into the U.S. Open and various other events later in 2016 (he used a protected ranking to get into Wimbledon).

Thiem’s loss to Mayer halted what was an incredible and borderline improbable hot streak. The 22-year-old Austrian’s French Open semifinal run was not a terribly big surprise because he has always been a force on clay and he benefited from Rafael Nadal’s withdrawal in his section of the bracket. Prior to this season, though, Thiem had been a relative novice on grass. But he maintained momentum from his Roland Garros performance to capture the Stuttgart title and reach the semis in Halle. Desperately needing some rest, Thiem will have not played a match in more than a week by the time he faces Mayer again. That could be a significant factor against an opponent who is 0-5 in his last five Grand Slam matches and has not picked up a single win at a major since the 2014 Australian Open.

Pick: Thiem in 4

Fernando Verdasco vs. (19) Bernard Tomic

Tomic and Verdasco will be squaring off for the sixth time in their careers and for the second time on this current grass-court swing when they collide again on Tuesday. The just faced each other in the last 16 at Queen’s Club, where Tomic prevailed 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-4 to extend his record to 4-1 in the head-to-head series. He has won four in a row at Verdasco’s expense dating back to a five-set thriller at the 2012 Australian Open, after the Spaniard had taken their first meeting way back in 2009 (Brisbane). Perhaps their most entertaining scoreline came on the indoor hard courts of Stockholm in 2014, when Tomic got bageled in the first set and ended up winning 8-6 in a third-set tiebreaker.
Tomic Hewitt
Neither player is any stranger to success at the All-England Club. Tomic advanced to the quarterfinals as a qualifier in 2011 and he reached the fourth round in 2014. The 19th-ranked Aussie has been predictably up-and-down this season, but he is coming off a solid semifinal showing at Queen’s Club. Verdasco came within one set of punching a ticket to the Wimbledon semifinals in 2013 (and he would have faced Jerzy Janowicz for a place in the title match), but Andy Murray erased a two-set deficit in the quarters. The 32-year-old is 22-13 lifetime at this tournament and has lost his opening match in just two of his last 12 appearances. But Verdasco has been mediocre in 2016 and is going up against opponent who not only has his number, but also owns a surface advantage on grass.

Pick: Tomic in 5

4 Comments on Wimbledon R1 previews and predictions: Thiem vs. Mayer, Tomic vs. Verdasco

  1. Thiem should do well, so I’ll pick him. Verdasco will want revenge, not sure if he can do it, but picking him anyway.

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