Wimbledon 2017 First Round Previews: Kerber-Falconi, Pliskova-Rodina

Two top players, Angelique Kerber and Karolina Pliskova will play their first round matches on Tuesday. It seems customary to go for the top seeds, but is there more than it meets the eye? Let’s take a look…

1. (1) Angelique Kerber [No.1] vs (Q) Irina Falconi [No.248]

Overview: Angelique Kerber’s No.1 ranking will probably be snatched away from the German as she needs to at least defend her final points in order to stay at the top. With her bad form it almost seems an impossible feat for Kerber to achieve. Having only won two matches during the clay court swing, Kerber seemed more confident on the lawns of Eastbourne, claiming victories over Kristyna Pliskova and Lara Arruabarrena before losing a tight two-setter to Johanna Konta.

Kerber has a supposedly comfortable opener to make do with, starting with a qualifier, Irina Falconi. Falconi has a 9-11 record throughout the year, slipping out of the world’s Top 200 having failed to defend her winners points from Bogota. Falconi gained some form in Wimbledon qualifying, not dropping a set enroute to the main draw.

Thoughts: I mean, so many players have been beating Kerber this year, but a World No.1 losing to a player out of the Top 200 is too far-fetched, isn’t it? Falconi has only won two matches on the WTA main draw level this year also so it probably would be a routine win for the German.

2. (3) Karolina Pliskova [No.3] vs Evgeniya Rodina [No.83]

Overview:ย Evgeniya Rosina generally has a solid game that goes relatively okay on the grass. The Russian played four warm-up tournaments coming into Wimbledon, reaching the quarterfinals in ‘s-Hertogenbosch and the semifinals of an ITF 100K event in Southsea.

Karolina Pliskova is many’s favourite to lift the Venus Rosewater Dish and her amazing form in 2017 suggests so. An interesting stat: Throughout the whole year, Pliskova has progressed into the quarterfinals or further in every except two tournaments (Dubai & Prague). Pliskova hasn’t done well in Wimbledon over the past few years, but has always done well in the warm-up events, including winning the title in Eastbourne this year. Can she finally translate her good results into Wimbledon?

Thoughts: Rodina is a solid player on the grass, having decent results on this surface. However Pliskova does everything a little better than the Russian player. I guess there will be one tight set but Pliskova should proceed in straights.

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