First Round Upset Picks at Wimbledon 2015

by John on June 28, 2015

Jo-Willie

Back by popular demand are my top five first round men’s upset picks at Wimbledon, which starts tomorrow. Despite the fact that I was only one out of five on my predictions last year (actually that’s pretty good), I figured I’d do it again. After perusing the draw on Friday, eight matches jumped out at me with decent potential for upset. Upon closer scrutiny and consideration of myriads of data (not), I pared the eight down to five. Truthfully, much of this is hunch. Tops on my list is a match which should be a barn burner no matter what the outcome: No. 13 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (above) versus Gilles Muller. Tsonga, a power player with a big serve, has 11 career titles, but none on grass. The Frenchman hasn’t played a tournament since Roland Garros, where he lost in the semifinals to French Open winner Stan Wawrinka. Muller has posted a 5-2 record in two grass-court tuneups, reaching the semifinals at the Topshelf Open and the quarterfinals at Queen’s Club, where he lost to Andy Murray in three tight sets. The Luxembourg native has a 2-1 record against Tsonga, and his serve-and-volley style and sweeping lefty serve could produce some real trouble for the Frenchman. No. 2 on the list is sixth seed Tomas Berdych against Jeremy Chardy. Berdych has one grass-court title (Halle, 2007) among his 10 career crowns, and reached the quarterfinals on the grass at this year’s German tuneup. Berdych was blitzed by a record 45 aces from Ivo Karlovic though and dropped the three-setter to the Croat. Despite Chardy’s 1-3 head-to-head against the Czech, I sense a letdown by Berdych and an inspired performance by the Frenchman. Next on the ledger is No. 24 seed Argentina’s Leonardo Mayer and Thanasi Kokkinakis in what could be a coming-out party for the 19-year-old Australian on the biggest of stages. This should be a battle royale. The two have never played each other, but I see Kokkinakis winning in five. The fourth upset pick features another Argentine, Federico Delbonis, against No. 11 seed Grigor Dimitrov. Delbonis, who has a win over Roger Federer (Hamburg) in 2013, is another lefty with a sweeping serve. Dimitrov, a rising star, has had some spotty results this year and seems ripe for the picking. I see Delbonis up for the task. Last on the list is American up-and-comer Jack Sock. the No. 31 seed, and big-serving Sam Groth. Sock has had a successful year, winning his first tournament (Houston) and reaching his career high No. 30 ranking two weeks ago. It’s been a very good year for Groth also. The big Aussie has won two Challenger tournaments (Taipei and Manchester) and earlier this month reached a career-high No. 66 in the world. Groth has posted an 8-2 record on grass in the lead-up to Wimbledon, including 5-0 at the Manchester Challenger. This should be a real serving duel, but if Groth can harness his returns and get a high percentage of first serves in, an upset could be in the making. Nothing against the seeds, but hope to be better than one out of five.

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