Following a difficult grass court week in Nottingham the tours now move to Birmingham and London as the men and women on the look to enhance their Wimbledon chances but what opening round match-ups do we have early on?
Queens Club – Stefanos Tsitsipas v Kyle Edmund
You probably couldn’t have drawn a tougher opening round. Kyle will be up against it in Stefanos who didn’t get off to a good start in Stuttgart. He played in Halle this year last year but is a pretty unknown on the grass as it’s only around for a couple of weeks a year. On the grass I do think Kyle has the stronger game and he has to focus on playing his own game. I expect Stefanos to try and play really strong from the baseline and look to hit his one handed backhand into the backhand
Birmingham – Jo Konta v Anett Kontaveit
Anett is someone I expected a lot of at Roland Garros following a very good clay court season from the Estonian but didn’t deliver. Anett can cause issues on many surfaces but her game can be quite dangerous. You either get a lot of winners or a lot of errors.
I believe she does have qualities to be top 15 pushing on top 10 and I think Jo should be ok here in all honesty. If she can bring that focus she’s carried from Rabat, Rome and Paris to Birmingham she can go far!
Queens Club – Juan Martin Del Potro v Denis Shapovalov
Denis needs something big. Forget about making the doubles final in Stuttgart to be honest. His singles play has not been good. I think Del Potro could stroll through in this one.
Denis for me should be challenging these guys. His game seems lost at the moment and I think he needs some time away from tournaments to practice on things and work it out.
Birmingham – Mihaela Buzarnescu v Karolina Pliskova
I said in a previous piece that Pliskova has a point to prove and a tough player on this surface was Mihaela Buzarnescu. The season hasn’t gone to plan for her to be honest, it has been a bit quiet and she has had a couple of injuries to overcome and I hope she begins to find her best tennis again.
Pliskova will have to be at it here. This is a very big week for the world number three.
Queens Club – Stan Wawrinka v Dan Evans
Battle of the one handed backhands. What a treat we have! I think Dan will relish this. I do think Stan could cause some upsets here but his grass court record isn’t great at all during his career and Dan has been playing a lot on grass lately with some very good results so he has the momentum. I’m on the fence here.
Birmingham – Ash Barty v Donna Vekic
Donna knows this surface so watch out. What a match this will be. Ash couldn’t have asked for a more difficult meeting. I do have Ash as a favourite but seriously I would not rule anything out. Donna has the baseline game to cause some big issues and to be honest I hope she does over this grass court season!