Wimbledon 2017: 5 first-week matches to look out for, including Andy Murray, Johanna Konta and Novak Djokovic

There are a number of interesting clashes to look out for in the first-week, including a repeat of the 2013 men's semi-final as Novak Djokovic looks set to face Juan Martin del Potro

Luke Brown@lukedbrown
Monday 03 July 2017 08:46
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The draw has thrown up a number of fascinating first-week matches
The draw has thrown up a number of fascinating first-week matches

The draw for The 2017 Championships was made on Friday morning, with the Tournament due to begin on Monday morning.

World No 1 and defending champion Andy Murray was handed a relatively kind draw, and will face 20-year-old qualifier Alexander Bublik in his opening match.

Britain's Johanna Konta will meanwhile face Su-Wei Hsieh, who beat her in the opening round of this year's French Open.

But which first-week matches should you keep an eye out for when The Championships get underway?

Here, we take a look at five potential match-ups you will not want to miss.

Andy Murray v Fabio Fognini, third round

Fognini is yet to get the better of Murray on grass

Fognini put together one of the finest performances of his career at the Rome Masters in May, as he knocked Murray out in the second round with a 6-2 6-4 win during which he blasted no fewer than 23 forehand winners. He also has a good recent record against the World No 1: having won three of their last six encounters.

The fact that all three of Fognini’s recent victories have come on clay – and that Murray is the defending champion at Wimbledon – mean that the Italian would still head into this hypothetical third-round match as the heavy underdog. But on his day, Fognini can be unplayable. Murray would be a fool to underestimate him.

Tommy Haas, Stan Wawinka, second round

Haas is making his final appearance at The Championships

Following hip, ankle, elbow, shoulder and rotator cuff operations, it is fair to say that 39-year-old German veteran Haas knows the meaning of bad luck better than anyone in tennis. But lady luck finally decided to shine on him this summer, with the All England Club deciding that the World No 255 was worthy of a Wimbledon wildcard. It will be his final appearance at the Grand Slam.

Providing he first beats the Belgian qualifier Ruben Bemelmans, Haas will face Wawrinka in the second round. Although the Swiss is seven years Haas’ junior, he is also entering the twilight of his career and knows that his hopes of completing a career Slam are beginning to fade.

Juan Martin del Potro v Novak Djokovic, third round

Del Potro took Djokovic to five sets in 2013

The undoubted pick of the first week matches. Del Potro, seeded at Wimbledon for the first-time since his run to the semi-finals in 2013, is making just his fifth appearance at a Grand Slam over the last four years having struggled with a deliberating wrist injury. Djokovic has meanwhile won the Tournament three-times, but is having a poor season and has dropped to 4th in the world rankings – his lowest position since late 2009.

The pair have met only once before on grass – in one of the best matches of the 2013 Championships. Djokovic reached the final at the Argentine’s expense, in an epic five-setter lasting four hours and 44 minutes which eventually ended 7-5 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-7 (6-8) 6-3.

Johanna Konta v Hsieh Su-wei, first round

Konta will be hoping to avenge her loss at Roland Garros

A repeat of this year’s French Open first round match. Konta headed to Paris as one of the favourites to win the tournament and was not expected to struggle against Hsieh, but suffered a shock 1-6 7-6 6-4 defeat on Court Philippe Chatrier.

Konta will once again be expected to beat Hsieh when the pair meet for a second time this season, but first she must overcome a late injury scare. The British No 1 was forced to withdraw from her Eastbourne semi-final against Karolina Pliskova at the Aegon International after taking a heavy fall in an earlier match against Angelique Kerber. She now faces a race to be fit for The Championships.

Eugenie Bouchard v Simona Halep, third round

Bouchard beat Halep in the 2014 semi-finals

Bouchard may have lost the 2014 Wimbledon final, falling to Petra Kvitova 6-3 6-0 in just 55 minutes on Centre Court, but the future looked bright for the Canadian. She had begun the year with semi-final appearances at both the Australian and French Opens, and finished her breakthrough campaign with an impressive 19-4 Grand Slam win-loss record.

Of course, since then things haven’t quite gone according to plan for Bouchard, and it is now over two years since she last made it into the second week of a Slam. But she has shown flashes of promise this season, particularly during her gutsy victory over Maria Sharapova at the Porsche Grand Prix, and she is more than capable of giving second seed Halep a run for her money on grass.

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