Wimbledon 2015, Women’s First Quarter Previews: Bencic v Pironkova, Watson v Garcia

1. Belinda Bencic v Tsvetana Pironkova (Wimbledon, R1)


In one of the best first round matches of the women’s draw, the Eastbourne champion, Belinda Bencic will take on Tsvetana Pironkova. Both players have been in form and are at their best on grass. Bencic won her first WTA title in Eastbourne, defeating Agnieszka Radwanska in a three set final, 6-4 4-6 6-0. Bencic had her chances in the second set, but came through in the third set with flying colours. Radwanska looked lost on court as Bencic really took hold of the reins as she had done for much of the match, dominating from the baseline. There were a number of tight games and it was Bencic who played her best tennis when it really mattered, winning 8 out of the 11 deuce games. After winning Eastbourne, Bencic said the following in her press conference.

I was disappointed I didn’t close out the second set and I was starting to get tired but then I started (the third set) very focused. I (got to) 3-0, so after than I relaxed a little bit and could close it out. I have so much confidence now that I played the final. I have nothing to prove at Wimbledon and can just play relaxed and be satisfied with my results.

Pironkova has history at Wimbledon as she reached the semi-finals in 2010 and the quarter-finals in 2011. Pironkova’s game suits grass and she’s demonstrated that this year with a run to the quarter-finals in Eastbourne where she defeated Sam Stosur and Dominika Cibulkova. This will be a first career match-up between the pair and it’s such a tough one to call… i’ve been racking my brain! Bencic will have a great deal of confidence but after three weeks on the grass, she could be fatigued. In Eastbourne, two of her matches finished with a withdrawal and her match against Madison Keys was super quick. Last year, the run to the title in Eastbourne did hinder Keys at Wimbledon. However, others, notably Tamira Paszek have ridden the momentum train into Wimbledon.

I’m going with the momentum train. Belinda edges it…

Prediction: Bencic d. Pironkova in 3 sets

2. Heather Watson v Caroline Garcia (Wimbledon, R1)


British hopes will rest on Heather Watson and Naomi Broady in the women’s draw on the first day of the 2015 Championships. Heather has drawn the number 32 seed, Caroline Garcia in what should be a very interesting match. Garcia’s year has had notable peaks and troughs; it started well, but has dipped in the last month or two. Garcia struggled with the pressure of playing on the Phillippe Chatrier Court in Paris where she lost in three sets to Donna Vekic. She later revealed that she had requested not to be put on the top court. Garcia has caused quite a lot of debate in the comments section. I agree that her technique is stunning and she has just a watchable game. However, so much these days is between the ears and right now, Garcia doesn’t quite have it. Since losing a really well fought match against Maria Sharapova in Madrid earlier this year, Garcia has posted a 2-4 W-L record on the tour.

Watson’s year has been characterised by two superb tournaments in Hobart and Indian Wells where she was the champion and reached the fourth round respectively. Aside from that, Watson has struggled for consistency and lost a lot of matches that she really should be winning. Her form in Birmingham was disappointing where she lost in straights to Aleksandra Krunic, 7-6(5) 6-4. In Eastbourne, she fought valiantly and secured two vital wins over Varvara Lepchenko (7-6 6-2) and Elina Svitolina (3-6 7-5 6-4). I’ve always had my doubts about Watson but one thing you cannot deny is she has real determination that shone through in Eastbourne.

In their only previous match, Watson thrashed Garcia, 6-1 6-1 on the clay of Estoril in 2012. I think Watson stands a real shot at the upset if she can get the crowd involved.

Prediction: Watson d. Garcia in 3 sets

12 thoughts on “Wimbledon 2015, Women’s First Quarter Previews: Bencic v Pironkova, Watson v Garcia

  1. Pironkova Bencic is very tough to call. In my opinion Benic is not going to be too fatigued, I also think with Hingis on her side, she is going to be serious about Wimbledon and not just be super happy with winning Eastbourne and not taking Wimbledon very seriously. I also think this will go to three sets, Pironkova last played Radwanska so hopefully Pironkova will be ready for the similar game that Bencic plays. I enjoy how Bencic runs down all the balls and is still cheerful and doesnt get fazed by power.
    Even if Garcia beats Watson, I dont find her noteworthy as of now. You need to be mentally stronger first. A strong serve ,a good technique will only take you so far.


  2. The title in Eastbourne must have given Bencic a huge confidence-boost. I’m really excited to see what she can do at Wimbledon – her draw is not easy by any means but I believe that if she’s not too taxed physically and with a right mental mindset, she could just make the quarterfinals. The pitfalls of her draw, in my opinion, are Pironkova, Ivanovic, CSN & Azarenka. Out of those aforementioned four I think Pironkova might be the most dangerous given her grass court finesse – Ana & CSN clearly aren’t at home on this surface whereas Vika is a bit of a wild card with her withdrawal in B’ham.

    CarGar-Watson is a tricky one as well but I *think* (or just flat out hoping haha) CarGar will come through. Obviously the home crowd will be a factor in Hev’s favor as you point out but I’d say a lot of this match has to do with how CarGar will be playing. If she can find some form again, plays well & most importantly can maintain some sort of consistency (which will always be a problem), she should advance.

    Sooo ready for Wimbledon!! 🙂


  3. James I totally agree with your comments,as a player you can be technically sound and have the shots,though without the will to win,focus,mentality it wont’ get you far,French players to me have sound technically shots,though in some cases as we have seen throughout the years,it is their mental ability which has let them down.

    In saying that I am going for a Garcia win and Pironkova who seems to shine on the grass at Wimbledon.


  4. Watson will beat Garcia. Piru vs Bencic is 50/50 match. It all depends on Piru if she can minimize her unforced errors. She will probably lose in long rallies, and that’s what Bencic is playing her tennis now.


  5. A professional athlete of any kind, yet alone a successful tennis player who potentially plays week in week out under the gaze of a large stadium of people should not be of the mindset that too many eyes are an issue. Thus I hardly think Caroline Garcia is ever going to pan out as a consistent top player, regardless of her technique and physical attributes if she asked NOT to be on the main court at Roland Garros. That’s just not a successful pro’s mindset.


  6. True Andrew…but that’s just an ominous sign considering that we have 17-19 yr old’s who seem to acquit themselves well under the bright lights in tennis quite often!


  7. Awful loss for Garcia. She really needs to ditch her father…
    I don’t understand why she never just puts the ball back in play when she can’t find the lines. Most big hitters are hampered by poor movement, but this is not an issue for her as she moves better than most defenders!


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