2022 Wimbledon Preview

This is my favourite time of the year as Wimbledon starts on Monday! Work out-of-office on, rum on tap and drawsheets ready to fill in so all good to go πŸ˜‚. The draw was announced on Friday morning. There’s definitely been a buzz with the return of Serena Williams. Unfortunately, there was a withdrawal on Saturday as Madison Keys pulled out with an abdominal injury. Gutted for Madison and wishing a speedy recovery. I’m hoping to do a bit more on the blog over the next few weeks. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights from the draw…

The drawΒ πŸŽ‡

First rounders πŸ”₯

Simona Halep vs. Karolina Muchova (Tuesday): Boom. This is THE blockbuster match from the first round. On a sidenote, very disappointed at the decision by Wimbledon not to give Simona the deserved honour to open Centre Court on Tuesday. Anyway, it’s a ding ding ding first time meeting between two players who have history on the grass. Question marks surround both. Muchova rolled her ankle badly at the French Open although she did play a match in Berlin. Halep pulled out of the Bad Homburg semi-finals with a blocked neck. Perhaps this is related to Tuesday’s decision but would have guessed that the withdrawal was precautionary?

Emma Raducanu vs. Alison Van Uytvanck (Monday): Van Uytvanck loves the grass and has played the last four weeks, posting an impressive a 12-2 W-L record with titles in Surbiton ($100K) and Gaiba ($125K). Van Uytvanck’s only losses have been against Sabalenka and Anisimova – not too shabby! So yeah, it’s a rough first round draw for Raducanu who pulled out of her first match on grass in Nottingham with a side strain. If Raducanu plays, and I think it might be an if, then I think the dynamics would be very interesting. If it were to be a close match then I don’t know how Van Uytvanck would handle the crowd.

Jessica Pegula vs. Donna Vekic (Tuesday): Pegula, who is yet to play a competitive match on grass this year, faces a tricky opener against Donna Vekic. Vekic is 7-3 on the grass this year having qualified for the main draws in both Birmingham and Eastbourne. I think I read Pegula hasn’t played because of a family emergency? Vekic has shown promise on the grass without hitting top form just yet. Upset alert.

Danielle Collins vs. Marie Bouzkova (Monday): I’m looking forward to the contrast in game style and personality with this one. Once again, Collins comes into a Slam cold with no matches on the grass. This was the case at the Australian Open where she didn’t play any matches prior to Melbourne and reached the final so not really a concern! I’m not sure grass is Bouzkova’s surface? One thing that’s a given is that Bouzkova will fight for every single point regardless of the scoreline.

Sloane Stephens vs. Zheng Qinwen (Tuesday):Β This is a 50-50 clash. Both haven’t won a match on grass this year. I don’t think Zheng has EVER won a match on grass! Both have a high ceiling though and reached the second week of Rolly G. Take your pick…

First week potential match-ups to circle 🀞:

GarbiΓ±e Muguruza vs. Sloane Stephens/Zheng Qinwen (R2): Muguruza’s section is one of the most challenging to call. Muguruza-Stephens or Muguruza-Zheng would likely be a mess (πŸ˜‚) but it’s a mess i’d want to tune in for.

Paula Badosa vs. Petra Kvitova (R3): I saw these two practice together briefly in Eastbourne so i’d like to see this match happen. Kvitova beat Badosa at the 2020 Australian Open, 7-5 7-5, before Badosa really became a thing.

Simona Halep vs. Camila Giorgi (R3): It’s already a fun prospect but I think it would be electric on grass.

Coco Gauff vs. Amanda Anisimova (R3): Would be a brutal third round draw as both players are top 15 in the Race this year. The pair have played just once before in Parma on clay last year where Gauff won in straight sets.

Karolina Pliskova vs. Katie Boulter (R2): Boulter beat Pliskova, 1-6 6-4 6-4 in Eastbourne this week. A repeat would be fascinating…

Kaia Kanepi vs. Clara Tauson (R2): Would be a hugeee hitting clash. I’m just intrigued to see Tauson again and particularly on the grass.

Belinda Bencic vs. Beatriz Haddad Maia (R3): Of the potential third rounders, this could have the most consequences for the draw in a relatively open fourth quarter. Also noteworthy because I think they look alike! Bencic won their only previous meeting in Sydney earlier this year, 6-3 6-2.

Favourites ⭐

Iga Swiatek: Not played a competitive match on grass this year but you cannot look past 35 consecutive victories and six titles in a row.

Ons Jabeur: Won the Berlin title and a couple of doubles matches with Serena at Eastbourne. Quarter-finalist at Wimbledon last year. I think it’s safe to say Ons loves grass! Decent first few rounds on paper to play her way into form. Will learn from what happened at Rolly G?

Coco Gauff: In two appearances at Wimbledon, Gauff has reached the second week both times. Played well in Berlin and with room to improve. Pulling out of Eastbourne (as sad as I was!) was a smart move to rest up after a demanding month of tennis.

Simona Halep: Riding a seven match winning streak at Wimbledon having not played the Champs since 2019. Halep pulled out of Bad Homburg with the blocked neck but had plenty of match practice on the grass and her only official loss was to the streaking Haddad Maia.

Angelique Kerber: Former champ and last year’s semi-finalist running into Barty. I’m not so bothered about a quarter-final loss to Cornet in Bad Homburg because Angie knows how to peak for Wimby.

Ones to watch πŸ‘€

Jelena Ostapenko: Eastbourne finalist with a game for the grass. Ostapenko could go out in the first round and no-one would be surprised. Equally she could go all the way and it wouldn’t be a surprise either!

Petra Kvitova: This is not something i considered when Kvitova walked off court in Birmingham looking sad and forlorn after a first round loss. It’s been a tough year but Kvitova just won Eastbourne with, dare I say, a peak Petra display! 😍

Belinda Bencic: I’ve always liked Bencic on grass and have been waiting for that breakthrough run at Wimbledon to confirm it. Thought it could be this year. Worried though about that injury picked up in the Berlin final?

Beatriz Haddad Maia: Won Nottingham and Birmingham, and reached the semi-finals of Eastbourne on a 12 match winning streak. BHM has been the most consistent in-form player on grass this year.

Bianca Andreescu: Buying stocks in Andreescu right now. Not much experience on the grass. However, a final showing in Bad Homburg, very close to beating Pliskova in Berlin and seems in a great head space right now.

Alison Riske: Not the best form on grass this year. Riske is always someone i’ll give the benefit of the doubt to at Wimbledon. Her game is made for the grass.

Camila Giorgi: Looked very content on the practice courts at Eastbourne. A semi-final run too so the form is there.

Alison Van Uytvanck: See above. In great form!

Anhelina Kalinina: Still sneaking under-the-radar and having a brilliant season. Beat Sakkari and Putintseva at Eastbourne so can do things on the grass. Nestled in a favourable section of the draw.

Fun facts πŸ€“

There are FIVE former champions in this draw: Simona Halep (2019), Angelique Kerber (2018), GarbiΓ±e Muguruza (2017), Serena Williams (x 7 times) and Petra Kvitova (x 2 times).

There are eight Brits in the draw and ALL EIGHT have avoided seeded opposition! It’s been a fantastic grass court season for most of the Brits and hopefully that can translate into Wimbledon too.

Seven players will make their debut in the main draw of a Slam: Sonay Kartal, Catherine Harrison, Laura Pigossi, Maja Chwalinska, Ylena In-Albon, Yuriko Miyazaki and Mai Hontama.

Recommended reading πŸ“š

For anyone going to Wimbledon for the first time, I wrote a guide about visiting back in 2019 which is still largely relevant!

Follow Moo’s Tennis Blog on Twitter andΒ Facebook.

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