Wimbledon 2017 Day 2 Preview: del Potro vs. Kokkinakis

published: Jul, 04, 2017

by: Ben Stevens

A major upset, the returns of Rafa and Vika, a brief rain delay, and some epic three and five setters… It’s good to be back at Wimbledon.

An underrated part of the tournament (and something everyone can experience), the return of the championships also heralds the return of Radio Wimbledon. Charmingly British, it’s one of the few places where you can find the sort of people that actually partake in tea and crumpets, mixed in with discussions of tennis, weather and the correct pronunciation of “Birmingham”. Sure, every major has their own radio, but when it comes to making feel the tournament, RW stands alone.

Here’s your three-to-see for day 2.

Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG) [29] vs Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) – 1st on No. 2 Court

The undisputed king of getting injured versus the man shaping up to be his successor, both men have been absent from the tour more often than Nick Kyrgios’ motivation, but both can really strike the ball, which should make this a fun match. Kokkinakis should match up well against Del Potro, with a forehand that is as beautifully fluid as the Argentine’s is powerful, and has the feel to defend ably against pace – something that served him well in his upset of Milos Raonic two weeks ago at Queens. Of course it would be a shock to see Del Potro fall here, but especially considering the groin injury he suffered in the run-up to this tournament, an upset is certainly in play.

Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) [13] vs Diego Schwartzman (ARG) – 3rd on Court 12

Try as we might, some questions have no definitive answer. What is the meaning of life? What happened to MH370? Is DJ Khaled in on the joke? “Will Grigor Dimitrov get it together?” is one of those questions, and given his erraticism, Diego Schwartzman is the exact sort of opponent who could trip him up. They’ve played twice before, with a win apiece, and while you’d assume “Baby Fed” would have the advantage on grass, his mediocre serve won’t allow him the freedom to attack he needs to take charge. Having taken Novak Djokovic to five in Roland Garros, Schwartzman will look to once again utilize his sublime defensive skills in what are sure to be myriad protracted rallies. Variety is the order of the day if Dimitrov wants to keep the Argentine off-balance, but in any case, he could be in for a long afternoon.

Monica Puig (PUR) vs Timea Bacsinszky (SUI) [19] – TBA (Not before 5:00pm local)

Riding high after her run to the Roland Garros semifinals, Bacsinszky is in real danger of crashing back to earth at Wimbledon. The problem for Bacsinszky is that as good as her defense serves her on clay, her lack of any real weapons means can endanger her on grass. It’s a particularly dangerous proposition against Puig, who is at her best when allowed to play close to the baseline and hit through the court. The advantage for Bacsinszky is in her far superior consistency, and she’s going to need every ounce of the fight she showed in Paris to wear down Puig. Forget the seedings, this one is set to be one hell of a see-saw encounter.

Ben Stevens

Contributor to TennisConnected. Long time player, coach and fan. Still waiting on Mark Philippoussis to break through at a major.

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