Wimbledon 2023: Popcorn matches from the women’s singles draw
Women’s Grand Slam draws have been producing some stellar first round matches this year and the Wimbledon 2023 singles draw is no different.
So we, at Tennishead, have narrowed the draw down to detail the five matches that we think have the most potential to be thrillers:
Venus Williams (WC) vs Elina Svitolina (WC)
When Venus Williams was announced as a wildcard we knew that her first round match would be a spectacle whoever she was playing, however the draw certainly did not disappoint.
Venus Williams wears the crown for 𝗺𝗼𝘀𝘁 𝗪𝗶𝗺𝗯𝗹𝗲𝗱𝗼𝗻 𝗺𝗮𝘁𝗰𝗵 𝘄𝗶𝗻𝘀 by active women's players! 🌱👑 pic.twitter.com/FFiFN6TeP6
— Eurosport (@eurosport) June 24, 2023
The five-time singles champion will face off against fellow wildcard and former No.3 Elina Svitolina on Monday, in a fifth meeting between the pair.
Svitolina has the upperhand in the head-to-head, with three wins to Wlliams’ one, however the Ukranian only won two games in her only grass court match this year against 18-year-old Linda Fruhvirtova.
Elena Rybakina (3) vs Shelby Rogers
Elena Rybakina is stepping into unchartered territory, as she looks to defend a Grand Slam title for the first time in her career.
The No.3 has struggled with this illness since Roland Garros, where she withdrew from the tournament before her third round match and has since pulled out of the WTA 500 event taking place in Eastbourne this week.
Rybakina has the slight advantage in her head-to-head with Rogers, but the American did claim victory in their most recent encounter on the grass of S’Hertogenbosch last year.
While Rybakina is the reigning champion of The Championships, Rogers is yet to make it past the third round at SW19 and will hope to avenge her defeat to the defending champion at Wimbledon from 2021.
Karolina Muchova (16) vs Jule Niemeier
There will be a battle of former Wimbledon quarter-finalists on Tuesday, as Roland Garros runner-up Karolina Muchova takes on the tricky German Jule Niemeier.
Muchova, who reached the last-eight at SW19 in 2019 and 2021, has not played a single match since her defeat to Iga Swiatek in her first Grand Slam final and will have to be on top form when she goes toe-to-toe with last year’s quarter-finalist.
Niemeier has played a couple of warm-up tournaments in Nottingham and Berlin, but will be hoping to turn up to Wimbledon fully fit after retiring from the second round match in her home capital after falling on her wrist in the latter stages.
Coco Gauff (7) vs Sofia Kenin (Q)
There will be an exciting all American affair in the first round, as Coco Gauff takes on qualifier and 2020 Australian Open champion in a third time meeting.
Despite being a Grand Slam champion, Kenin has struggled to recreate the form that saw her victorious in Melbourne over the past two years and fell to as low as No.311 in the WTA rankings.
However, after some improved results Kenin finds herself back in the main draw of Wimbledon after coming through qualifying and will play her compatriot on Monday.
Gauff is the seventh seed in the draw, and returns to the place where she made her name as a 15-year-old back in 2019, beating Venus Williams on route to the fourth round.
Coco’s magical run to the 4⃣th round began in the qualifiers in Roehampton next to the National Tennis Centre pic.twitter.com/ug440787Gj
— LTA (@the_LTA) June 24, 2020
Kenin and Gauff have played each other on two previous occasions, both on hard courts, getting a win apiece.
Maria Sakkari (8) vs Marta Kostyuk
Maria Sakkari faces another tough opening draw at a Grand Slam, after losing to eventual finalist Muchova at Roland Garros, with the Greek coming up against talented young Ukranian Marta Kostyuk.
Neither player is likely to claim grass as their favourite surface, with both Sakkari and Kostyuk yet to make it past the third round at Wimbledon so far in their respective careers.
However, Sakkari did reach the semi-final of the WTA 500 event in Berlin just last week so will likely have the more confidence of the two, especially having never lost to Kostuk in their two previous meetings.
Honourable mentions for first round popcorn matches go to Iga Swiatek vs Lin Zhu, Barbora Krejcikova vs Heather Watson and Beatriz Haddad Maia vs Yulia Putintseva.
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