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Wimbledon 2018 Roundtable: Analysing Week One and looking ahead to Week Two

  • A dramatic first week of The Championships has concluded
  • editors take a look back at the memorable moments of Week 1 and discuss what could happen in Week 2
Will Roger Federer defend his Wimbledon title? (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images)

Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer are on course to meet in a repeat of the 2008 Wimbledon final, while the women’s field has been blown wide open with nine of the top 10 seeds sensationally crashing out before the second week - read on below as editors Hannah Wilks, ‘Leye Aduloju and Andrew Hendrie mull over what’s happened at The Championships in Week 1 and make some questionable predictions as to what might transpire in Week 2!

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Biggest upset so far?


Men: Without question, Marin Cilic losing to Guido Pella. Most of the 'upsets' in both draws were not that surprising given the surface and various other factors. But no one could have seen this coming, particularly after Queen's Club champion Cilic cruised through the first two sets.

Women: Tempted to plump for Jelena Ostapenko making the fourth round without dropping a set (or any drama), but instead I'll go with Maria Sharapova's first-round defeat to qualifier Vitalia Diatchenko. Sharapova had started to look so good on the clay, and Diatchenko is not an opponent whose game style should have bothered her. If you're going to expect anyone to battle through that type of nervy slugfest, it's Sharapova.


Men: Guido Pella beat Marin Cilic 3-6 1-6 6-4 7-6 7-5

This one totally caught me by surprise, as I, like many others I’m sure, already had Cilic down for a semi-final with Federer. He has been the second-best player on grass behind Federer in the last couple of seasons- reaching the Wimbledon final last season and winning Queen’s just a few weeks ago. Pella has been as high as the top 40, but he does his best work on clay and had done nothing on grass through his career. To come back from two-sets down, and a break down in the fourth set to win is quite remarkable. Cilic must still be wondering how he has lost that!

Women: Vitalia Diatchenko beat Maria Sharapova 6-7 7-6 6-4

A lot has been made about the top-ten casualties; but is anyone really genuinely shocked about
Stephens losing to Vekic, or Svitolina losing to Maria, or Garcia losing to Bencic, or even Wozniacki beaten by Makarova? Sasnovich was a tough first round draw for Kvitova, and Bertens was always going to be a handful for a stuttering Venus Williams. It’s just the state of the WTA at the moment, and I’m loving it!

Notice how I left out Halep. Yes, I totally did not see that coming, but Su-Wei Hsieh has been doing some nice things this year, so maybe I should have. Halep’s ouster was particularly shocking because she had a 5-2 lead in the final set, but she doesn’t quite ‘win’ this category for me. Considering the round and the pedigree (or lack of) of the opposition, Maria Sharapova’s loss to Vitalia Diatchenko (who?) gets the nod instead. Yes, Sharapova isn’t exactly the player she used to be, but it has not got as bad as her losing to Diatchenko, surely, especially when you are a set and 4-1 up! But she somehow conspired to lose to the 132nd-ranked qualifier in what has been the biggest shock for me.


Men: You can’t really go past Guido Pella beating Marin Cilic. Upset of the season so far in my book. Cilic, last year’s runner-up, was in form, won Queen’s Club and took the first two sets with ease. But somehow, someway, Pella - who had barely won matches on grass before this year - staged a remarkable comeback - and promptly bombed out in the next round himself.

Women: Actually tough to pick since many of the top seeds losing weren’t actually ‘upsets’. I’ll go with Evgeniya Rodina defeating Madison Keys. The 29-year-old Russian scored her first ever top 20 win, coming from qualifying to make her maiden Grand Slam fourth round against a player in Keys who was cruising, loves grass and seemingly on her way deep into the second week.

Biggest disappointment so far?


Men: As far as I'm concerned it's a tie between Grigor Dimitrov (for losing meekly in four sets to an opponent who then went out in equally meek straight sets to Italian qualifier Thomas Fabbiano) and Stan Wawrinka, for being that opponent.

Women: Madison Keys. Most of the women's seeds have gone out to players who have had great results this year, or whose games are particularly tricky for their opponents to handle, or both. Keys had it on her racquet against qualifier Evgeniya Rodina and lost it - in fact, that's why she lost it. 


Men: Nick Kyrgios

There are quite a few candidates here: Borna Coric, Alexander Zverev, Grigor Dimitrov, Feliciano Lopez (that listless performance he put up against del Potro), but I’ll go with Nick Kyrgios, because I sincerely was not expecting too much from the other guys in that list. I had Kyrgios down as my finalist from the bottom half after the good form he had shown in Stuttgart and Queen’s but it wasn’t quite meant to be. I won’t be too critical of Kyrgios’, because I think his conqueror, Nishikori was brilliant on the day, but I’m certainly disappointed, given the high expectations I had of the Australian.

Women: Garbine Muguruza

I certainly was not expecting the defending champion to go out to Alison van Uytvanck in the second round!


Men: Grigor Dimitrov does have a strong case for this one - the Bulgarian, on his favourite surface, crashed out with barely a whimper against a man who is still light years from his best. I also have to throw Nick Kyrgios into the ring - the Aussie was exposed by Kei Nishikori, who had never beaten a top 40 player at Wimbledon before. Those are the kinds of matches you simply must win if you want to be classified as a genuine Grand Slam contender - and he never threatened. Hell, Bernard Tomic got closer to the win…

Women: Pains me to say, but it’s Petra Kvitova for me. The Czech has arguably been the best player (outside of the slams) this season, securing five titles across two sensational winning streaks, but she’s flopped at the majors three times now - and this time at her beloved Wimbledon, where she was rightly the favourite pre-tournament. Aliaksandra Sasnovich has gone on with the job, but that’s no excuse for a player of Kvitova’s calibre.

Best performance so far:


Men: Kei Nishikori's 6-1, 7-6(3), 6-4 defeat of Nick Kyrgios is hard to beat - in fact, it was impossible to beat. Kyrgios was exposed as one-dimensional and under-prepared, but it took an almost perfect match by Nishikori - by far the best he has ever played on grass - to expose the Australian in that way. A dazzling feast of shotmaking. The stats don't do it justice.

Women: Alison van Uytavnck's 5-7, 6-2, 6-1 defeat of defending champion Garbine Muguruza. The Belgian has always been a talent but the performance she turned in to oust Muguruza - who didn't play badly - was a revelation full of lethal, flat shotmaking and smart point construction. It doesn't hurt that she backed it up with a win over Anett Kontaveit. 


Men: Frances Tiafoe

Yes, he blew a two-set lead against Karen Khachanov in the third round; but getting to the third round in itself- the first time he has done it in a Slam- is a fine return from Frances Tiafoe’s trip to Wimbledon. It could have been better, perhaps, it should have been better, but it’s another big step forward in a very promising journey.

Women: Daria Kasatkina

Obviously, there are lots of unheralded players in the Round of 16- Hsieh, Rodina, Vekic, Giorgi, and so on, but since we are talking about breakthrough performances, two names stand out for me- Belinda Bencic, who is still fighting her way back from injury, and has crept through the draw without being noticed, and Daria Kasatkina. That’s because unlike some of the other upset artistes, I believe these players will go on to affect the top of the women’s game. I’m a strong believer in Kasatkina; and having made her mark on clay and hard courts to an extent, it’s nice to see her earn this breakthrough on grass. Of particular significance was her third-round victory over Barty, who is a very formidable player on grass. This result will do her a world of good as she continues her climb up the WTA ladder.


Men: Kei Nishikori’s sparkling display against Nick Kyrgios for me as well. For a man who traditionally struggles on grass against a player who usually thrives on it, Nishikori completely dominated Kyrgios, jumping all over his monster serve and dictating every drawn-out baseline exchange. For me, this is a match-up issue for Kyrgios (he can’t go backhand to backhand with Nishikori and his biggest strength (serve) is negated), but that was easily the best the Japanese has ever played on the lawns.

Women: Su-Wei Hsieh, the most entertaining tennis player left in both fields, conquering World No. 1 and French Open champion Simona Halep by coming back from 2-5 down in the deciding set and saving match point. Hsieh is becoming a slam shock specialist of sorts and her unorthodox, stylish court craft (and the way she makes it work against the world’s best) is always a pleasure to watch.

Favourite moment:


Men: Without question, it has to be James Keothavong schooling Nick Kyrgios on the basic facts of space and time as applied to foot-faults.

Women: When Serena Williams wants to be, she can be as eloquent with her words as she is with her racquet. The 23-time Grand Slam champion's response to a question about opponents raising their level against her and her perennial status as the one to beat is a must-watch.


Men: Definitely Nick Kyrgios’ exchange with umpire James Keothavong during his second-round victory over Robin Haase after the Australian was called for a foot fault. The smile on both Kyrgios’ and Keothavong’s faces were both just great to see.

Women: The spine-tingling intensity in Serena’s eyes as she fought back from a first set deficit against Kristina Mladenovic in the third round. Oh, she’s back alright.


Men: At least Kyrgios is leaving Wimbledon with a memorable moment. He takes the cake for me as well, while James Keothavong is stealing the show these Championships.

Women: Alison Van Uytvanck celebrating with her coaching team and girlfriend after earning the biggest win of her career over defending champion Garbine Muguruza. And her run isn’t over yet…

Pick the finalists:


Men: Before the tournament I predicted a Cilic-Djokovic final. I'm now changing that, after six days of play, to a Federer-Nadal final (yes, the dream). With Cilic out I can't imagine who's going to stop Federer in his half of the draw, and the heatwave which has dried out the courts and made the bounce higher is the little boost Nadal needed to make it back to the final.

Women: I predicted a Kvitova-Serena final and I'm actually going to change both picks! The top half of the draw is total chaos but I like Angelique Kerber, a tremendously underrated player on grass, to come through (her biggest stumbling-block is likely to be Daria Kasatkina in the quarterfinals, but the way Alison van Uytvanck is playing, Dasha's not making it that far). In the bottom half, Karolina Pliskova suddenly has a look about her. After pulling off that comeback win over Mihaela Buzarnescu, I think she'll make the semifinals - and I think she's the only player left in the bottom half who can stop Serena.


Men: Roger Federer vs Novak Djokovic

Roger Federer of course will make the final- he got a favourable draw, and with the exit of Cilic, I don’t see anyone stopping him. Not that I thought Cilic would beat him anyway… Like I said earlier, I had Nick Kyrgios down as my finalist from the bottom half, but Kyrgios is obviously gone, which means I have got to restudy the draw and come up with another player! I think it will be one of Nadal, del Potro or Djokovic. Which of them? Novak Djokovic. I love the way he responded to adversity against Kyle Edmund, and his reactions at the end of the match was very telling. Desire is definitely not lacking, and with his game increasingly coming together, the former world
number one looks a great pick to me.

Women: Serena Williams vs Angelique Kerber

Admittedly, I had serious doubts about Serena heading into Wimbledon, and my doubts only multiplied when I saw her around Arantxa Rus in the opening round. However, she has been improving through the rounds, and was just superb in her most recent match against Kristina Mladenovic. Her serve was firing, but most importantly, she was sharp in her movement, and dominant off the ground. There are still some fine players in a disintegrating draw, with Karolina Pliskova still a likely possible opponent. I think Kerber’s pedigree gives her the edge in the bottom half, but she will probably now go on to lose to Belinda Bencic on Monday!


Men: I can certainly see a Federer vs Nadal final a decade on from their 2008 epic eventuating, but I think Djokovic can throw a spanner in the works. Nobody is going to stop Federer at the top of the draw, but I think Juan Martin del Potro or Djokovic has it in them to halt Nadal in his tracks. I’m picking del Potro to beat Nadal and Djokovic to beat the Argentine in the semis.

Women: Serena vs Kerber in a rematch of the 2016 final. Kerber continues to impress during her resurgent 2018 and is the highest-ranked player left at the top of the draw, while it’s going to take a big performance to take down Serena, who is growing in confidence with every match.

Predict the champion:


Men: Nadal (the conditions will help him wear down Federer)
Women: Kerber (she'll outlast Pliskova and grind her down)


Men: Roger Federer

He is the master on grass; and has been in great form so far. And he has only got to play one of Nadal, Djokovic or del Potro- in the final- to win the title. I think he can handle that.

Women: Serena Williams

I had my doubts, but after watching Serena Williams in the first three rounds, I am now a believer!


Men: Federer (he’ll benefit from an easy route to the final and be fresh for Djokovic (or Nadal or del Potro - either way, one of those three is going to be worn down).

Women: Kerber (time for the German to return to Grand Slam glory by avenging her loss to Serena two years ago)

Manic Monday match of the day:


Men: Juan Martin del Potro vs Gilles Simon. As Federer once said of Simon, 'The better you play, the better he plays.' Five sets written all over it. 

Women: Jelena Ostapenko vs Aliaksandra Sasnovich, Two high-octane shotmakers who nevertheless manage to have completely different styles - and two strong personalities, to boot.


Men: To be honest, I find quite a number of the men’s Round of 16 matches uninspiring. Federer will school Mannarino, Nadal will be too strong for Vesely, Djokovic will attack Khachanov’s backhand to death, and so on, but the one that really gets my attention is Gulbis vs Nishikori. I didn’t expect either man to get this far, but here they are and hopefully, they will serve up the treat they are very capable of on Monday.

Women: Angelique Kerber vs Belinda Bencic looks very attractive- especially when you factor in the head-to-head, which amazingly stands at 3-0 in Bencic’s favour!


Men: For me it’s Nishikori vs Gulbis. Can Nishikori back up his superb performance against Kyrgios? And what does the resurgent and enigmatic Gulbis (who has played three straight five-setters) have in store for us as he attempts to extend his dream run from qualifying into a first Wimbledon quarter-final?

Women: Kasatkina vs Van Uytvanck. Kasatkina has the potential to knock out Kerber in the quarter-finals, but can the rising Russian - who is yet to drop a set these Championships - hold her nerve against a confident Van Uytvanck, who is enjoying the tournament of her life?

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Wimbledon 2018 Roundtable: Analysing Week One and looking ahead to Week Two

Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer are on course to meet in a repeat of the 2008 Wimbledon final, while the women’s field has been blown wide open with nine of the top 10 seeds sensationally crashing out before the second week - read on below as editors Hannah Wilks, ‘Leye Aduloju and Andrew Hendrie mull over what’s happened at The Championships in Week 1 and make some questionable predictions as to what might transpire in Week 2!

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