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Tennis

Wimbledon 2022 – Selected 2nd Round Matches

We take a look at the two intriguing Wimbledon 2022 clashes between Filip Krajinovic and Nick Kyrgios as well as Elena Rybakina and Bianca Andreescu.

This is a strange new world we live in. While Greg Norman and his band of mercenaries rip apart the fabric of golf, tennis’ most famous tournament has been relegated to glorified exhibition status.

Let me explain. Wimbledon organizers decided to take a stand against Russia’s Ukraine invasion, banning all Russian and Belarusian players from competing in this year’s event.

Wimbledon has subsequently been stripped of all of its ranking points this season. Clearly, there is still the little matter of exorbitant prize money and a Wimbledon title at stake. But outside of that there is nothing to be gained from competing this year.

John Isner could go on a serving blitz in London, barrelling his way to the Championship final. That should be a heart-warming story to tell prospective tennis players around the campfire.

But all the American’s efforts would count for naught if he lost in the final (save the obvious financial gain).

The men’s draw will also be without its greatest ever champion: Roger Federer. The eight-time Wimbledon champ is apparently planning on a 2023 comeback.

You have to admire the spirit of the man. But what more does he have to prove?

I just see the likes of Carlos Garfia Alcarez and wonder whether Federer may be a relic of the past? Still, Rafa and Nadal are still doing their bit for the so-called ‘Big Three’.

Their seemingly eternal rivalry could very well turn out to be this year’s final. But there are question marks surrounding both players. Novak hasn’t been in sublime form while Rafa is still nursing a knee injury.

But come on. How many Slams has Rafa been on the brink of exiting due to a knee issue?

Despite my misgivings concerning the ranking points saga, this could still be a very entertaining Wimbledon Championships. There are quite a few players in the men’s draw who could stake a claim for this year’s title (and I don’t really think John Isner is one of them).

ATP Tour- Wimbledon 2022

Filip Krajinovic (26) (5/2) vs Nick Kyrgios (3/10)

This match is such a fascinating contrast of styles. Filip Krajinovic is a gutsy worker who makes the most of his limitations.

The 2017 Paris Masters finalist is still yet to win his maiden ATP title (he has lost in five career finals). But the solid baseliner will always give his best. His solid double-handed backhand and work-rate have earnt him comparisons to the great Andre Agassi. But his form has mostly abandoned him in 2022. That is of course, until we entered the grass-court section of the year. The Serb is fresh off a stunning final appearance at Queens. Let me put this into context.

Prior to Queens this year, Krajinovic had never won a match on grass. Then he goes and beats assured grass-courter Marin Cilic in the Queens semi-finals. That was one of the most bizarre results of the entire season.

He struggled in his opening match, pushed to five sets by world no.72 Lehecka. He just seems to lose concentration on his serve too many times in a match. But can percentage tennis be enough to get the job done against human time bomb Nick Kyrgios?

Kyrgios has all the talent but none of Krajinovic’s dedication. It must be frustrating for a player of Krajinovic’s abilities to see how flippant the Aussie is with his talent.

Kyrgios was typically corrosive in his opening match, calling a judge an ‘old man’ and apparently spitting in the direction of a disrespectful supporter. He also crawled over the line, needing five sets to beat Brit Paul Jubb. Still, crisis averted.

Perhaps Kyrgios will take this 2nd round match a touch more seriously. Generally speaking, Kyrgios has looked more considered this year. His victory over Jubb took his win-loss record for the year to 15-5. He reached three consecutive semi-finals leading into his Mallorca withdrawal.

That’s just not the type of consistency that we have come to expect from the mercurial Aussie. But will his dreams of finally winning a Slam be suffocated by the spotlight? It’s perhaps easier for him to be consistent in the smaller lead-in events. But he often succumbs to his own worst impulses at the Slams.

The Verdict: Kyrgios to win in four at 13/2 – This will be their 2nd meeting, with Kyrgios comfortably beating Krajinovic at the 2015 Estoril Open. I think that Kyrgios will do his typical Jekyll and Hyde act and he may produce some brilliant tennis here. Krajinovic is the type of player he can dominate. I expect him to dictate proceedings with his forehand.

WTA Tour – Wimbledon 2022

Elena Rybakina (17) (1/1) vs Bianca Andreescu (77/100)

Elena Rybakina has been slightly disappointing over the last 18 months. She led the WTA Tour in finals during the Covid-ravaged 2020 campaign.

Sure, many of those finals came in fairly mundane, early-season hardcourt events. But she never really delivered on her promise last year and her season was really saved by a French Open quarterfinal run. Still, she has certainly shown signs of being a very talented grass-court player. She made a semi-final at Rosmalen in 2019 and did the same at Eastbourne last year. She also had a solid 4th round run at Wimbledon last year. It makes sense.

The tall Russian serves plenty of aces and her doubles experience makes her an accomplished player at the net. But she only won one game in two lead-in grass-court events. Rybakina is really a hard one to judge. She has the ability to beat anyone. She saw off lucky loser Coco Vandeweghe in her opening match and this will certainly a big test.

Former US Open champion Bianca Andreescu kickstarted her Wimbledon campaign with a comprehensive demolition of American qualifier Emina Bektas. It was a significant result for the Canadian as this will be her first ever appearance in the 2nd round of the Wimbledon Championships. That’s pretty hard to fathom. But Andreescu’s young career has been a roller-coaster affair. She obviously burst into relevance with a magnificent 2019 campaign, culminating in her coronation as US Open champ.

But massive injury issues have held her back over the past two years, resulting in mental health issues and near-retirement. But she took a break from the game and seems to have returned with some vigour this year. She is fresh off her maiden grass-court final appearance at the Bad Homburg Open (she would ultimately lose to Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia in three pulsating sets).

The Verdict: Andreescu to win in straight sets at 21/10- This will be the first ever meeting between these two. This all hinges on how well Andreescu can deal with the Rybakina serve. The Canadian should dominate the protracted rallies with her greater variety and ingenuity. I really think Andreescu could use that Bad Homburg result as a springboard for a solid end to her year. She has got a decent amount of tennis under belt this year and she is starting to look back to her best.

Wimbledon 2022

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