Five compelling first round men’s matches at Wimbledon

Novak Djokovic

The first round of Wimbledon is set to get underway on Monday. Here are five compelling matches on the men’s side worth to keep an eye on.

1) (2) Novak Djokovic–SRB vs. Vit Kopriva–CZE

Normally a match between the second seed and 24-time grand slam singles champion versus the 123rd ranked player in the world would be a snoozefest. However, Djokovic is coming off knee surgery and this is his first match since his operation. This is their first meeting head-to-head.

2) (21) Karen Khachanov–RUS vs. Aslan Karatsev–RUS

This is an all-Russian battle of grand slam semifinalists. Karatsev reached the 2021 Australian Open semifinals. Khachanov reached the semifinals of the United States Open in 2022 and the Australian Open in 2023.  Khachanov has won three of four meetings all-time. Khachanov won 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 in the second round of St. Petersburg in 2020, 7-6, 6-4 in the second round of the 2021 Canadian Open in Toronto, and 6-7, 6-1, 6-2 in the second round of Halle in 2022. Karatsev’s lone win was the semifinals of Moscow in 2021, 7-6, 6-1. Karatsev would go on to beat Marin Cilic of Croatia 6-2, 6-4 to win the 2021 Kremlin Cup.

3) (26) Francisco Cerundolo–ARG vs. Roman Safiullin–RUS

This has the making of an upset as Safiullin reached the quarterfinals of Wimbledon last year. He beat 20th seed Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain in five sets in the first round (2-6, 7-6, 6-7, 6-4, 7-5) and the 26th seed Denis Shapovalov of Canada in the fourth round (3-6, 6-3, 6-1, 6-3). Cerundolo won their only prior meeting, 7-6, 3-6, 6-3 in the first round of Winston-Salem in 2023.

4) (24) Alejandro Tabilo–CHI vs. Daniel Evans–GB

Expect an upset here too as Tabilo is more of a clay court specialist, and Evans will have the British crowd behind him. This will be their first meeting head-to-head.

5) (31) Mariano Navone–ARG vs. Lorenzo Sonego–ITA

Navone reached the finals of Rio and Romania, but both of those events came on clay. This is their first head-to-head matchup, and it is safe to pick the unseeded Italian.


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