Peter Elbaum’s Marquee Matches
Denis Kudla vs. Alexander Zverev
This meeting of young guns—Kudla is 22 and Zverev, 18–will take place on Day 3 for a place in the third round. Both players had outstanding junior careers and are attempting to establish their respective places on the professional tour.
Zverev has shot up the rankings and already sits at 74th in the world. Kudla is a product of the Junior Tennis Champions Center in Maryland and has had a more difficult time finding consistent success on tour. Even so, he had a thrilling five set win over 28th seed Pablo Cuevas on Monday. Zverev also had a grueling five set win on Day 1. This match could go either way.
Prediction: Zverev in five
Grigor Dimitrov (11) vs. Steve Johnson
Dimitrov and Johnson take the court in a matchup of two players who have much untapped potential. Dimitrov is the more established player, having reached the semifinals of Wimbledon in 2014. He also has career wins over Murray, Wawrinka and Djokovic.
Johnson is 25, but a relative newcomer to the tour following four years at the University of Southern California. Johnson is the most decorated tennis player in NCAA history and has been ranked as high as 37th in the ATP Rankings. Both are aggressive baseliners and will display their firepower on the quick lawns.
Prediction: Dimitrov in four, but Johnson could push him to five
Samantha Stosur (22) vs. Urszula Radwanska
Stosur and Radwanska are both talented players that have seen better days in terms of their ranking. Radwanska, formerly ranked 31st, is currently sitting at 107th in the WTA Rankings. Stosur is seeded 22nd but won the U.S. Open, finished three seasons in the top ten and has been ranked as high as four in the world.
Stosur has a powerful serve and forehand that she will look to leverage on the grass. Radwanska may have a tough day but could hang with Stosur if she is able to stop Stosur from dictating play.
Prediction: Stosur in straight sets with the outside chance of a third set
Milos Raonic (7) vs. Tommy Haas
Raonic and Haas will play a competitive match—both are former Wimbledon semifinalists. However, they are in different stages of their careers. Haas was enjoying resurgence in his game when he sustained an injury to the right shoulder that has plagued him for much of his career. Now ranked 861st, Haas played his first match of the year at the start of the grass court season.
Raonic is an established top-10 player and his powerful serve and groundstrokes could carry him to an easy victory. But Haas is a much better player than his ranking tells and can compete with the top players. If he’s ready to play, he could give Raonic a headache.
Prediction: Raonic in four as a best-case scenario for Haas
Sloane Stephens vs. Lauren Davis
Stephens and Davis are both up-and-coming American players. Stephens, a former Australian Open semifinalist, is more experienced and has greater weapons on court. However Davis demonstrated that she can play at the highest levels with her defeat of Eugenie Bouchard this year in Charleston.
If both are playing well this could be a tight match that goes the distance.
Prediction: Stephens in three