Five Must-See First-Round Matches At Wimbledon
Exciting match-ups aplenty in the first round at the All England Club
If you thought you could settle gently into 13 days of action at The Championships, think again. There are plenty of must-see clashes in the first round.
Stan Wawrinka (SUI) vs.  Grigor Dimitrov (BUL)
Take a deep breath, two of the sport's great one-handed backhands are to clash. Neither sixth seed Grigor Dimitrov nor Stan Wawrinka would have hoped for such a draw, but with Wawrinka outside of the Top 200 in the ATP Rankings the prospect of meeting a seed was always on the cards.
Back in London, the scene of his Wimbledon semi-final run in 2014 and last year’s Nitto ATP Finals crown, Dimitrov is looking for an injection of confidence and has a 4-2 lead in his FedEx ATP Head2Head series against Wawrinka.
The Bulgarian, who has won their past four meetings, beat Wawrinka on grass in the semi-finals of the 2014 Fever-Tree Championships 6-2, 6-4. Dimitrov has a 19-12 record on the 2018 season.
Wawrinka, who says that he has been training well on the practice courts, believes that it’s only a matter of time before he produces his best tennis on a match court. It makes the 2014 and 2015 quarter-finalist at Wimbledon dangerous, following two left knee surgeries last year.
 Richard Gasquet (FRA) vs. Gael Monfils (FRA)
Two of France’s most talented players of the past 15 years square off for the 17th time (Monfils 9-7). They have split their past two grass-court matches with Gasquet winning their 2017 Gerry Weber Open first-round encounter 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, while Monfils won last year’s Nature Valley International semi-final 6-2, 6-7(7), 7-6(4).
Gasquet certainly has the pedigree to win, with two semi-finals at Wimbledon in 2007 and 2015, in addition to a 3-1 record in grass-court finals. But while Monfils has never gone past the third round in nine appearances at The Championships, the 31-year-old is capable of brilliance. Monfils will play with confidence having advanced to the Turkish Airlines Open Antalya semi-finals this week.
Coric, who is currently at a career-high No. 21 in the ATP Rankings, will be wary though of 22-year-old Medvedev, who knocked out Wawrinka in the Wimbledon first round last year.
Jeremy Chardy, who recently moved to London, has enjoyed a solid run of form in recent weeks, which has seen him move up from No. 86 to No. 46 in the ATP Rankings, his highest ranking since 8 August 2016 (No. 39). On the back of a sixth ATP Challenger Tour crown at the Surbiton Trophy (d. de Minaur) and a run to the Libema Open title match (l. to Gasquet), the Frenchman moved into the Fever-Tree Championships semi-finals (l. to Djokovic) last week.
Shapovalov may only have a 3-5 lifetime record on grass courts, but the #NextGenATP Canadian has shown over the past 12 months how, with discipline, he can control his powerful baseline game. Daniel Nestor, the former doubles World No. 1, has given the 19-year-old guidance on volleying and building his confidence on approach to the net.
 Dominic Thiem (AUT) vs. Marcos Baghdatis (CYP)
In another first-time clash, recent Roland Garros finalist Thiem challenges a player with experience at Wimbledon. Baghdatis may be riding a six-match tour-level losing streak, but at the All England Club the 33-year-old Cypriot has reached the 2006 semi-finals and 2007 quarter-finals.
Thiem heads to Wimbledon with one grass-court win this year – over Mikhail Youzhny in the Halle first round last week – but like Baghdatis, the Austrian has reached one grass-court final, at the 2016 MercedesCup (l. to Kohlschreiber). Baghdatis, the 2007 Halle runner-up, lost in the Antalya first round this week (l. to Kavcic).