4 min read
Wednesday at Wimbledon belonged to the new faces on the block as lesser-known names press onward toward Week 2. Who knows, by fortnight's end, maybe Marie Bouzkova, Tim Van Rijthoven, Greet Minnen, or Jule Niemeier will be household names.
Universal Tennis INSIGHTS will help preview what's to come next for these three as well as who the favorites are taking on.
Niemeier Stun Kontaveit
On Wednesday, Jule Niemeier (UTR Rating 12.51) took out No. 2 seed Anett Kontaveit (13.05) in less than one hour, 6-4, 6-0. The 22-year-old German has 61% odds of beating Lesia Tsurenko (12.36) to reach the round of 16.
Niemeier just cracked the WTA Top 100 this month after winning her first WTA 125K title (on clay) in Croatia. She made her Grand Slam main draw debut at Roland Garro as a qualifier and this fortnight marks her first-ever main draw win.
"I played two former Top 10 players before, and I knew that I had the level,” Niemeier said. "It was pretty close. I lost twice in three sets. I knew I had the level to beat those players, and I'm really happy I could do it today."
While Kontaveit is the highest seed to drop, No. 9 seed Garbine Muguruza (12.55) also tumbled out, losing to Greet Minnen (12.07) in a postponed second-round match on Wednesday by the same exact score, 6-4, 6-0.
Bouzkova Seeks Major Breakthrough
Marie Bouzkova (12.65) backed up her win over No. 7 seed Danielle Collins by dismissing Ann Li 6-0, 6-3 to set up a third-round battle with No. 28 seed Alison Riske-Amritraj (12.62). According to INSIGHTS, Bouzkova has the slightest edge at 51% odds of advancing.
Riske is a huge threat on grass, having reached the quarterfinals at the All-England Club in 2019. Friday will be their first career meeting.
Isner Ends Murray's Bid
Andy Murray’s Wimbledon campaign ended in the second round at the hands of John Isner (15.22). The four-set win marked Isner’s first time beating the Scot after eight losses in a row.
"At the age I’m at now, I need to relish these moments,” Isner said. "This was one of the biggest wins of my career, just given the atmosphere... To play as well as I did against one of our greatest players ever, Andy Murray, was a huge accomplishment for me."
Photo of the Day— Christopher Clarey 🇺🇸 🇫🇷 🇪🇸 (@christophclarey) June 29, 2022
Big John Isner no longer 0-8 against Andy Murray
📸Sebastien Bozon pic.twitter.com/6lfYm5Xcex
The 37-year-old Isner will try to duplicate the same level of tennis and serving (he hit 36 aces) on Friday against No. 11 seed Jannik Sinner (15.75). Sinner is favored by INSIGHTS at 78%. They traded wins last year with Isner beating the young Italian in Cincinnati and Sinner getting revenge in Davis Cup action. Though he’s ranked No. 13 in the world on the ATP Tour, Sinner is playing in just his third Wimbledon and hadn’t won a match at the grass-court major until this week.
Djokovic Raises His Level
Novak Djokovic (16.07) has been rewarded for his straight-sets win over Thanasi Kokkankis with a clash against his talented compatriot Miomir Kecmanovic (15.60).
“I must say that I’m quite pleased with the way that I raised the level of tennis in two days,” Djokovic said on Wednesday. "Hopefully I can keep that trajectory, keep getting better as the tournament progresses. I’m obviously just thinking about the next challenge and hopefully, things will get better and better.”
While Djokovic is still favored by INSIGHTS, his odds of winning are at 75%, which is lower than normal for a third-round match for a top seed. The 35-year-old has won both of his career meetings against Kecmanovic, but the most recent bout in Belgrade went to three sets.
Van Rijthoven Keeps Dreaming
Wild card Tim van Rijthoven (14.84) could continue his dream summer when he takes on No. 22 seed Nikoloz Basilashvili (15.02). INSIGHTS gives the Dutch 25-year-old a 40% chance of pulling off another big win after Van Rijthoven stunned Reilly Opelka in four sets to reach the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time.
Before this fortnight, Van Rijthoven appeared in the qualifying of a major on two occasions. Earlier this month, he received a wild card into 's-Hertogenbosch and won the title. He’s not as unknown as fans might think, having risen through the junior circuit to the Top 20 alongside Daniil Medvedev, Taylor Fritz, and Andrey Rublev. Injuries and pressure held him back, but now he’s primed for success with his matured all-court game.
Players to Watch
Expect entertainment from Alexander Bublik (15.30) as he takes on Frances Tiafoe (15.29). Bublik just beat the 24-year-old American last week in Eastbourne and is slightly favored by INSIGHTS at 51%. Tiafoe hasn’t dropped a set in his first two matches and is looking to reach the fourth round in London for the first time. Bublik has also not lost a set and is seeking his fourth-round appearance at any major.
Other high seeds still remain in the women's bottom half including No. 3 Ons Jabeur, No. 5 Maria Sakkari, and No. 12 Jelena Ostapenko. No. 15-seeded Angelique Kerber (12.66) is poised to make another deep push after reaching the semifinals in London last year. She could have a battle on her hands against No. 24-seeded Elise Mertens (12.44) where she's favored to win at 63%.
Kerber's only career meeting against Mertens was in Doha back in 2019, going Mertens’ way in three sets. Kerber, a former No. 1 and champion at Wimbledon in 2018, won her 14th WTA title earlier this year (on clay in Strasbourg).
•UTR Ratings and INSIGHTS probabilities as of 6 a.m. EST, June 30, 2022.