Murray, Kyrgios and the matches to watch on day one at Wimbledon
Andy Murray will take centre stage on the opening day at this year’s All-England Championships from Wimbledon but he isn’t the only tennis star likely to steal the headlines.
There are sub-plots and characters aplenty throughout the card with the likes of Nick Kyrgios, Dustin Brown and Johanna Konta also set to feature.
Here’s our look at some of the headline first round matches…
Andrey Kuznetsov v Karen Khachanov
The 21-year-old Khachanov is well-fancied to further raise his profile and beat Russian compatriot Kuznetsov in the first match on court five.
We make the youngster a 4/9 shot to progress with 7/4 on offer for a straight sets victory.
Khachanov reached the round of 16 at the French Open, losing to Andy Murray, and then the semi-finals of the grass tournament in Halle.
Roger Federer was his conqueor on that occasion but this test looks much more manageable for the emerging talent.
Joao Sousa v Dustin Brown
World number 94 Brown is odds-on at 1/2 to beat a player ranked 36 places above him in Sousa. And given the German’s past heroics it would prove a popular result with SW19 regulars.
The 32-year-old’s epic second round win over Rafa Nadal in 2015 is still fresh in the memory and we’re in for a treat if Brown can conjure up some of that mercurial magic.
Having failed to get past the first round of the last three Grand Slams he’s worth taking on with his 13/8 opponent. But the real advice is to just sit back, relax and enjoy.
Nick Kyrgios v Pierre-Hugues Herbert
When Kyrgios is around you’re guaranteed fireworks and there’s bound to be plenty of interest in this court three curtain-raiser.
The Australian firebrand is just 1/6 to beat world number 69 Herbert and even-money to do so without dropping a set.
On song, the 2014 quarter-finalist is a formidable opponent, as shown by deep runs in many of this year’s tournaments. Let’s hope his tennis does the talking over the next fortnight.
Andy Murray v Alexander Bublik
Sir Andy is getting no change at the moment. Dogged by injury and out of form, there’s already been some interest in 9/1 outsider Bublik.
The ‘lucky loser’ is only here because his qualifying conqueror has pulled out but in truth even a half-fit Murray should have little trouble dispatching of the world number 134.
If you do want to have a dabble then the 9/4 for Bublik to win a set is a special to consider.
Beatriz Haddad Maia v Laura Robson
There’s no doubt Robson is in need of a tonic, having slipped down to 188th in the rankings. And nothing could aid her cause more than a strong display at SW19.
The 2008 Girls’ singles winner faces a long way back to the top of the women’s game and our odds-compilers rate her a 7/4 outsider against the 4/9 Haddad Maia.
But there is hope for the wildcard. Her form on the ITF tour has been fairly consistent, winning one tournament and reaching three quarter-finals since the start of April.
She’ll need to dig deep to match her previous round of 16 best in 2013. But with the home crowd behind her this first step is manageable.
Ashleigh Barty v Elina Svitolina
Fourth seed Svitolina is a dark horse to win Wimbledon but the Ukrainian faces a tough start against Australian Barty.
Svitolina was a 2-1 winner in their only previous meeting earlier this year and it’s 7/2 for a repeat of that result.
The French Open quarter-finalist is capable of repeating the dose but recent Birmingham finalist Barty is the 8/13 favourite for a reason having shown she’s no mug on grass.
We’ll plump for Svitolina but this one looks like going all the way.
Donna Vekic v Natalia Vikhlyantseva
Nottingham Open winner Vekic is 8/11 to reach the second round of Wimbledon for only the second time in her career.
A first round exit in Birmingham was perhaps a reality check for the Croatian but it’s a setback she can recover from against Hertogenbosch finalist Vikhlyantseva.
The Russian’s recent form on grass has also been noteworthy, if fitful, but we fancy her opponent to edge this one.
Johanna Konta v Su-Wei Hsieh
Konta lost to Vekic in that Nottingham final and was then forced to withdraw from her last-four clash in Eastbourne.
If the British number one has sufficiently recovered then she should be way too good for Hsieh on current form.
That last point is worth noting as the Taipei star beat Konta in the first round of the French Open and it could be worth backing Konta to win 2-1 at 11/4.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing