2021 Wimbledon Preview

2021 Wimbledon Preview

Two-time Citi Open Semifinalist Stefanos Tsitsipas Faces DC's Own Frances Tiafoe in Blockbuster Opening

Citi Open Teen Star Coco Gauff & Defending Citi Open Champ Jessica Pegula Headline Women's Field

Watch LIVE on ESPN & ESPN2 beginning Monday at 6 a.m. EST

 

image10704421All England Club in London prepares for 50% fan capacity on Monday when the 2021 Wimbledon Championships return (AELTC/Thomas Lovelock)

The Championships are back!

 

On Monday, fans will return to the All England Club (at 50 percent capacity) for the 2021 Wimbledon Championships, signaling a promising start to the summer tennis season and the return of the Citi Open in DC.

This year, all eyes will be on top seed and world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, as he seeks his 20th and record-tying Grand Slam title in London. The Serbian will play the first match on Center Court against British rising star Jack Draper at 6 a.m. EST.

Should Djokovic advance, he could meet Arlington, Virginia native and JTCC and Washington Kastles alum Denis Kudla in the third round. Kudla won three qualifying matches to book his first main-round match against No. 30 seed Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, who recently reached the quarterfinals at Roland Garros. Kudla and Fokina will square off later in the day.

No. 13 seed and 2016 Citi Open champion Gael Monfils is also positioned in the top half of the draw with Kudla and Djokovic. The acrobatic Frenchman plays Aussie qualifier Christopher O'Connell in his opener.

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But by far, the most exciting first-round match in the section features a blockbuster showdown between two-time Citi Open semifinalist and recent French Open finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas and DC’s own Frances Tiafoe.

Seeded No. 3, Tsitsipas will be the favorite. The Greek leads the tour in wins this season with a remarkable 39-9 record. (Djokovic trails at 27-3.) He also won their sole prior meeting at the 2018 Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan, 4-3, 4-3, 4-2, but this will be the pair’s first Grand Slam encounter, and Tsitipas has only faired one round better at the All England Club. His best result is a fourth-round finish at the 2018 Championships, where Tiafoe reached the third round, his best finish, to date.

In the same quarter, Australian world No. 18 and 2018 Citi Open finalist Alex de Minaur faces rising American star Sebastian Korda, son of former world No. 2 and 1992 Washington Open champion Petr Korda, in his opening match. Before that, De Minaur takes on Italian world No. 27 Lorenzo Sonego in the final of Eastbourne today at 9:30 a.m. EST.

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Current world No. 2 and 2019 Citi Open finalist Daniil Medvedev anchors the bottom half of the draw. The Russian and two-time Grand Slam finalist faces Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff in his opening match. Struff, currently ranked No. 45, upset Medevdev in the first round of Halle last week. Should the Russian win their second encounter, he could meet Washington Kastles star and American world No. 50 Tommy Paul in the second round. Paul faces Spanish wildcard Carlos Alcaraz in his opener.

The bottom section will also prominently feature the return of reigning Citi Open champion Nick Kyrgios to the All England Club. In his Wimbledon debut in 2014, the Aussie superstar memorably upset then-world No. 1 Rafael Nadal to advance to the quarterfinals. Nadal avenged the lost in his last appearance at Wimbledon, when he defeated Kyrigos in four, tight sets, in the second round of the 2019 Championships.

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Kyrgios will begin his 2021 bid against recent Halle champion and No. 21 seed Ugo Humbert of France. Should he advance, he could meet recent Roland Garros semifinalist and two-time Citi Open champ Alexander Zverev in the fourth round. Nadal is not competing at this year’s Championships, nor the Olympics next month. 

Elsewhere in the bottom of the draw, which also features 20-time Grand Slam and eight-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer, (who is seeded 6th at this year’s Championships) 2015 Citi Open champ Kei Nishikori takes on Aussie world No. 67 Alexei Popyrin and three-time Citi Open finalist and former American No. 1 John Isner faces Kastles alum Yoshi Nishioka in their opening round matches.

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On the women’s side, Australian world No. 1 Ash Barty is the top seed. The Queensland native took over the top WTA ranking in 2019, after she won her maiden Slam at Roland Garros, but has failed to advance past the semis at a major since.

Should Barty surpass her career-best fourth-round showing at the All England Club and reach the semifinals, she could face No. 3 seed and Washington Kastles legend Serena Williams. The seven-time Wimbledon champion starts her bid for a record-breaking 24th Grand Slam title against world No. 101 Aliaksandra Sasnovichon on Monday.

In the same half of the draw, American teen sensation and defending Citi Open doubles champ Coco Gauff will continue the hunt for her first major. Seeded No. 20, the 17-year old Atlanta native will be the favorite in her opening match against British wildcard Francesca Jones.

Coco became a household name at this very event, in 2019, when at the age of 15, she upset Venus Williams on her way to making a sensational run to the fourth round as a qualifier. Since then, Gauff has only improved. This spring, she swept both singles and doubles titles in Parma, becoming the youngest player to win both titles at an event since Maria Sharapova in 2004, and at the age of 17, is one of the most promising stars on the WTA Tour.

Also in the top bracket, 2019 Kastles sensation Marta Kostyuk faces 2018 quarterfinalist and No. 17 seed Kiki Bertens in her opener. The 18-year-old Ukrainian rising star recently stunned 2017 champion Garbiñe Muguruza at Roland Garros and made a run to the fourth round of the French Open, her career-best performance at a Grand Slam.

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In the bottom half of the draw, reigning Citi Open champion Jessica Pegula has also established herself as a serious contender on tour this season. The Buffalo native reached the quarterfinals of the Australian Open and the third round of Roland Garros earlier this year, and is currently riding a career-high world No. 26 ranking. Pegula faces world No. 74 Caroline Garcia, of France, in her first-round match.

Further down the bracket, 2015 Citi Open champion Sloane Stephens plays two-time Wimbledon champion and No. 10 seed Petra Kvitová in her opener, while six-time Wimbledon champion and Washington Kastles superstar Venus Williams takes on Romanian Mihaela Buzarnescu.

Elsewhere for the Kastles, 2015 Kastles Finals MVP and Dover, Delaware native Madison Brengle plays Christina McHale in an All-Kastles alum opening showdown.

 

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