After the pressure of trying to defend her French Open title earlier in the month, expectations are bit lighter for Iga Swiatek in the second Wimbledon of her career. The 7th seed will be seen as a contender by many but her grass court inexperience is going to make many wary. She will play a former Wimbledon finalist in Vera Zvonareva, who lost to a dominant Serena Williams in 2010.
Zvonareva is one of a number of tennis mothers who have had an eventual upturn in form following their giving birth. The Russian is back in the top 100 again, hoping to continue that rise with a heavier schedule following the stunted 2020 players faced. Having secured two impressive wins in Eastbourne qualifying, she would have been disappointed to have to retire against Darya Kasatkina in the first main draw match. There were no signs of issues in her opening match here, beating Marie Bouzkova in straight sets.
It wasn’t the most impressive performance by Swiatek in round one but she will have been pleased to get past Su-Wei Hsieh with not too much fuss. She hit 20 winners in the 6-4 6-4 win, displaying a wide array of shot making and power against the unorthodox style of her opponent.“ Hsieh has great touch, so my main goal was not to let her use that,” she said.
This should be a better matchup for Swiatek, who should be able to use her power to send Zvonareva running all over the court. The Russian defends well but has definitely lost a step or two from the days in which she was a solid top 10 player. The winner of this one plays either Irina-Camelia Begu or Petra Martic on Friday, weather permitting.
Prediction – Iga Swiatek in three sets