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United States’ Danielle Collins celebrates beating Latvia’s Anastasija Sevastova in a Women’s singles match during day three of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Wednesday, July 3, 2019. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
United States’ Danielle Collins celebrates beating Latvia’s Anastasija Sevastova in a Women’s singles match during day three of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Wednesday, July 3, 2019. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)|Associated Press
Tennis

Wimbledon 1st Friday women: Abrams picks 3rd round matches with Gauff, Azarenka, Pliskova, Collins, Wozniacki, Svitolina, Sakkari and more

Matches start at 6 am EDT.

Neal Abrams

Neal Abrams

Wimbledon
Women’s Third Round Matches

Vika Azarenka over Simona Halep
This is the perfect time for Vika Azarenka to take out Simona Halep. Halep has had a very quiet Spring, is not showing the fight she had last year, but still being a perennial quarter or semi finalist in tournaments she would have dominated just a year ago. Azarenka, meanwhile, is getting tougher and stronger every week. She hits a hard, deep ball that reacts well on the grass, while she covers the court very well for a six-footer. I think Azarenka gets the signature comeback victory that she’s been looking for since returning to the Tour from maternity leave.

Coco Gauff over Petra Hercog
Look, 15-year-old American Coco Gauff is going to lose here. But what I’ve been impressed most with, from the teenager, is that she doesn’t overhit. Playing in her first Wimbledon must be somewhat exciting and nerve wrenching, but Gauff has seemed unfazed. She has stayed under control and has simply played her shots, never over playing them. I like her to stay in the moment for at least one more match and move to the Round of 16.

Karolina Pliskova over Su-Wei Hsieh
Hsieh is a very tough player, who plays like no one else on the WTA Tour. She is ultra consistent, and never seems to hit the ball any harder than she is required to simply to win the point at hand. But Pliskova stands 6’1,” hits bombs from both sides, and patrols the baseline with a certain level of efficiency rarely seen from someone as tall and as slightly immobile as she is. Her loss last week to her twin sister has been good for her, as she appears more focused and attentive to the game at hand. I like the third seed to roll.

Sei Sei Zhang over Caroline Wozniacki
The Dashing Dane, Caroline Wozniacki, has never been particularly competent on grass, and I think Sei Sei Zhang will be this year’s Kryptonite. Zhang, like most of the Chinese women, is very consistent, and usually Wozniacki is able to out-consistent her opponents. But grass is a funny surface to play on, and I think Zhang will take a scalp here in London. If I’m wrong, then good for the Dane. Marriage seems to agree with her.

Elina Svitolina over Maria Sakkari
Both of these ladies are terrific athletes, but Sakkari has been as inconsistent as her reputation projected. This alone will hurt the Greek. Svitolina should win this match be simply hitting more balls over the net and between the lines than Sakkari will. It’s pretty much that simple.

Petra Martic over Danielle Collins
Petra Martic’s game is most effective on the green grass here in London. She plays aggressively and attacks net, which pays off on this surface. Collins is a tough competitor, but I’d argue that she seems less at ease, and more tense on the court, and that seems to hurt her chances. Collins tends to overhit, and substitutes desire with anger. This doesn’t help her. Martic should win a close one.

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