Damien Kayat previews the Wimbledon 2021 second round fixtures featuring Novak Djokovic vs Kevin Anderson and Andreas Seppi vs Dennis Kudla.
2021 ATP Tour
Grand Slam Tennis
Wimbledon Tennis Championships
All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club
Selected 2nd Round Matches- 30TH June
Novak Djokovic 1/50 | Kevin Anderson 11/1
Novak Djokovic continued his recent trend of easing into Grand Slams when he lost the opening set against promising young Brit Jack Draper. He never really looked bothered though and roared back to secure a four-set victory in just over two hours. Sometimes I get the impression that Djokovic doesn’t mind sacrificing a few sets in the early stages. It allows him to ease into tournaments and get accustomed to the pace of the courts. Djokovic is aiming for his 6th Wimbledon crown and the elusive ‘Golden Slam’. He will probably be grateful for a 2nd round opponent that he knows all too well. Familiarity is always best in these early stages and Djokovic is well versed in the challenges posed by Kevin Anderson.
South African Kevin Anderson, now 35, has seen his ranking plummet to 103 from a career-high of 5. Injuries have absolutely savaged the lanky South African over the past few years. Anderson enjoyed a period at the very top of the game (losing in both the Wimbledon and US Open Finals). That 2018 Wimbledon run was perhaps one of the most iconic moments on South Africa’s recent sporting history. He beat Roger Federer in the quarterfinals prior to that marathon semi-final against poor John Isner. But he has only managed to play ten matches this year, boasting an ordinary 5-5 win-loss ratio. But thi surface will always offer a puncher’s chance to the likes of Anderson, whose serve generally ensures plenty of tiebreak action (just ask John Isner). But can he possibly threaten the Djokovic’s consistently enough at the age of 35? He doesn’t possess the same lithe body shape of Djokovic and will feel the strain should this match go deep.
Djokovic in four sets: 26/10
This will be the 12th meeting between these two. The Serbian unsurprisingly holds a commanding 9-2 head-to-head advantage. Crucially, Djokovic has won all three of their titles at Wimbledon (including the 2018 final). Their most iconic meeting came in the 2015 4th round. Anderson won the first two sets in tiebreakers but ultimately lost in five sets. Anderson isn’t the same player he was three years ago and Djokovic should progress fairly comfortably. Perhaps there’s some value in Djokovic to win in four at 16/5.
Andreas Seppi 1/10 | Denis Kudla 69/100
37-year-old Italian Andreas Seppi will be looking to make it past the 2nd round stage of these championships for the first time since 2015. The tall Italian actually has a pretty decent history on grass (especially considering he has a career-best singles ranking of 18). Seppi is a two-time Eastbourne finalist, winning the title all the way back in 2011. He also reached the final in Halle in 2015. Add to that a Nottingham semi-final and you have some indication of his efficiency on this surface. He is also coming straight off a decent quarterfinal run at his beloved Eastbourne International. He uses his height and imposing serve to eradicate long rallies. Seppi is a dangerous competitor, winning titles in 2019 and 2020 despite his advancing years. He overcame Joao Sousa in four sets and will be licking his lips at this draw.
Much like Seppi, 28-year-old American Denis Kudla has enjoyed some of his best success on grass courts. His best Grand Slam singles result was a 4th round run at the 2015 Wimbledon Championships. Kudla has reached a career-high of 53 on the ATP world rankings. He is the embodiment of the journeyman pro, generally hovering around the 100 mark in the rankings. He has spent most of his season grinding it out on the Challenger Tour. But his results have certainly started to pick up on the grass. He has amassed a respectable ten victories on grass this year. That included a run to the final of a Nottingham Challenger precursor. His last victory was his epic five-set duel against 30th seed Davidovich Fokina. He had to come from two sets down to upset the Spaniard, showcasing all his fighting qualities (he models his game on the similarly diminutive David Ferrer).
Kudla to win: 69/100
Seppi has won their only match on the tour proper, beating Kudla in straight sets at the 2016 Aussie Open. Kudla did manage to beat the Italian in the qualifying stages of the 2018 Paris Masters. This is an interesting contrast of styles between two players who feel fairly comfortable on this surface. I just have the feeling that Kudla may be able to pick up the win here. Seppi will feel the effects of his first game at the age of 37. Kudla’s superior mobility should help him as the match progresses.