Three to See, Day 2: Nadal, Djokovic and Kerber take to the courts

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Rafael Nadal is a two-time Wimbledon champion. (AP)

1. Rafael Nadal [2] vs. Dudi Sela

For the last five years at Wimbledon, Nadal fans have feared the worst virtually every time their man has taken the court. That’s what first-week losses to Lukas Rosol, Dustin Brown, and Steve Darcis will do to you. While Nadal may eventually face another surprise tormentor in 2018, the 33-year-old, 67th-ranked Dudi Sela wouldn’t seem to be the man for the job. He’s lost all six sets he’s played to Nadal, and while Rafa was winning titles in Rome and Paris this spring, Sela was playing Challenger events in Busan and Gimcheon. Worst of all, Sela is just 5’9”, and he uses a one-handed backhand, which theorectically should make him mincemeat against Nadal’s high-bouncing crosscourt forehand. Steve Darcis faced similar odds against Rafa in 2013 and won. But there’s only one Shark. Winner: Nadal

WATCH—Rafael Nadal Racquet Bracket:

2. Angelique Kerber [11] vs. Vera Zvonareva

The German and the Russian are separated by just three years—Zvonareva is 33, Kerber is 30—but they’ve never faced each other, and they seem to come from different eras. Zvonareva reached the Wimbledon final in 2009, while Kerber did it in 2016—the one thing they have in common is that they both lost those matches to Serena. Zvonareva has been ranked as high as No. 2, but she’s currently No. 142, and she came through qualifying to earn her main-draw spot. While it will be nice to have her back in top-level competition, it may also be the end of the line for her this time. Kerber lost in the Eastbourne semifinals, but she was playing well enough to win the tournament. By the start of next week, she may be playing well enough to win Wimbledon, too. Winner: Kerber

3. Novak Djokovic [12] vs. Tennys Sandgren

Rallies, rallies, and a few more rallies. This first-rounder will be played on grass—on No. 1 Court, to be exact—but that shouldn’t stop these two born baseliners from grinding each other into oblivion. While it’s easy to tell what the points will be like, though, it’s harder to say who will be sharper during them. Sandgren appeared to be on the rise when he reached the Houston final this spring, but, as with so many American players, he got stuck in the European clay, where he lost four straight first-round matches at one stage. As for Djokovic, he looked like his old self at Queen’s Club, right up until the moment he tried to close out the final; then he looked like his new self. That should still be good enough to get him a win on Tuesday. Winner: Djokovic


Strokes of Genius is a world-class documentary capturing the historic 13-year rivalry between tennis icons Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. It is timed for release as the anticipation crests with Roger as returning champion, 10 years after their famed 2008 Wimbledon championship – an epic match so close and so reflective of their competitive balance that, in the end, the true winner was the sport itself.

WATCH: NOW AVAILABLE AT THE ITUNES STORE

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