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Wimbledon qualifiers Kudla, Konjuh, Nakashima and Polmans could break through
It was a tremendous showing for Americans in the qualifying rounds.
Published Jun 26, 2021
From John McEnroe’s run to the semifinals in his 1977 debut to Coco Gauff’s first-round upset of Venus Williams and subsequent fourth-round showing in 2019, a number of qualifiers at Wimbledon have had a near-fairytale experience.
Here’s a look at five of them between the ATP and WTA tours that have a chance to make a significant impact on their respective draws at arguably the most prestigious tournament in the sport.
Over the past three weeks, between the Challenger tournaments in Nottingham and the qualifying draw at Wimbledon, the American has compiled a 9-3 record on the grass in 2021. Kudla, who reached the round of 16 back in 2015 and is arguably at his best on the surface, has the opportunity to pull off an upset right from the start when he faces the 30th seed, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.
Making his Wimbledon debut, the 19-year-old notched back-to-back quality wins pre-tournament against the veterans Viktor Troicki and Ernests Gulbis. In the main draw, Nakashima is set for an all-American clash against Taylor Fritz, the 31st seed, who’s only weeks removed from meniscus surgery and didn’t play a warm-up event on the grass.
The former world No. 20 has qualified for her second straight Grand Slam as she tries to recapture her pre-injury form. Konjuh, who reached her first final in four years during the spring clay-court stretch, definitely knows how to play on the grass, with her lone singles title coming back in 2015 in Nottingham. With three matches under her belt and confidence in her game, the Croatian could be the surprise to emerge from the Angelique Kerber-Serena Williams section of the draw.
Only three years ago, the Ukrainian was among the seeded at the Grand Slams. With her ranking currently in the triple digits, Tsurenko qualified for her first main draw at a major since last year’s Australian Open. The veteran has won four career singles titles and has had strong results at the Slams in the past, showing she knows how to play in the big moments as she sits in a favorable section of the draw.
With Gael Monfils suffering from a lack of form and Cristian Garin having yet to win a match at Wimbledon, the 13th and 17th seeds, respectively, could be in for a short stay—even with their portion of the draw containing three qualifiers. One of those, Polmans, could be the one to break through and land in the second week. Though he went 0-2 at the Nottingham Challengers this year, he did win the doubles title at one of them and has had some success on grass in the past, claiming two Futures crowns in singles.