The first round of the 2019 Wimbledon is just days away, with the draw being decided on Friday. Here are the five most intriguing matches of the opening round of The Championships.
(4) Kevin Anderson - Pierre-Hugues Herbert
Kevin Anderson is one of the most threatening players on grass at his best, proving that last year when he defeated Roger Federer en-route to a Wimbledon final. However, the South African giant has a lot of question marks surrounding him coming into this year. Anderson has struggled with an elbow injury throughout 2019, playing only one tournament since the Miami Open. His performance at the Queen's Club wasn't too impressive, barely beating Cameron Norrie in three sets before falling to Gilles Simon.
Pierre-Hugues Herbert has been in the news as he is set to partner Andy Murray in the gentlemen's doubles, despite breaking up his successful partnership with Nicolas Mahut this year to focus on singles. Though grass is not Herbert's best surface, he is having a great year and even reached the semifinals in Halle.
In their only previous meeting, Anderson defeated Herbert in straight sets in the 2015 Winston-Salem final. Anderson has a herculean task ahead of him, defending the final, and Herbert is definitely a tough opening hurdle.
Bernard Tomic - Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
Back at the tournament where he made his name with a quarterfinal run back in 2011, Bernard Tomic is coming into Wimbledon after quarterfinals in Antalya. This may seem like nothing, but it's the first time the Australian won back-to-back matches since his title run in Chengdu last fall. Tomic is coming into Wimbledon in the best form he's been in this year after beating Gojowczyk and Seppi.
After missing Wimbledon last year, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga must be buzzing to get back to the All England Club. It's been a mixed grass season for the Frenchman, going 2-2, but his losses being deep in the third set to Federer and Raonic.
Many might write this match off as one that would have been better five years ago, but that does not mean it will not be fun to watch. The atmosphere should be great, as the match should be on an outer court and the name recognition will draw fans. Tsonga's power tennis will contrast well with Tomic's unorthodox style, and the crowd should draw the best out of the Australian.
(19) Felix Auger Aliassime - Vasek Pospisil
Felix Auger Aliassime has had a stellar debut grass season, playing clay challengers in his earlier years. The Canadian defeated the likes of Raonic, Kyrgios, and Tsitsipas en route to a final in Stuttgart and the semifinals in Queen's Club, his game perfectly suited to the surface.
His first-ever Wimbledon opponent will be his fellow countryman Vasek Pospisil. This will be Pospisil's first tournament of the year after being out for the first six months with big injury. Despite that, he has been making waves on Twitter and in the media, sharing statistics on the financial injustices that players outside of the elite suffer.
This is the first meeting between the two Canadians, but with Auger Aliassime's great grass form and Pospisil's pedigree as a past quarterfinalist, it is almost guaranteed to be a fun one.
(4) Dominic Thiem - Sam Querrey
The fourth seed, Dominic Thiem, opted to rest through the grass season after his run to the finals at Roland Garros. Last year, Thiem played Halle after reaching the Roland Garros final and ended up having to retire to Marcos Baghdatis in the first round, who will now be playing his last tournament at Wimbledon. This is Thiem's weakest slam so far in his career, going past the second round only once, so he might be there for the taking in the opener.
Sam Querrey is one of the most dangerous unseeded players in the draw. Not only is he a former semifinalist, but Querrey is coming into Wimbledon in great form as he reached the final in Eastbourne.
Thiem leads the head-to-head 3-1, winning their last two meetings. However, he might be in for another early exit at Wimbledon if Querrey's form continues.
(27) Lucas Pouille - Richard Gasquet
Lucas Pouille had a decent grass season, going 3-2 in Stuttgart and Queen's Club. The Frenchman had a rocket start to the year, going all the way to the semifinals of the Australian Open, but has struggled to make a mark since.
Richard Gasquet was out with injury until Madrid this year, but got his best result of the year so far on grass. He reached the semifinals in s-Hertogenbosch, beating Aljaz Bedene, Mikhail Kukushkin, and Nicolas Jarry.
This will be the sixth meeting of these two Frenchmen, the last four all won by Lucas Pouille, even winning the past eight sets. Gasquet, however, will be looking to change that as he is coming into Wimbledon in superior form.