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Wimbledon 2013: Must-See Early-Round Matches

Jeff CohnCorrespondent IIIJune 23, 2013

Wimbledon 2013: Must-See Early-Round Matches

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    Wimbledon 2013 is about to get underway and we couldn't be more excited.

    The draw is tough for all players, as Majors are never easy.

    Novak Djokovic is the No. 1 player and Roger Federer is the defending champion, but they shouldn't have too tough a time in the first week.

    There are some very anticipated first-round matches, as there are potential upset alerts and good matchups in terms of compatibility and style of play.

    Here are some of the best matches you will see in the next couple of days.

Novak Djokovic vs. Florian Mayer

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    Though these two men played last year at Wimbledon and it was a straight-sets affair, they entertained the crowd in nearly every point.

    Mayer was a Top-20 player for a brief period of time and definitely has an unexpectedly tricky game that could challenge the top players.

    He has had a few good upsets in his career and will look to have another one against a defending semifinalist.

    It will be a very unlikely task to complete, but will be great fun and quite entertaining to watch.

Gilles Simon vs. Feliciano Lopez

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    These two athletes met in the Eastbourne final a few days ago, and the match was very lopsided.

    The see-saw affair saw Lopez win, 7-6, 6-7, 6-0, to upset the in-form Simon.

    I expect Simon to beat Lopez in four sets when they meet in the first round, but one should never count the Spaniard's serve-and-volley style out.

    He has a heavy game (and is a lefty on top of that), and that will help to make this match a very fun one to watch. By the way, these guys could not have more opposite games.

Bernard Tomic vs. Sam Querrey

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    Though Sam Querrey is a seeded player and is more powerful than Bernard Tomic, this one has upset alert written all over it.

    Tomic will be sure to try to lull Querrey right to sleep, as his game is definitely not always fun to watch.

    Surely, Querrey can win by serving big because Tomic is one of the easier guys to break.

    Neither player has been playing well this year, but both are very comfortable on grass courts.

    I am picking Tomic in five sets—you don't want to miss this one, folks.

Lleyton Hewitt vs. Stanislas Wawrinka

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    This is, by far, the most unfair first-round grouping I have seen from all the Majors this year.

    Hewitt had a tough first-round loss to Gilles Simon at the French, blowing a two-set lead. He insisted on moving on to the grass season as soon as he lost that day, but he is facing another potential early exit with this tough draw.

    Wawrinka has been in amazing form this whole year and is starting to look more and more like his friend and fellow countryman, Roger Federer, every day.

    Though he lost to Nicolas Mahut (a player who should not be beating him) in the final of the Topshelf Open just days ago, I expect him to win in three or four sets.

Fernando Verdasco vs. Xavier Malisse

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    This is a great matchup between two very talented and underrated tennis players on the men's tour.

    Fernando Verdasco has seen his ranking fall dramatically in the last year and Xavier Malisse is working to get his back up.

    Malisse has definitely had the better year and is (along with Mikhail Youzhny) showing that some of the old-timers and journeymen still have it at an old age.

    It is tough to predict what will happen here, but FeVer's lack of grass-court success has me believing that he will be the loser in a five-set epic.

Marcos Baghdatis vs. Marin Cilic

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    After Marcos Baghdatis' successes over half a decade ago, it seems he has never been the same player.

    Marin Cilic, on the other hand, has been a steady contender for the past three or four years.

    He has an all-around game and is very good on grass and hard courts. He also reached the final at Queen's Club last week, losing to Andy Murray in three sets.

    I think this one will be slightly more boring than some of these other early matches, but it will still be interesting to see how their similar styles match up.

    I'm going with Cilic in straight or four sets.

Janko Tipsarevic vs. Viktor Troicki

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    This pairing must feel awful for the two Serbian friends and Davis Cup teammates.

    Next to Novak Djokovic, these guys have been a small (but easily noticeable) step behind in success and consistency.

    Both men have great serves and groundstrokes, leading me to believe this one could be very fun and thrilling.

    There will also be a great deal of mutual respect on the court. Still, let's go with Tip in straight sets.

Robin Haase vs. Mikhail Youzhny

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    This one is my most anticipated matches of them all, as these two have eclectic games.

    Robin Haase is very adept on grass, as is Mikhail Youzhny, who happens to be playing some of the best tennis of his whole life.

    Haase's beautiful serve can help him to take a set or two off Youzhny, but it is not probable that he can score a win.

    Many may remember Haase doing well at Wimbledon three years ago, taking Rafael Nadal to five sets.

    I hope this one goes five just because it will be such a fun experience in each and every set.

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