Seven To Watch: Anderson, Thiem, Cilic In Must-See Wimbledon Openers
Kyrgios features in Nadal's section of draw
The action will come thick and fast at The Championships, so grab some popcorn and get ready to settle in for a number of intriguing first-round matches at the All England Club, Wimbledon.
 Kevin Anderson vs. Pierre-Hugues Herbert — FedEx ATP Head2Head 1-0
Anderson rode on a crest of a wave into last year’s Wimbledon final, which included victories over Roger Federer and John Isner, in an epic 26-24 fifth-set finish. However, the fourth-seeded South African has found 2019 a lot tougher, because of a nagging right elbow injury that has curtailed his schedule to just four tournaments. Last week, Anderson returned at the Fever-Tree Championships, losing to eventual finalist Gilles Simon in the second round, but will prepare wisely when he faces Herbert, who will also partner Andy Murray at SW19 next week. Three summers ago, Anderson beat Herbert 6-4, 7-5 in the Winston-Salem Open final, but for the majority of 2019 Herbert has narrowed his focus to singles play and the decision has paid dividends with a final run at the Open Sud de France in Montpellier (l. to Tsonga), in addition to two semi-final exits at the Hungarian Open (l. to Krajinovic) and last week’s NOVENTI OPEN in Halle (l. to Federer).
 Dominic Thiem vs. Sam Querrey — FedEx ATP Head2Head 3-1
Thiem, more accustomed to clay-court excellence with two straight Roland Garros final runs, is developing an all-court game in 2019 under the guidance of Nicolas Massu, with victory at his first ATP Masters 1000 tournament on the hard courts of the BNP Paribas Open, and the clay of the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell (d. Nadal in SFs, Medvedev in final). With a Wimbledon-best fourth-round showing in 2018, Thiem faces 2017 semi-finalist Querrey, who has a 19-11 record at The Championships and the 2010 Fever-Tree Championships title to his name. Thiem leads 3-1 in their career series, but the pair has not met before on grass courts. Expect World No. 79 Querrey to rise to the occasion.
Frances Tiafoe vs.  Fabio Fognini — FedEx ATP Head2Head 0-1
Tiafoe’s form may have been patchy in recent tournaments, 1-4 since the Mutua Madrid Open, but the 21-year-old American will be sure to pose a threat to first-round opponent No. 12 seed Fognini, two years on from their five-set clash in the 2017 Roland Garros first round. Tiafoe, who lost to Karen Khachanov in last year’s Wimbledon third round, can draw on the confidence he gained from reaching the Australian Open quarter-finals (l. to Nadal) – his first at a Grand Slam championship – in January. The 32-year-old Fognini, winner of his first ATP Masters 1000 crown at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters in April (d. Lajovic), has reached the third round on four occasions in 10 visits to the All England Club, but has not played an ATP Tour grass event, in the build-up to a Wimbledon appearance since 2013 at Eastbourne (l. to Dodig in the quarter-finals).
 Marin Cilic vs. Adrian Mannarino — FedEx ATP Head2Head 1-1
It’s been quite the six months for Marin Cilic, who has recorded consecutive wins at two of his 10 tournaments in 2019 (10-9 match record). But in walking through the Doherty Gates on Church Road in Wimbledon, the Croatian will grow in confidence, two years on from his runner-up finish to Roger Federer. Cilic, who lost to Guido Pella over five sets in last year’s second round, will meet Mannarino for the third time. World No. 38 Mannarino comes in with his own grass-court pedigree, having lifted his first ATP Tour title on the grass of the Libema Open (d. Thompson). Coupled with two previous runner-up finishes at the Turkish Airlines Antalya Open, and Cilic may have his work cut out. Mannarino beat Cilic 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-0 in their last clash at the 2017 Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships.
 Lucas Pouille vs. Richard Gasquet — FedEx ATP Head2Head 4-1
Pouille comes into an all-French battle with a 4-1 lead over Gasquet, but the No. 27 seed has been searching for form ever since he advanced to his first Grand Slam championship semi-final at the Australian Open (l. to Federer) in January. Gasquet, who has been limited to 12 matches this year as a result of groin surgery in mid-January, comes into Wimbledon on the back of reaching the ‘s-Hertogenbosch semi-finals (l. to Thompson). The 2007 and 2015 semi-finalist has a 28-13 record at The Championships, but aims to beat Pouille for the first time since the 2015 Open Sud de France.
Nick Kyrgios vs. Jordan Thompson — First FedEx ATP Head2Head Meeting
Unseeded at The Championships for the first time since beating Rafael Nadal en route to the quarter-finals five years ago, World No. 43 Kyrgios comes to the All England Club with an 11-9 record on the year. He will challenge fellow Australian and in-form Thompson, the World No. 45, who has won six of his past seven matches on grass courts and has compiled a 21-12 record in 2019. The victor will potentially face third seed Nadal in the second round. Kyrgios beat Nadal, Stan Wawrinka, John Isner and Alexander Zverev en route to the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC crown in early March.
Jan-Lennard Struff vs. [WC] Marcos Baghdatis — FedEx ATP Head2Head 1-0
Wild card Baghdatis, who is set to retire from professional tennis after he competes at Wimbledon, contests his first tour-level event since February at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships against World No. 34 Struff, who recently reached the MercedesCup semi-finals (l to Berrettini) and won their 2016 Stuttgart grass clash 4-6, 6-1, 6-4. The 34-year-old Baghdatis reached the 2006 Wimbledon semi-finals (l. to Nadal), six months after he contested that year’s Australian Open final (l. to Federer), and will be hoping to bid a fond farewell to spend more time with his family.