2023 Wimbledon Expert Match Previews | Picks For Blinkova vs Begu, Alexandrova vs Brengle
Robert Prange/Getty. Pictured: Ekaterina Alexandrova.
The second round of a rain-delayed Wimbledon continues with more fascinating matches on Friday!
I’ve found value on two of Friday's matches —Blinkova vs Begu and Alexandrova vs Brengle.
Read on for my 2023 Wimbledon expert picks.
Match times are subject to change. Read here for tips on viewing Wimbledon matches.
2023 Wimbledon Expert Match Previews
Anna Blinkova (-113) vs Irina-Camelia Begu (-106)
6 a.m. ET
Anna Blinkova took down Yanina Wickmayer 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 to advance in London. Blinkova won just 53% of her service points, getting broken six times. But, the Russian was impeccable on return, winning 56% of her return points and breaking Wickmayer's big serve on nine occasions.
Blinkova nearly matches Begu with grass-court experience and has considerably more success, as she is 21-19 for her career on the surface. This season, Blinkova is 4-2 on grass. Blinkova, like Begu, can maintain her consistency and doesn't struggle to move on grass. But, the Russian also has an extra gear of offense where she can take the racquet out of her opponents' hands with controlled aggression, particularly with her forehand.
In her first match on grass this year, Irina-Camelia Begu defeated Rebecca Marino 6-2, 3-6, 6-2. Begu won just 35% of her second serves, but did win 80% of her first serves, getting broken twice. Begu also won 70% of her second-serve returns, breaking on five occasions.
While Begu has a lot of experience on the grass, she is just 17-25 for her career on the surface. Begu is able to maintain her rally tolerance on grass and doesn't have major issues with her movement. But, where the Romanian struggles is in her ability to inject pace into her groundstrokes, which is very important for long-term success on grass. Begu, though solid from the baseline, doesn't have much variety, notably lacking a cutting backhand slice.
She did well to get past Marino, but Blinkova has better movement and consistency from the baseline. This will make it much harder for the Romanian to simply grind through another match, this time against a higher-level grass player.
While Marino might hit a bigger ball than Blinkova, the Russian brings a level of control over her aggressive groundstrokes that Marino doesn't have. Blinkova should be able to spread the court with pace before eventually finding an opening to hit through Begu from the baseline.
Blinkova has the better controlled aggression, more overall grass success and has spent much more time on the grass this year.
Pick: Blinkova ML (-113 via FanDuel)
Ekaterina Alexandrova (-700) vs Madison Brengle (+470)
6 a.m. ET
Ekaterina Alexandrova started off Wimbledon strongly, beating Emma Navarro 6-4, 6-3. Despite winning just 39% of her second serves, Alexandrova won 73% of her first serves, getting broken twice. In addition, the Russian won 46% of her return points, breaking Navarro's serve on five occasions.
Her game works very well on grass. She has a huge first serve and then backs up her serve with aggressive baseline. Her forehand is a major part of her success, as Alexandrova is able to ramp up the pace from this wing into small targets. Alexandrova's rally tolerance can sometimes dip, however, particularly from her backhand side.
Madison Brengle took down Sara Errani 6-3, 6-1 to advance to the second round. Brengle won 57% of her service points, getting broken on three occasions. The American was all over Errani's weak serve, winning 61% of her return points and breaking on six occasions.
Brengle has a lot of grass experience, and she's now 45-44 on grass for her career. She is able to bring her trademark rally tolerance and movement onto the grass, but there's not much more to her grass-court game. Brengle doesn't get much from her serve and struggles to inject pace into her groundstrokes. This leaves the match on her opponents' racquet the vast majority of the time.
Alexandrova is the much better grass-court player. For starters, she has a huge first serve and won't give Brengle nearly as many return opportunities as Errani.
In addition, Alexandrova's aggressive groundstrokes should be more effective on grass than other surfaces, as Brengle won't have as much time to defend and try to neutralize the Russian's groundstrokes. Alexandrova is also hitting with a level of control during this grass season which she can sometimes lack, which will be important against a player like Brengle, who feasts on errors.
Finally, when looking at Elo ratings, Alexandrova's overall Elo is 221.1 points higher than Brengle's and her grass Elo is 258.3 points above the American's.
Pick: Under 19.5 games (-120 via PointsBet)