2023 Wimbledon Expert Picks | Predictions For Kudermetova vs Vondrousova, Pegula vs Busca

2023 Wimbledon Expert Picks | Predictions For Kudermetova vs Vondrousova, Pegula vs Busca article feature image

Jacob King/Getty. Pictured: Cristina Bucsa.

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The second round of Wimbledon continues with more fun matches on Thursday!

I’ve found value on two of Thursday's matches —Kudermetova vs Vondrousova and Pegula vs Bucsa.

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 Picks

Veronika Kudermetova (-142) vs Marketa Vondrousova (+118)

8:30 a.m. ET

Kudermetova started off Wimbledon strongly, beating Kaia Kanepi 7-6(4), 6-4. Kudermetova hit 14 aces, winning 80% of her first serves and was not broken. The Russian also won 52% of her second-serve returns, breaking Kanepi's big serve serve once.

She is now 7-1 this season on grass, with a 25-14 career-record on the surface. The Russian places her serve well and has a huge, precise forehand that she uses to dictate from the baseline. Kudermetova's rally tolerance is strong and her movement looks fluid on grass. She balances offense and defense well, absorbing pace successfully while also posing a threat from the baseline.

Vondrousova secured a comfortable 6-2, 7-5 victory over Peyton Stearns in the first round. Vondrousova won 70% of her service points and was only broken once. On return, the Czech won 47% of her return points, breaking on four occasions.

She has historically struggled on grass, going 8-12 as a professional. While Vondrousova's variety is strong and she's able to stay fairly consistent on the ground, the Czech does lack the firepower necessary for long-term grass success. Vondrousova's lefty serve and forehand do sit up at times and she doesn't have an attacking mindset on court. Vondrousova went to net just seven times against Stearns, preferring to grind from the back of the court.

On grass, Kudermetova is the play here. The Russian has nearly double Vondrousova's grass-court experience and has had much more grass success, even this season, reaching the Rosmalen final.

Kudermetova has the better attacking game with the biggest weapon on the court in her forehand. She also seems more comfortable pushing herself forward compared to Vondrousova. Perhaps this is because she's won six-career WTA Tour doubles titles (and reached World No. 2) compared to zero WTA Tour doubles titles for Vondrousova.

And Kudermetova has the rally tolerance on grass to hang with Vondrousova during rallies before waiting for her opportunity to strike.

Pick: Kudermetova ML (-142 via FanDuel)

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Jessica Pegula (-780) vs Cristina Bucsa (+530)

12 p.m. ET

Pegula survived a tough test, beating Lauren Davis 6-2, 6-7(8), 6-3 to kick off her Wimbledon campaign. Pegula won 67% of her service points, getting broken twice. In addition, Pegula won 58% of her second-serve returns, breaking on five occasions.

She is now a solid 20-17 on grass for her career. On grass, the American is strong at the net, consistent from the baseline and places her shots well. However, both her serve and groundstrokes lack some firepower, as even on grass Pegula will often wait for her opponents to make a mistake rather than taking the initiative during rallies. Despite manipulating the ball around the court well, the American is too passive on grass, leading to vulnerabilities on the surface.

Cristina Bucsa won a very tight 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(9) match over Kamilla Rakhimova in the opening round. Bucsa won just 55% of her service points, including 35% on her second serve, getting broken on five occasions. The Spaniard did win 48% of her return points and broke Rakhimova's serve six times.

Bucsa now has a surprisingly strong 14-10 record on grass as a professional. The Spaniard is able to maintain consistency on grass while also trying to ramp up the pace on her forehand in order to dictate from the baseline. Bucsa balances offense and defense as well as she can, while also effectively counterpunching on the surface. But, Bucsa's backhand can leak errors at times and though she can place her serve fairly well, she struggles to produce much firepower on her serve.

Pegula has played docile tennis too frequently in recent months. While she's successfully spread the court, she doesn't consistently have the level of controlled aggression necessary to end points.

This doesn't bode well against Bucsa, who has the rally tolerance to stick with Pegula during longer baseline exchanges. But, unlike Davis in her current form, Bucsa also has the firepower from the ground, particularly with her forehand, to rip groundstrokes into targets when openings present themselves.

Pegula has failed to cover 5.5 games in 12 over her past 14 (non-retirement) WTA Tour matches, including covering this spread in just 1-of-4 grass matches this season. And even in this Davis match, which she covered the 5.5 games, Pegula still dropped a set.

Pick: Bucsa +5.5 games (-110 via FanDuel)

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