Predicted Winner in BOLD
Roger Federer should advance in a fairly routine match. Fognini is a fun player to watch in my opinion, but this match is not going to be overly competitive.
Novak Djokovic (SRB) v Ryan Harrison (USA)
Nole should win this match. It will likely look one-sided on the scoreboard at the end. Still, Harrison needs to show some fight and use his talent to make an impression at some point in this match. Ryan is having a bit of a sophomore slump in 2012 and needs to reassert his potential.
Xavier Malisse (BEL) v Gilles Simon (FRA)
This should be a real treat for tennis fans. It is odd for me to think that the X-Man was one five set loss in the 2002 Wimbledon semifinal round away from a Grand Slam final in England. Simon should advance, but if he is careless or out of sorts Malisse could make this interesting.
Ruben Bemelmans (BEL) v Richard Gasquet (FRA)
I am breaking my own rule and picking Gasquet. He has been playing good tennis over the past few months. Grass is also a surface that Gasquet knows well.
Jeremy Chardy (FRA) v Juan Monaco (ARG)
I love Monaco’s grinding game. On paper, he should advance based upon his proven toughness. However, I am picking Chardy due to his potentially big game and my belief that Monaco may have a hangover from the beating Rafa laid on him in Paris. That type of loss would seemingly sap a player of self-confidence for a month or two at least.
Michael Russell (USA) v Julien Benneteau (FRA)
Benneteau is an excellent player, but playing Russell is never easy. Michael makes his opponents beat him by being supremely prepared in terms of fitness and game plan. In an early round match on grass, I’m picking Russell to pull an upset.
Igor Andreev (RUS) v Denis Istomin (UZB)
I like Andreev’s forehand a lot. It is a nasty weapon, but I cannot see him utilizing it enough to win this match.
Alejandro Falla (COL) v Nicolas Mahut (FRA)
Falla lost a 5 set match to Federer in the 2010 first round. His win over Isner in five sets seems just. Mahut is playing sneaky-good tennis as of late. This is as close to a 50-50 match as I see in the first round. I think Falla will advance due to his superior return game.