Wimbledon Second Round Primer: Denis Kudla

Kudla takes on Nishikori in the second round (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)

Kudla takes on Nishikori in the second round (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)

Maria Kirilenko defeated Sloane Stephens (No. 18).  Jimmy Wang upended Mikhail Youzhny (No. 17). Kaia Kanepi downed Jelena Jankovic (No. 7).  Sergiy Stakhovsky trumped over Ernests Gulbis (No. 12).

This Wimbledon is fraught with upsets.

Denis Kudla will take aim at another upset tomorrow morning when he faces No. 10 Kei Nishikori on Court 18.  They are the first scheduled match with play scheduled to start at 6:30 am (EST).

2014 has been a breakout year for Nishikori.  The world No. 12 has captured five titles and reached three finals.  But he has had lukewarm results in Grand Slams since he turned pro in 2007.  Nishikori has never advanced past the fourth round.

Kudla is well-versed on grass.  In 14 career ATP Tour and Grand Slam matches played on the surface, the American touts a 57% winning percentage.  Nishikori’s career winning percentage on the green pasture is 50%, his lowest percentage on any surface.

Key to the Match

The first set will be crucial in determining the outcome.  If Kudla drops the first set, his odds of mounting a comeback are slim.  In 21 career ATP Tour and Grand Slam matches, Kudla has rallied back twice to win.  Meanwhile, Nishikori tends to not give an inch after notching the first frame.  In his career, he has won 91% of the matches in which he takes the first set.

Last Meeting

The two have not played previously.

Tale of the Tape

Kei Nishikori

Denis Kudla

24

Age

21

5’10”

Height

5’11”

150

Weight

165

Right-handed

Plays

Right-handed

29/7

YTD Won/Lost

2/4

$5,209,445

Career Prize Money

$565,293

12

Current Ranking

136

62%

Career 1st Serve Percentage

58%

40%

Career Break Points Converted

40%

40%

Career Return Points Won

36%

59%

Career Break Points Saved

63%

Pre-Match Quote (from Wimbledon.com)

“I didn’t have much info about Kenny today,” he admitted. “But you have to play the first couple games, find a couple of things that he does. My coach always finds tactics – Michael and Dante are always helping me before the match.

“Denis I think is tough on grass. There’s going to be a lot of rallies and ground strokes. Yeah, not going to be easy, I think.”

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