With the first round of Wimbledon in the books, it's time to highlight which players are on the rise and which ones look most vulnerable heading into the next round. Players who have been eliminated are of little interest to fantasy owners as the tournament unfolds, so this column is meant to take a look ahead based on what's happened so far rather than reflect on the past.
The opening round featured plenty of upsets, with three of the top seven men's seeds and a pair of top-10 women biting the dust. Some of the notable defeats have cleared the path for others to step up, and there should be plenty more surprises to come as the tournament progresses. As was the case at the French Open, teenagers are stealing the show at Wimbledon, but one man who pulled off a major upset here as a teenager is unlikely to do so again in his 20s.
Felix Auger-Aliassime - Not only did Auger-Aliassime celebrate Canada Day with a first-round win over fellow Canuck Vasek Pospisil, but the talented teenager also saw his draw open up considerably. Potential second-round opponent Grigor Dimitrov blew a two-set lead against Corentin Moutet and 16th-seeded Gael Monfils was eliminated as well, clearing what should be an easy path to the fourth round for Auger-Aliassime. Should he get there, the 19th-seeded 18-year-old would likely find himself in a must-see TV clash against world No.1 Novak Djokovic.
American Tennis - Taylor Fritz was the lone American man to make the second round in singles at the French Open, but the change in surface from clay to grass has led to a major uptick in results for American tennis. Seven men from the United States are in the second round, tied with France for the most from any country. We've already seen an American pull off a major upset with Sam Querrey dismantling fifth-seeded Dominic Thiem, and the Red, White and Blue will look to keep that theme going in Round 2. Big server Reilly Opelka and 2018 Australian Open quarterfinalist Tennys Sandgren should put Stan Wawrinka and Gilles Simon, respectively, on upset alert.
Nick Kyrgios - Kyrgios was pegged as a land mine for Rafael Nadal when the draw came out, and for good reason. The Australian's quick-strike tennis cuts down on the long points Nadal thrives in, and Kyrgios can be nearly unbreakable on grass when his serve is on. In Kyrgios' 2014 upset of Nadal, he smashed 37 aces while getting broken only once. This isn't 2014, though, as Kyrgios was able to stay present mentally for that entire match and seems incapable of doing so nowadays.
Kyrgios' antics have consistently gotten the best of him recently. Just look at his first-round match against Jordan Thompson, which Kyrgios won in five sets despite a number of self-inflicted setbacks both inside and outside the lines of the court. In that match alone, Kyrgios got into arguments with the umpire over line calls and a photographer he deemed was being too loud, he was broken in the second set while attempting an ill-advised tweener, and he straight up tanked the whole fourth set. If Kyrgios isn't razor-focused throughout, he'll have almost no chance against Nadal. Meanwhile, the grass is by all accounts playing much slower than usual (advantage: Nadal), and there was no sign of the early-tournament struggles that have plagued Rafa in years past, as he dominated Yuichi Sugita 6-3, 6-1, 6-3 in the opening round. This has been billed as a major upset opportunity, but I'd expect an easy Nadal win based on what we've seen from these two lately.
Daniel Evans - Nikoloz Basilashvili narrowly escaped a first-round upset bid by a British man when he beat James Ward 8-6 in the fifth, but he'll have trouble repeating that feat against Evans in Round 2. While Ward is barely ranked in the top 200, Evans is a respectable 61st in the world, and he showed off his grass-court prowess by winning a pair of challenger events on the surface in June. Beyond upsetting the No. 18 seed here, Evans should have his sights set on even greater things, as likely third-round opponent Marin Cilic has often bowed out of majors early. In 14 completed Grand Slams since the start of the 2016 season, Cilic has lost in the third round or earlier seven times.
Coco Gauff - Gauff had to win three qualifying matches just to get into the main draw before bursting onto the professional scene with her first-round victory over Venus Williams. The 15-year-old American with a 110 mph serve undoubtedly has a bright future, but her present doesn't look too shabby, either. With No. 10 seed Aryna Sabalenka falling in the first round, Gauff will instead have to face Magdalena Rybarikova. Rybarikova reached the semifinals here in 2017 but is currently ranked outside the top 100, so Gauff should be able to get through this one if she holds her nerve. Things admittedly get very dicey afterwards, as Gauff would be a heavy underdog should she get to a third-round meeting with fellow American Madison Keys.
Angelique Kerber - Kerber is flying under the radar a bit considering she's the defending champ, but she got a nice little boost with a pair of dangerous veterans making early exits from her section of the draw. Both Maria Sharapova and Samantha Stosur were potential third-round opponents for the No. 5 seed and have troubled Kerber in the past – she's 5-4 against Sharapova and 6-3 against Stosur. With both of them going down in the first round, Kerber's most likely Round 3 opponent is now 30th-seeded Carla Suarez Navarro, against whom the German is 4-1. Kerber's second-round draw is favorable as well, as her opponent is 95th-ranked Lauren Davis.
Simona Halep - Halep's 6-4, 7-5 first-round win over Aliaksandra Sasnovich seems unremarkable on its face, but it could have negative consequences on the rest of her run here, as Halep slipped in the second set and seemed to injure her lower leg. Additionally, she admitted in a post-match interview that she's feeling extra nervous ahead of her second-round match against Mihaela Buzarnescu, as it will be Halep's first-ever WTA match against a fellow Romanian. Even if she gets through Buzarnescu, Halep would face a stiff third-round test against either Victoria Azarenka – they're 2-2 lifetime head-to-head – or Ajla Tomljanovic, who has pushed Halep to three sets in both of their previous matches.
Danielle Collins - There were questions about Collins' health coming in after a back injury ended her run at Eastbourne early, but she looked good in a 6-3, 7-5 first-round win over Zarina Diyas. Collins has already proven she can make a deep run at a major this season by reaching the semifinals at the Australian Open, and the fiery competitor should actually control most of the points in her second-round matchup with 12th-seeded Anastasija Sevastova, who relies more on changing pace to keep opponents off balance. Players without big weapons, like Sevastova, are always vulnerable on grass.