Michael Venus, Erin Routliffe discover first round Wimbledon opponents

Friday, 24 June 2022

Michael Venus has been drawn against the player he reached the Wimbledon final with in 2018 in the first round of this year’s tournament.

Four years ago Venus and Raven Klaasen from South Africa lost in an epic five-set match against Jack Sock and Mike Brian on Centre Court, but for this year’s grass court grand slam they’ll start off on opposing sides of the net.

Venus and Tim Puetz from Germany, who are the No 5 seeds, have been drawn against Klaasen and his Brazilian partner Marcelo Melo.

Melo is a former world No 1 in doubles and won the Wimbledon doubles title with Lukasz Kubot in 2017.

While Klaasen and Melo are world class doubles players, age is against them, with the former being aged 39 and the latter 38 and over a best of five set match that could be a factor.

Generally, doubles players like to play against singles specialists early in grand slams, so it will be a tricky match for Venus and Puetz, however they should be able to come through it, given their strong recent form.

Meanwhile, Erin Routliffe and Alicja Rosolska from Poland, who are the No 11 seeds, have been drawn against Irina-Camelia Begu from Romania and Ukraine’s Anhelina Kalinina in the first round of the ladies doubles. 

The 25-year-old Kalinina is a singles specialist and ranked 36 in the world in that form of the game and this will be her first appearance at Wimbledon.

Begu, 31, will be playing at Wimbledon for the 11th time, with her best doubles performance coming in 2019 when she reached the quarterfinals, partnering with Chan Hao-ching. 

Unfortunately, Artem Sitak didn’t make it into the draw for Wimbledon, making this the first time the world No 104 hasn’t played at the tournament since 2013.

The doubles will begin at Wimbledon from Wednesday.

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