It is that time of year again. I always look forward to these two weeks and the only thing that rivals it for me personally is the US Open. They are the two standout events. I will start here with the men and work my way through both draws. My tip is my main selection and my next best/cover is generally for those of you who want a cover bet, or just something at a big price that MAY give you a run for your money.
Mens 1st Quarter
I am really going to find it difficult to oppose Nole here, the trouble is, at 4/9 I probably won’t be getting involved myself either. There is a lot of talent here. Stefanos Tsitsipas, Daniil Medvedev, David Goffin, Grigor Dimitrov, Gael Monfils and of course Felix Auger-Aliassime. Stefanos and FAA are the next two in the betting and although I am a fan of both of them I think they will come unstuck somewhere along the way. I think the best chance in behind is Daniil Medvedev, who I backed at 100/1 a few months ago. You can get 16/1 to win the quarter and he would be next best in behind Nole. I think David Goffin is playing well but I just think should Medvedev reach the third round he might hit his way past the Belgian. Djokovic is a class act on grass though and it would be a surprise if he were to get beat here.
Tip – Djokovic (4/9 for the heavy hitters, see below 4th qtr).
Next Best/Saver – Medvedev @ 16/1.
Mens 2nd Quarter
This is a super competitive section. I will be taking on the favourite Sascha Zverev, who has not gone past the last 16 here yet. Milos Raonic on his day and if fit could cause a lot of damage in this event but the two are hardly guaranteed, thus making it a big risk to side with him. I also toyed with Khachanov, Wawrinka or maybe even Feliciano Lopez but I think Roberto Bautista-Agut could be the man here. He gave Federer a really good game in Halle and I think he can take a lot of confidence from that. RBA has posted a lot of good results throughout his career on the surface, including a win in s-Hertogenbosch. I would also go with Kevin Anderson as my other pick. The South African may only be 13/2 and has come in off the back of an elbow injury. After his Queens Club loss to Simon, he did manage to get another couple of wins at the exhibition at The Hurlingham Club, with wins over FAA and Jarry.
Tip – Roberto Bautista Agut @ 14/1.
Next Best – Kevin Anderson @ 13/2.
Men’s Third Quarter
Having being seeded third, I expect Rafa to be pretty fired up to prove a point at SW19 this year. The draw could prove a disaster for him though. This is littered with decent grass court players in this quarter. If Rafa beats Sugita he could face Kyrgios followed by Tsonga. The ‘could’ is obviously very key here. What Nick will turn up against Thompson in his opener? If he does win though he will fancy his chances massively against Nadal and Tsonga will also like his chances having played well against Federer in Halle, just like RBA. Shapovalov and Tomic are also in this half of the quarter. It could work out nicely for Rafa but I can’t take the risk at a top price 6/4. It is best to look elsewhere. Dominic Thiem has been resting since the French and could get caught cold early on, especially by a Querrey or Garin in his opening two rounds. For that reason, I am going to go for three big priced winners here. Gilles Simon, runner-up at Queens, it is a big ask but he is in a good section of the quarter. Dan Evans continues to impress on the grass and though I am biased he might just fancy his chances of going a few rounds here with Cilic in his section. Christian Garin might be worth a few quid too, the Chilean has impressed across the boards of late. Rafa may well run away with this but I think he might just need a few things to go his way. This is the quarter where I would half up my stakes though if I am honest. Very dangerous section!
Tips – (smaller stakes) Gilles Simon @ 33/1, Dan Evans @ 33/1 and Christian Garin @ 50/1.
Men’s Fourth Quarter
As you would expect this is Roger Federer’s to lose. I think the biggest threat is Matteo Berrettini, but considering I backed the Italian at 50/1 to win in Stuttgart, backing him at 9/1 to win this quarter looks a bit skinny. With Borna Coric withdrawing Berrettini has been moved further down in this section, meaning he will play Fed in the fourth round, not the quarters now. Kei Nishikori does look to have a good draw but it is difficult to back him with any authority with the arm injury. John Isner is playing his first match since Miami, returning from a foot injury. Jan-Lennard Struff and Taylor Harry-Fritz are playing well but are in the same little section. Can Fritz kick-on from winning in Eastbourne? 50/1 is worth a small bet but it is a big ask. Diego Schwartzman is starting to find his grass court form and at 80/1 he looks like he represents the value. It is a huge ask too, so I would personally say maybe doubling Federer and Djokovic up for their quarters looks a bet.
Tips – Roger Federer @ 8/11 or 4/6 (doubled up with Djokovic to win the 1st qtr @ 4/9 or 2/5).
Next Best/Saver – Very small bets on Taylor Fritz @ 50/1 and Diego Schwartzman @ 80/1.
For the second slam in a row, I am going to side with Novak Djokovic on the outright. You can get around 6/4 on the exchanges and I will have to put my money where my mouth is. I just trust him against Federer in a matchup. Seeing as I have tipped up some big prices I might have a go at a few of them on the outright. All-bar Medvedev, Anderson and Bautista Agut are 1000/1 on Betfair Exchange or at least 200/1 with the each-way angle with the firms. Like I said I backed Medvedev but there isn’t any value in the 50/1 available now. So if you really want to go for a fantasy result have a quid each-way or so on Anderson (66/1), Bautista Agut (200/1), Simon, Evans etc. I think Nole will take care of business though.
Tip – Djokovic @ 6/4.
Next Best – If you really want to go for huge prices then all bets on the other players mentioned in the blog @ 66/1 and bigger. I also like the Djok/Fed final but it is too many eggs in one basket, so will leave it at that. It is dangerous to oppose Rafa too much!
Now onto the Ladies event.
Ladies 1st Quarter
What a quarter this is. In draw order, we have Barty, Muguruza, Vekic, Bencic, Serena, Goerges, Sharapova and Kerber. I think the winner will come from one of the front three in the betting but I just don’t know which. Barty has the nicest draw and she should make the quarters barring Muguruza finding some form or one of Bencic/Vekic producing something and I can’t see it. The problem is she is likely to run into an inform Serena or Kerber at that stage and I wouldn’t fancy her there. This is all reflected in the prices with Barty being a slight favourite at 5/2. Goerges is also in the Serena/Kerber half of section to make matters harder. It is the section to leave alone. The winner of this will be a strong favourite to take home the title after, so if you fancy one of these you may as well back them on the outright. There is no clear winner here for me if I had to choose possibly Kerber but if Serena finds her way that will all change. Either way, backing Kerber at 10/3 or Serena at 7/2 doesn’t appeal to me.
Tip – Too close to call, no bet. You will see why later.
Ladies 2nd Quarter
It has to be worth taking on Petra Kvitova and after much deliberation, Jo Konta too. Kvitova has raised question marks over whether she will play and has to be taken on for that reason, plus she has a nasty opener. Konta looks to have minefields set up all over the place with players like Alexandrova and then Stephens before the fourth round. Kiki Bertens draw doesn’t look too bad and she has a game that suits well to grass as results have shown, she made the last eight in 2018. The bigger price dangers look to be coming from Barbora Strycova and Ons Jabeur. The latter does have a fitness concern after pulling out of her Eastbourne semi-final with an ankle injury. Previous to this she had ousted Jo Konta. I don’t like tipping up injury doubts but she is a big price and will fancy taking out Kvitova first up if fit. Strycova also has an Achilles problem but says she will be fit and played pretty well in Edgbaston.
Tip – Kiki Bertens @ 9/2 or 4/1.
Next Best – Ons Jabeur @ 50/1 and Barbora Zahlavova Strcova @ 40/1.
Ladies Third Quarter
Karolina Pliskova is worth backing at 7/4 or 13/8 here. I haven’t got a great track record with Pliskova and Su-Wei will always be very tricky should they meet in the third round. I think the matchups aren’t too bad for her generally though and after an impressive week in Eastbourne, she has put herself in control here. I don’t normally like backing people after winning the previous week but I am going to make an exception here. Svitolina and Vondrousova haven’t shown enough on grass for me and Sevastova seems to only be decent in Mallorca. Sakkari and Gasparyan are two biggers prices I looked at but decided against in the end.
It is an interesting matchup between Petra Martic and Jennifer Brady in the first round and I think the winner of that will go well. Martic is around 11/1 and Brady is 80/1, and I have to go with Martic obviously.
Tip – Karolina Pliskova @ 13/8 or 7/4.
Next Best – Petra Martic @ 11/1 and cover on Su-Wei @ 33/1 – 50/1.
Ladies Fourth Quarter
Right now, it seems impossible to back Naomi Osaka. It could be another ‘pull the wool over the eyes’ moment but I am willing to take the risk, especially as she is favourite in this section. Halep always seems to come up short on grass and even though she is in the better section of the quarter I could not back her at 11/2. Madison Keys comes in with injury concerns but I think it may be precautionary, she is the one that most interest me out of the front three. I will also chuck in Caroline Garcia, who has won a few matches of late and Camila Giorgi, who can be hot and cold but at a big price can be worth a few quid. She was a quarter-finalist last year, who again came in out of form but took a set off Serena in their last eight encounter. I did think about Sofia Kenin but I just wonder whether the grass courts in Mallorca suit her better than the grass courts in London. There is a tiny section with Venus Williams, Coco Gauff, Magdalena Rybarikova and Aryna Sabalenka, the winner will likely play Keys in the third round. That is tough and they could tire each other out there. Gauff looks a real talent but it is too early to win the quarter I would have thought. A dream tie against Venus is first up. You can never count out Venus either.
Tip – Madison Keys @ 13/2 or 7/1.
Next Best – Caroline Garcia @ 12/1 and Camila Giorgi @ 40/1.
As I think the winner of the first quarter will go and probably win it, I would be foolish not to couple Kerber and Serena up, backing them both for level stakes at around 4/1 as a pair if you like. People will say I am biased and that I should just go with Kerber and maybe they are right. It is a big risk from where I am standing though not to have faith in Serena, isn’t it? Mouratoglou is saying she is fit and I am pretty sure Wimbledon is the one she wants to be number 24 if she has her way. If she gets to Angie and Kerber does have her number then I have confidence the German will step it up from there on in as defending champion. So from this, I will go with smaller cover bets on Madison Keys each-way at 25/1 and Kiki Bertens at 22/1 or 25/1. I don’t know why but I think Karolina Pliskova will get beat after winning the quarter. I think she is less likely to win it than Serena/Kerber despite hammering Kerber in Eastbourne. It may just be different at Wimbledon. I have backed Martic at 200/1 here but she is only 50/1 now, that was a few weeks ago.
Tips – Kerber/Williams for level stakes @ 9/1 and 8/1 respectively with the firms, it is better to back on Betfair exchanges though where Serena is nearly 9/1 and Kerber is 10/1.
Next Best – Kiki Bertens and Madison Keys @ 22/1-25/1 and if you want a bigger price, maybe Martic or Garcia @ 66/1.
I hope you all enjoy the next two weeks of tennis. I will also be getting stuck into some matches too! So happy viewing and punting, whatever you decide, it is a great time of year to be a tennis fan.
Andy Del Potro