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  • Chris Sobey

Tennis Rundown Plus Wimbledon

Double boom! After teen sensation Alexander Zverev landed me a 20/1 place winner at Halle a fortnight ago I went one better this week with Steve Johnson at 20/1, who won the Nottingham title beating Cuevas in Saturday’s final.

Before I move on to my Wimbledon preview I will provide a quick rundown of how well the top-five seeds performed at last week’s ATP and WTA grass court tournaments. At Nottingham top-seed Anderson (1.6) lost at the quarter-final stage, second seed Cuevas (2.75) was a surprise reaching the final, third seed Sousa (1.66) lost at the second round stage, fourth seed Dolgopolov (2.0) lost at the quarter-final stage and fifth seed Querrey (2.0) lost at the third round stage.

At Eastbourne top-seed Radwanska (1.38) lost at the quarter-final stage, second seed Vinci (2.7) lost her first match, as did third seed Bencic (1.77) and fourth seed Bacsinszky (1.59) and fifth seed Kvitova (1.44) lost at the third round stage.

Wimbledon Men’s Draw

Wimbledon is the third and most prestigious of the Grand Slams, which brings together the elite of the men’s and women’s game for two weeks of top class tennis action at SW19. The men’s and women’s first round action gets underway tomorrow and defending Champion, three time winner and world number one Novak Djokovic, who currently holds all four Grand Slams, and women’s defending champion, six time winner and current world number one Serena Williams, both return and will attempt to defend their respective titles.

Djokovic will also aim to become only the tenth male player to achieve the French Open and Wimbledon double if he defends his title. Home hope, 2015 winner and second seed Andy Murray and seven times Champion Roger Federer also line up, and they amongst the other 128 players will aim to stop Djokovic completing this feat as well as moving one step closer to winning the Golden Slam this year.

The men’s tournament has been dominated by one of the big four over the last decade with only Roger Federer (5), Rafael Nadal (2) (does not play this year due to a wrist injury), Novak Djokovic (2) and Andy Murray (1) winning the title in this period. Federer won the title as the top seed three times, as the second seed once and his last win came back in 2012 as the third seed. Both Rafael Nadal’s wins came as the second seed, his last in 2010, Djokovic’s three wins came as the second seed in 2011, and as the top seed in 2014 and 2015 and Murray’s one win came as the second seed in 2013.

The top two seeds have a strong record at Wimbledon over the last decade. The top-seed has won the title four times during this period and they were a losing finalist three times, the last time being 2013. The second seed has won the title five times over the last decade, the last time being in 2013, and they were a losing finalist three times in this period, but only once in the last eight renewals

Seeded players have dominated the tournament over the last decade and a player seeded no higher than three won the last ten titles. A seeded player no higher than twelve was a losing finalist eight times over the last decade, including the last five finals. Outside the top four seeds the only other seeded players to be a losing finalist over the last decade were the sixth and 12th seeds (2009 and 2010) and since then only Federer, Djokovic and Murray have contested the men’s final.

Last year defending champion and top seed Djokovic became the first player to defend the Wimbledon title since Roger Federer last achieved the feat back in 2007. He is a shade of odds on to defend his title this year and if he continues to play at the level that won him the Australian and French Open’s it will be very difficult to stop him reaching his fourth straight final and winning a third consecutive title. However, his draw is far from easy with the likes of third seed Federer, fifth seed Nishikori, sixth seed Raonic, ninth seed Cilic, 20th seed Anderson and 27th seed Sock potential quarter-final and semi-final opponents.

On current form there’s little point in opposing Djokovic in the top-half of the draw with only Raonic, who he is drawn to meet in the quarter-finals, looking capable of causing an upset if they did meet at this stage. Raonic performed well at Queens recently where he reached the final and just lost a close three setter against Murray. He’s a former semi-finalist and now has Wimbledon legend John McEnroe on his coaching team, which is sure to bring about further improvement.

There is one bet that does stand out in the top-half of the draw and that’s Marin Cilic to win Second quarter (8/1). He reached the semi-finals at Queens where he lost a close three setter against Murray, looks to have a safe route to the quarter-finals with doubts surrounding fifth seed Nishikori’s fitness as he’s returning from a rib injury.

His potential opponents at the quarter-final stage could be Federer, Monfils, Simon or Dimitrov and on recent form he has every chance of beating any of this quartet if he is close to full fitness. You may also want to consider trading Cilic on the Exchanges at odds of 140.0 and above, as if he does reach the semi-finals his price will have shortened enough to cash out on a decent profit.

In the bottom half of the draw second seed Andy Murray (already advised Ante Post 9/2) is the stand out player, especially now he has Lendl back on his coaching team. He impressed winning a fifth Queens’s title recently and he has a winnable quarter, with the main dangers looking like 15th seed Kyrgios who he’s drawn to meet in the fourth round, and potentially seventh seed Gasquet, 12th seed Tsonga or 18th seed Isner at the quarter-final stage.

Murray may face tougher opposition at the semi-final stage with the likes of fourth seed Wawrinka, eighth seed Thiem, who won the title at Stuttgart recently, tenth seed Berdych and 24th seed Zverev who reached the final at Halle recently, all potential semi-final opponents from the Third quarter of the draw.

Wimbledon Women’s Draw

The women’s tournament usually throws up more surprises than the men’s in terms of seeding, however, looking back over the last decade the title and final has been dominated by only six current active players. Serena Williams lifted the Venus Rosewater trophy five times in this period, sister Venus three times and was a losing finalist once. Kvitova has won the trophy twice and Radwanska and Lisicki were all losing finalists once during third period.

The top two seeds surprisingly have never performed well at SW19 over the last decade with the top seed lifting the trophy only three times in this period (Twice Serena 2015 and 2010 and Mauresmo 2006) and they have never been a losing finalist in this period. The second seed has performed no better over the last decade winning one of the last ten titles (Serena 2009) and they have never been a losing finalist in this period.

Seeded players in general have dominated the final over the last decade and a player seeded no higher than 23 won the last ten titles and a player seeded no higher than 10 won the last seven. A player seeded no higher than ten won eight of the last ten titles and no player seeded higher than 23 has won the title during this period (Bartoli 15 2013 and Venus Williams 23 2007 the only two players outside top ten to win title during this period). Also, a player seeded no higher than 23 was a losing finalist over the last decade; five were top ten players and the other five were seeded between 18 and 23, including the last three finalists.

Serena heads the women’s draw as top-seed and while she has not been as dominant in 2016 as previous years, she is still the bookies favourite given her record at SW19 and because she has reached the final of both Grand Slams (Australian Open lost to Kerber and French Open lost to Muguruza). With the top-two seeds having such a poor record at SW19 it’s worth opposing Serena as she’s not played a competitive tournament in the build-up and there were signs at the French Open she’s not the force of old.

Based on the statistics over the last decade its worth looking for a top-ten player outside the top-two and a player seeded between 15-23. In the top half of the draw Britain’s Johanna Konta seeded 16 is worth a shot to win the second quarter (12/1) and for the more adventurous she can be backed at (80/1) for the tournament.

She warmed up well for Wimbledon reaching the semi-finals at Eastbourne last week and on her day she is more than capable of beating potential third and fourth round opponents Cibulkova seeded 19, Radwanska seeded 3 or Garcia seeded 30 and at the quarter-final stage the likes of Bencic seeded seven, Kvitova seeded 10 or possibly Strycova seeded 24 or Petkovic seeded 32.

From the bottom half of the draw ninth seed Madison Keys (12/1) stands out as Muguruza’s main challenger. She warmed up well for Wimbledon winning the title at Birmingham and should hold no fear over the likes of fourth seed Kerber, fifth seed Halep and 23rd seed Ivanovic, none of whom are renowned for their grass court prowess. The main danger could be 15th seed Pliskova, who won Eastbourne last week, but that could be her downfall as she will no doubt be more fatigued than Keys if they did meet at the quarter-final stage.

Given the quality of the opposition in the fourth quarter of the draw second seed Muguruza (11/2) has to be respected, even though the record of the second seed over the last decade does not inspire confidence, and she flopped at Mallorca on grass as the top-seed recently. She reached the final last year, is clearly the best player on the women’s tour at present having won the French Open at a canter and if she can reproduce that level of form this year will be extremely difficult to beat over the next fortnight.

Wimbledon First Round Match Betting and Trading

From a first round match betting perspective I think Isner, Tomic, Vesely and Seppi should win their first round encounters and the accumulator can be backed at just over 5/1. From a first round trading perspective I think the following players are worth opposing on the exchanges; Granollers (1.36), Monaco (1.22), Fognini (1.3), Johnson (1.16), Nishikori (1.09), Karolina Pliskova (1.25), Brengle (1.28) and Svitolina (1.33).

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