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  • Chris Sobey

Tennis


Tennis

Wimbledon is now down to the third round stage and on Wednesday and Thursday there were a handful of upsets on the men’s side and plenty more on the women’s, including the defeat of another tournament favourite after Kvitova crashed out. Men’s seeds to lose were 14th seed Pouille against Janowicz in four sets on Wednesday (as advised) and on Thursday 17th seed Sock crashed out against qualifier Ofner from Austria who is only aged 21 and ranked 277 in the world. Marathon man Isner ranked 23 lost against the diminutive Sela in five sets, the battle of the crocks between 29th seed Del Potro and Gulbis went the way of the Latvian and 32nd seed Lorenzi lost against talented youngster American Donaldson aged 20 In four sets.

On Wednesday 11th seed and tournament favourite Kvitova crashed out against the talented young American Brengle in three sets, 15th seed Vesnina found former world number one Azarenka way too good losing 6-3 6-3 and Azarenka looked sharp considering she’s had little preparation after her 12 month lay-off after having a baby. Madison Keys seeded 17, who recently had wrist surgery, not surprisingly found the diminutive and n-form Italian Giorgi too good. Sevastova seeded 18, who was one of my Quarter tips, found Britain’s Heather Watson way too good and the British number two looked really sharp winning 6-0 6-4. The experienced Strycova seeded 22 surprisingly lost against the young Japanese player Osaka and Suarez-Navarro seeded 25 was sent packing by the impressive Peng from China 6-2 6-2.

The biggest upset of the women’s tournament so far came on Thursday when third seed, new favourite and Eastbourne winner Karolina Pliskova was knocked out by the in-form Rybarikova, who is ranked 384 in the world. Rybarikova’s ranking was misleading however, as she only returned from injury this year after not playing since last year’s Wimbledon. Her form leading up to Wimbledon was arguably as good, if not better than her more illustrious opponents, as she won two competitive grass challengers at Surbiton and Ilkley and reached the semi-finals at Nottingham.

Other seeds to lose on Thursday were 12th seed Mladenovic from a set up against American Riske and 29th seed Kasatkina in straight sets against Kontaveit, which was not a surprise as the young Estonian impressed winning 's-Hertogenbosch in the build-up to Wimbledon.

Looking ahead to today’s and Saturday’s matches from a betting perspective Tsonga seeded 12 and Querrey met here back in 2014 and it proved to be one of the all-time Wimbledon five set classics, which Tonga eventually won 14-12 in the fifth set. Both players arrive here in solid form so we can expect a similarly close match again today and opposing Tsonga (1.34) has to be considered as does backing Over the Games, which should hit over 40 comfortably.

I believe Britain’s new number three Aljaz Bedene will continue his good form today against lefty Muller (1.35). Bedene pushed Muller close at 's-Hertogenbosch recently only losing 6-3 3-6 6-4 and while Muller was in imperious form during the grass swing he has played a lot of matches, had a really tough five setter in hot conditions last time out, which could easily catch up with him today, and if Bedene can push him close again today I think Muller may run out of steam.

On Saturday it looks like the men’s matches will go to form and the higher ranked players like third seed Federer, second seed Djokovic, sixth seed Raonic and tenth seed Zverev should all progress to the fourth round without too much drama against their lower ranked opponents. There are a number of potentially exciting women’s matches today and tomorrow and today Azarenka against Britain’s Heather Watson, French Open winner and 13th seed Ostapenko against Giorgi and second seed Halep against Peng from China could prove to be and also through up some surprises.

Heather Watson is famous for nearly beating Serena on centre court and if she can get one of the show courts again and play like that today against Azarenka (1.44) we should be in for a real treat of high quality tennis. Azarenka leads the head-to-head 4-0, but Watson has the form and momentum leading in to this match and if she can maintain that form today I think she will delight the home fans, defeat Azarenka for the first time and reach the fourth round. French Open winner and 13th seed Ostapenko (1.64) has continued to show her battling qualities and never say die attitude on the grass courts of Wimbledon, but her luck may run out today against the talented young Italian Giorgi, who plays aggressive tennis like Ostapenko, and is definitely more experienced on grass, which could prove the difference between the two today.

Second seed Halep (1.3) faces veteran Peng for the first time today and i believe Peng, who has been playing some of the best tennis of her career this year, is more than capable of causing the upset as she has the game and experience to outfox Halep who I feel will still be suffering deep down from losing the French Open final in such crushing circumstances. On Saturday I think top-seed Kerber (1.14) is worth opposing against young American Rogers, as she looked like she was really struggling with injury when scraping past Flipkens on Thursday. Rogers has impressed so far this week, especially yesterday coming from a set down to defeat veteran Safarova 6-7 6-4 6-3. Fifth seed Wozniacki (1.7) met Estonian Kontaveit last year at Nottingham and lost a close three setter and it would be no surprise if that result repeated today.

The all American clash between 24th seed Vandewhege (1.44) and Riske could easily see another upset, as all the expectation will be on Vandewhege as the favourite. However, I think she is suspect temperamentally and the head-to-head stands at 4-4, Riske won their only encounter on grass back in 2011 and won their most recent encounter this year on a fast hard court in Dubai, both in straight sets, which suggests she could have a much better chance than the odds give her.


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