July 6: Sean Calvert’s Wimbledon Day 4 Tips


THERE have been only two underdog winners – Jerzy Janowicz and Ruben Bemelmans – in the men’s singles second round so I’d expect at least a few more in the 16 remaining matches on Thursday.

We can safely rule out Adam Pavlasek and Dusan Lajovic and it’s hard to see Francis Tiafoe doing it either but there are some with chances.

Layers have made Grigor Dimitrov much too short and 1.14 at Unibet is a tad insulting to Marcos Baghdatis who has the ability to make a match of this if he serves well.

It’s always a caveat one has to add when considering Baghdatis, as his first serve percentage can be very low too often, but he was at 56% and hit 17 aces in round one against the admittedly weak James Ward so his serve seems in good order.

He also seems to have recovered from a worrying incident in Antalya where the boiling conditions got to him and he slumped to the floor in a heap and the price here must be based largely on the 7-1 head-to-head in favour of Dimitrov.

In those eight meetings on all surfaces there’s little between them in terms of service points won (67.4% to 64.3%) and it’s just been Dimitrov who has taken his chances better at 34.5% of break points converted to Baggy’s 27.9%.

The Bulgarian has never been anywhere near as low as 1.14, with his shortest price against the Cypriot being the 1.385 in Bercy at the end of last season when Baggy retired.

On the pure grass-court stats over their last 10 matches Dimitrov’s stats have been boosted by a heavy win over Diego Schwartzman in round one here but he’s still behind Baghdatis on grass hold/break numbers.

Baggy’s level in Antalya wasn’t great but it was insanely hot there but even so his only realistic chance of winning this one lies in a fast start and the 3.65 about him winning set one looks generous.

He’s won the opener four times in those eight meetings so in all Dimitrov looks a poor price to win set one at 1.29.

I’m keen to oppose David Ferrer after Richard Gasquet beat himself against the ageing Spaniard in round one but I’m not sure that a Steve Darcis with a dodgy back coming off a five-setter is the time to take Ferrer on.

Darcis’ slice and dice game probably isn’t that well suited to beating Ferrer on grass anyway so I’ll let that one go.

If Gilles Simon dredges up something like his best form he has the nous to make life uncomfortable for Dominic Thiem but I’ve got little confidence in Simon these days and his recent record against the Austrian is poor.

I did have a chuckle to myself when I read Juan Martin Del Potro’s apparently not sarcastic assessment of Ernests Gulbis’ grass-court game and I had to read it twice to make sure he wasn’t joking.

“Everybody knows how good is Ernests on this surface,” Delpo said. “He has a good day, he can beat all the guys on tour.”

Perhaps the only grass match he saw Gulbis play was here in 2012 when the Latvian beat Tomas Berdych in three tiebreaks because his record on the green stuff is pretty dire.

Since that Berdych win five years ago Gulbis has two top-50 wins in completed matches on grass and I’m tempted to go no tiebreaks here at 2.12 or Delpo 3-0 at 1.90.

John Isner faces an opponent who’s pretty much his opposite in many ways in Dudi Sela, with the 6ft 10in Isner facing the 5ft 9in Sela and the American plays 0.52 tie breaks per set on grass while Sela plays 0.04.

I’m tempted by the 4.33 on no tiebreaks with Sela’s serve one of the more breakable around, even for Isner, with under 39.5 games another option here.

Another one that looks much too short is Mischa Zverev who may find Mikhail Kukushkin a tricky opponent to see off easily as the likes of Rafa Nadal and Andy Murray have discovered at Wimbledon in the past.

Kuku has had some terrible luck with draws at this tournament, with Murray, Nadal, Roger Federer and Kei Nishikori all faced here from 2011 to 2016.

And he did pretty well in all of them, taking a set off Nadal and covering today’s handicap mark of +5.5 games against Murray and playing a tiebreak against Federer, so even the elite haven’t found him a guy to brush aside easily.

Zverev hasn’t found the Kazakh that easy to deal with either, losing two of their three career clashes and winning the other one in a decider and on grass Kuku’s flat hits off both wings can be effective.

The key thing with Kukushkin is fitness, as he’s often taped up to the max on court, and struggling with some ailment or other but he seemed in decent nick in round one.

Zverev was probably a little flattered in the result of his win against a “bored” Bernie Tomic in round one and we saw again on Wednesday with Gilles Muller taken to the brink by Rosol that it’s not easy for these net rushers to play their best on this slowish grass. I like the +5.5 games on Kukushkin here at 2.08.

Elsewhere, Gael Monfils should have too many weapons for Kyle Edmund but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Mikhail Youzhny made a match of it against Milos Raonic. The Russian has a good record against big servers and beat Raonic on indoor hard towards the end of last season.  The 2.38 on +2.5 sets on Youzhny is worth considering here.

Sean Calvert’s Day Four Tips

  • 1.5pts Kukushkin +5.5 games to beat Zverev at 11-10 (Unibet)
  • 1pt Baghdatis to win set one at 27-10 (Unibet)
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