IT'S quarter-finals day in the women’s singles at Wimbledon with this wide open tournament still very much up for grabs.

Current favourite is, well, it’s hard to call between Coco Vandeweghe, Jo Konta and Garbine Muguruza, with the rest not too far behind.

I lost my women’s outright Angelique Kerber to a three-set defeat by Muguruza in what was a decent match and surely Kerber’s best of the season but in the end Muguruza had too much power.

On the men’s side Roberto Bautista-Agut was comfortably beaten by a good performance (by all accounts) from Marin Cilic alhough it’s impossible for me to say as I can't focus properly on more than one match at a time on “Manic Monday” so I’ll have to take that on trust.

Rather typically both the good-priced, but risky “no tie-breaks” suggestions came in very comfortably while Alexander Zverev lost a match in which he was easily the better player against Milos Raonic in five sets.

In short, a dismal day for both tennis viewers and for my bets and one that followed the mathematical average of more or less 1.8 underdog winners in the men's round four.

Not that it’s completed yet as my remaining outright Novak Djokovic got bumped from day seven when yet again the insane scheduling of this tournament couldn’t cope with a match that went long.

How it will cope with the forecast rain all day on Tuesday is anyone's guess. The roof could well be on all day.


It’s been slim pickings for value seekers in this round of the women’s singles of late, with only four of the last 20 quarter-final matches going the way of the outsider.

That’s a rate of 0.8 per year so if that trend continues we’ll be lucky to find one underdog winner from Tuesday’s four matches, although this year we have four matches that could all conceivably go either way which is far from the norm.

We’re more likely to find a “tie-break played” winner with seven of the last 20 quarter-finals featuring at least on so a price of over 2.86 would be decent based on that trend.

Johanna Konta v Simona Halep

I like the idea of siding with Halep and tie-break played in this one with both wagers looking to be decent value at 1.98 and 3.75 respectively.

Halep plays a fair amount of breakers on grass at 0.25 per set over her last 10 matches on the surface and two of her four matches at Wimbledon 2017 have involved one.

I’m still not comfortable with Konta being classed as the (narrow) favourite to win this tournament and as impressive as her recent grass court stats are (82.1% holds/35.1% breaks for a 117.2 total) she’s yet to convince me she’s a Grand Slam winner in the making – on grass at least.

That mechanical, methodical style doesn’t sit well with me on grass and she’s only played two top-20 ranked opponents in the 14 matches that make up her 12-month grass stats above.

She’s been severely tested already by Donna Vekic and Caroline Garcia this tournament and you have to wonder how much is left in the tank after a lot of grass-court tennis this swing.

Frankly I doubt both of these players’ abilities to get over the line at a major with Konta unproven at best and Halep time and again allowing nerves to overcome her in big moments – not least in the French Open Final.

But quarter-finals are commonplace for the Romanian these days and the least she expects surely at the moment, with the really big names out of contention, and I wouldn’t expect nerves to be an issue for Halep.

It’s the best holder of serve left in the tournament versus the best breaker of serve left in the tournament, with Halep up at 41.8% in that category, and their career series is tied at 2-2.

Konta will need to serve well to keep Halep from punishing her second serve, as the Romanian has done in their meetings so far (Konta didn’t win a single point on her second serve on clay in Fed Cup recently), and the first serve is where her advantage lies against Halep.

Both of their hard-court clashes have been tight on the scoreboard – and Halep should have won the one in Miami in March in straight sets but blew it at the death. Where have we seen that before?

Well, Halep was 5-1 ahead in the final set of their Wuhan clash also so surely she’ll get over the line this time?

In the other matches Magdalena Rybarikova’s 2-0 career series lead over Coco Vandeweghe seems a touch irrelevant as one was years ago and the other on clay. No tie-breaks seems likely there with two players who play 0.04 and 0.05 breakers per set on grass clashing.

Rybarikova’s run here is the first time she’s passed the last 32 in a Grand Slam so she’s a doubt as to whether her nerves will stand the occasion on Court 1 at Wimbledon.

I’d side with the American in that one and also Muguruza looks a likely winner over Sveta Kuznetsova in another clash between two players who rarely play tie-breaks on grass of late.

Muguruza hasn’t played a single one in her last 39 sets on grass while Sveta has played one in her last 21.

The Spaniard has won three of their four clashes and seems a little more comfortable on this surface than the Russian who last made the quarters here in 2007 and is yet to win a set at this stage of the tournament having lost in straight sets three times.

I might be tempted on Muguruza -2.5 games in that one but it’s questionable value.

I wouldn’t fault anyone wanting to take a chance on Jelena Ostapenko’s attacking game against Venus Williams in what should be an entertaining affair and a first career meeting.

There won’t be much subtlety about this one and Ostapenko’s serve could come under some heavy fire from Venus, with the Latvian’s service hold percentage on grass being a very low 61.4% in her last 10 main level matches on grass.

Venus is a fair bit ahead on the hold/break stats of those last 10 matches on grass, with a total of 108.9 compared to the 100 of Ostapenko, but since when have stats mattered in the case of our 150-1 French Open champion?

It’s another pick 'em and the only two bets I like are to back Halep to win and a punt on the tie-break at a tasty price.

Sean Calvert's Tips

  • Back Halep to beat Konta at evens, Unibet
  • Back over 0.5 tie-breaks in Halep v Konta at 11-4, Unibet

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