FORMER champ Venus Williams faces one-time runner-up Garbine Muguruza in a battle for the women's singles title on Saturday.
We start on Centre Court at 2pm and I'm expecting another rain-free day so again there should be no need for the roof.
As expected Roger Federer proved too good for Tomas Berdych in the men’s semi-final on Friday but again we didn’t get the rub of the green, with Federer a couple of points away from a 5-2 lead in set one but it ended up going to a tie-break instead.
And despite getting to two tie-breaks the Czech was unable to take the set we needed from him and Federer makes the Wimbledon final without dropping a set for the first time since 2008.
The key trends in the women’s final over the last 10 years are that nine of the 10 matches ended in two sets and only one of the 10 featured a tiebreak.
Six favourites in the last 10 years have won, with the most recent underdog being the unforgettable Marion Bartoli in 2013 with her glorious win over Sabine Lisicki.
Garbine Muguruza v Venus Williams
This one is a real pick em and as if betting on WTA wasn’t difficult enough we have a final that looks finely balanced indeed between two powerful hitters in great form.
Williams has really rolled back the years this fortnight and she was excellent against British hope Johanna Konta in Thursday’s semi-final with a superb display that was too good for a rather nervy home player.
But Konta’s nerves were nothing compared to those of Muguruza’s opponent Magda Rybarikova who offered very little in a tame loss and of that match I did say beforehand the Slovak may well suffer with nerves.
So we need to look further back for the last test Muguruza encountered and that was from Angelique Kerber in the fourth round which was a competitive clash the Spaniard just proved the stronger in.
Kerber wasn’t far away from winning that one and I’m not sure I’d have Muguruza the favourite here but there’s very little in the prices and that could all change before the start time.
There’s only 1.6% in their service hold/break stats over the last one year (11 matches) for Muguruza and last 10 for Williams, with the Spaniard on a total of 113.6 (81% holds/32.6% breaks) and the American on 112 (81.1% holds/30.9% breaks).
During those 11 matches (10 for Williams) both players have only faced five top-50 ranked opponents, so it’s worth a look at how they each fare versus top-20 opposition.
Venus is 3-2 on grass in the last two years, while Muguruza is 7-1, so advantage to the Spaniard based on that.
In their career head-to-head series it’s 3-1 to Williams but it doesn’t tell us a great deal as the only one in the last two years was on clay (Muguruza won it) and prior to that there was a 2015 retirement and the others were in 2014 and 2013.
Their performance in finals shows Muguruza is 3-3 at main level, while Williams in 5-4 in the same time frame (2014 to present day).
Not much to go on there either and looking at their stats from 2017 on all surfaces there also isn’t much to split them with Muguruza on a total of 109.9 and Williams on 111.1.
On the stats from their six matches each this week both ladies have held serve over 90% of the time but it’s Muguruza who’s broken serve 10% more often at 38.3% and taken more of her break point opportunities (46.8% versus 34%).
But really there’s so little in this one that it’s tough to come down on one side or the other in the match odds market. It’s a 50/50 call and priced as such.
Looking at the side markets, Muguruza’s record of not playing a single tie-break on grass has now extended to an amazing 43 sets so as tight as this one looks on paper it’s hard to bet on there being a tie-break in it.
So I think we have to go against the trends in this one and put our money on a three-set final.
It’s got the makings of being one of the best women’s singles final for some time if they both carry their form over to Saturday and odds against on over 2.5 sets looks the call.
Sean Calvert's Tip
- Over 2.5 sets at 11-10, Unibet