IT was the predictable procession for the vast majority of the favourites in round four of the men’s singles on Monday, with the only one to really do anything as an underdog being the one I suggested, Guido Pella, against Milos Raonic.
Unfortunately I chose the wrong bet to side with Pella in in that match, with the Argentine battler coming back from two sets down to take out the Canadian.
So, we move on to quarter finals day, and we have seen a fair few upsets in Wimbledon men’s quarter finals in recent years though, with 29% of the underdogs winning in the last six years and 42% in the last three years.
There have also been a lot of tie breaks in this round, with 67% of the matches featuring at least one in the last six years (83% in the last three years).
And there’s a fair chance that we’ll see one or two in the clash between Sam Querrey and Rafa Nadal, with four of their five clashes having featured at least one – on clay and outdoor hard.
On grass over the best of five sets the likelihood is surely higher and Querrey has held his own deal 98.7% of the time so far this Wimbledon (Nadal 94.9%).
Obviously this is a tougher assignment for Querrey than anything he’s faced so far and he’ll need to step it up a few notches on the rather passive at times display that he produced against Tennys Sandgren.
Querrey was too content just to rally at times and he’ll need to be much more aggressive against Nadal, who he played superbly against in the Acapulco final of 2017 when Querrey won in straight sets.
Nadal described Querrey’s performance that day as “almost reaching perfection” and what are the chances of Querrey hitting those heights again versus Nadal in a Wimbledon quarter final on a far bigger stage?
Pretty unlikely I’d have thought, but we know he has the game to really take it to Rafa where Nick Kyrgios and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga really didn’t, yet an unfit and rather reactive Kyrgios took Nadal to a fourth set.
What has been good about Querrey so far has been his serve, backhand and willingness to approach the net and if he can play loose and combine all those elements on the day then he has a shot of the upset.
Anything less won’t be good enough and Nadal has never lost in a Wimbledon quarter final in the six he’s played so far (31-7 win/loss in major quarter finals).
It’d be very disappointing if Querrey limped to defeat in the manner that Tsonga did and over 36.5 total games at slight odds-against looks the bet here.
Should Querrey pull off the win he’d face the winner of Roger Federer’s clash with Kei Nishikori and while Nishi might well be competitive here I’m not sure I can see him besting Federer over five sets on the grass of Wimbledon.
Nishikori did beat Fed in an awful match (one of many) at the O2 at the end of last season when Federer hit 34 unforced errors in two sets, but this’ll be a different Fed than at that glorified exhibition.
Federer has held serve 83.7% of the time and broken 26.5% of the time against Nishikori on all surfaces and Kei’s serve just doesn’t do enough for him against the elite players most of the time.
Nishi has held only 73.5% of the time against Federer in their 10-match series (7-3 to Federer) and won 66% of points on his first serve and 50% on his second and that means he has to play superbly off the ground to compensate.
He might just do that, but I’m not sure this post wrist surgery Nishikori has it in him and I’d probably take Fed to win this one 3-1 at a price of 3.60.
And it’s a similar situation in the clash between Novak Djokovic and David Goffin, with a classy operator that just lacks a bit on serve, taking on an elite opponent.
Goffin has got a lot out of his relatively weak delivery this grass swing, holding 85.8% of the time, and he’s an excellent ball striker when he’s in a confident frame of mind, as he appears to be right now.
After recovering from injury again Goffin seems to be more or less back to his best and if he does serve well he can extend Djokovic to four sets or maybe even better, but has to get the maximum from that delivery.
When he dipped to 49% of first serves in play in round three against Daniil Medvedev he just about saw it through in five tough sets and around 50% won’t be good enough against Djokovic.
A good serving day can see Goffin take a set at least and against the 3-1 appeals here at 3.90.
But I think Guido Pella will find it very tough going indeed against Roberto Bautista Agut after the effort that Pella has put into his four matches here so far.
All barring the Kevin Anderson win have been battles and for a player that relies on his durability and movement and consistency to win matches he’ll surely be at a big disadvantage against RBA.
The Spaniard also relies on his consistency, but he’s played five-and-a-half sets fewer than Pella in a cruise through to the last eight and his flat hitting on low bouncing grass will be awkward for Pella.
The last time this pair met Pella ran put of gas rather quickly and was crushed in the end on clay and he’s actually held serve only 47% of the time in his two matches against RBA.
It doesn’t look a good match-up for Pella on grass anyway, but with five sets more in his legs and an emotional five setter on Monday as well Pella looks to have a very big job on his hands.
So, let’s see if Querrey can continue what's been a good tournament for us by shocking Nadal and I’ll take the over 36.5 games as my one bet on quarter finals day.
- 1 point win over 36.5 games in Querrey v Nadal (2.04, Unibet)