WE got off to a nice start on day one of Wimbledon 2019, with odds-against wins for Alexei Popyrin on the handicap, Guido Pella and the over games in Jiri Vesely’s win over Alexander Zverev.
Those who risked the 3.05 on tie break king Paolo Lorenzi also collected a nice reward, but Peter Gojowczyk didn’t find the one set we needed from him against Roberto Bautista Agut.
Again, there weren’t too many underdog winners, with Pella and Vesely two of only seven in 32 matches (22%) which is about average for round one of Wimbledon.
My value options on day two include: James Ward, Denis Istomin, Yasutaka Uchiyama, Dennis Novak, over games in Matteo Berrettini/Aljaz Bedene, and set one tie breaks in the matches featuring Bernard Tomic and Nick Kyrgios.
Matteo Berrettini vs Aljaz Bedene
Berrettini has stormed through the grass swing so far, virtually blitzing all before him, until he ran into David Goffin in the Halle semi final.
The Italian has held serve 97.9% of the time and broken 18.9% of the time in his nine matches this grass swing at main level and if he keeps that up he’s a contender for the title.
It seems unlikely he’ll carry on in that vein for long, but he’s certainly a threat to all if he does, however the layers have him a tad short for this clash against Bedene, who can hold his own on grass.
It’ll never be Bedene’s best surface, but he proved he can stay focused against service bombs on grass when beating Ivo Karlovic here in 2017 in four tie breaks and an 8-6 fifth set.
I was courtside in Budapest when this pair met on the clay a few months back and Bedene should have won the opening set there on the tie break before fading in set two.
Indeed, Bedene has held serve 87% of the time on grass against the big servers in my database and I wonder if we’ll see some nerves early on from Berrettini, who hasn’t produced yet at major level, losing four of his last five matches, including as a 1.50 shot at the French to Casper Ruud.
The 3.95 about a tie break in set one looks good here, as does the 3.65 about a 3-1 win for Berrettini, or the over 35.5 games at 1.86.
Similar bets in the matches between Nick Kyrgios and Jordan Thompson and Bernard Tomic and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga look fair options on Tuesday as well.
Kyrgios has played at least one tie break in 13 of his 16 completed matches at Wimbledon and 0.43 tie breaks per set so far on grass (0.29 on all surfaces at main level this season).
Much of that is down to NK barely trying to break serve a lot of the time and it’ll be interesting to see if a clash with a fellow Aussie followed by a meet with his good pal Rafa Nadal inspires him to some sort of an effort.
Thompson has held serve 90.4% of the time on grass this season and 2-1 about a set one tie break looks decent enough, but the concern here is that Thompson looked cooked in the Antalya semis the other day and may not have much left to give, as Lorenzo Sonego didn’t on Monday.
So, I prefer the set one tie break between Tomic and Tsonga at a bigger price of 3.30: Tomic was in good serving form last week in Antalya, hitting 1.25 aces per game, and he holds serve around 87% of the time on grass.
He doesn’t break much at around 15%, which is roughly the same as Tsonga, who holds 92% of the time on this surface and in meetings between the pair there have been 0.43 tie breaks per set.
On day two with the courts still slick I’d expect few breaks early on there unless Tomic calls it a day mentally early on, which is always possible I suppose.
Dennis Novak has been playing some very good tennis on grass courts lately and has every chance against Marton Fucsovics, who, despite winning Wimbledon Juniors and the Ilkley Challenger in the past, has struggled lately on grass.
Novak beat Lucas Pouille here (and was derailed by a rain break against Milos Raonic) and loves the big stage, but he was a 4.06 shot against Pouille and his price is a tad short for me here.
James Ward is another possible underdog option against Nikoloz Basilashvili, who has had a poor season and who has a 6-11 win/loss record on grass at main level and a weak 88.1 serve/hold combined total in those matches.
But I prefer taking a chance on Yasutaka Uchiyama, who qualified very well in a good match that I watched a fair bit of in Roehampton on Thursday against Jason Kubler.
Uchiyama was the more powerful of the pair in that clash and hit 57 winners that day, while also winning 554% on his second serve and I saw enough to make me think he’s in with a good chance against Tennys Sandgren.
Sandgren really disappointed last week in Eastbourne against a fatigued Gilles Simon, who was eased aside by Thomas Fabbiano the next round, and he’s yet to show anything much on grass, despite looking like he has a game that might go well on the surface.
Perhaps his movement isn’t up to it on grass and I’m happy to test him out by taking Uchiyama as a 2.35 underdog in this one.
Denis Istomin has been in weak form pretty much all season, and that’s why he’s underdog against Cameron Norrie, who’s shown little on grass to suggest he can be much of a player on it.
Istomin often goes through lengthy patches of poor form (he’d won 9 of his 26 matches in 2018 before he popped up and made the Kitzbuhel final) and he’s certainly in bad form right now, but his very flat hitting against someone like Norrie, who likes time and a big swing at the ball may be very effective.
I’ll take a small chance on Istomin at 2.45 in that one.
A few favourites that I wouldn’t fancy backing at the prices include Laslo Djere, Gilles Simon, Denis Shapovalov, Steve Johnson and John Isner.
Djere has lost all four of his senior matches on grass, but plays Guido Andreozzi, who’s 2-7 on this surface, so it’s hard to have much faith in the Argentine there.
Simon was crushed by Salvatore Caruso at the French Open and will surely be at least a bit fatigued after a draining Queen’s run and then Eastbourne a few days afterwards, but again Caruso is very inexperienced on grass at this level.
Shapovalov has shown little aptitude for grass, but faces an opponent in Ricardas Berankis, who hasn’t played since the French Open (if you can count that ‘effort’) due to a foot or ankle injury.
Isner hasn’t played since Miami back in March due to a foot injury, but Casper Ruud has played one career match on grass at senior level, so we’re guessing a bit with him.
Johnson takes on Albert Ramos, who has beaten some good grass players in his time here at Wimbledon (Troicki as a 3.74 underdog, Pospisil as a 4.77 underdog, Istomin as a 6.10 underdog and the likes of Thompson and Rublev), so I wouldn’t be touching Johnson this short.
Ramos has struggled even on clay lately though, so perhaps he won’t be as much up for the fight as he has been here in years gone by.
So, again, lots of options, but I’ll take another four bets on day two.