IT was a successful first week for our bets at Wimbledon 2019, so let's hope for more of the same as we get to the business end.
Round four of the men’s singles has been a poor one for betting underdogs lately, with just 20% of them winning in the last six years (none at all last year), but there have been a lot of tie breaks: 63% of the matches have featured at least one between 2013 and 2018 inclusive.
The weather looks okay on Monday in the Wimbledon area, so we should get all eight matches in without any problems, if the forecast is correct.
Our quarter three hope, Sam Querrey, leads the way of all 16 of the men left in the singles draw in terms of winners to unforced errors ratio, with a +0.84 mark, just ahead of Roger Federer on +0.82 and Milos Raonic on +0.67.
Querrey faces compatriot Tennys Sandgren, who I said was a tempting proposition at 3.45 against Fabio Fognini, and it would certainly be a kick in the teeth if our failed Eastbourne outright took out our Wimbledon one.
Querrey is 24-4 win/loss as a sub-1.30 shot on grass at main level, winning his last 17 in a row since a horrible loss to Dudi Sela from a seemingly unassailable position in Newport back in 2012.
He’s 11-0 at Wimbledon as a sub-1.30 chance and I would hope his extra experience and quality on a grass court would give him the edge over Sandgren, but it’s hard to be overly confident with Querrey.
Kei Nishikori will be delighted that Mikhail Kukushkin overcame Jan-Lennard Struff in round three, with Nishikori holding a formidable record over the Kazakh.
Nishi is 9-0 against Kuku, winning the last 14 sets in a row on all surfaces and holding 86% of the time versus Kukushkin, who’s only held his own deal 65% of the time in those matches.
So, it’s hard to see an upset in the making there, and the same goes for the matches involving Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and probably Roger Federer as well.
Nadal is surely likely to be able to expose the Joao Sousa backhand as he did with that of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the previous round, while Ugo Humbert doesn’t look capable of doing a great deal against Djokovic.
Matteo Berrettini was a little fortunate to come through against Diego Schwartzman in five sets in the last round and will need a stellar performance and a below par one from Federer to progress here.
Federer hasn’t been great so far and has lost two of his last four against the big servers on my list at Wimbledon, but I’m not sure that the grass is fast enough here for Berrettini to cause the upset.
Interestingly, in the 13 matches Federer has played at Wimbledon against the big servers on my list (10-3 win/loss) only two have gone over 10 games in set one (nine have ended either 6-4 or 6-3) and only one since 2003.
Fed tends to just block the ball back into play against big servers like Berrettini and get the rally started and I’m not sure that Berrettini is playing well enough to win enough of them.
Federer 6-3 in set one at 4.90 is a fair wager in this one.
Guido Pella vs Milos Raonic
On a day that looks very tricky for value seekers indeed, I’m just going to take Pella to make Raonic work hard at the outset of their fourth round clash.
It’s a first career meeting and it’s likely to take Raonic a while to get to grips with the lefty ball of Pella, who is a perfect 3-0 on grass against the trio of Kevin Anderson, Marin Cilic and Marius Copil, holding serve 84.3% of the time and winning 59% of his second serve points in those three matches.
That latter stat suggests that Pella should be more than capable of holding his own against Raonic, who hasn’t been tested at all so far in three pretty comfortable matches.
Reilly Opelka was poor against Raonic in round three and cited an injury as the reason he pretty much gave up after set one of that encounter, but Pella should be infinitely more difficult to shake off so easily.
Raonic is currently running at 0.43 tie breaks per set and 13.7% breaks of serve in his last 10 matches on grass at main level and versus lefties on grass his opening sets have ended: 7-6, 4-6, 7-5, 7-6, 7-5.
The opposition was hardly frightening either: Gunneswaran, Lopez, Broady, Ramos and Vesely.
Over 10.5 games in set one at slight odds-against or over 12.5 at 2.45 or set one 7-6 to Raonic at 4.10 look the bets here.
Elsewhere, I’d expect David Goffin to be too much for Fernando Verdasco on grass at the moment, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Benoit Paire made Roberto Bautista Agut work quite hard if the enigmatic Frenchman is in the mood.
The forehand of Paire is too unreliable for my liking in a match-up like this one, where RBA (assuming he isn’t injured after he took a tumble in his last match) will give him nothing and too much would have to fall Paire’s way for me to risk him – and that’s without the consideration of what mood he’ll be in on the day.
So, just two small bets for me on what looks likely to be another Wimbledon round four dominated by the favourites.