Welcome to Wimbledon! Grass “season” ends with my 2nd favorite grand slam tournament and the oldest tennis tournament in the world. I say “season” because it’s really just a month of tennis. Clay gets 2 months leading up the French Open and another month after this fortnight. It’s a shame, because grass tennis is so much fun. Imagine how much fun a few months of this would be? Players would have time to learn the surface and let’s be honest, we have more than enough tennis on hard courts. To make matters even worse, there was no grass tennis last year, so we have only the last few weeks of play to use for evaluation. Grass is unique and with such little experience on surface it can be a tough event for younger players.
You can see the average ages above by tournament an0064 that the players that succeed at Wimbledon are generally older than their counterparts at other grand slams. There are a lot of factors that impact this like experience on the surface, greater physical strength’s impact on serving, and more time having played doubles. Doubles play can be a good indicator because like grass tennis it forces players to be good a volleying and comfortable playing at the net. Let’s keep all of this in mind as we dive into the draw, pick a winner, and hopefully find some value in the outright betting markets.
Is Ashleigh Barty healthy? She retired in the 2nd round of the French Open with a leg injury. I haven’t seen much information, but she has 2 easy matches to start her fortnight and every other day off (eventual rain withstanding) to recover. That could be enough time to work herself back into form, but even if she does the road ahead is a tough one. She is anywhere from 5-1 to 7-1 and the favorite to win the event at most books. I’m happy to pass on that number although she can definitely win this event if she’s healthy and can find her best form.
Coco Vandeweghe, Katerina Siniakova, and Johanna Konta will all be tough outs in the 3rd round for the Australian. The elder Coco looked good qualifying and making the quarterfinals last week in Birmingham. She’s made the quarterfinals at this tournament twice in her career and won ‘s Hertogenbosch in 2016. Siniakova is one of the best doubles players on tour and will be playing in the final of Bad Homburg on Saturday. Konta most recently won the tournament in Nottingham. Coco is 150-1, Siniakova is 150-1, and Konta is 40-1. Those would be intriguing numbers if they weren’t all clustered together and likely to face someone as good as Barty in their 3rd match.
The next section is highlighted by the Strasbourg champion! Oh, and she won the French Open too. Barbora Krejcikova is 33-1 to win her 3rd tournament and 2nd grand slam tournament in a row. To be honest, I think she can do it, but I’m not betting on it. She is the #1 ranked doubles player in the world and has all the tools necessary to succeed on the surface, but just hasn’t had the experience. She hasn’t played on grass since 2017 when she lost in the 2nd round of Wimbledon qualifying 2 & 1 to Destanee Aiava. She is a much different player since then and could rip through this quarter, but I would need a much better price. She’ll likely face Barty and then Azarenka or Kontaveit in the quarterfinals. She will be an underdog to Barty & Azarenka and closely lined with Kontaveit, so just bet her match to match. You should be able to better than what the market is offering now.
With all due respect to the Bianca Andreescu and my good friend Spread’s favorite players(Daria Kasatkina & Jelena Ostapenko) I don’t think anyone from the very bottom section of this quarter is a threat to win Wimbledon this year. BVA is on hold until hard court season. Kasatkina or Ostapenko could make me regret that first sentence and I will be backing them in individual matches, but they’ll have to beat one another, Azarenka or Kontaveit, and likely Barty just to get out of the quarter. Furthermore, their prices aren’t nearly good enough to wager on right now.
Victoria Azarenka took a medical timeout up a break in the 3rd set against Alize Cornet, came back to the match, and won in the 3rd set, but withdraw before her quarterfinal match last week in Bad Hamburg. If she is healthy, she’s a threat to win any grass match unless she’s facing Serena, Petra Kvitova or Simona Halep. The latter is not in the field and the formers sit in other quarters. She is 40-1 to win her first Wimbledon title and her 2rd grand slam title. Her 3rd round opponent, Anett Kontaveit, is playing in the final in Eastbourne on Saturday and is 33-1 to win her first grand slam title. I could certainly see both winning this quarter, but I’ll be backing them in that market or just match to match. The path is too difficult in the quarterfinals and beyond to play those prices.
Elina Svitolina made the semifinals the last time we had this event, but it was a much easier draw that time. She is 50-1 which may catch your eye, but look at hear path. Alison Van Uytvanck is at her best on grass which you can see above in the data. Amanda Anisimova seems be to rounding into form. Paula Badosa just keeps pushing herself to a higher level. Those 3 are 60-1 or betting, a few are even over 100-1 to win this fortnight. The fact that all these women have to duke it out just to make the 4th round means that we shouldn’t be betting on them to win the event at current prices. It’s another of many sections that I’m happy to avoid.
Now, some good news, I found a number I like. Karolina Muchova lost in the quarterfinals to Svitolina in 2019 and will have a chance to avenge that loss if Elina can make it that far. She lost her only grass match this season, but in 3 sets to Kudermetova and I think that’s got the market a little confused. At 40-1 I am adding her to my list of wagers. I expect her to be a strong favorite in her first 3 matches and likely the favorite in her 4th match against the names in the first paragraph. Hopefully these prices hold when quarter markets open, because I’ll look to bet on her there as well.
The bottom half of this quarter is led by Belinda Bencic. She finished 2nd in Berlin and lost in the 2nd round in Eastbourne after her long week. She’s done very well on grass, but not at this event. She either is forced to retire or runs into someone like Azarenka or Kerber. Her first 2 matches should be wins and I expect her to the favorite over the younger Coco. Then things get a little dicey, but at 40-1 I’m happy to add Belinda to my portfolio.
Angelique Kerber has some of the most impressive grass performances of anyone in the WTA. She is strong favorite to win Bad Homburg on Saturday. She won Wimbledon in 2018 beating Serena Williams in the final. This avenged her loss to Serena in Wimbedon finals of 2016. She has arguably the toughest draw in the tournament, but will be a favorite in her first 2 matches, has beaten her 3rd round opponent in the finals here, and then hopefully faces out first 2 outright choices to win the quarter. At 50-1, I’m happy to place a wager on her to win her 2nd Wimbledon.
The reason we have such big numbers on quality players is because Serena Williams, noted mother and 7 time Wimbledon champion, is around 6-1 and the second favorite or favorite to lift the Venus Rosewater Dish again. Anything is possible with her. She made the semifinals in her first event, withdrew, lost to Osaka in the Australian Open semifinals, and more or less coasted through clay season likely in preparation for this event. Serena is clearly not SERENA, but she looked very good in Australia and here serve, power, and play at net give her a chance to win this event this year and maybe even in the next few years. Backing her could be a lot of fun, but it’s a bad idea. This number is far too short given the women she has to beat over the next 2 weeks. She can do it, but I’m actually betting against that happening.
One more thing, Ana Konjuh is 150-1 after qualifying for this tournament. Before elbow surgery at the end of the 2017 season she had won a grass title with 2 more appearances of quarterfinals or better at the WTA level. She also won 3 matches on these courts in 2017 over the 127th, 64th, and 9th ranked players on tour. She lost to Venus Williams who finished 2nd that year. She is only 24 years old and is 21-9 in WTA events and qualifiers in 2021. Let’s add her too.
The good news for Karolina Pliskova is that she is unlikely to face Jessica Pegula in this event. The bad news is that she will meet someone even better in the 4th round. Also, she has to make it to the 4th round. Grass is her best surface, but each of her matches will require her to play good, focused tennis and we’ve yet to see that from her at a grand slam. She is as high as 50-1 in the outright markets, but even at such a high number I’m happy to keep my money in my pocket.
If you have ever wondered why Alison Riske’s ranking is so high and how she keeps getting round 1 entry and even seeding in events take a look at her performances on grass. She is 18-7 on grass at the WTA level since 2018 with a title and 3 quarterfinals, once of which was here in 2019. I wish she were in better form, but at 100-1 I’ll be adding her to our outright wagers. She has a shot to win this quarter and we can extract value even before then if we want.
The biggest obstacle for anyone in the top half of this quarter is Petra Kvitova. She made the semifinals last week in Bad Hamburg which is enough form for her to build on and make a deep run in the tournament. Petra will be a favorite, and mostly a big favorite, in all of her matches until the semifinals and even then that match and the final would be closely lined. She’s around 10-1, as high as 14-1 to win her 3rd Wimbledon title and 5th overall title in the UK on grass. I have her going very far in my bracket, but will not be backing her to win the event. I think the market has her number just about right. At 14-1 there might even be a little value, but not enough for me.
The bottom half of this quarter is probably the easiest eighth of draw. Sofia Kenin has won Mallorca and made the semifinals another time, but even if she were playing well AND over 50-1 to win the event I wouldn’t feel great about it. Even though this section is soft, she will be outmatched as soon as round 3. Veronika Kudermetova is one of my favorite players, but she lacks the historical success on the surface for me to be excited to back her at even 100-1 or better with this draw. Elise Mertens is great on the surface and will catch my eye once quarter prices open, but I won’t be backing her at 40-1 to win the tournament.
Iga Swiatek has one of the toughest draws of anyone in this tournament. Each round presents an opponent comfortable on grass. To be clear, she’ll be the favorite in every match until the finals and could even be favored to win then. She’s around 12-1 to win her second grand slam tournament this fortnight and I can’t bet on her at that price. She struggled to beat Heather Watson, lost to Kasatkina in the 2nd round, and has expressed concerns about her ability to win this tournament. All that enthusiasm aside……she faces a top 10 betting favorite from the 4th round and later. She can win, but let’s not bet on that to happen.
Garbiñe Muguruza played 2 great matches in Berlin before losing to Alize Cornet of all people. She won this tournament in 2017 and finished 2nd in 2015. At her best she can beat anyone on grass, but things get difficult for her as soon as the 3rd round. Even as high as 14-1 I can’t justify betting on her before the tournament. I will look to back in matches against some of these bigger names if she looks as good as she did in her first 2 matches in Berlin, but not right now.
Part of the reason I’m not backing either of those women is because of Ons Jabeur. She finally broke through with her title in Birmingham 2 weeks ago and has everything you would want from a tennis player in a match on grass. Normally, I’m hesitant to back her in the outright markets because her fitness can be questionable, but she will have days off to recover over the next few weeks. At 48-1 I’m happy to add her to my basket of outrights. She is a threat to win this quarter and this tournament.
The #2 seed this fortnight is Aryna Sabalenka and she is 10-1 as one of the favorites to win what would be her first grand slam title. As much as I would love to see that, I’m not putting any money behind it. She is a tremendous talent, but plays with too little margin at times to win a tournament over 2 weeks. This is a tournament in which she should do well every time she enters it. Her serve, doubles experience, and power are perfect for grass tennis, but she has yet to display that enough to justify such a small number. As early as her first match she will face someone who knows the courts and will happily let Aryna hit errors and lose the match. She could certainly win, but is much more vulnerable than the market is giving credit.
This leaves an opportunity for 2 woman I love to back in the outright markets and who have great games for grass tennis. Elena Rybakina is 25-1 and Ekaterina Alexandrova is 50-1 to win Wimbledon. Rybakina did take an MTO in her 2 set loss to Ostapenko in the Eastbourne semifinals, but finished the match and looked ok. She played well in Roland Garros and carried that form onto the next surface wining 4 of her 6 matches on grass only losing to Ostapenko & Muguruza. Her section is fairly manageable until the 4th round when I think she will face Alexandrova. Ekaterina looked great in her run to the quarterfinals in Berlin where she had chances to beat Bencic to advance. She has a perfect game for the surface and although she lacks a lot of experience has only ever lost to good grass players in her career so far. She has a chance to knock off Sabalenka and might even be lucky enough to avoid him. Both are getting a little bit of my money.
Quarter 1 – Barty over Azarenka
Quarter 2 – Muchova over Serena
Quarter 3 – Kvitova over Kudermetova
Quarter 4 – Rybakina over Muguruza
Final – Rybakina over Muchova
RECAP OF WAGERS
GLOSSARY OF DATA HEADINGS
Avg Rk – This is the average rank of opponent’s faced over that period.
Avg Spread – This is the average games more(or less) the player wins than their opponent. For example, 1.3 means that player averages 1.3 games per match more than their opponent.
Avg Total – This is the average total games in matches this player has played
Hold% – % of total games won on service
Break% – % of total games won on return