Day Four at the All England Club was one that will live long in the memory.
Rafa Nadal’s quite stunning five set defeat late last night could not have been predicted by anyone, not least Lukas Rosol himself, but the Czech came up with some of the most brutal tennis I’ve seen in a long time to blast Rafa out of the Championships.
Rosol was unplayable at times and although Rafa wasn’t at his best by any means, not many could have survived an onslaught like that. It was amazing that this all came from a grass court novice and a player ranked at 100 in the world.
It was quite something to witness and made me forget about what was an up and down day of betting that saw two winners and two losers (one by retirement) on the day.
Xavier Malisse got us off to a great start at a nice price by defeating Gilles Simon in straight sets and fellow Belgian David Goffin backed it up by beating Jesse Levine. Then misfortune struck, as Grigor Dimitrov fell ill and retired against Marcos Baghdatis and Kateryna Bondarenko somehow lost set two against Ana Ivanovic.
There is some great value to be found in today’s women’s matches, with many of the outsiders in with a shot.
Christina McHale has a good chance of taking at least a set from Angelique Kerber at a decent price of around 2.2. I like the young American’s game and temperament and think she could go a long way in the sport. Although Kerber is the bigger hitter, McHale pushed her all the way in their Indian Wells meeting earlier this year and can do so again.
Both players have shown a lot of improvement this year, but Kerber has never been past this stage of Wimbledon in her career and against a talented, young opponent like McHale I’m not sure she deserves to be quite such a heavy favourite.
Another who may not be able to live up to very short odds is Agnieszka Radwanska, who is around 1.15 to beat British hope Heather Watson. Radwanska has not been in great form lately and she’s vulnerable on the grass, as Tsvetana Pironkova showed last week in Eastbourne.
Heather may not be able to play at the level required for long enough just yet, but she should give the world number three a scare at least if she isn’t affected by nerves. From my experience of watching her she shouldn’t be.
I’m tempted by the 5.25 which could be a good starting point for an in-play bet, but I’ll be backing the 1.84 on Watson with a 5.5 game start on the handicap.
The men’s side today features several matches that look like they could be long battles – I’m looking at the matches involving Viktor Troicki, Denis Istomin, Janko Tipsarevic, and Fernando Verdasco – so it should be a good day for overs betting.
You have to think that Troicki can at least take a couple of sets off Juan Monaco on grass at a price of 2.1 which should represent value. The Serbian specialises in long matches these days in Slams and this will probably go five, so as Monaco is favourite, backing Troicki on the handicap seems a clear choice.
Monaco had never won a match on grass before this week and I don’t think a couple of wins against the likes of Jeremy Chardy and Leonardo Mayer suddenly makes him Roger Federer. Troicki should be confident coming into this, having beaten Monaco both times they’ve met on a hard court, so he really should arguably be the favourite for this. Admittedly his grass record isn’t the best either, but I think this will be a long slog.
Back McHale +1.5 sets to beat Kerber at 2.20
Back Watson +5.5 games to beat Radwanska at 1.84
Back Troicki +1.5 sets to beat Monaco at 2.10