IT’S Manic Monday at Wimbledon. Mark Stinchcombe (@markstinchcombe) let’s us know who he’s backing.
Agnieszka Radwanska v Dominika Cibulkova | Monday 11:30 | BBC
Arguably the most consistent player on the WTA tour takes on the best player of 2016 when Agnieszka Radwanska takes on Dominika Cibulkova for the fourth time this year.
Radwanska leads the head-to- head 8-5 but Cibulkova has won their last two meetings, including at Eastbourne last month, and five of the last eight. Cibukova has won all eight of her grass court matches this season, dropping just one set (to Radwanska) and no player has more wins on tour this than her 34.
Given Radwanska is the epitome of consistency however, making the final and twice the semi here in the last four years, it makes sense that she’s favourite. Infact, given that she was 4/11 in Eastbourne, 2/5 in Madrid and 4/9 in Indian Wells to beat Domi, 8/11 is an attractive price. Bar Serena, this is by far and a way the biggest price Radwanska has been to win a match all year.
However, with Radwanska having made just one semi in her last seven tournaments and having to fend off three match points to win 9-7 in the final set in the 2nd round v an ultimately injured Ana Konjuh, the match prices can be argued that they’re about right.
One quirk of their 13 previous meetings is that Radwanska has won the opening set 11 times. There’s no skill involved in backing A-Rad to take the opener and win the match (Evens) but there does look to be value in backing Cibulkova to recover a one set deficit.
Radwanska is 8/11 to win the 1st set, at this point Cibulkova will be around 10/3 making the chances of this happening pre-match approximately 13/2.
With 8/1 available on this outcome, in a match that has a high chance of playing out this way with the Pocket Rocket eventually grinding her opponent down, this looks the value play and a fantastic way to back a 13/10 shot. Cibulkova has played the joint most three set matches on tour this year (16), winning 10 of them (63%).
Marin Cilic v Kei Nishikori | Monday 13:00 | BBC
This will be the 11th meeting between the two with Nishikori leading the head-to- head 7-3 but their first on grass, and it looks as though the match has been priced up on this basis with Nishikori slight favourite.
Delving a little further however, shows that Cilic has won two of their three matches at a grand slam (all the US Open), winning a set in eight of their meetings and taking the opener seven times.
Cilic is the more accomplished of the two on grass, winning 72% of his matches compared to Kei’s 65%, and has only been beaten by Djokovic or Murray since 2011 here. Nishikori on the otherhand, has never been past the fourth round, reaching this stage only once before in seven attempts.
In fact his career grand slam record is pretty poor for a man ranked number six in the world, making just one final and just four quarter-finals in 27 attempts, perhaps suggesting that he doesn’t have the endurance to compete over best of five sets in a short space of time.
His recent defeats here have been at the hands of players who possess big serves and forehands in Milos Raonic and Juan Martin del Potro and he’s going to have his work cut out particularly against the Cilic serve.
Both players have played 10 sets up to this point with Cilic racking up 59 aces and only seven double faults in-comparison to Nishikori’s 11 aces and 10 doubles.
Marin is first in the tournament for 1st serve points won, taking 147 of 162 (91%) and has been broken just twice. Nishikori however, has conceded nearly double the amount of break point opportunities and has been broken six times by his opponents.
You would expect Kei to have better return stats but Cilic has actually won more 1st serve receiving points (71 – 65) and more 2nd serve receiving points (71 – 70). I think Cilic should be favourite here and 5/4 looks decent value on the Croat.