TENNIS analyst Gavin Mair (@gavinnightmair) returns with his best bets from day four at Wimbledon.
Our 10/3 shot Ruben Bemelmans leads John Isner in the final set having looked dead and buried at two sets down. Play was halted as the rains fell down and that one looks tightly poised overnight. If you took the 10/3 you can trade out at around 7/4 so you will make a small profit for your money. The braver amongst you will hope that Bemelmans finds overnight inspiration to topple the giant Isner when the players return to Court 18 tomorrow. A word of warning though, Bemelmans has yet to break the Isner serve over the past four and a half sets.
Prior to Bemelmans comeback, it was looking to be a disastrous day for the picks as my other choice Anna Blinkova disintegrated quickly after blowing an early lead. The young Russian showed a lack of maturity as continuous double faults allowed Kiki Bertens to take control of the match. Although Blinkova produced a shocker, her opponent looks better on grass than in the past and on this display might give Venus Williams something to think about in the next round given her form today against Alexandra Dulgheru.
On Thursday a handful of matches catch the eye, here I look ahead to two of the most appealing.
Alex Di Minaur v Pierre-Hughes Herbert | Thursday 5th July 2018, 11:30 | BBC
There is a changing of the guard happening in men’s tennis. Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal may still lead the way and dominate the Grand Slams but this season has seen the emergence and further development of the next crop of top players. Alex Zverev clearly leads the charge and is being hotly pursued by Denis Shapovalov, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Francis Tiafoe.
The next in line to join them looks set to be Alex De Minaur – a scrappy Australian that moves well and enjoys a baseline battle. His form in the grass court season has been exceptional and he now sits an impressive 51st in the ATP race for this season.
His opponent is an old school French player that serves big and enjoys venturing to the net at the slightest whiff of an opportunity. Herbert has a few more years under his belt and despite predominantly focusing his attention on his doubles career he has made steps forward in 2018 on the singles court. Herbert plays with aggression and he is a very tricky and unique opponent for a younger talent.
De Minaur may have a winning record for the grass court season to date, but he rarely came across top 100 level opposition during that form spell and when he has his results have been mixed. Furthermore, De Minaur is still finding his feet at this level – a point demonstrated by his lack of wins at Grand Slam level and in his first round victory over Marco Cecchinato – who may have been seeded but is a fish out of water on grass – De Minaur required injury treatment, which doesn’t bode well for his longevity in this year’s event.
Herbert was a tidy winner in the first round against Eastbourne champion Mischa Zverev and I’m backing him to take out the raw-around-the-edges De Minaur at 17/14 with Marathon.
Bernard Tomic v Kei Nishikori | Thursday 5th July 2018, 15:20 | BBC
My second bet for tomorrow sees me siding with the closest thing tennis has to a bad boy – Bernard Tomic – against Kei Nishikori.
Tomic was until recently a top 20 player but he became disenchanted with the sport and has spent plenty of time partying whilst his contemporaries competed for honours on the tennis tour.
Prior to his fall from grace Tomic could be considered a grass court specialist with his playing style fitting nicely on this surface. His serve is formidable and his groundstrokes tend to slice and keep low, which traditionally has been a formula for success on the turf. His opponent Kei Nishikori has plenty of talent but is made of glass as evidenced by retirements in two of his past three trips to Wimbledon. He is on the comeback trail from injury and has performed well enough to get his ranking back to a seeded position, but the better days of his career look to be in the past.
The Japanese speaks positively about his chances of doing something on the grass but his actions suggest otherwise. Nishikori was battered by Karen Khachanov in Halle and looked unimpressive in his first round encounter against Christian Harrison. Tomic on the other hand has shown some good signs lately with a semi final to his credit in Den Bosch, and a performance full of swagger in his first round against Hubert Hurkacz.
Tomic has won his last two meetings against Nishikori at bigger prices than is available today. In their most recent encounter back in 2016 on the quick hard court of Cincinnati, Tomic served well and from his unorthodox game he didn’t give Nishikori any rhythm.
That said, Tomic is prone to a wild meltdown as evidenced in his final qualifying round defeat to Ruben Bemelmans, so keep your stake low with that in mind.
Alex Di Minaur v Pierre-Hughes Herbert – Pierre-Hughes Herbert to win ( 17/14 Marathon)
Bernard Tomic v Kei Nishikori – Bernard Tomic to win (15/8 Bet Bright)