Wimbledon: Power-hitter could cause Venus problems on Friday


WIMBLEDON continues on Friday. Here tennis analyst Gavin Mair (@gavinnightmair) shares his favourite fancies from Day 5 at SW19.

Wimbledon | Day 4 Recap

We had a profitable Day 4 with a couple of value winners. Adrian Mannarino scored a 13/12 winner when he overcame Yuichi Sugita in five sets.

Andrey Rublev and Albert Ramos-Vinolas performed a gruelling match that landed Over 38.5 Game mark at 19/20.

The only let down for our day was that Frances Tiafoe couldn’t take a set from the maturing Alex Zverev, who controlled proceedings against his young adversary from start to finish.

There could be some upsets in the third round which starts on Day 5, and that’s where I focus my attention.

Aljaz Bedene v Gilles Muller | Friday 11:30 | BBC

Gilles Muller is an outstanding grass court player but is very lucky to still be in the Wimbledon draw having faced a couple of match points against Lukas Rosol in the last round.

Whilst the s’Hertogenbosch champion is at his best on this surface he has always struggled to bring this form to Wimbledon, having never gone further than the 3rd Round. SW19 plays slower than the tour events and there is a levelling out of Muller’s surface advantage to a degree.

Aljaz Bedene is having a good tournament, firstly overcoming the giant task of Ivo Karlovic in five sets followed by a very tricky game-style for him in the form of Damir Dzumhur, a clone of the Brit in many aspects.

Bedene came through his last round strongly and looks to be in good form. They played each other in s’Hertogenbosch and Bedene led by a break in the final set before Muller fought back.

It looked on that day to be an awkward matchup for the Luxembourger and with the addition of the surface it plays nicely into the hands of the in form Bedene.

Bedene addressed the matchup saying, “I played Gilles a few weeks ago, he loves grass. He is a lefty who serves and volleys and that is never easy to play. I will fight and see what happens.”

I was tempted to back Bedene with a +1.5 set handicap advantage, but I also like him to see off Muller without the aid of the handicap but I'll back Bedene at 19/8 with Marathon to win. Conservative bettors should consider Bedene +1.5 Sets at 11/10 with Betfair.

Dominika Cibulkova v Ana Konjuh | Friday 13:00 | BBC

I had my doubts about Ana Konjuh’s fitness prior to the start of the tournament and it put me off backing her to win the quarter, as her numbers suggested her to be a player capable of making a deep run this week.

Konjuh has come through two difficult matchups against Sabine Lisicki and Irina-Camelia Begu. She now faces Dominika Cibulkova who is not playing at her best.

Cibulkova made heavy weather of her two first round encounters against Andrea Petkovic and Jennifer Brady. This is a trend that has continued for several months.

Konjuh is a player made for the grass and her performance statistics outperform those of Cibulkova currently.

Cibulkova is favoured in a large part on her reputation and Konjuh should be backed at over evens.

Back Konjuh at 21/20 with Unibet.

Jelena Ostapenko v Camila Giorgi | Friday 16:00 | BBC

It is certainly worth opposing French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko here with Camila Giorgi who did us a good turn on Wednesday.

The Latvian has not been at her best on the grass, and it is understandable perhaps that she is experiencing a dip following her great French Open triumph. She comes face to face with the in form Giorgi.

They met once before on a slick surface in Katowice last year and Giorgi relished the match up thriving off the pace that came off the Ostapenko racket. It is true that Ostapenko has made improvements this season but the basics of her game remain the same.

An in-form Giorgi is very dangerous and given the struggles shown by Ostapenko so far this tournament, particularly against the limited Abanda, it seems like Giorgi has a realistic chance to take advantage.

Back Giorgi to win at 7/5 with Marathon.

Naomi Osaka v Venus Williams | Friday 17:00 | BBC

The same reasons for opposing Venus Williams versus Qiang Wang apply to this match with Naomi Osaka. However, the top potential level of the young Japanese player exceeds that of Wang.

The young Japanese is a power hitter who seems to be getting to grips with the grass courts. Her power game impressively dispatched a very handy grass court player in Barbora Strycova in the 2nd Round and she finds a far from imperious Williams across the net.

Strycova was suitably impressed by her young opponent saying, “She went after me. She absolutely did not hesitate to hurt me at the net. She barked the old lady. But she did not do it!

This match may come down to whether or not Osaka believes she can win and I am hesitant to predict that she will go all the way. She can certainly hang with Williams though and I would not be surprised to see her take a set.

Williams was in a giving mood in her last match and I don’t see Osaka holding the same mental barrier that Wang had in that match.

I’ll take Osaka +4.5 Handicap (19/20 188BET) and Osaka +1.5 Sets (9/10 Marathon).

Best Bets

Aljaz Bedene v Gilles Muller – Aljaz Bedene to win (19/8 Marathon)

Dominika Cibulkova v Ana Konjuh – Ana Konjuh to win (21/20 Unibet)

Jelena Ostapenko v Camila Giorgi – Camila Giorgi to win (7/5 Marathon)

Naomi Osaka v Venus Williams – Naomi Osaka +4.5 game handicap (19/20 188BET)

Naomi Osaka v Venus Williams – Naomi Osaka +1.5 sets (9/10 Marathon)


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