WIMBLEDON gets underway on Monday with some intriguing first round matches on the women’s draw. Here tennis analyst Gavin Mair (@gavinnightmair) shares a couple of odds-against bets that he feels may offer value.
Carina Witthoeft v Mirjana Lucic-Baroni | Monday 13:30 | BBC
I was very close to picking Carina Witthoeft as a long shot outsider to progress from her quarter.
The German has a decent grass court game, and has looked in strong form during the grass season to date.
She starts as a marginal (11/10 Unibet) underdog against the veteran Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, who finds herself seeded here by virtue of a strong run at the start of the season.
The Croatian is super aggressive but has recently failed to get the right balance between winners and errors. In her latest matches Lucic-Baroni has had patches where she has been unplayable, coupled with moments where the error count goes a little overboard.
Witthoeft has form with such an opponent ably handling the power game of Coco Vandeweghe a couple of weeks back in s’Hertogenbosch.
Witthoeft made it to the third round last year as her controlled aggression really works well on this surface. It may be a decent antidote to the power hitting of Lucic-Baroni.
Madison Brengle v Richel Hogenkamp | Monday 15:30 | BBC
I fancy the chances of the Dutch player Richel Hogenkamp to come through her first round against Madison Brengle.
The pair met 12 months ago in the Netherlands and I remember watching that match and couldn’t really believe that Hogenkamp hadn’t come out on top. Hogenkamp served for the match but her nerves got the better of her.
Both players like to use some variety from the back of the court and it could be a reasonably entertaining match with several service breaks. However, Hogenkamp has been more secure behind her serve this season and that should provide an edge for her in this one.
She certainly seems confident, saying of her match with Brengle, “It certainly could have been a much tougher draw.”
I’m backing her to back up her words with actions at 23/20 (Betfair).
Donna Vekic v Natalia Vikhlyantseva | Monday 17:30 | BBC
I’m a little bit surprised, although understand why Natalia Vikhlyantseva is the outsider in this match. Both players had strong grass court seasons, and both are happiest on this particular surface.
Of the pair it is Donna Vekic that is less consistent, and her best grass court results have come at lower level events where she can serve, hit a quick follow up winner and importantly hide her static movement.
Vikhlyantseva has a bit more about her, she can go from the back of the court with Vekic and does not necessarily need to end the point within a couple of strikes.
The Wimbledon record of Vekic is poor having won only two matches here since 2013 – albeit largely through the bad luck of draws against better players such as Venus Williams, Petra Cetkovska and Vera Zvonareva.
For Vikhlyantseva this is her Wimbledon debut, and I do worry that she could get nervous in the occasion but if she’s settled, the young Russian could make a decent run and is 5/4 (Betfair) here.