WE’RE at the midway point of Wimbledon and tennis boff Mark Stinchcombe (@MarkStinchcombe) still has all four of his outright picks running. Here’s Mark’s thoughts on the best bets for Monday’s action from SW19.
Andy Murray v Ivo Karlovic | Monday 14.30 | BBC
Andy Murray takes on serve-machine Ivo Karlovic in front of centre court in the fourth round on Monday. This will be their sixth meeting, of which Murray has won all previous five including here at Wimbledon in the second round in 2012.
I mentioned Karlovic's awesome serving this year on Tuesday before his first round match and he hasn't disappointed. He has hit a massive 126 aces in just three matches, making 70% of his first serves, winning a huge 89% of those points (265/297) – the most in the tournament. Murray will have his work cut out.
However, his second serve points won is below 60% and Andy is one of the best returners in the game, if not the best, and I think he's probably the best defender on grass. Unless Karlovic can win three tie-breaks in four sets I don't see him winning and with his negative tie-break record this year, I can't put him up at single figures in front of Murray's home crowd.
This can be further backed up by his 7-6 7-6 defeat to Roger Federer on slightly faster grass in Halle last month. Add in Andy has broken serve most times in the tournament and has the best conversion rate (18/27 (67%)) the upset looks difficult. To put those numbers in perspective, Novak Djokovic and Federer are both below 50%.
However, let's not forget how well Karlovic is serving, so taking a set looks pretty good to me. He took two off Djokovic in a slightly slower Doha at the start of the season (both 7-6) and has taken a set off Murray in three of their five meetings, including here. Andy dropped a set to Seppi in the previous round and has talked of not being able to keep his level up the whole match. “I just need to try to cut out those periods in the matches. Rather than have a 15 or 20-minute lull, make it a five or six-minute lull. You can't play at the highest level for three or four hours, you're always going to have little dips, but maybe they've been a bit too long this week.”
Meanwhile, Dr Ivo comes in confident with nothing to lose, “I feel good. It will not be easy against him, but if I continue serving like this, I will definitely have an opportunity.” So let's take advantage by backing Andy to win and both players to take a set at 2/1 with William Hill.
Serena Williams v Venus Williams | Monday 13.00 | BBC
There will be huge emotion surrounding this match between the two sisters but I'm going to do what any good gambler does and remove all emotion and concentrate on facts and value.
Similar to the bet I wrote about at the French Open last month between two champions in Djokovic and Rafa Nadal, I'm concentrating on the historic tie-break record between the two.
Looking back, these two have played 11 tie-breaks in their last 17 meetings and when priced up at 3/1(SkyBet) that looks value to me. This bet would have won in nine of those 17 matches (53%) and three of their five meetings on the grass here at Wimbledon.
Roberto Bautista-Agut v Roger Federer | Monday 17.00 | BBC
We were pretty unlucky to lose on the under games in Sam Groth v Federer on Saturday. Despite not getting broken the whole match, Federer squandered two break points in set three to then lose on a tie-break before comfortably winning the fourth set 6-2.
A straight sets win for Federer is only 4/9 on Monday but I think there's some value along similar lines. These two have met twice before both at the back end of last year, with Federer comfortably winning all five sets. I think we can take the 4/9 on 3-0 and get 87/100 (1.87) with 888 Sport by backing the match not to breach the two hour mark.
Federer's two 3-0 wins here this year have been 89 and 70 minutes, and his five last year read 104, 97, 82, 103 and 95 minutes. Take advantage by backing under 119.5 minutes at 87/100 with 888 Sport.
Andy Murray v Ivo Karlovic – Andy Murray to win and both players to win a set (2/1 William Hill)
Serena Williams v Venus Williams – Tie–Break in match (3/1 SkyBet)
Roberto Bautista-Agut v Roger Federer – Match to last Under 119.5 minutes (87/100 888Sport)