THE quarter-finals continue at Wimbledon and now it’s the turn of the men. Tennis trader Mark Stinchcombe (@MarkStinchcombe) talks us through the best SW19 selections for Wednesday.
Marin Cilic v Novak Djokovic | Wednesday 15.30 | BBC
I'm going to throw it out there – I think Novak Djokovic should have lost to Kevin Anderson in the last round. Despite Novak winning the last nine sets between the pair, including a comfortable 6-3 6-4 6-2 victory here in 2011, he had to comeback from two sets down across two days to seal victory 7-5 in the fifth.
Anderson had *15-40 1-2 on Novak's serve in that final set and if he'd have broken then he would have required just three more holds of serve, and given the way he was serving, it would have been tough for Novak.
Djokovic hasn't looked comfortable on the grass, regularly losing his footing and bemoaning the court for limiting his ability to defend as well as he does on other surfaces. If Kevin Anderson can cause him trouble, why not Marin Cilic with his serve and bigger game off the ground?
This match is a repeat of last year’s quarter-final with Djokovic similarly coming back from 2-1 down to win 3-2. Cilic has hit 99 aces this tournament, won 83% of points on his first serve (Roger Federer the most with 87%) and won the most first and second serve receiving points. Anderson managed to conjure up the same break-point opportunities as Novak (8) but crucially only took one compared to Novak's five.
Cilic has stated “I'm going to have to be more aggressive to play more risky tennis” and if his returning continues as well as taking more chances on his serve (just 10 aces last year – Anderson managed 40) he could stand a good chance.
US Open Champion Cilic has had to come through some tight matches to get to this stage but notably he's always been in control and isn't afraid to go the distance if necessary, already beating John Isner 12-10 in the fifth as well as Sam Querrey 17-15 in 2012.
There's no denying the head-to-head is against Cilic – he's lost all 12 meetings – however, that's reflected in the price and the confidence of now being a Grand Slam champion should bode well.
For a more conservative bet, I do think Over 3.5 Sets offers good value at 6/4. Obviously there were five sets between them last year, Novak played five against Anderson and also dropped sets against Radek Stepanek, Grigor Dimitrov and Federer last year.
All three of their meetings at Slams have seen at least four sets. Let's not forget Novak struggled to cope with playing three days in a row at the French, succumbing to Stanislas Wawrinka and more of the same could happen on Wednesday.
Marin Cilic v Novak Djokovic – Marin Cilic to win (8/1 Bet365)
Marin Cilic v Novak Djokovic – Over 3.5 Sets (6/4 Bet365)
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