Ace Tennis Previews: Wimbledon Tournament Analysis

Wimbledon is the biggest grass tournament and the only grass Gland Slam on the Pro Tour. This year, our resident tennis expert, Ace, previews both sides of the draw as well as providing us with two Wimbledon Tips each day.

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Welcome to the men’s preview for Wimbledon 2019. After a week of controversy around who sits at what seeding, it is good to see the draw is out and ready to be analysed. It looks to be another fascinating fortnight ahead, so let’s get stuck into each section of the draw in the search for some value.

First Quarter

The obvious standout name in this section is Novak Djokovic, who deservedly sits on the top line of betting for the tournament. We haven’t seen a lot of grass court tennis in the lead up to Wimbledon, however as the defending champion we are all aware of what the Serbian is capable of on grass. His first opponent is a tricky one in Kohlschreiber, however the best of 5 format will favour him in almost every match he plays for the fortnight.

At the bottom of the quarter is the number 8 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, who made it to the 4th round here last year. He has certainly made a lot of strides in several areas over the last 12 months; however, I don’t feel as though all those improvements have translated to the grass, with losses to Jarry and Auger Aliassime so far this year on grass. Whilst he made a name for himself at the Australian Open, it is difficult to see Tsitsipas making a meaningful run on the grass this fortnight. I still don’t feel he is overly confident on the surface, and it will show in his section with several tricky opponents.

Of the rest of the seeds in this quarter, it is hard to look beyond David Goffin, who made the final in Halle last week. He has looked stronger as the grass season has progressed, and a favourable early draw should see him edge towards to second week.

Of the other seeds in the section, Daniil Medvedev has shown a little more on grass this year, however I don’t feel as though his game is suited to the best of 5 format on grass. Unless he was able to serve at his absolute top level, I cannot see him featuring beyond the first weekend. There isn’t any appeal in Dusan Lajovic as even if he reaches the third round, the first seed he faces is likely Djokovic. I’d have liked to see Felix Auger-Aliassime with a friendlier draw, however he could end up facing Pospisil, Dimitrov, Monfils and Djokovic just to reach the quarter finals. Speaking of Gael Monfils, I cannot make a case for him on his recent form, on his least favourite surface. Kyle Edmund has looked comfortable on court for the first time in a long time this week, however the best of 5 setup off an extended layoff may make things difficult, plus the pressure of the home crowd.

Of the unseeded players in this quarter, the players who could cause a stir in the first week include Alexei Popyrin, who may benefit from a tired Carreno Busta in the first round. Others capable of a run of a couple of matches, however unlikely to feature deep into outright calculations include Kudla, Dimitrov, Sonego, Chardy, Verdasco and Karlovic if he can find his first serve. Djokovic should be coming out of this section; however, I feel his biggest threat is Goffin.

Quarter 2

We have a really fascinating first round meeting at the top of this quarter, with 4th seed Kevin Anderson kicking off against Pierre Hughes Herbert. It is closely followed in terms of intrigue by the match at the bottom of the quarter in Alex Zverev vs Jiri Vesely. I feel Zverev is far too short for my liking here, and I still consider him to be largely unproven in the best of 5 format, especially on grass. There are a couple of big servers in this section including Milos Raonic, Karen Khachanov and Stan Wawrinka. With Raonic coming in under an injury cloud, I would rather watch him early on for the tournament. He should be able to make it through the first couple of rounds with minimal fuss, however things look likely to ramp up quite quickly from there.

A couple of the seeds in Guido Pella, Roberto Bautista Agut and Benoit Paire have the potential to cause shocks, however none have the tools in my opinion to make a deep run this fortnight on grass. A couple of unseeded players to watch include Feliciano Lopez, Miomir Kecmanovic and even potentially Jiri Vesely as mentioned earlier. I don’t think there will be any value around Lopez this week, as he is very much the flavour of the month after his title last week, and I don’t think the best of 5 format at his age and playing style is ideal. Vesely would be a bit of a low risk high reward type of setup, as a win would mean the ability to utilise the seeded draw of Zverev. One to think about.

If he is fit, Anderson needs to be respected here, however I just haven’t seen enough lead-up tennis to think he can get through 7 best of 5 matches at his current price. I think of the seeds, I would be most inclined to side with Milos Raonic, however I don’t think the tournament winner will be coming from this quarter.

Quarter 3

This is a fascinating quarter, with the obvious favourites leading the way. Whilst his draw does look to become quite difficult quite quickly, it is easy to see why Rafael Nadal is listed as the favourite in this section. He looked incredibly good on the clay, and last year you could make a case that his chances of winning were ruined by the roof in his epic with Novak Djokovic. When you look over a larger grass sample size however, it is hard to look at his current price as being value, especially with a couple of big servers lurking in the section.

It is a touch more appealing to be looking at the bigger servers when you consider the other top seed in this quarter is Dominic Thiem, who sits at a 14-13 record on grass for his career. His game isn’t suited to the grass, and I don’t think there is any value in his price currently.

A big server to keep an eye on in this section of the draw is Sam Querrey. After a long injury layoff, Querrey has put together a solid week of tennis in Eastbourne this week (albeit not the strongest field, however it is good to see him on court). I think if Querrey can bring his best from the first round, he has a great opportunity to steal Thiem’s draw, and it is quite a friendly one. To think the 4th round will be one of Thiem/Querrey/Garin/Rublev/Dellien/Millman/Andreozzi/Djere vs Simon/Caruso/Uchiyama/Sandgren/Fucsovics/Novak/Tiafoe/Fognini is quite interesting. Based on his form at Queens and the fact he looks back to a solid fitness base, a Gilles Simon or even a Dennis Novak at a really nice price here could find their way into the second week from a trading perspective. At the prices currently on of offer, Querrey in this top part of the quarter looks solid value.

The bottom half of the quarter is absolutely loaded. Outside of Rafael Nadal, you also have names like Marin Cilic, Nick Kyrgios, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Dan Evans, and even a couple of solid grass court players in Bernard Tomic, Adrian Mannarino and Jordan Thompson. From a futures standpoint there initially isn’t a lot of appeal in several them given the tough section of the draw, however I am happy to play around Kyrgios due to form and fitness. I am not sure Tsonga has a full Grand Slam fortnight in him, and Dan Evans will have to handle the pressure of the home crowd, which I would rather watch than invest in to be honest. I think in this quarter I would rather side with a player like Querrey or even a Simon from the top half and look for absolute carnage to unfold in the bottom half of the quarter.

Quarter 4

The key to this quarter is Roger Federer’s ability to conserve energy early in the week. Across the last year, Federer has only won his Grand Slam matches that have ended in straight sets and looking at his loss last year from 2 sets to 0 up against Anderson does highlight that fatigue setting in late in matches.

I am not going to spend too much time on this quarter given Federer’s impressive record on grass over the years, however there may be a player or two to keep an eye on here.

I am not overly comfortable investing in Borna Coric given his back issue in Halle last week, so from a big serving and conditions standpoint the next two that look likely are Matteo Berrettini and John Isner. Berrettini looks more suited on grass against big strikers of the ball, and his first round is a bit of a danger game in the best of 5 format if he cannot consistently find his range. If he looks solid in round 1, I would consider him from a trading standpoint given his section of the draw, as I don’t find the price on Kei Nishikori all that appealing given his overall form for his career at Wimbledon. A player like Jan-Lennard Struff could make a run in week one, however I don’t see him there at the pointy end of the tournament, same with Fritz/Berdych/De Minaur on form/fitness.

From purely a futures standpoint, there isn’t a lot appeal here. Federer should win the quarter; however, I have my doubts around him as the tournament progresses and the quality of opponent increases.

Summary

Based on the draw and the fact that Federer and Nadal are on the other side of the draw, this all opens quite nicely for Novak Djokovic. He looks to be the standout selection, and the best of 5 format helps him against his biggest threat in Federer at this stage of their careers.

Obviously, Djokovic is quite short, so it may be worth looking at a couple of trading options as well as the fortnight progresses. The second and third quarters look the best to search for a player to make a bit of a run, and a player like Sam Querrey may be worth a look. If he can play as he did in qualifying, a low risk high reward selection of Jiri Vesely is worth noting as well. If Zverev isn’t at 100% coming in and remains largely unproven consistently at best of 5 tennis, then Vesely could snatch his decent draw and go on a little run in week 1 at a huge price.

Outright Selection

Novak Djokovic

Longer Trading Selections

Sam Querrey

Milos Raonic

Jiri Vesely

Matteo Berrettini

Quarter Winners

1: Djokovic

2: Raonic

3: Nadal/Querrey

4: Federer

Quarter 1

What an absolutely loaded quarter we have here to kick things off for the WTA. You have the newly crowned world number one in Ash Barty, who leads the way as the favourite and hasn’t looked like losing lately given her confidence. The draw she faces here is likely to be far and away more difficult than her last couple of tournaments, Roland Garros included. She is the one to beat, however that is unfamiliar territory for Barty. She is now the hunted instead of the hunter, and with all the pressure on her from the start of the week, and everyone wanting to knock her off her perch, I feel she may be a touch too short in the betting considering the players around her in the draw. A nice round 1 vs Zheng, however things have the potential to get tricky from the 4th round onwards most likely.

On the next line of betting is one of the draw floaters in the 11th seed Serena Williams. Given her lack of tennis, it is hard to get a gauge on how she is playing, and that in turn makes things incredibly difficult in this quarter. With an early meeting with Kristyna Pliskova and/or Julia Goerges makes things difficult to invest with confidence around this section, especially when you have the likes of the unseeded Maria Sharapova, and competent grass players in Donna Vekic and Belinda Bencic lurking as well.

That is already an impressive list, and the likes of Muguruza, Riske, Stosur and Pavlyuchenkova aren’t even mentioned. Just when you think there couldn’t be any more talent in this quarter, you look to the bottom of it and see Angelique Kerber’s name there. She has a tough match first up against the crafty Maria, however as the defending champion matches up relatively well on grass against most of those listed above, so she needs to best respected.

Massive quarter – the most stacked I can recall in recent time. If I had to side with a player or two, it would be Barty and Kerber.

Quarter 2

These players will be grateful they didn’t see their name fall in the first quarter, however there is still a bit of talent here worth respecting. Kiki Bertens hasn’t looked fantastic on grass this season, however her draw here does lead me to think she will be present in the second week of the tournament. A first-round vs Minella, second against Rodionova/Townsend is a nice start, with a potential third round against Strycova/Tsurenko where things get a little interesting. At the prices currently I prefer Strycova to make a little bit of a run through the top part of this quarter. She is competent in terms of her all-round game and isn’t afraid to make her way into the net.

Of the top section of this quarter, it looks as though the value selections are Strycova and Mertens in my opinion, with the bonus that they wouldn’t meet each other until a potential fourth round encounter if things went well.

The lower part of this quarter looks to have some big names, but not a lot of form on grass. It is hard to see Petra Kvitova making a run coming off her arm injury and her first hit coming a couple of days ago, however her opponent in Ons Jabeur isn’t a picture of health either after rolling her ankle in Eastbourne. The name that does stand out to me in this section is Johanna Konta, however my expectations are tempered somewhat by the significant pressure placed on her shoulders as the home crowds biggest hope. A player like Sloane Stephens brings her best at major level, however a 19-14 career grass court record isn’t great considering her odds.

From an outright perspective I would be more inclined to bet into this quarter if they didn’t need to meet the winner of quarter 1 in the semi final. I would be more inclined I think to have a go at Mertens and/or Strycova from the top part of this draw to make a decent push to the second week, as Konta is a touch under the odds, but worthy of respect in the outright market.

Quarter 3

If there was ever a time and a draw for her to take advantage of in a major, this is it for Karolina Pliskova. I must say I would have preferred her to take the week off before Wimbledon, as this looks to be an incredibly favourable draw. In the quarter betting she does look a little too short though, and I much prefer her at the outright prices. She could play some erratic players, however looking at her game recently there isn’t much to fault. She should be able to handle the likes of Ostapenko, Kontaveit, Vondrousova, Sevastova, Sakkari and Martic, who all lurking, however if she serves like she did in Eastbourne it is hard to see myself opposing Pliskova in any meaningful way early in the fortnight. I haven’t seen enough consistency from Ostapenko or Kontaveit; Vondrousova has not shown me that the grass surface is to her liking, and Sevastova/Martic/Sakkari would all have to face each other or the likes of Svitolina before getting a crack at Pliskova. The top half of the section does look wide open, and a player like Anna-Lena Friedsam could cause a couple of upsets early in the week if she is on her game.

As I said above, I think there is more value in the Pliskova outright than there is the Pliskova to win her quarter odds.

Quarter 4

If you are willing to play around some of the favourites in Osaka, Halep, Keys, Wozniacki and Garcia, there is quite a bit of value about some of the mid-range players in this quarter.

I haven’t seen enough from Osaka recently on grass to consider her a top hope – I don’t think the surface suits. She did struggle a bit with the title of world number 1, so with that off her shoulders things may improve a touch. I am not actively opposing her; however, I also don’t like the look of her odds, especially with a first round against a player that defeated her a couple of weeks ago.

Halep has made the semi final here in the past in 2014, however her match against Kerber a couple of days ago did concern me, and her ability to be outhit on the grass worries me at her price.

Keys just hasn’t played enough tennis recently for my liking; however, she is another I wouldn’t actively look to oppose. If she looks to be moving well in the early rounds, I will make a call regarding an outright selection, however off no grass tennis I am happy to look elsewhere.

Wozniacki hasn’t grabbed me in terms of form over the last 6 months, and again looks a touch too short on grass to be honest. Garcia just still appears to lack that bit of killer instinct that would see her as value in outright markets, so it is time to look a little deeper.

One player that has found a bit of confidence recently is Sofia Kenin, who managed to go on a nice run in Mallorca the other week and looks to have lifted her game significantly this year. I think her draw is quite friendly and she is a big chance of making the quarter finals at least looking at the draw (unless Astra Sharma can play a phenomenal first round match that is – she is a bit of an unknown).

I don’t see Azarenka going on a significant run this week and looks to be just off the main pack. There is a heap of other players who could make a run at their best, however Magdalena Rybarikova at a big price may be the best of the bunch. Her grass form is sound with a 58-30 career record, and she has made the semi finals of Wimbledon previously. If she can upset Sabalenka in round 1, which is certainly achievable on past form, then she could certainly spring a surprise this week. Others on that list include Yastremska, Swiatek, V Williams and even the likes of Kasatkina/Cornet/Giorgi, however there would need to be a significant change in form.

Summary

The first quarter here makes things very difficult in terms of selections for the fortnight, and it would be made a lot easier if we had more of an indication regarding the fitness of Serena Williams. Nevertheless, a couple of selections from the second quarter for trading and the bottom half for outrights are value, and I may look to add a couple of things as we go along if anything stands out from the early matches.

The main outright selection of appeal is Karolina Pliskova given her draw. She looks to be serving incredibly well and has impressed me with her adjustments over the last 12 months and comfort at the net, which will hold her in good stead for the next fortnight.

From a trading perspective, Kenin looks the pick from the bottom half, and Mertens/Strycova from that slightly weaker second quarter.

Another fascinating, wide open major.

Outright Selection

Karolina Pliskova

Trading Selections

Sofia Kenin

Elise Mertens

Barbora Strycova

Longshot Trading Selections

Magdalena Rybarikova (although tough first round vs Sabalenka)

Anna-Lena Friedsam

Quarter Winners

1: Barty/Kerber

2: Mertens/Strycova

3: Pliskova

4: Kenin


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