Wimbledon begins on Monday which means that we have a women’s outright market to get stunk into, one which won’t have any Russians o Belarussians in it due to their ban from the tournament but for the first time this year it does have Serena Williams as well as a host of other WTA regulars.
We are already guaranteed a new champion at the end of this tournament because the 2021 winner Ash Barty has since gone into retirement. That should inspire a lot of players in this championship even though there are no ranking points on offer.
2021 – Ash Barty
2019 – Simona Halep
2018 – Angelique Kerber
2017 – Garbine Muguruza
2016 – Serena Williams
2015 – Serena Williams
2014 – Petra Kvitova
2013 – Marion Bartoli
2012 – Serena Williams
2011 – Petra Kvitova
We have the new Grand Slam structure in place in this tournament which means that we have a tiebreak in the final set. Each match is the best of three sets and if it reaches 6-6 in the deciding set then the match will be settled with a first to 10 point tiebreak which we saw for the first time at the French Open recently. The other change this year is that for the first time ever there will be play on the middle Sunday regardless of the weather so ‘Magic Monday’ is a thing of the past. The 128 players have been inserted into the draw bracket and the tournament is a straight knockout with the champion being decided on the second Saturday.
All eyes will be on the French Open champion and runaway world number one in the top quarter in this fortnight as Iga Swiatek looks to continue her dominance at Wimbledon. This will be the first grass court outing for the Polish star this year which is something of a surprise so that might make her vulnerable. Even if it doesn’t she has never even reached the quarter final here. That might encourage the other seven seeds despite Swiatek being on a 35 match winning streak. Those other seeds are Jessica Pegula, who ran into Swiatek in the quarter final of the French Open, Yulia Putintseva, Jil Teichmann, the former French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova, past champion here Garbine Muguruza, who arrives in terrible form, Elena Rybakina and Shelby Rogers.
There will be some big names in the draw who are unseeded in this tournament and two of them appear in this quarter in the form of the former Grand Slam champions Sloane Stephens and Bianca Andreescu. Donna Vekic has won titles on the grass before while Harriet Dart is a dangerous Brit. Petra Martic, quarter finalists from 2021 Ajla Tomljanovic and Viktorija Golubic, Andrea Petkovic and Bad Homburg semi-finalist Alize Cornet will all be out to go well here.
Paula Badosa is the highest seed in the second quarter but she hasn’t got a win on grass this season so you wonder if that will hinder her. She will need to be at her best as she might be in the most competitive quarter of the draw, one which has the 2021 finalist Karolina Pliskova in it, although the Czech looks massively out of form. The other six seeds in this quarter are the Eastbourne champion Petra Kvitova, semi-finalist there in Camila Giorgi, the 2019 champion Simona Halep, French Open finalist Coco Gauff, Amanda Anisimova and Sara Sorribes Tormo.
The leading unseeded player of the lot is in this quarter of the draw in the form of the great Serena Williams who makes her return to singles action after a whole year out here. Karolina Muchova is a former quarter finalist in this tournament and she is in this section as are the likes of Ana Bogdan, Danaya Yastremska, Kirsten Flipkens and Madison Brengle. There is also the British wildcard Katie Boulter who arrives here having taken care of Pliskova at Eastbourne last week.
Ons Jabeur had the honour of being the doubles partner of Serena Williams at Eastbourne last week and now she’ll be the leading seed in the third quarter of the draw this week. She pulled out of Eastbourne with an injury so all eyes will be on her initially to check her fitness is ok. It will need to be as she is scheduled to face Danielle Collins in the quarter final, although the American hasn’t played a match on the grass this season. The other six seeds are Alison Riske, Shuai Zhang, US Open champion Emma Raducanu, former champion Angelique Kerber, Elise Mertens and Kaia Kanepi.
The unseeded players of note in this section include the Bad Homburg champion Caroline Garcia who will head here with her confidence high, the Surbiton and Gaiba champion Alison van Uytvanck, doubles specialist Kiki Mladenovic, Magda Linette who famously dumped Ons Jabeur out of the Frnech Open last month, the Danish player Clara Tauson and former French Open semi-finalist Tamara Zidansek.
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Anett Kontaveit has worked her way up to number two in the world and she carries that seeding into this tournament which means that she is the highest seed in the bottom quarter. The Greek star Maria Sakkari is scheduled to be her quarter final opponent, although whether the Estonian will get that far having not played a grass court match in the lead up to Wimbledon remains to be seen. The other six seeds in this quarter are Sorana Cirstea, French Open semi-finalist Martina Trevisan, Eastbourne finalist Jelena Ostapenko, Swiss ace Belinda Bencic, winner in Nottingham and Birmingham, Beatriz Haddad Maia and Anna Kalinina.
This is another section which has a few live outsiders in it. There is a good story going around about Daria Saville pestering the All-England Club for a wildcard until they gave in and handed her one. She is in the quarter as are Qiang Wang, former British number one Heather Watson, Kaja Juvan and Lesia Tsurenko, who like all the Ukrainians in the singles draw will not lack for crowd support, although she faces the British wildcard Jodie Burrage in the first round so that might balance it out a little.
I’m not convinced Iga Swiatek is as suited to grass as she is the other surfaces but I’m not rushing to taking her on to find out, especially when the top half also has the likes of Petra Kvitova, Karolina Pliskova, Coco Gauff and a certain Serena Williams in it so I’m heading to the bottom half for my outright bets where after a stunning grass court campaign so far, Beatriz Haddad Maia would have seemed like an obvious bet anyway but when you consider she is in the quarter which has Anett Kontaveit as the main seed she is even more of an obvious pick. Kontaveit might be having a decent season but she’s never been past the third round here and I’m not completely convinced by the other top seed in this section, Maria Sakkari, on grass either. With Belinda Bencic potentially injured and Jelena Ostapenko incredibly hit or miss the Brazilian, who has already seen off Qiang Wang, Maria Sakkari, Alison Riske, Petra Kvitova, Camila Giorgi, Simona Halep and Shuai Zhang on the grass this summer, looks to have a plum draw. At 22/1 with that list of names under her belt I like Haddad Maia here.
The third quarter isn’t any stronger than the bottom one, if anything it is even weaker if the injured which forced Ons Jabeur out of Eastbourne last week is a genuine one. If it is then the next two highest seeds in the section are Danielle Collins who hasn’t played on grass this season and who hasn’t been past the third round here, and Emma Raducanu who isn’t guaranteed to take the court and even if she does she has a dog of a draw. That leaves the door open for a player who we know loves both the grass and the big stage in Angelique Kerber. There aren’t many grass specialists in this half of the draw full stop but Kerber is certainly one of them. Since 2014 she has gone 58-15 on this surface which includes winning the title here in 2018 and then reaching the semi-final here last year. To be fair Kerber had just won Bad Homburg prior to making the last four a year ago but she won a couple of matches there last week to tune her up for this. Kerber has already won in Strasbourg just a month ago so she’s in form and could go very deep with a wide open draw here.
There isn’t a huge amount which catches my eye in the quarter betting. I certainly don’t want to go near that second quarter where some seriously big servers are hiding but I just can’t get away from the hunch I have that the lack of a grass court tune up for Iga Swiatek could catch the world number one out and with that in mind I’ll play a monster price on Harriet Dart to come through a section, which with the exception of Jessica Pegula doesn’t have a big hitting seed in it and she is another yet to step onto the grass this season.
The other two main seeds in Dart’s quarter are Garbine Muguruza who is in no form at all and Barbora Krejcikova who isn’t going much better and who has been out injured. Dart isn’t blessed with any standout power shots but she grew up on this surface and battles really hard. I read an article a week or so ago where she said that after a toxic relationship she is happy off the court. Dart made the last eight in Nottingham and Eastbourne this season and the last three women to beat her on this surface were Alison Riske, Simona Halep and Petra Kvitova. It takes a good player to beat her and Swiatek aside, I’m not sure one resides in this section. I’ll pay to find out how deep the Briton can go.
Back B.Haddad Maia to win Wimbledon (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 23.00 with Sky Bet (1/2 1-2)
Back A.Kerber to win Wimbledon (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 34.00 with Betfair (1/2 1-2)
Back H.Dart to win 1st Quarter for a 1/10 stake at 101.00 with Betfred