Tennis - Weekly Preview
Wimbledon came to an end yesterday for another year and, not surprisingly, third seed Roger Federer etched his name in tennis history again by winning an unprecedented eighth Wimbledon title. Federer defeated Cilic in straight sets in a one-sided final and the most amazing thing about this year’s win was the manner in which he did it, ie at the age of 35 and not dropping a set during the tournament.
The women’s Championship was won by 14th seed Garbine Muguruza, who overpowered one of my outright tips Venus William (18/1) to win 7-5 6-0. This was Muguruza’s second Grand Slam title after winning the French Open in 2016 and there was no real sign coming into the tournament that she would win, especially in such impressive fashion only dropping one set on route to winning the Championships.
On to this week and its back to the ATP action and it’s a busy week with no less than three tournaments. The European clay court swing recommences with two clay court events in Europe at Umag, Croatia and Bastad, Sweden and there’s the final grass court tournament of the season over in Newport, USA.
I will start with the final grass court tournament of the season in Newport in the USA and the event has attracted a competitive field that includes three previous winners of the title. Two time winner (2011 and 2012) and top-seed John Isner , defending champion, finalist the last three years and second seed Karlovic and two time winner (2009 and 2015) and Wild Card this year Ram will all attempt to add to their success at Newport.
The top two seeds don’t have a great record at Newport and the top-seed has won two of the last ten titles (last Isner 2012) and they were never a losing finalist during this period, which does not bode well for Isner's chances this week. The second seed has won two of the last ten titles (last Karlovic 2016) and they were a losing finalist twice in this period (last Karlovic 2015). Seeded players in general have a strong record at Newport and a player seeded no higher than five won seven of the last ten titles and a player seeded no higher than six was a losing finalist eight times during this period.
Unseeded players have experienced limited success at Newport winning three of the last ten titles (last Ram 2015) and they were a losing finalist twice during this period (last Hewitt 2012). From a betting perspective second seed Karlovic (4/1) has to be respected as defending champion, three time consecutive finalist since 2014 and he showed good form on the surface again at 's-Hertogenbosch recently where he beat Cilic on route to the final where he lost to Muller.
Unseeded players who look capable of springing a surprise at big odds are German Gojowczyk (40/1), who qualified for Wimbledon where he won his first round match and he also has a winning record on grass this season, and young Australian Akira Santillan (66/1) could also spring a surprise at big odds this week as he reached the final of the Surbiton challenger on grass prior to Wimbledon and won a hard court challenger in the USA last week so is clearly in good form.
Over in Europe on clay I will analyse Umag first and it has attracted quite a strong field with two top-20 players Goffin seeded one and Monfils seeded two. The top-two seeds don’t have a great record at Umag over the last decade and the top-seed has won two of the last ten titles (last 2009) and they were never a losing finalist in this period, which does not bode well for Goffin’s chances this week. The second seed won two of the last ten titles (last 2012 Cilic) and they were a losing finalist once during this period (last Robredo 2014). Seeded players have a strong record at Umag and a player seeded no higher than six won nine of the last ten titles (last 2016 Fognini) and a player seeded no higher than five was a losing finalist six times over the last decade (last 2014 Cuevas).
Unseeded players don’t have a great record at Umag and there has been one winner over the last decade (2014 Cuevas) and there have been three unseeded losing finalists during this period (last 2016 Martin). From a betting perspective past statistics suggest a seeded player is going to win and with doubts surrounding top-seed Goffin’s and second seed Monfils fitness i think the seeded players most likely to challenge for the title this week are defending champion Fognini, sixth seed Coric and eighth seed Vesely. Of the three sixth seed and two time quarter-finalist Coric (16/1) from the top-half of the draw and eighth seed Vesely (25/1) from the bottom half of the draw are both capable of winning the title this week having won tournaments on clay at this level before.
While unseeded players don’t have a great record at Umag an unseeded player has reached the last three finals and Cuevas won the title as a qualifier back in 2014. Unseeded players who could continue the trend and spring a surprise at big odds this week are qualifier Andrey Rublev (Price tbc) and Britian’s Aljaz Bedene (25/1), who has been in good form winning two clay court challengers and reaching the final of Budapest from qualifying where he lost to Pouille prior to the grass court season.
At Bastad second seed Ramos-Vinolas returns to defend his title and with two other previous Bastad winners in the field (Ferrer and Cuevas) and a few other ATP clay court title winners lining up, like top-seed Carreno-Busta, we should be in for a competitive challenge for this year’s title. The top-seed does not have a great record at Bastad winning two of the last ten titles (last 2012 Ferrer) and they were a losing finalist once during this period (2010), which does not bode well for Carreno-Busta’s chances this week.
The second seed has a better record over the last decade winning the title twice (last 2009) and they were a losing finalist three times during this period (last Robredo 2015), which gives Ramos-Vinolas a better chance of defending his title. Seeded players in general have a strong record over the last decade and a player seeded no higher than four won seven of the last ten titles (last Ramos Vinolas 2016) and a player seeded no higher than eight was a losing finalist in eight of the last ten finals (last Verdasco 2016).
Unseeded players have a reasonable record at Bastad winning three of the last ten titles (last Paire 2015) and they were a losing finalist twice during this period (last Monaco 2009). From a betting perspective third seed Cuevas (7/1) has to be respected as a former winner (2014) and given his clay court prowess and seventh seed Schwartzman (20/1) from the top-half of the draw also has to be respected as he looks over priced given his overall record on the surface at this level.