The final of the Women’s Singles at Wimbledon 2015 is the highlight of day 12 at the All England Club, with Serena Williams facing Garbiñe Muguruza for the title.
Our wagers on day 11 went one from two, with a good start from Richard Gasquet and an edgy one from Novak Djokovic putting paid to the 'value bet' of -7.5 games on the Serb, but the 'sure thing' of under 40.5 games was rarely in any kind of danger, with Gasquet again blinking when in with a shot in the opening set tie break.
Once the Frenchman had lost that he was pretty much done, but Djokovic backers might be concerned about an apparent shoulder injury that the world number one appeared to be struggling with on Friday.
The women are back on the Centre Court stage on Saturday and the final starts at around 14:00 UK time.
Serena Williams vs Garbiñe Muguruza
This one has the makings of a really entertaining final, featuring two players who like to go for their shots, play aggressive first strike tennis, and light it up with stunning winners.
It’ll be the fourth career meeting between the American and the Spaniard, with Williams leading 2-1 at the moment, but this is a dangerous assignment for the American – probably the toughest on paper this fortnight since Vika Azarenka.
Like Azarenka the 21-year-old can cause problems with powerful ground strokes off both wings and she has the backhand down the line that is key to winning many matches on both the women’s and men’s tour.
She can mix up her spins and depths on the forehand and is more comfortable at the net now than previously when she wasn’t much of a fan of grass court tennis.
Her best level is definitely good enough to trouble Williams, as she showed when thrashing the 33-year-old at the French Open last year 6-2, 6-2, but the question for Muguruza backers is how long can she keep it up for.
Muguruza beagn very impressively indeed against Aga Radwanska on Thursday when she took the game out of the Pole’s hands, but nerves struck and Radwanska was able to wrestle back control for a period.
Nerves will surely play a part again on Saturday, with Muguruza obviously likely to feel tense in a first major final, while Williams is hardly immune to a bout of nerves either, as we have seen on many occasions.
I expect Muguruza to have her moments where she is unplayable on Saturday if she isn’t hamstrung by nerves and the 2-1 win for Williams does appeal at a tempting 4.0.
Seven of the last eight Women’s Singles finals have been over in two sets, but the odd one out was Williams’ win over Radwanska in 2012, which was her last Wimbledon title, and we’re due a competitive one after 2013 and 2014’s one-sided affairs.
It has the potential to be one of the most exciting Women’s Singles finals in a long time and hopefully Muguruza won’t be cowed by the occasion.
On the stats, Williams has won all seven of her matches on grass this decade as a 1.10 to 1.20 favourite, with one set dropped, which was to Slava Shvedova here in 2012.
In major finals Williams is 20-4, with her last loss coming against Sam Stosur in the US Open final of 2011, and on grass she’s 5-2, with defeats coming way back in 2008 and 2004 to Venus Williams and Maria Sharapova.
Talking of Sharapova the Russian was predictably unable to do anything much against Williams in their semi final here on Thursday and I expect this one to be a more competitive affair.
Back Williams to beat Muguruza 2-1 at 4.0