It’s men’s quarter finals day at The All England Club on Wednesday, with Roger Federer and Andy Murray among those in search of semi final spots at Wimbledon 2016.
We managed to turn a profit from the ladies’ singles quarter finals on Tuesday thanks to Elena Vesnina’s easy win over a predictably flat Domi Cibulkova at a nice price of 3.0, but sadly Slava Shvedova bottled it against Venus Williams.
Vesnina was all over Cibulkova from game one and came away a comfortable 6-2, 6-2 victor, but Shvedova’s chances came and went when she held a 5-2 lead in the opening set tie break against Venus Williams.
Slava threw her chance away with a string of unforced errors to lose five straight points, the set, and effectively the match to a mediocre Williams, who may go on to face her sister Serena in the final.
The men are back on centre stage on Wednesday and we start at 13:00 UK time, at which time the weather forecast tells us we have zero percent chance of rain.
There were three very short priced winners in the quarters last year, with Federer, Murray and Djokovic all straight sets winners and the other was a slight upset when Richard Gasquet defeated Stan Wawrinka.
Roger Federer vs Marin Cilic
Only one place to look for a big upset for me today and that’s to take on Federer, who finds himself in a similar position to the one he encountered at the 2014 US Open.
Novak Djokovic had surprisingly fallen to Kei Nishikori and seemingly there was a fairly routine clash with Cilic between the Swiss and a first Grand Slam title since 2012 – but it didn’t quite work out that way.
Federer was comprehensively beaten in straight sets by Cilic in the semi finals at Flushing Meadows that year and the Croat went on to land the title. Could we see history repeat itself on Wednesday at Wimbledon?
Fed was a 1.33 chance that day in New York and he’s more or less the same price again today at almost 35 years of age and lacking the usual amount of matches that he has under his belt at this stage of the season.
His cakewalk of an early draw against Guido Pella and two Brits may well not be the best preparation for an in-form Cilic, who is a very dangerous opponent when he is confident and when that often suspect forehand is firing, which it is right now.
Cilic is also serving well and of course he’s an effective operator on grass as a former Queen’s Club champion, so this is without doubt Fed’s toughest assignment in some time.
Stevie Johnson was very disappointing against Federer in the last round and it remains to be seen what Fed has in the tank after a frustrating campaign with injury and illness hampering his season.
The grass court stats for the pair this season slightly favour Cilic, who weighs in with 92.2 percent service holds and 25.7 percent breaks, but that would have been boosted by the breaks he got against an injured Kei Nishikori in the last round.
If we look at Fed’s losses in majors we see that when he does lose it’s usually fairly rapidly, with all six of his last defeats and 10 of his last 12 coming in either three or four sets and if we are backing Cilic as a ‘long shot’ the -1.5 sets at 5.80 looks the one.
The Croat has the form, the confidence and the stats to cause an upset here if he continues to play his best tennis and a worthy big-priced punt for Wednesday.
Milos Raonic vs Sam Querrey
I was surprised that Querrey was able to back up his stunning upset of Novak Djokovic with a straight sets win over Nicolas Mahut in the fourth round and the American says he “hasn’t felt many nerves this week,” which also comes as a bit of an eye-opener.
Raonic had to go the full five sets against David Goffin in the last round after starting poorly and finding himself two sets down and with the many physical issues that the Canadian has endured of late I wouldn’t fancy him much as a 1.29 chance in this 13:00 UK time start on Court 1.
When this pair last met at Wimbledon in 2012 the result was a 6-7, 7-6, 7-6, 6-4 win for Querrey, who was pretty much the same price then as he is today – a 3.60 shot.
Raonic holds serve 93.1 percent of the time on grass in his career so far and has held 94.9 percent of the time in his grass matches this season, while Querrey is slightly lower at 89.6 percent (career) and 92.6 percent (this season).
If we look at the head-to-head between the pair, which Querrey leads 2-1, we find that Big Sam has held serve 91 percent of the time against Raonic, while the Canadian has held his delivery 93.3 percent of the time against Querrey.
Querrey service break stats are better this season on grass than his career average, with 17.7 percent in 2016, while Raonic has only managed to improve slightly to 13.8 percent, so we give the edge to the American in that facet of the game.
I like the +3.5 games on Querrey here at 2.0 as a decent value pick, with Raonic unproven at recovering from five set matches and Querrey clearly has been boosted by the Djokovic win in terms of his fragile confidence.
Value bet: Back Querrey +3.5 games at 2.0
Long shot: Back Cilic -1.5 sets to beat Federer at 5.80