Tuesday at the All England Club is quarter finals day in the Ladies’ Singles at Wimbledon 2016, with semi final spots up for grabs on what the tournament likes to call Day 8.
Of course, it’s really Day 9, but the tournament doesn’t count ‘Middle Sunday’ - even though they played it this year.
Either way, Monday was a successful day for us, with the ‘value bet’ of Marin Cilic providing a very easy winner when the Croat’s opponent Kei Nishikori retired in set two after struggling with the same injury that ended his participation in Halle.
The ‘long shot’ also came up with the goods thanks to a battling five set win from Lucas Pouille over Bernard Tomic that took almost three hours and all that remained was for Tomas Berdych to see out the clean sweep.
Of course, Berdych managed to mess it up from 5-2 up in the fourth set of his clash with Jiri Vesely, failing to serve it out at *5-3 and failing with three consecutive match points on the Vesely serve to win it 7-5.
Then Berdych came back from 1-6 down in the ensuing tie break to hold another two match points after Vesely missed the sitter of all sitters, but with hawkeye out of action due to darkness an overrule on the baseline eventually did for him and us.
But it’s all about the Ladies’ Singles on Tuesday and looking back at the results of the 2014 and 2015 Wimbledon quarter finals only one of the eight matches was won by an underdog – and that was only a marginal one. That could change on Tuesday though.
Venus Williams vs Yaroslava Shvedova
This 13:00 UK time clash between Slava and Venus could be one where we see the underdog prevailing, with the Kazakh having found her very best form here at The All England Club this fortnight.
Twice a Grand Slam quarter finalist in singles before, but never at Wimbledon, Slava has a great game for the grass, as she has shown a few times here in recent years in reaching the last-16 and pushing Serena Williams very close in 2012.
Better known for her doubles play these days it’s been four years since she made the second of her two French Open quarter finals and while she was competitive in both Shvedova is yet to go further in her singles career.
Venus has done little at this stage of majors for many years now, with losses in four of her last five major quarter finals going back to 2010 and if I were backing the 36-year-old today at odds-on I’d be worried about her energy levels.
The American’s health issues are well-known and she didn’t look too lively against Carla Suarez Navarro early on after coming through a tight three-setter against Darya Kasatkina 10-8 in the third and Shvedova has had few such problems this week.
She‘s been impressive in dumping out Elina Svitolina, Sabine Lisicki, and Lucie Safarova and she’s won five of her last eight matches against top-20 ranked opposition.
Their grass court stats this season are almost identical, with around 72.5 percent service holds each and 34 percent breaks of serve, so Venus may be priced up a little on name in this one.
She’s lost six of her last nine when priced as a 1.60 to 1.70 favourite and there’s a bit of value on the underdog here for me, with Shvedova having the game to be very competitive on Tuesday.
Dominika Cibulkova vs Elena Vesnina
Could the physical and emotional strain of an epic win over Aga Radwanska on Monday afternoon have deflated the bubbly Cibulkova for this quarter final at around 15:00 UK time on Tuesday?
It was a great match between the Slovak and the Pole that had just about everything before Domi finally closed it out and after a battle that lasted exactly three hours it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see a let down from Cibulkova today.
She’s taking on Vesnina for the seventh time in their careers, but for only the second time on grass, with the series tied at 3-3 and Vesnina having won that sole clash on grass here at Wimbledon way back in 2009.
Vesnina could well have beaten her doubles partner Kate Makarova in straight sets on Monday, but she blew a solid first set lead and had to come through 9-7 in the third, so the Russian can’t complain about a lack of court time either.
The career grass court stats of the pair show that the diminutive Slovak only holds her own serve 68.4 percent of the time and breaks 35.2 percent of the time, but in her nine grass matches this season she’s posted 78.2 percent holds and 40.6 percent breaks.
Vesnina has the better career service hold stats on this surface, with 71.7 percent holds and 30 percent breaks, and in 2016 on grass that improves to 76.9 percent holds and 33 percent breaks.
A close match is expected here, with Vesnina into her first major quarter final at the age of 29, and all six of Cibulkova’s Grand Slam quarter finals have ended in two sets, with two wins and four losses.
Domi looks a little on the short side in price at 1.40 after that effort against Radwanska, so the 3.0 on Vesnina looks the one for bigger-priced punters on Tuesday.
Value bet: Back Shvedova to beat Williams at 2.35
Long shot: Back Vesnina to beat Cibulkova at 3.0