Wimbledon 2012 begins today on the finely manicured lawns of the All England Club and we’re all set for a fortnight of top quality grass court tennis.
Today’s first round feature’s quite a few meetings that I like the look of, but one has to be careful of going over the top with outsiders in the opening round. Favourites have a great record in round one and big priced winners are rare, so I’ll kick off with a safe-looking treble and take one chance on a bigger priced shot.
First up is Ryan Sweeting, who will surely be way too strong for Potito Starace. The big American is well worth adding to accumulators at around 1.20 after a pretty decent warm-up on the grass of Queen’s before qualifying for this. Starace has just one win ever on grass and that was on a retirement and he’s almost certainly just here to pick up the first round pay cheque.
Over on Court 3, I can’t see Josh Goodall getting Britain off to a winning start when he takes on Grega Zemlja today. The Slovenian is a handy performer on grass and recently won at Nottingham as a good warm-up for this. He should be just a cut above Goodall, who is a limited campaigner at best. Zemlja is a decent price at around 1.30 and he’s the second leg of my accumulator today.
The final leg of a treble is Philipp Petzschner, who, despite disappointing in the final of the UNICEF Open the other day, should be far too experienced and capable on grass for today’s opponent Blaz Kavcic. The treble pays 1.84 and should be a solid start to the day.
The outsiders that I do think have a shot today include Carla Suarez Navarro (at a whopping 6.40 against Sam Stosur on the women’s side) and Jelena Jankovic, who has a chance at 3.20 versus Kim Clijsters.
The bet that I really like, though, is for Adrian Menendez-Maceiras to beat Michael Russell. This is hardly a clash of the titans, but I’m not quite sure what makes 34-year-old sleeveless shirt-wearing American veteran Russell a 1.33 shot against a player who beat him earlier this year on a hard court.
It’s not as if Russell has a great record on grass himself, with just one win in the main draw at Wimbledon. He just sneaked through qualifying with a five-set win over Yuchi Sugita. Menendez-Maceiras, who defeated some decent players in qualifying, has a great chance of getting the win today at a price of 3.20
My last bet today is to take Fabio Fognini with a 1.5 set start on the handicap against fading force Michael Llodra at around 1.85. The Italian is a better player on grass than people give him credit for, and with the Wimbledon lawns being a lot slower than they were, he can really test Llodra, who has a poor record here anyway.
Llodra is in a real slump at the moment, with one victory from his last eight matches. He lost his only warm-up match against Denis Istomin in Eastbourne last week, where Fognini reached the quarter finals.
The Italian also won their match in Monte Carlo recently in straight sets and I rate him as likely to cause an upset, but he should certainly take a couple of sets today.
Back Sweeting, Petzschner and Zemlja in a treble at 1.84
Back Menendez-Maceiras to beat Russell at 3.20
Back Fognini + 1.5 sets to beat Llodra at 1.85