We’re into week two at the All England Club after a successful opening six days of betting at Wimbledon 2012. If you’d backed each of my selections with ten pounds, you’d be £29.30 better off, which is a pretty good level of return for the initial week of play.
Monday is fourth round day on the lawns of SW19 and with all 16 matches scheduled for today, we should be in for a great day of tennis. It’s not always a great day for value though; 12 months ago six of the eight men’s favourites – and five of the women’s favourites – won. The year before, only one favourite lost from eight in the men’s.
On the men’s side, the shaky-looking favourites certainly include Andy Murray, who’s an awful price at around 1.20 to beat Marin Cilic and perhaps Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who may be made to work hard against Mardy Fish.
Serena Williams, who I suggested would struggle to cover the handicap against Zie Zheng on Saturday, is no certainty at 1.25 against a confident Yaraslava Shvedova, who won a set without losing a point against Sara Errani in her previous match.
With favourites having a great fourth round record, though, it might pay to play on a treble today and the three I like are Richard Gasquet to put an end to Florian Mayer’s tournament, Victoria Azarenka to beat Ana Ivanovic and Mikhail Youzhny to beat Denis Istomin.
The Gasman should be that bit too classy for Mayer, who’s sneaked through to the last 16 with two comeback wins against Phillipp Petzschner and Jerzy Janowicz.
Gasquet, meanwhile, eased past the dangerous Nico Almagro in straight sets and has yet to come close to dropping a set. He’s ahead 3-1 in the head-to-head with Mayer and he’s more comfortable on grass than the German.
I’m not sure how Ivanovic has made it to the last 16 with a ball toss that would shame a low level club player and I can see Azarenka recording a comfortable win over the Serbian today.
It’s been a real struggle for Ivanovic to get this far, while Azarenka has cruised through comfortably and without anyone really talking up her chances as a winner this fortnight.
Ivanovic has improved of late generally but she’s not consistent enough with her best level and Azarenka should punish her today.
Finally, Youzhny has been impressive after a poor start against Donald Young and his win over Tipsarevic showed that he’s in the groove at the moment. The Russian is one to keep on your side when he’s playing well, as he tends to go through spells of being very good (and then pretty poor) for months at a time.
This pair are quite similar in styles, but Youzhny does it better. He’ll be playing a man who has had three long matches already this tournament and is known for being injury prone.
My last bet today is to take the overs in David Ferrer v Juan Martin Del Potro at 1.87. This pair should serve up a great match for the crowds on Court 1 late in the day. It's a hard match to call, considering that neither player has ever bettered this fourth round stage at Wimbledon and neither is totally at home on grass.
Ferrer did win their only grass court meeting back in 2008 and has a 4-2 overall head-to-head lead in their series, but on their best form there's not a lot to choose between them. I think a long battle might be on the cards.
Of their six previous meetings, only two have been in five set matches (and one of those ended in early retirement) with the one completed match going the distance on the clay in Davis Cup last year. In a tough match to call, though, I'm happy to take the over 40.5 games.
Back Gasquet, Youzhny, and Azarenka in a treble at 2.32
Back over 40.5 games in Ferrer v Del Potro at 1.87