The opening two days at Wimbledon 2013 were merely a prelude to the amazing story of Day Three at the All England Club.
I had barely taken my seat on Court 17 when the day’s first retirement, John Isner, became known and what followed was pure carnage in terms of the game’s top ranked stars.
Roger Federer was taken down by Sergiy Stakhovsky, while Lleyton Hewitt was beaten by Dustin Brown and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Radek Stepanek retired, adding to the withdrawals of Marin Cilic and Steve Darcis.
The ladies fared no better with a host of seeds departing, including Maria Sharapova, Vika Azarenka, Caro Wozniacki, Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic. By my reckoning, that’s seven former world ranked number one stars who were beaten on Wednesday and I’m glad I can say I was there.
I was focusing more on my bets though, which were a little unlucky yesterday, with Viktor Troicki’s easy win setting up the second half of a double which Mikhail Youzhny foiled by taking a set too long to beat Vasek Pospisil. Stepanek’s retirement did for my other bet, so it was bad luck with those.
It should be a quieter day today and early on I like the odds on Andreas Seppi to take down Michael Llodra at 2.30.
It’s not often I would back Seppi but, like Nicolas Mahut yesterday, the grass is too slow for Llodra’s game to work effectively. He hasn’t been past the second round on grass since 2011, and only once here at Wimbledon in 13 attempts.
Seppi will grind this out all day long, which will bring Llodra’s questionable fitness into play. This is a man who lost to Jan Hernych on grass last time out before taking care of a below par Jarkko Nieminen, who had been suffering with illness.
Kevin Anderson looks way too short at 1.12 considering his injury issues lately, as does Bernard Tomic, who pulled out of doubles on Wednesday with his dodgy hamstring presumably still an issue.
If Daniel Brands puts it all together he could push Tomas Berdych close, but Brands remains an enigma and puts in far too many awful performances for my liking.
There are plenty of other short prices around today and the 23-year-old German qualifier Jan-Lennard Struff can hit big, and this could take longer than the odds suggest. Chardy has only once been past round two of Wimbledon lifetime and if he doesn’t hit his straps on serve this could be tricky, so I like the over 38.5 games at 1.73 in this.
Back Seppi to beat Llodra at 2.30
Back over 38.5 total games in Struff vs Chardy at 1.73