The first of the third round of matches in the men’s singles at Wimbledon begin today, weather permitting on the lawns of the All England Club.
And, like the weather, my day was a bit of a damp squib on Thursday, as for the first time this fortnight I had a losing day of bets.
The Richard Gasquet/Nick Kyrgios match was one where I ended up choosing the wrong bet and instead of the overs I went for the bigger payout of the first set to Kyrgios.
The young Aussie showed that to be the wrong option by dropping the opener, but going on to save nine match points and emerge the victor deep in the fifth set.
That one was rather unlucky, while bet two was beaten in more annoying circumstances when Jarkko Nieminen lost a 19-17 first set tie breaker to John Isner, followed by another and that was that for the Finn.
Sixteen matches, plus those carried over from yesterday are scheduled for Friday when there is expected to be more rain about and it could be one of those frustrating stop/start kind of days.
Last year’s third round of matches produced six underdog winners from 16 matches and the biggest price was the 3.37 about Kenny de Schepper beating Juan Monaco.
Sergiy Stakhovsky vs Jeremy Chardy
After a fine win over Ernests Gulbis in round two, Stako will be very keen to follow up that success with another over Frenchman Chardy.
Many will recall that the Ukrainian flopped in the third round 12 months ago to Jurgen Melzer after stunning Roger Federer in round two and he should have learned from that.
The win over Gulbis, whose record on grass is poor, was hardly in the Federer category, but all the same I don’t want a let down from Stako today, as he has a fine chance in this one.
Chardy has been reasonably solid on grass so far this swing, with wins over Ivo Karlovic and Marinko Matosevic, but the latter was an absolute battle over five sets and he’ll do well to come back from that four-hour plus war of attrition.
Stakhovsky will also remember losing to Chardy in five sets at the US Open last year and he has all the motivation he needs in his quest to make the second week at Wimbledon for the first time.
Chardy has never made the second week either, but his chances must have been diminished by that Matosevic match, while Stako will be far fresher after much less time spent on court this week.
Leonardo Mayer vs Andrey Kuznetsov
I’m happy to stick with Leo Mayer here after the Argentine landed a nice winner for us a few days ago in beating Marcos Baghdatis and he also faces an opponent who is likely to be a bit below par physically.
Kuznetsov took down David Ferrer in five sets and that three-hour plus battle will have taken a lot from him physically and mentally and I fully expect a bit of a reaction today.
It’s often the case that after a big win there’s a let down and it could be the case again here, with the Russian having never won a five set match at a major before and it’s far from certain how he’ll come out of this one.
It will be an entertaining match, with both of these guys adopting an attacking approach and it may be another long one, which should favour Mayer bearing in mind he’s played just two matches since the French Open.
Elsewhere, number one seed Novak Djokovic should have a comfortable day against Gilles Simon, unless Gillou brings his occasional attacking game to the court.
Hopefully, the Frenchman will realise that pushing won’t get him past Novak and if he does come out firing then it could be interesting for a while, but Simon is so unpredictable these days that I’m avoiding any betting on his matches.
Back Stakhovsky to beat Chardy at 1.78
Back Mayer to beat Kuznetsov at 1.78