Wimbledon Women's Betting: Take a chance on Riske against Sharapova

Saturday at the All England Club sees the remainder of the third round of matches in the Ladies Singles, with places in the second week up for grabs today.

I said yesterday that two favourites who could be tested on Friday were Na Li and Aga Radwanska and those who took that on and backed Barbora Zahlavova Strycova against Li would have been very much in profit.

Also, those taking the overs and/or the 2-1 win in the Petra Kvitova/Venus Williams match were collecting, but it was a bad day for Domi Cibulkova and her backers.

The Slovak was really poor in a routine loss to Lucie Safarova, but on the whole it wasn’t a bad day at Wimbledon yesterday.

It looks a very appealing card on Saturday from a betting perspective and the first one I like is to take on a heavy favourite.

Alison Riske vs Maria Sharapova
No female player has done the French Open and Wimbledon double in the same season since Serena Williams back in 2002 and the reason for this is that it’s so very tough to achieve – for a male or female.

The French takes so much energy from the legs and the emotions that coming back and winning Wimbledon a few weeks later is nigh on impossible and I expect a let down from Maria at some point soon because of this.

It might not be today, but Riske can be a threat with her style of play and it must be remembered that a year ago Sharapova was taken down here by Larcher de Brito and Paris champ Williams was bundled out early by Lisicki.

Riske has more power than the Portuguese and she’s not afraid of the big names at majors, having thrashed Kvitova in New York a year ago and she’s been competitive in all five of her meetings with top-10 players.

Maria has played two weak opponents so far and this is a real step up against the grass-loving Riske, who took a set from the Russian on grass in the only prior meeting between the pair back in 2010.

Several bets appeal here, including Riske to win set one at 4.60; the +5.5 games at 2.12; and the +1.5 sets at 2.90, with the latter my personal choice.

Simona Halep vs Belinda Bencic

I had Bencic in my bets a couple of days ago to beat Victoria Duval 2-1, but the impressive young Swiss managed it too quickly, however at least she’s fresher for when she takes on Halep on Saturday.

Halep just about squeezed past Lesia Tsurenko in three sets on Friday and she’ll have to improve a fair bit if she’s going to justify a price of 1.24 in this one.

For me, Halep isn’t as comfortable on grass as she is on clay and to a lesser extent hard courts and she showed that again in that scratchy win over Tsurenko.

Bencic is a former junior champion here and it surely won’t be long before she’s taking down some notable scalps on the WTA Tour and she could start that giant killing spree today against Halep.

Experience is the obvious negative for Bencic, which moves me away from the straight win and on to the +1.5 sets at around 2.06.

I would expect Ana Ivanovic’s recent improvement on grass and general good form to be enough to take down Sabine Lisicki, who isn’t at the same level as a year ago, due in no small part to injury. Ana is a little short at 1.46 though and the 2-0 appeals in that one, with Lisicki not the force of 12 months ago.

Elsewhere today I would expect wins for Genie Bouchard over Andrea Petkovic, who isn’t great on grass and had a real injury scare in her last match, and Serena Williams should extract a spot of revenge over Alizé Cornet, who beat Williams in Dubai this year.

I also liked the idea of backing Zarina Dyas over Vera Zvonareva, whose shoulder is still a major problem for the Russian, but after opening as slight favourite the 1.62 doesn’t appeal much.

Best Bets
Back Bencic +1.5 sets to beat Halep at 2.06
Back Riske +1.5 sets to beat Sharapova at 2.90