I must say the top half does have a lot of big chances to go deep into the tournament, as again the women’s draw appears to be far more open in terms of potential winners. The first quarter is stacked with the likes of Halep, Kvitova, Sharapova, Konta, Mertens and Ostapenko. Add to that, there are a couple of decent grasscourt players who are capable of a surprise or two on their day.
Of the big names listed above, I like one of Kvitova to progress, ahead of Konta. The big concern is how Konta will handle to pressure in front of her home crowd, but at the price I do consider her a decent prospect in this one. I am happy to take on Sharapova, Mertens, Halep and Ostapenko based on either their recent grass form or lack of form at all on the surface.
Of the bigger prices, I feel that whoever wins out of Flipkens/Watson (I am predicting Flipkens) will be able to find a way to the 4th round (where they would likely meet Kvitova), so Flipkens could present some trading value at the price.
Quarter 1 – Kvitova to progress (Konta the main darkhorse), with Flipkens the long shot.
Section 2 is a section that appears to be a race in three in my opinion. It is very hard to go past Muguruza though, regardless of how well Kerber and Barty have played in the lead-up tournaments. Barty is still largely unproven at Grand Slam level, and Kerber is reliant at times on opponents having an off day to an extent. With Muguruza you know that the result is on her racquet one way or another, and in a quarter with limited grasscourt weapons, it seems like it is her quarter to lose.
Quarter 2 – Muguruza to win the group seems the best play.
Quarter 3 has Sloane Stephens as favourite to progress to the semi finals. Interesting, considering she has only two grasscourt wins to her name since the start of 2016 and finding herself up against a very sneaky Donna Vekic in round 1, who is more than capable on grass. I guess Stephens being favourite is a testament to just how even this quarter is across the board.
Whereas in quarter 2 I couldn’t look past the top 3 betting chances, in this quarter I am not interested in taking any of the top 3 betting chances. There isn’t anyone that stands out significantly, but I think you could do worse than targeting Vekic, Strycova and Barthel. I think you have to acknowledge that taking Vekic is a massive risk considering she takes on Stephens in round 1, however the reward of stealing a top seeded draw would be a massive bonus moving forward.
Quarter 3 – I wouldn’t be opposed to small plays on Vekic/Barthel/Strycova
Quarter 4 is very similar to Quarter 3, in that you could definitely make a case for opposing a number of the top chances. I was keen to oppose Svitolina before she found herself in a potential 3rd round match with Serena Willaims. I am happy to bet around Serena, however at the same time have no issues if she is able to win through, as it would be an amazing achievement considering the way her comeback has panned out to date.
In similar fashion to my preview for the French Open, I am pretty comfortable sitting out this quarter based on who is in the group and the number of question marks. Looking beyond the obvious favourites, you could make a case for Rybarikova and Radwanska, as well as Krunic is you wanted to look deeper into the draw.
With so many unknowns in the bottom half, it may be better to just take things one match at a time, as things are very wide open.
Keeping in mind all of the above, I would be inclined to make outright plays on Kvitova and Muguruza, with some outsider selections from the bottom group for trading purposes. I think one of Kvitova and Muguruza should make their way out of the top half, and with a lot of Grand Slam final experience at Wimbledon between them, should probably start as favourite in most potential matchups.
If I had to pick one to win, it’s the favourite in Kvitova.
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