Wimbledon Day Four Men's Tips: Johnson can provide underdog winner against De Minaur

American Tennis Player Steve Johnson
Steve Johnson is a solid grass courter...

Second round action continues at Wimbledon on Thursday, and returning to preview the day's play, is our tennis columnist, Dan Weston...

"I think Johnson is pretty under-rated on the surface, coming in at just over 104% combined serve and return points won during this time period."

Frustration as Wawrinka departs against Opelka

The majority of big names made it through to round three from yesterday's opening batch of second round matches, although Stan Wawrinka departed to Reilly Opelka in a five-set epic, which went the way of Opelka 8-6 in the final set.

This was frustrating as I'd pegged Wawrinka as one to take on this tournament and opposed him on the handicap against Ruben Bemelmans in the first round, and he eventually reverted back to his mediocre grass level yesterday against the big-serving American, who had an unreliable sample size of data on grass, which I couldn't trust enough to oppose Wawrinka again.

This aptly sums up what has been a frustrating week so far, with Feliciano Lopez unable to provide us with an underdog victory after converting just two of ten break points against Karen Khachanov, who took four of his ten. Ultimately that was the difference between the two players, and as I've said numerous times before, illustrates the fine margins with which tennis matches can be decided.

Tricky card on day four

Thursday's card looks as tricky as the previous week, with only several matches looking worthy of discussion from a pre-match value standpoint. Most of these are heavy underdogs, with Andrey Rublev looking a touch under-rated at 5.609/2 against Sam Querrey, who must be feeling it physically after a long week last week upon his return from injury.

In addition, the soon to be retiring Marcos Baghdatis could well provide breakthrough player of 2019 Matteo Berrettini with a tough meeting if he can come anywhere close to grass court levels that he's been able to exhibit in previous years. The 34 year old Cypriot has done very well on the surface previously, and while of course Berrettini should be a strong favourite to take this, the 1.171/6 about the young Italian looks pretty short.

Johnson capable of defeating De Minaur

I'm surprised to see Steve Johnson as underdog against Alex De Minaur, and the American is today's recommendation. In main tour matches on grass over the last 18 months (essentially this season and last), Johnson has a 0.7% edge on service points won and 2.3% advantage on return points won, and I think Johnson is pretty under-rated on the surface, coming in at just over 104% combined serve and return points won during this time period.

De Minaur's grass success has come on the lower tier Challenger Tour, but the calibre of opponent he's beaten on the surface really isn't great.

He reached two finals in Challengers on grass in consecutive weeks last year, and admittedly, in the first week in Surbiton, the field quality was strong - he beat the likes of Taylor Fritz and Matt Ebden before losing to Jeremy Chardy in the final.

However, the subsequent week in Nottingham, he only really had a tough perceived match-up against Dan Evans in the final - and in that case, Evans was on the comeback trail and ranked outside the top 1000.

On the main tour, his victories aren't hugely impressive - only wins over Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Andreas Seppi are solid enough - with his other wins coming against the out and out clay courter Marco Cecchinato (twice) - and defeats against Aljaz Bedene and Mikhail Kukushkin, among others.

With this in mind, taking Johnson at 2.608/5 seems a decent play, with my model making him a slight favourite to make round three on Saturday.

Kyrgios against Nadal the undisputed highlight today

In other matches, the undisputed highlight surely is Rafa Nadal against Nick Kygrios in what can only be described as a grudge match. Nadal is 1.331/3 to silence the Australian, which I don't think is a million miles from being value.

We also see Roger Federer in action, with a presumably straightforward meeting with the Brit, Jay Clarke, while we also see the likes of Marin Cilic and Kei Nishikori on court in what is likely to be an excellent day's play as the second round concludes.

Follow Dan on Twitter @TennisRatings and watch all the action from Wimbledon on Betfair Live Video

Get a Free £/€20 Exchange Bet

  • Join Now - Open account using promo code VAL225
  • Bet - Place a £/€20 Bet on the Exchange
  • Earn We'll Refund You £/€20 If the Bet Loses

T&Cs apply.

Discover the latest articles

Read past articles