With more shocks yesterday at Wimbledon, third round action continues today in the men's singles event. Our tennis columnist, Dan Weston, returns with his preview...
"While Tsonga's data this year in general isn't top level, and it's clear that he's not at his peak any more on other surfaces, he's held 95% on grass this season (including losses against Milos Raonic and Roger Federer where he lost 7-6 and 7-5 respectively in deciding sets), and I think the market hasn't factored that in."
Anderson and Auger-Aliassime the latest casualties
There was another fascinating day on day five yesterday with heavy favourites continuing to fall on the men's side. Felix Auger-Aliassime was dumped out in straight sets by the improving Frenchman, Ugo Humbert, while Novak Djokovic was tested by Hubert Hurkacz, eventually coming through in four sets.
However, the biggest shock was last year's finalist Kevin Anderson being defeated in straight sets by Guido Pella, who after last year's two-day triumph over Marin Cilic is becoming something of a giant-killer at Wimbledon. I did note yesterday on my preview that Pella could potentially keep matters close at least in an anticipated serve-orientated match-up, and he surpassed those expectations.
We also picked up a winner from our recommendation with minimal stress, with Roberto Bautista-Agut proving too good for Karen Khachanov on grass once again - the Spaniard came through without even facing a break point on serve in the three sets competed, while our outright pick as quarter two winner, Milos Raonic, is into round four after easing past Reilly Opelka, and now faces the aforementioned Pella on Monday. We got in excess of 5.04/1 on the Canadian pre-tournament, and this is now into 2.206/5 on the Exchange.
Fognini should ease past Sandgren
There's another tough card on the men's schedule today with there not being an abundance of value that I'm massively keen on. Fabio Fognini looks big at 1.364/11 against Tennys Sandgren, whose grass record isn't particularly impressive, and readers may be surprised to hear that Fognini's record throughout his career when priced sub-1.50 is actually excellent.
The volatile Italian has also won his last 11 in this price range, although apart from one facile win against serial protected ranking player, Dmitry Tursunov, has made a bit of a meal of the matches on grass which he was expected to win easily.
Sousa capable of strong showing against Evans
Joao Sousa also looks a little generously priced, although as an underdog, as he looks to prevent home hope Dan Evans from reaching week two. Evans has an excellent grass record, albeit at mostly a lower level, and deserves a ton of credit for getting back towards the top 50 after his ban, but it's worth noting that Sousa is running at over 100% combined serve/return points won on grass in the last three years and his poor win-loss record is rather influenced by a 2-10 tiebreak record in these matches - an issue which is often variance-driven.
Sousa got to this stage with an excellent win over Marin Cilic, so should be in confident mood prior to this match with the home favourite, and with the Exchange market forming in the run-up to this match, I feel it wouldn't be a bad spot to look at around 1.9520/21 on the Portuguese man with a 4.5 game head start.
There are also several more underdogs who look potentially competitive. I'm surprised that Mikhail Kukushkin is as big as 4.30100/30 against Jan-Lennard Struff. There's no doubt that Struff has improved this year but his dynamic on grass historically is rather serve-orientated, and Kukushkin is unlikely to be totally outclassed here.
Tsonga's strong serve can help him cover game handicap
In addition, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga's strong serve could well keep it very competitive against Rafa Nadal. The Spaniard is just 1.182/11 to take this, which looks short, and I'm struggling to see why the market perceives Tsonga to be a considerable downgrade to Nick Kyrgios, who Rafa was priced at around 1.3030/100 to beat in the previous round.
While Tsonga's data this year in general isn't top level, and it's clear that he's not at his peak any more on other surfaces, he's held 95% on grass this season (including losses against Milos Raonic and Roger Federer where he lost 7-6 and 7-5 respectively in deciding sets), and I think the market hasn't factored that in.
Earlier on, we could get 1.9520/21 on Tsonga with a 5.5 game head start, although this has now been cut, and this type of spot looks pretty appealing with those serve numbers. We should be able to get around 1.855/6 in the run up to this match though on the Exchange.
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Back Jo-Wilfried Tsonga +5.5 games at around 1.855/6