Wimbledon Women's Final: Serve likely to dominate Saturday's showpiece

Venus Williams could win her first Grand Slam since 2008...
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After a tournament with plenty of shocks, as well as some high quality grass court tennis, the ladies singles final at Wimbledon takes place today. Our tennis columnist, Dan Weston, previews the match...

"My projected hold model shows that both players - Muguruza at 79.3%, Williams at 78.1% - are much more likely to hold serve more than is expected in the ladies format."

Muguruza and Williams progress founded on strong serving

Garbine Muguruza and Venus Williams are the duo who have accumulated six consecutive victories at SW19 to make the final, and their passages to centre court today have been founded on a cornerstone of strong serving, with Williams holding serve 90.9% of the time in the last fortnight, with Muguruza's numbers a little below.

However, Williams, mainly due an inability to convert break points, has only broken opponents 28.6% of the time, and against an opponent who has significantly over-performed saving break points on her own serve in the tournament, this will not augur well if Muguruza manages to sustain this unsustainable long-term phenomenon.

Tournament data slightly favours Williams

Indeed, merely looking at service points won and return points won percentage at this event this year, you'd be wondering why Williams was a [2.10] underdog - she should be favourite - but I prefer to look at longer-term data and this made the [1.89] favourite status on Muguruza about right.

Therefore, as is often the case in the latter stages of big events, pre-match betting value is thin on the ground, but there are some solid trading angles that we can look at in-play on the Exchange this afternoon.

In-play strategies best for today's final

When identifying potential trading strategies, the first areas I assess are projected hold percentages, as it allows me to establish whether the match is likely to be serve or return orientated.

Before Wimbledon started, a mean of 69.8% service holds were obtained on the WTA Tour in the last 12 months on grass, and my projected hold model shows that both players - Muguruza at 79.3%, Williams at 78.1% - are much more likely to hold serve more than is expected in the ladies format.

Furthermore, in 2017 across all surfaces, as well as at SW19 in the past fortnight, both players have saved more break points than have won service points, going against standard mathematical expectations that a player will save fewer break points - in the WTA, the average player saves 2.3% fewer break points than service points won.

Backing players when losing on serve can be considered

With these factors considered, we can consider backing either player when 0-30 or 15-40 down in service games, hedging for profit or removing some or all liability at 30-30 or deuce, or for those who prefer to tolerate more risk, when our player holds. If our player is broken, we would need to hedge for a loss, although the tick risk is significantly lower than if we had backed that player at the start of their service game.

In what should be a superb spectacle of strong serving and hard hitting, this looks the best strategy - with projected hold percentages around the ATP mean, I don't expect there to be many breaks of serve and we should see an extremely tight match.

Recommended Bet

Back either player when 0-30 or 15-40 down in service games


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