After a day of shocks and drama on day one at Wimbledon, Dan Weston is back to check out day two with the first round concluding...
"Prior to this event, Niculescu had lost five on the spin on grass, so I'm tempted to treat her title in Ilkley as more of an isolated occurrence against a poor field."
Williams shocked by Gauff on day one
Just as in the men's tournament, there were an abundance of shock results on day one at Wimbledon in the women's singles event, with our recommendation on the game handicap, Venus Williams, dumped out by 15 year old Cori Gauff in an incredible straight-sets defeat.
Quite incredibly, Gauff is now into 55.054/1 in the outright market, which appears to be a gigantic over-reaction - similar that on Lukas Rosol after he beat Rafa Nadal here in 2012 - particularly as she's around a 2.809/5 underdog to Magdalena Rybarikova tomorrow.
Osaka among those also exiting on opening day
Venus' surprise defeat was hardly an isolated occurrence, with Aryna Sabalenka, Marketa Vondrousova, Naomi Osaka and Caroline Garcia all exiting on the opening day, leaving us grateful that our two outright picks in action on day one made it safely through to round two. Petra Martic fought back to nick a tight match with Jennifer Brady in a deciding set, while Caroline Wozniacki benefited from Sara Sorribes Tormo's first-set retirement - both of these players plus our other selection, Johanna Konta, have already shortened about five ticks each after the first day.
Petkovic a false underdog against Niculescu
There's not a lot that I'm pretty enthused about in today's women's schedule from a value perspective, so I'd definitely recommend caution. However, I do think that Andrea Petkovic isn't bad value at 2.245/4 against Monica Niculescu, with my numbers indicating that the prices should be the other way around.
German veteran Petkovic is obviously in the latter stages of her career and she's far from peak level these days, but she's been doing well enough of late, with her last three defeats coming at the hands of decent opposition - Ashleigh Barty, Elise Mertens and Caroline Wozniacki - while picking up several decent underdog victories.
My perception of this match-up is that Niculescu is over-rated following her win in the Ilkley ITF warm-up event on grass but her path to the trophy was weak, facing five players ranked outside the top 100 and only Timea Babos was expected to give her a considerable challenge on the surface. Prior to this event, Niculescu had lost five on the spin on grass, so I'm tempted to treat her title in Ilkley as more of an isolated occurrence against a poor field.
Bouchard with chance of rare victory today
Former Wimbledon runner-up Eugenie Bouchard's fall from the top level of the women's tour is illustrated by her being a 2.6813/8 underdog against the clay-courter, Tamara Zidansek, who has barely made any effort to play grass events other than Wimbledon in recent years.
If Bouchard's level is anything remotely competent, she should take this, but that's far from a given considering that she's lost her last five and has only played two matches since March.
Numerous big names start their tournament
We also see a number of big names in action, with world number one Ashleigh Barty, Garbine Muguruza, Serena Williams, Angelique Kerber, Maria Sharapova and Petra Kvitova all looking to avoid an early exit, while our other outright pick, Johanna Konta, is a heavy 1.152/13 favourite to beat the Romanian, Ana Bogdan, today.
All of these shouldn't find their opponents too tough today, although after yesterday's action at SW19, complacency should certainly be avoided.
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Back Andrea Petkovic at 2.245/4 to beat Monica Niculescu