Wimbledon Day Four Women's Tips: Van Uytvanck to keep it respectable against Barty

American Tennis Player Serena Williams
Serena Williams is among those in action on day four...

Round two action continues at Wimbledon on Thursday and Dan Weston thinks Van Uytvank can keep it closer than people think...

"In main tour matches across the last 18 months on grass, Van Uytvanck has got a combined serve/return points won percentage of around 102%, so she’s better than average on the surface and has a positive win-loss record."

Big change in service numbers this year at Wimbledon

It's been a difficult start to Wimbledon, with a number of matches playing out markedly differently to the numbers suggest, and with this in mind, I thought it would be worth assessing potential reasons as to why this was the case.

In truth, there could be nothing to see here - variance is a big part of all sports - but I did notice something which might have some relevance, which is definitely worth pointing out.

A number of players have commented on the slow court speed this year at SW19 and while player's comments on court speed should not always be taken as a given, the numbers so far in this tournament do back those claims up.

There's been more of a dramatic effect in the women's tournament so far, with just 56% of service points being won so far in this event, a drop from the 2019 grass court mean of 57.8%, while just 0.25 aces per game have been served - far lower than the 0.31 grass court mean in WTA main tour matches this season.

These numbers are the lowest for the last decade here at SW19, completely in line with those comments from players in the media.

Gauff outright price a huge over-reaction

Of course, this was impossible to predict in advance of the tournament, and so was the run of Cori Gauff to the third round. After beating Venus Williams in round one, she defeated the grass-loving Magdalena Rybarikova in round two yesterday, and is quite incredibly now into just 17.016/1 for the tournament.

This is surely on the back of an abundance of media hype - at the time of writing, she's the main headline on the BBC Sport app, for example - although her task was made easier by Madison Keys losing to Polona Hercog yesterday, with Hercog her opponent in round three tomorrow.

Gauff is ballpark 1.654/6 to get the better of the Slovenian tomorrow and based on this, we can estimate that if she does indeed do so, she will be into around 10.09/1 to 10.519/2 to win the tournament.

The problem is that she will potentially need to then beat Simona Halep or Victoria Azarenka, then Caroline Wozniacki, Karolina Pliskova and Ash Barty to win the tournament, and the market is effectively suggesting that she'd be an average price of around 1.804/5 against that quartet assuming they all get through their matches - making this outright market price on Gauff the most ridiculous I've seen in a number of years.

Van Uytvanck can keep it respectable against Barty

Moving back to today's women's card, value is very thin on the ground indeed. My model only liked one player, and that was heavy underdog Alison Van Uytvanck against the top seed, Ashleigh Barty.

Barty is currently 1.081/12 to defeat the Belgian, and of course, should be a very strong favourite to do so. However, my numbers have Van Uytvanck as able to compete to an extent in what is likely to be a pretty serve-orientated match, and she's a solid grass courter, as her data suggests.

In main tour matches across the last 18 months on grass, Van Uytvanck has got a combined serve/return points won percentage of around 102%, so she's better than average on the surface and has a positive win-loss record. In these matches, she's held serve around 70% of the time so at the very least, she should be able to keep the scoreline respectable against the world number one.

As the Exchange market forms in the run-up to the match, we should be able to get the high 1.80s on Van Uytvanck with a 6.5 game head start on the game handicap, and I quite like this option here, although it's far from a hugely confident selection.

Williams and Konta among big names in action

In other matches, Serena Williams is a very strong 1.152/13 favourite to defeat the improving Kaja Juvan, while we also see the likes of Petra Kvitova, Sloane Stephens, Kiki Bertens and Angelique Kerber in action. In addition, Jo Konta is bidding to join our other outright picks in round three, with the Brit a 1.341/3 favourite to get the better of Katerina Siniakova.

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

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