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Friday Wimbledon Odds, Predictions, Picks: Ostapenko Too Strong For Begu (July 1)

Friday Wimbledon Odds, Predictions, Picks: Ostapenko Too Strong For Begu (July 1) article feature image
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Clive Brunskill/Getty. Pictured: Jelena Ostapenko.

The third round of Wimbledon has begun and the level of tennis is rising in London!

I’ve found value on two of the women’s matches on Friday’s order of play.

Read on for my Wimbledon best bets and previews.

Note: Match times are subject to change. Read here for tips on viewing tennis matches.

Maria Sakkari (-750) vs. Tatjana Maria (+520)

8 a.m. ET

Maria Sakkari beat Viktoriya Tomova 6-4, 6-3 to advance to the third round. Sakkari won 73% of her first-serve points and was only broken once all match.

On return, she won 45% of her return points and generating 13 break points, breaking on four occasions.

Sakkari is a respectable 7-3 this season on grass and 23-15 in her career. Despite grass not being her strongest surface, she can still control the baseline with her heavy forehand.

However, opponents who can rush Sakkari and keep the ball out of her strike zone are able to have more success, especially on grass.

Sakkari’ isn’t totally comfortable moving on grass, but has looked more sure of her footing as this grass season has progressed.

In the second round, Tatjana Maria defeated Sorana Cirstea 6-3, 1-6, 7-5 from a double break down in the third. While Maria struggled on serve, she was excellent on return. Maria broke serve six times, winning 59% of her second-serve return points.

She also was not afraid to come to the net, winning 22-of-36 net points.

Maria, 7-4 on grass this season, is an impressive 53-26 on grass as a professional. She plays a tricky style, as she manipulates cutting slices from both wings around the court, keeping the ball out of her opponents’ comfort zones.

The German does a great job of  slicing and then attacking the net. However, Maria doesn’t have overwhelming power on her shots.

Sakkari will look to continue to serve well and dominate with her forehand. However, Maria’s slice-based game will keep the ball out of Sakkari’s strike zone on a surface she’s already not fully comfortable on, leading to mishits.

The Greek will want to play a baseline-centric game, whereas Maria will move her in awkward positions all around the court.

Sakkari’s backhand, particularly on grass, is not the most sturdy shot. Maria can charge net when hitting to the Greek’s backhand, pressuring this wing and leading to wayward backhands.

Pick: Maria +5.5 games (-114 via FanDuel)

Jelena Ostapenko (-375) vs. Irina-Camelia Begu (+290)

6 a.m. ET

Jelena Ostapenko easily defeated Yanina Wickmayer 6-2, 6-2 in the second round. Ostapenko won 71% of her second-serve points and saved both break points she faced. On return, the Latvian was ultra-aggressive, winning 51% of her return points, generating 13 break points.

She is 7-2 on grass this season and 39-18 in her career on the surface. The grass accentuates her already-powerful game, as she takes any chance she can get to play aggressive tennis.

Ostapenko can dominate the baseline and take the racquet out of her opponents’ hands, as she did against Wickmayer, when she hit 45 winners against 28 unforced errors.

And while Ostapenko’s second serve does sit up in the box, she’s won at least 50% of her second-serve points in both matches this week.

Irina-Camelia Begu comfortably beat Elisabetta Cocciaretto 6-4, 6-4 to advance to the third round. Begu won 71% of her service points, including 79% on her first serve, and was only broken once. She also won 62% of Cocciaretto’s second-serve points and broke serve five times.

Wimbledon is Begu’s first grass-court tournament of the season, with the Romanian 16-24 on the surface as a professional. Begu moves decently well on the surface and can hit winners when given an opening, but often finds herself underpowered on grass.

While Begu controlled the baseline against Cocciaretto – playing her second-career match on grass – she won’t be able to do so against Ostapenko. Ostapenko has too much power from the baseline and should push Begu around into defensive positions on the court.

Given that grass is faster and lower bouncing, Begu won’t be able to effectively counterpunch against Ostapenko’s devastating blows. Begu’s last two losses on grass, to Swiatek and Dodin, came against players that could take the racquet out of her hands and expose her less-aggressive game.

Pick: Ostapenko -4.5 games (-122 via FanDuel)

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