Stuckey’s Friday Wimbledon Preview: How to Bet Azarenka-Halep, Plus More Day 5 Analysis
Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY SPORTS. Pictured: Victoria Azarenka
- Wimbledon third-round betting action will get underway on Friday morning (ESPN) at the All England Club.
- Stuckey previews all eight women's matches and picks out his favorite bet of the day in the match between Simona Halep (-109) and Victoria Azarenka.
- Stuckey will also share his thoughts on the men's card, including a short favorite he likes to keep it rolling in London.
After nothing really jumped out on Thursday’s card, I’ll be dipping back into the Wimbledon waters with a few third-round bets on Friday.Wednesday ended up pretty messy with all five WTA dogs failing to get to the window, but I wasn’t really upset with any of the performances outside of Marie Bouzkova’s dud. A few injuries, including a brutally unlucky injury retirement after Margarita Gasparyan had a match point, and a couple tiebreak losses, didn’t help.
But those happen and dwelling is unproductive. You have to have a short-term memory when betting sports to have any shot at success — especially when backing sizable tennis underdogs.
Moving on to Friday’s card, I will preview all eight women’s matches and share what I have bet in addition to what else I’m eyeing. I’ll also share some brief thought’s on the entire men’s card.
Let’s get into it.
WTA Wimbledon Day 5 Betting Preview
Maria Sakkari (-127) vs. Elina Svitolina
Friday, 6 a.m. ET
H2H: Have never met
These two seeds, who will meet for the first time on Friday, had drastically different victories in the second-round.
Sakkara cruised past Marie Bouzkova in straight sets, while Svtiolina benefited from an injury to Margarita Gasparyan that forced her to retire up a set in the second set. Svitolina advanced despite not winning a set and even had to save a match point.
I still don’t trust Svitolina’s form and her struggles at Slams are well documented. However, I’m not in a rush to bet Sakkari as a favorite on the grass here. Pretty sharp line that I’ll pass on.
Caroline Wozniacki (-283) vs. Shuai Zhang
Friday, 6 a.m. ET
H2H: Split two previous meetings (both on hard courts)
After advancing in the first-round thanks to a retirement by Sara Sorribes Tormo, Wozniacki got her French Open revenge against a semi-wounded (shoulder) Veronica Kudermetova in two tight sets.
The Dane has struggled with injuries throughout a disappointing 2019 campaign but looked fully healthy in her second-round victory. She was particularly strong on serve, getting 70% of her first serves in and not facing a single break point.
Meanwhile, Shuai Zhang absolutely dominated her first two opponents in straight sets, losing only nine total games. That’s surprising to say the least for a player that arrived in London with a 15-23 career record on grass. It’s even more shocking when you consider Zhang had never made it out of the first round in five career Wimbledon trips.
This is the only Grand Slam where Wozniacki has never made a quarterfinal, but she’s made the fourth-round in six of her 12 appearances. Behind a superior serve, Wozniacki should make it number seven.
Anett Kontaveit (-160) vs. Karolina Muchova
Friday, 7:30 a.m. ET
H2H: Muchova leads 1-0
This matchup might look familiar to some, as Muchova ousted Kontaveit at the French Open this year.
Muchova won her first two matches in straight sets but against struggling opponents. The same can be said for Kontaveit, who didn’t have to overcome anybody that dangerous.
Kontaveit arrived at Wimbledon in very poor form but seems to be gradually finding her confidence and groove on her favorite surface. She has the potential to be one of the top players in the world on grass, which is one of the reasons I backed her at 150-1 to win Wimbledon prior to the tournament, despite her recent struggles.
Muchova has done a lot of winning over the past 52 weeks and is certainly capable on the grass. That said, the Czech has never even faced a top-50 opponent on this surface. Meanwhile, Kontaveit is 4-6 in her career on grass against the top-50.
Kontaveit is the better player on grass and should have some much needed confidence after getting through the first two rounds. I think the Estonian gets her French Open revenge and moves on to Manic Monday.
Karolina Pliskova (-457) vs. Su-Wei Hsieh
Friday, 8 a.m. ET
H2H: Split two previous meetings
Neither Pliskova nor Hsieh has dropped a set so far this tournament — although they each won a tiebreak.
This is a potentially very tricky opponent for the No. 3 seed Czech in a complete contrast of styles. Hsieh has one of the most unorthodox games on tour, and one that is well-suited for the grass
Unlike Pliskova, Hsieh plays an off-pace brand of tennis, featuring plenty of slices and drop shots. She absorbs pace well, will chase everything down and also has the rare attribute of playing two-handed from both wings. Hsieh will use her craftiness to make Pliskova move around the court — which is certainly not her strong suit.
They split their two prior meetings, which both came on hard courts and both went three sets. Hsieh actually took the most recent clash earlier this year in Dubai.
Pliskova is in superb form, having won seven straight matches on grass without dropping a set — including a ridiculous title run in Eastbourne. If her serve is peaking, she should keep her run going.
But if it’s off even a little, her past Wimbledon demons could resurface. This is the only Major where Pliskova has not reached a quarterfinal. She has also failed to advance past the second round in six of her seven trips to the All England Club.
Hsieh can steal this match as she did in the third-round at Wimbledon last year against Simona Halep.
Dayana Yastremska (-324) vs. Viktorija Golubic
Friday, 8 a.m. ET
H2H: Yastremska leads 2-0
This match will be completely on the racquet of Yastermska, who has power for days.
The big-hitting Ukrainian has two impressive wins under her belt. She defeated the grass-loving Camila Giorgi in straight sets and then upset No. 27 seed Sonya Kenin. The teen excels on all surfaces, including grass, where she’s now 19-10 in her young career.
Yastremska does bash the ball without much margin, so she could always beat herself, similar to what you see on occasion with Madison Keys. However, the 19-year-old Ukrainian is immensely more talented and one of the future stars of the women’s game.
Golubic got here by winning each of her first two matches in straight sets. However, she benefited immensely from two wild opponents who combined to hit 86 unforced errors to just 45 winners. And despite that erraticism, she still needed two second-set tiebreakers (which she won).
I don’t really put much stock into either victory. This is still the worst surface for the Swiss, who arrived in Wimbledon with a sub .500 career record on grass.
If Yastremska doesn’t have an off day, she should power past Golubic, as she did on the Eastbourne grass last month (6-4, 6-1).
Petra Martic (-252) vs. Danielle Collins
Friday, 8 a.m. ET
H2H: No previous meetings
Collins had some fitness questions coming into the tourney, but she has answered those during two wins as an underdog so far this week.
Meanwhile, Martic arrived at Wimbledon in excellent form, but did look vulnerable at times against Potapova. In that match, Martic saved 14 of 17 break points, while converting five of her nine chances.
I have this line at Martic -250, so I see absolutely no value — and also don’t have a strong feel either way. Hard pass here.
Simona Halep (-109) vs. Victoria Azarenka
Friday, 10 a.m. ET
H2H: Split four previous meetings
Two former Grand Slam champions will meet in the popcorn match of the day.
While this isn’t Azarenka’s best surface, she made two semifinals and two quarterfinals here earlier this decade. Halep also appeared in a Wimbledon semifinal a few years ago, but this is clearly her worst surface.
The two have split four career meetings, with none of the four coming on grass. And while Halep has won the most recent meetings — each at a Grand Slam — I like Azarenka to find a way here.
This basically comes down to form. Azarenka has looked much more solid over the first two rounds. In fact, the Belarusian lost only three total games in the two matches she played on Wednesday (one doubles and one singles match). And after dropping the first two games against an in-form Ajla Tomljanovic, Azarenka won 12 straight games to close out the match 6-2, 6-0.
Azarenka has looked particularly strong on serve. She’s gotten in 72% of first serves so far this tourney and has won 78% of those points.
On the other hand, Halep was broken six times against Mihaela Buzarnescu and only won 28/52 (54%) of her first serve points. The Romanian also faced seven break points in her first-round match, where she only won 58% of her first serve points.
Coco Gauff (-160) vs. Polona Hercog
Friday, 11:30 a.m. ET
H2H: No previous meetings
Most probably expected to see Madison Keys taking on either Venus Williams or Aryna Sabalenka here.
Instead, we have two unseeded players, including one of the stories of the tournament in 15-year-old American Coco Gauff, who backed up an upset over her idol Venus Williams with another upset over Magdalena Rybarikova.
Gauff did benefit from her second-round match being moved under the roof, but she has played absolutely stunning tennis so far this week. While she doesn’t have a ton of experience on grass (or obviously at Grand Slams), her game should translate extremely well to all surfaces.
Gauff has outstanding movement and hits the ball with excellent depth. She also utilizes her easy power while playing with reasonable margins. And most impressive of all, the teen doesn’t look one bit afraid of the moment; she has that “it-factor.” That’s critical since Gauff will make her Centre Court debut for this match.
Speaking of upsets, after surviving a marathon first-round match, Hercog took out American Madison Keys. But as I alluded to before, Keys can beat herself on any given day — and that’s essentially what happened on Wednesday when Keys hit just 12 winners to an astounding 32 unforced errors.
I see no reason why Gauff can’t keep this magical run going and will be backing her in some fashion.
Friday WTA Wimbledon Bets
I have already locked in Azarenka and will be looking to add Gauff to my card in some way. I may end up using her in a moneyline parlay with Yastremska.
I’m also considering Hsieh moneyline and/or +5 games, in addition to a Kontaveit/Wozniacki moneyline parlay.
ATP Wimbledon Day 5 Betting Preview
Friday looks pretty chalky for three of the eight matches on the men’s side, as I don’t think Novak Djokovic, Kevin Anderson or Felix Auger Aliassime should have any problems advancing. Djokovic has looked unstoppable so far in this tourney and has won 28 of 29 Grand Slam matches since last year’s Wimbledon.
The most intriguing underdog of the day in my eyes is Thomas Fabbiano (+135), who came through two tricky opponents to reach the third-round. Fading Fernando Verdasco as a favorite always warrants a look. However, Fabbiano played two five-setters in the first two rounds, so fatigue could be an issue for the 30-year-old Italian.
Elsewhere, Jiri Vesely takes on Benoit Paire (-117) in what looks like an unpredictable coin flip. Paire leads the head-to-head 2-0, but both matches came on hard courts.
Speaking of coin flips, that’s what the line suggests for the intriguing third-round match between David Goffin (-105) and Daniil Medvedev. I think the latter is the better overall player on grass but Goffin is currently in fantastic form. After a finals appearance on the grass in Halle, Goffin rolled through his first opponents with ease.
This one sets up to be a classic that should go long, so over 40.5 games is worth a look here.
We also should see a ton of tiebreaks between two of the biggest servers on tour in Milos Raonic (-345) and Reilly Opelka. I think the American can get at least one set over the Canadian which makes both the over 43.5 games and especially +3.5 games intriguing. If this goes five sets, it is a candidate to become the first match to play a tiebreak at 12-all under the new Wimbledon rule.
My favorite ATP play of the day is Roberta Bautista Agut (-150) over Karen Khachanov. The Spaniard leads the head-to-head 3-2, including a straight sets victory earlier this year at the Australian Open. Both of the Russian’s victories came on clay.
I just think the Spaniard is in much better form and will be too solid on this surface for the young Russian, who has struggled a bit throughout 2019.
Friday ATP Wimbledon Bets
I’ve only locked in Bautista Agut on the men’s side but will more than likely pull the trigger on Opelka +3.5 games and Medvedev-Goffin Over 40.5 games. I also will consider backing Fabbiano as an underdog.