Wimbledon Match Previews | Monday Tennis Odds & Picks
Robert Prange/Getty. Pictured: Beatriz Haddad Maia.
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We're into the second week at The Championships. The second week at Wimbledon is likely the most viewed week in tennis around the world, and it's the first time in about a decade that the top four seeds in a women's singles draw have all made it to the fourth round of a Grand Slam (per @JeuSetMaths on Twitter).
That's pretty cool stuff to see the top women in the game all still vying for the biggest prize of them all.
Let's take a look at matches featuring two of them, as Elena Rybakina continues her title defense against Beatriz Haddad Maia and Aryna Sabalenka takes on one of the form players of the last month in Ekaterina Alexandrova.
Match times are subject to change. Read here for advice on viewing Wimbledon matches.
Wimbledon Match Previews
Elena Rybakina (-315) vs Beatriz Haddad Maia (+250)
8:30 a.m. ET
I managed to avoid fading Rybakina and losing money doing so for an entire week. I did take Shelby Rogers, but I had the +1.5 sets market to ensure profit. This week, I'll be much more involved in fading the defending champion.
For me, the Kazakh is too vulnerable and lacks the necessary dimensions to her game to be a massive favorite against so many players. For my money, she's the most mentally strong player on the women's tour by a wide margin, and that – along with her incredibly powerful game – are enough to win her a lot of matches.
With the right opposition, however, she is beatable.
Enter Haddad Maia. The tall Brazilian lefty has the well-rounded game to beat just about anyone on any given day. We've seen her beat Iga Swiatek (in Toronto last summer) and push the world No. 1 on clay as well (we had that writeup for their Roland Garros semifinal). She's also beaten Ons Jabeur twice this season and has also beaten…Rybakina (twice).
Now, I'm not one to see a head-to-head record and make a bet based simply on that metric. If there's a reason behind that win-loss record that can be seen in the matchup, however, I'm all for backing it to happen again.
Haddad Maia has the game to trouble Rybakina. She has a big serve, rally tolerance from the baseline, a strong backhand wing and can move far more efficiently than many others of a similar height.
Essentially, she has the more well-rounded game of the two, even if she gives up a bit in the raw power department on serve and from the baseline.
I'm happy to back her to keep things close and pull off the upset at a fairly cheap price.
Aryna Sabalenka (-240) vs Ekaterina Alexandrova (+190)
8 a.m. ET
As expected, last round saw a bounce-back performance from Alexandrova. She did an excellent job to survive a 91-unforced error match against Madison Brengle and followed it up with a dominant victory against Dalma Galfi to reach this point.
She's got a title already in 2023 in the Netherlands and is into the second week here, but it goes without saying that she hasn't faced as stern a test as she'll get on Monday as she takes on Sabalenka.
The Belarusian world No. 2 stumbled a bit in the opening set and a half against Varvara Gracheva in the second round, but Sabalenka rebounded nicely in the third round with a dominant win over Anna Blinkova.
She'll look to continue her success in London against Russian players in this one, and she should have the edge on serve, with Alexandrova possessing big weapons from the baseline but having a relatively vulnerable serve.
That's ultimately where her edge here lies, outside of just being the better player with far more success at the highest levels of the game.
For that reason, I can't really see anything wrong with where this is priced. Alexandrova is being shown the respect she deserves as a strong grass courter, but I'm not going to make the case that this is a tighter match than the market has deemed.