Stuckey’s Wimbledon Women’s Quarterfinal Betting Preview: Fatigue Could Come Into Play

Credit:

Susan Mullane, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Simona Halep

  • There were some huge upsets in Round 4 of the women's side of the 2019 Wimbledon Championships.
  • Stuckey previews all four quarterfinal matches and speaks to where fatigue could be an issue for a few players in particular.

After a wild Round 4 on Manic Monday, we have our eight women’s Wimbledon quarterfinalists. This round is unique as it’s the only day where the players don’t have a day off from the previous round. (The men will have that luxury with their quarterfinal matches being played on Wednesday.)

Fortunately for the favorites, none of the four matches will be played on the slower Court No. 2 aka “The Graveyard” — where high seeds go to die at Wimbledon. That’s where Ashleigh Barty and Karolina Pliskova saw their demise on Monday in two of the biggest upsets of the tourney.

As a result, fatigue could come into play — especially in a few of the matchups that will feature women who played just two sets on Monday vs. those who played three.

Since 1997, women who had to play an extra set than their opponent the day before at Wimbledon have just a 12-25 record in the Wimbledon quarters. That trend is applicable to three of the four matches on Tuesday.

Let’s take a closer look at each of Tuesday’s four matches that will get underway at 8 a.m. ET on ESPN and ESPN2.


WTA Wimbledon Quarterfinal Betting Preview

Serena Williams -338 vs. Alison Riske | O/U: 20

Time: 8 a.m. ET on ESPN
Where: Centre Court

H2H: No previous meetings

We’ll get an All-American affair on Centre Court with a spot in the semifinals on the line.

Riske flashed her brilliance on grass once again on Monday when she took out World No. 1 and tournament favorite Ashleigh Barty. That improved her grass record to a stellar 14-1 on the year.

The Pittsburgh native has been on the ropes a number of times against some high-quality completion but has come back each time to win in three sets. The win over Barty marked her third win over a seed and fourth-straight that went the distance. (She trailed seeds Donna Vekic and Belinda Bencic in the third set of both matches).

Of her 14 grass wins this season, Riske has won nine in three sets, and seven after losing the first set. You just can never count her out once she gets in rhythm on the green stuff.

That said, I’m not sure how much she’ll have left in the tank — both mentally and physically — after so many long, grinding matches. On the other hand, Serena made light work of Carla Suarez Navarro in the fourth round, and has won all but one match in straight sets so far.

Riske will be much more battle-tested but she has to be running on fumes at this point. Working in her favor is the fact that we still haven’t seen Serena’s A-game and the points generally aren’t that long against the seven-time Wimbledon champion.

You also have to question how Ali will handle this stage. This is her first quarterfinal in 30 Slam appearances. Meanwhile, this will be Serena’s 51st!

Serena is 36-14 overall in her previous 50 matches at this stage of a major, including 11-2 here at the All England Club. She did lose in the quarters at the Australian Open earlier this year but she had won 14 straight Slam quarterfinal matches prior to that defeat.

While Riske is in peak form and one of the best grass-specialists in the world, Serena is the best grass-court player in the history of women’s tennis. She also has an enormous experience edge and should have much more in the tank.

Considering her excellent form and sky-high confidence, I wouldn’t blame you for backing Riske at this big number. However, I’m too concerned about the potential mental and/or physical fatigue, so I’ll be sitting this one out.

Simona Halep -526 vs. Shuai Zhang | O/U: 19.5

Time: 8 a.m. ET on ESPN2
Where: Court No. 1

H2H: Zhang leads 2-1

First up on Court No. 1, former Grand Slam champion Simona Halep will try to prevent Shuai Zhang from reaching her first ever Slam semifinal.

If you like backhands, tune in for this match.

The trend I mentioned (three sets vs. two) earlier does technically apply here but I’m not too concerned about Shuai’s fitness. She had won each of her first three matches in straight sets, including two against seeds Caroline Wozniacki and Caroline Garcia.

Zhang has actually won their only two relatively recent meetings — each in straight sets, including one at the Australian Open. Halep’s lone win against the Chinese came way back in 2012.

The backhand rallies and great defense of both players should make this an entertaining match. Halep is the deserved favorite as she has more talent and experience at this stage. The Romanian will also be able to more effectively use her forehand to open up the court. The serve is the big question mark. If off, Zhang will have plenty of opportunities to break.

That said, Zhang has showed us that she can beat the No. 7 seed — even at a Grand Slam. That should give her a confidence boost headed into the match.

Halep should win but this line is too high, so I’ll throw a half unit on Shuai to pull off the stunner. This is still Halep’s worst surface and she’s only qualified for one semifinal here.

Johanna Konta -243 vs. Barbora Strycova | O/U: 21.5

Time: 9:30 a.m. ET on ESPN
Where: Centre Court

H2H: Strycova leads 1-0

Both women had to fight back after dropping the first set on Monday.

Strycova actually won their only previous clash in 2017 in Tokyo on a hard court — a surface Konta actually fancies more than the Czech.

In what could be her last Wimbledon ever, Strycova has looked superb on her favorite surface. This will be only her second ever Slam quarterfinal appearance; she lost in the 2014 quarters to eventual champ Petra Kvitova. You can expect the Czech to battle until the very last point.

Strycova has a game well-suited for grass. She moves well on this surface, will serve and volley and come forward to the net to put points away whenever she has the opportunity.

After flopping for years at her home Slam, Konta is now seeking her second Wimbledon semifinal in the past three years. The Brit will also try to make her second-straight Slam semi after getting there at the French Open.

The match will be on the powerful racquet of Konta, who will also get the benefit of having the home crowd on Centre Court on her side. However, Strycova will certainly test Jo’s grass skills, especially up at the net.

It’s extremely hard to beat an in-form Konta on any surface and she’s certainly on a roll right now. She’s also shown great fight, coming back from a set down against former Grand Slam champions in each of her last two victories.

I think Konta finds a way and the line looks about right. However, I do think Strycova is going to make this very interesting. The over 21.5 games warrants a long look.

Elina Svitolina -216 vs. Karolina Muchova | O/U: 21.5

Time: 9:30 a.m. ET on ESPN2
Where: Court No. 1

H2H: Svitolina leads 1-0

Muchova will have to find a way to get right back to it after winning an absolute war in a marathon match that featured a 24-game final set against countrywoman Karolina Pliskova.

Svitolina won their only prior meeting earlier this year in Doha but that came on a hard court where she thrives. She’s still most vulnerable on grass — where she had a career 15-18 record coming into the tournament.

She has won four matches so far at Wimbledon, but she’s enjoyed a ton of good fortune. The Ukrainian had to save a match point in the second round against Margarita Gasparyan before the Russian retired with an injury in the second set. Then, after beating an erratic Maria Sakkari, Svitolina benefited from another injury last round against Petra Martic.

Believe it or not, that could happen again! After such a grueling three-plus hour match on Monday, one naturally has to wonder how well Muchova can recover for a match the very next day, It’s especially worrisome since she has had her right thigh taped and took a medical timeout for her right thigh earlier this tournament.

There’s also a bit of a mental concern for the young Czech as well. Backing up a huge win against the No. 1 Czech might be difficult for the 22-year-old, who could suffer from a bit of a mental letdown.

That said, Svitolina is seeking her first-ever Grand Slam semifinal, failing to get there in all four of her previous quarterfinal trips, so nerves could also be an issue.

Muchova is in better form and has the better grass game with her wonderful all-court variety, but I just can’t ignore the potential fatigue concern here. All of the line value is with Muchova, but I have to stay away here.


WTA Wimbledon Quarterfinal Betting Thoughts

If we had a day off in between the fourth round and quarterfinals, I’d play Riske and Muchova at their current numbers. But without one, this card becomes much trickier and I have to avoid both underdogs..

I don’t have the same concern for Zhang , who I think is being disrespected in the market. And while I think Halep advances, it’s just a numbers game. Since I have Zhang as a shorter underdog, I’d recommend throwing a half unit on her at anything over +400. I’d say the same (half unit) for the over 21.5 games in Konta-Strycova.

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