The 132nd Wimbledon Championships gets under way in SW19 today. With question marks over the seeding and the form and fitness of some key players it could be an intriguing two weeks of top-class tennis.
13 seeds went out in the first round of last year’s tournament and so there’s profit to be made if you can identify where the upsets might occur. Here’s your complete betting guide to the first round of Wimbledon 2018.
Dominant pair set to open with comfortable wins
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have won the last six Grand Slams between them; an astonishing feat considering that a couple of years ago most commentators thought that their best days were behind them.
Federer suffered a rare defeat on grass in the final in Halle, going down in three sets to Borna Coric, although he remains the favourite to win a ninth Wimbledon title. The 36-year-old opens Centre Court against Dusan Lajovic, a Serbian who reached a career-high ranking of 56 this month. Expect Federer to be a little rusty but he is an unbackable 1/50 to win.
Nadal meanwhile is in good form after taking the French Open title and he is seeded 2 this year. He hasn’t got past round four in SW19 since 2011 but he is a four-time finalist and should beat world number 238 Dudi Sela at 1/33.
If you’re looking for an absolute banker in round one then you should look no further than Grigor Dimitrov. The Bulgarian faces Stan Wawrinka who would have struggled to win this match on grass at the height of his powers. The Swiss player has struggled with injury in recent months and has lost in the first round of Wimbledon six times, including last year when seeded fifth. Back Dimitrov at 1/4.
Marco Cechinnato’s run to the French Open semi finals has seen him rise up the rankings and the Italian is this year’s 29th seed. He lost his only previous match at Wimbledon, however, and so he could well be the victim of an opening day upset against rising Australian star Alex de Minaur.
The 19-year-old has reached the final of two grass court tournaments this summer already, beating Dan Evans to win the Nottingham title on his way to a career-high ranking of 77. Back the youngster at 1/2.
Another seed in potential first-round danger is Diego Schwartzman. The clay-court specialist may be the 14th seed but he has never won a match at Wimbledon. The Argentinean faces Mirka Basic who has reached the main draw at a Slam for only the second time, but the Bosnian did win his first tour title earlier this year. Basic is a 7/5 chance.
Former champion Novak Djokovic is just 1/33 to beat Tennys Sandgren while Kyle Edmund is 2/9 to overcome Australian qualifier Alex Bolt. Marin Cilic can see off Yoshihito Nishioka while fellow big-server Kevin Anderson can beat Norbert Gombos.
Two seeds at risk of early exits
It has been two years since Serena Williams last competed on grass but that hasn’t stopped the All England Club from seeding the former champion for this year’s tournament.
Williams is seeded 25th which is bad luck for French Open finalist Madison Keys and 5th seed Elina Svitolina who are in the same section of the draw. There were signs at Roland Garros that Williams has the capacity to win another Grand Slam event and she ought to be able to ease herself in gently against world number 100 Aranxta Rus who has only got past the first round at Wimbledon once in seven attempts. The former champion is just 1/12 to win.
This year’s top seed is Simona Halep who finally won her first Grand Slam title at the 32nd attempt in Paris. The Romanian is a three-time Wimbledon quarter-finalist and can expect to have a good run this year, especially considering she looks to have a relatively favourable draw.
Halep should beat Kurumi Nara in round one, while second seed Caroline Wozniacki faces a slightly more awkward task against Varvara Lepchenko, the former top 20 player who has got past the first round at Wimbledon in three of the past four years. The Uzbekistan-born player is 9/1 which looks very long odds.
Garbine Muguruza reserves her best performances for the biggest stages and looked to be cruising to the French Open title this year before coming up against an inspired Halep in the semi-finals. The reigning Wimbledon champion can go deep into this tournament, though, starting with a win over British wildcard Naomi Broady at 1/18.
A loss of form and injuries have seen Belinda Bencic slip down the world rankings, but the Swiss player has never lost in the first round at Wimbledon and could be a really tricky opponent for number 6 seed Caroline Garcia. Bencic beat Venus Williams at this year’s Australian Open and looks a recent bet at 9/4.
Johanna Konta reached the semi-finals at Wimbledon last year but her form since then has been nothing to shout about. The British number one has been eliminated from tournaments by the world numbers 219, 97, and 93 in recent months and remember that prior to 2016 she had never even won a match in SW19.
Konta’s first round opponent is young Natalia Vikhlyantseva who has only won one Grand Slam match in her career. The 22nd seed should win, but on current form there’s not much value at 1/5. You can back the Russian at 7/2.
Odds are provided at time of writing, please check your betslip to confirm they have not changed before betting.
Also published on Medium.