Konta has a major chance

July 7th, 2017 | Ian Carnaby's Sports News

I wrote last week that Johanna Konta is capable of winning Wimbledon but things might come a little too soon this year, especially after the nasty pre-tournament fall. Frankly, she has looked very impressive in the first week and some firms now have her as outright favourite, several big names having fallen by the wayside.

They include Karolina Pliskova, who remains unfuriatingly hard to predict and seems more than capable of treating Kipling’s two impostors just the same. I’m not sure that is such a good thing in her case because her expression never changes in victory or defeat and I just wonder if the sheer desire is there to carry her to a Grand Slam title. It seems quite extraordinary that she could beat Caroline Wozniacki fairly comfortably in the final the week before yet succumb to Magdalena Rybarikova here. For her part, Wozniacki is still going strong, still returning as well as ever and is by no means a no-hoper in this event.

I still feel Simona Halep can mount a strong challenge, even if grass is not her best surface, while Angelique Kerber, in poor form for a few months after becoming world number one, has looked better this week. Both of them look in better form to me than the returning Victoria Azarenka, who made quite hard work of defeating Heather Watson.

As things stand, my two against the field would be Konta and Halep. I remain firmly in the Andy Murray camp in the men’s section and have written easily enough on the subject. To me he is comfortably the best player, though I admit any further worries with his hip would alter the situation.

All betting is about value and my main caveat with the remarkable Roger Federer is the price. He was only 2/1 before a ball was struck, absurd odds with so many dangers, and people are getting rather carried away when the second weeks is likely to be far harder than the first.

I have only Murray batting for me now following the eclipse of Juan-Martin del Potro. The other golden rule where betting is concerned, apart from making sure of value and never chasing losses, is not to let the heart rule the head. The Argentine is one of my favourite players but the harsh truth is that he has never quite come back from the long-running wrist injury and, on what we saw on Thursday, will certainly not be winning any more major tournaments. A sad sight indeed and an even sadder conclusion.