Pliskova a surprise joint-favourite

July 1st, 2017 | Ian Carnaby's Sports News

Andy Murray pushed himself through a fairly punishing routine on Friday and is happier with his fitness now with Wimbledon only a matter of hours away. I have written a great deal about him and shall not repeat myself but what I will say is that, if he falls short, an outsider will win the title because it is hard to see Novak Djokovic rediscovering his best form in time. Roger Federer, although in excellent fettle, is very poorly priced at 2/1 and looks a major lay at those odds. My big-priced outsiders would be Juan-Martin del Potro and Zverev, though I believe Murray is comfortably the best player.

When Katarina Pliskova and Caroline Wozniacki face each other in the Aegon Final on Saturday it might be argued that Pliskova is a stand-out bet. She is 5/1 joint-favourite for the Wimbledon title, which surprises me, whereas Wozniacki is 25/1.

The reason I don’t like this situation is that we cannot be sure who will be one hundred per cent ‘up’ for this so close to the big one. I think it may well go to three sets and Wozniacki, who returns just about everything opponents throw at her, can make a fight of it. I can’t bet here, though Pliskova looks very, very good on her day and has the better attacking shots.

The pundits will not have Simona Halep on grass but I think she will go a long way at Wimbledon, while 66/1 is an insulting price about Ekatarina Makarova, who may be a good buy on the spreads to make the second week. The best of Petra Kvitova would be good enough to raise the bauble for the third time and there could be no more popular winner (apart from Konta, of course) but this will all happen just a bit too soon after her traumatic experience.
Konta is fascinating because nearly everything about her game is right and she talks a great deal of sense but you only need to look at stills of her in action to see the burning desire within. I don’t mean this in the wrong way but it’s the sort of implacable commitment that you rarely see in women brought up through the British system. Let’s be honest, when it comes down to it she is no more British than Greg Rusedski but, looking at the background of half the English cricket team, maybe it’s high time we stopped mulling over such things. I think Konta is good enough to win Wimbledon one day but the nasty fall this week counts against her this time.

Djokovic will use the Eastbourne final to get the crowd on his side and persuade people that anything is possible over the following two weeks. If Gael Monfils remains entirely detached and concentrates on his own game he can win this but there will be a degree of play-acting and gamesmanship and it’s not a match to feel confident about.

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