Stephens overpriced at 33/1

June 19th, 2015 | Ian Carnaby's Sports News

Andy Murray is going along quite well at Queen’s and should win the title, though I am not about to tip him at odds-on. I have very little to add to previous comments about his rivalry with Novak Djokovic and I see the layers have made it very much a two-man market in the Wimbledon Men’s Singles. They probably have a point and I cannot see Nadal winning under any circumstances while Federer, quite understandably, is more vulnerable these days. A really big server like John Isner could go quite a long way but the men’s section makes little appeal this year with things so cramped at the top of the market.

Serena Williams is 8/5 with Wilsons in the Women’s Singles. She will have minor or even major scares along the way and there is no doubt she can be beaten early in the piece. However, the longer she goes on the more invincible she looks and no one will be betting heavily against her.

Williams v Sharapova matches are almost amusing in a way because they observe the protocol the sport demands and behave with restraint whilst clearly having no time at all for each other. Sharapova has done wonderfully well to come back and win the occasional Grand Slam tournament when you take into account her long-running shoulder injury. However, she tosses in unnecessary errors when she can least afford them and, for me, her second serve is simply not deep or powerful enough.

Victoria Azarenka is 10/1 and strikes me as a much likelier threat. She, too, has had her injury worries but is regaining her form now. I doubt that she has much time for Williams either, and she is one of the very few opponents, along with Sharapova, who can match the American’s implacable desire. Azarenka often looks as if she is more than willing to tell the world where to go, which is not the done thing in SW19, although I happen to like her very much.

At this stage, and pending the draw, I’d have a little each-way on Azarenka at 10/1 and a saver each-way bet on Sloane Stephens, who has the game to take Williams all the way but lacks Azarenka’s feisty approach. When I watched Stephens carefully the other day she seemed to be getting back to her best. If she could add a little aggression to her game she would be over-priced at 33/1. The only other player worth considering is Lucie Safarova, who will surely win a big tournament before long. One might have said that about Eugenie Bouchard a year ago (in fact we did, and tipped her for Wimbledon glory, though not each-way) but she is all over the place at present.