Ajla Tomljanovic v Elena Rybakina
With her big serve, Rybakina has long had a game well suited to grass and now she’s finally putting together a title bid at Wimbledon.
She’s averaged more than seven aces per match so far and, more importantly, is winning virtually four of every five points behind her first serve.
The second serve is also in good working order – she’s up at 57% behind that shot – and that combination helps explain why she’s yet to lose a set at Wimbledon 2022.
The rest of her game is hardly shabby either and Monday’s eyecatching display against Petra Martic left the BBC team waxing lyrical about her movement and footwork.
Tomljanovic has done well to reach this stage with Barbora Krejcikova and Alize Cornet among her victims, but this looks a sterner test.
A look back at last year’s clash between the pair in Madrid – arguably the fastest clay venue on the tour – doesn’t make good reading for the Australian.
She lost 6-4 6-0 that day with her serve being broken five times by a dominant Rybakina.
One suspects tournament organisers would like to see the Rybakina lose to save some potential finals-day embarrassment – she’s the only Russian-born player here and only switched allegiance to Kazakhstan a few years ago – but I don’t see that happening here and she looks a solid bet.
Simona Halep v Amanda Anisimova
These two met only two weeks ago at the warm-up tournament in Bad Homburg when Halep raced to a 6-2 6-1 victory in the quarter-finals.
And it’s hard to really see the massive turnaround required occurring here.
Halep appears to be going through the gears in SW19.
Having not played last year, she’s essentially defending the title she won in 2019 and so far she’s done everything required, winning every match in straight sets.
She was dominant against world number four Paula Badosa in the last round and while she’ll be wary of Anisimova’s dangerous game, she won’t be fazed by it.
Instead, that recent meeting will fuel her with further confidence, as will their 2020 clash at Roland Garros which Halep won 6-0 6-1.
Across the two matches, Halep has not been broken whereas she’s won 11 games on Anisimova’s serve.
Those are worrying statistics for the American.
Her talent is unquestionable but this looks a tough match-up for her and backing a Halep straight-sets victory at odds-against looks an attractive proposition.
Taylor Fritz v Rafael Nadal
Fritz famously beat Nadal in the final of Indian Wells earlier this season to claim his first Masters 1000 title and now he’s looking to go even better and challenge for a Grand Slam crown.
That March clash was a bit of an odd one though with both players bringing injury issues into it and Nadal was certainly shy of his best, unable to serve as strongly as usual.
While that one is fresh in the memory, it’s also worth considering their other meeting, also on a hardcourt in Acapulco in 2020. On that occasion, Nadal dominated, breaking serve three times and holding his own deal throughout.
He’s been installed as the firm favourite here and, like Halep, he’s improved as the rounds have gone on. Last time out he saw off Botic van de Zandschulp fairly comfortably, that win coming off the back of a dominant display against Lorenzo Sonego.
Unlike Nadal, Fritz is yet to lose a set but I think that needs to be given some perspective.
None of the American’s opponents so far has been ranked in the top 50 with the average ranking being a lowly 127. One has been a wild card, another a qualifier.
This is therefore a leap in level and I doubt his big serve is going to quite as much success against the indefatigable Spaniard.
While I certainly don’t think it’s a given that Fritz will be easily dismissed, I do feel there’s plenty of scope for him to find this step up a bit too much.
Nadal to win 3-0 at 2/1 offers some potential value given how he’s played in his last two matches but Nadal to win straight is decent enough odds here.
Tatjana Maria v Jule Niemeier
Playing just her second Grand Slam, Niemeier has looked an impressive grass court player thus far at Wimbledon 2022.
But I also think she’s rather short for this match at 1/2 given the opposition.
The level of opponent Maria has faced so far in the tournament has undoubtedly been higher. She’s already taken down seeds Sorana Cirstea, Maria Sakkari and Jelena Ostapenko. Cirstea was a semi-finalist at the warm-up event in Birmingham, while the latter two had both been touted as dark horses for the title in SW19.
Admittedly, Niemeier did beat second seed Anett Kontaveit, although her grass court record isn’t the strongest. And I wouldn’t be placing too much weight on Niemeier’s last-16 victory over Heather Watson.
The other factor in play here is the all-German nature of this clash. Maria is someone Niemeier has looked up to growing up and there may be a mental advantage for the older player there.
Experience could also play a part. While neither player has played in a Grand Slam singles quarter-final before, Maria seems less likely to be daunted by the big stage given her longevity on the tour.
All things considered, Maria looks a chunky price and represents a bit of value on Tuesday’s coupon.
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How to watch Wimbledon?
📅 When is Day 10 of Wimbledon? / Wednesday, 6th July 2022 from 11am
🏟 Where is Day 10 of Wimbledon? / All England Tennis Club (London)
📺 What TV channel is Day 10 of Wimbledon on? / BBC One/BBC Two