After the procession that was Iga Swiatek’s French Open victory, the main question to address ahead of Wimbledon 2022 is: will we see something similar?
There are a number of reasons to believe that Wimbledon will be very different for the Pole. Yes, Swiatek is on a 35 match winning streak, a run that the game hasn’t seen since Venus Williams in 2000, Swiatek’s first-round match could see a new 21st century mark set. However, none of those 35 wins were on grass. Indeed, Swiatek has a relatively poor record on the green stuff.
A win-loss record of 7-5 is nothing special and in fact her hold/break ratio of 98.4 on grass means that in her career Swiatek has actually lost more games on the surface than she has won. This is in direct contrast to her clay court experience and form ahead of the French Open where there was bags of old and recent form to back up her short price.
There’s no doubt that Swiatek has been head and shoulders above anyone else on the tour in 2022. But her only Grand Slam titles have come at Roland-Garros and her best performance at Wimbledon was her 4th round appearance in 2021. She does have a soft draw this time though and I can see her making it to at least the quarterfinals.
Ultimately though at a short price (6/4 at the time of writing) you need an almost bulletproof case to back that and I feel like we are a long way from that with Swiatek. There are a lot of interesting alternatives in the draw as well.
Before Swiatek’s dominant run we were getting used to the fact that all Women’s Grand Slam draws would be wide open affairs with plenty of potential winners. Obviously, on this occasion, some of the potential contenders will be missing for political reasons; Aryna Sabalenka, Daria Kasatkina, Ekaterina Alexandrova and Veronika Kudermetova are unable to take up their seedings here.
Best Outright Bets
Despite this there is a vast supporting cast capable of upsetting the hot favourite. Ons Jabeur’s 2022 results and performances have been world class. The Tunisian has the second best winning ratio in the field and the third most dominant games won ratio. The extra string to her bow as well is that her historic and recent grass court form stands up to scrutiny. A quarterfinalist last year at WImbledon and the WTA Berlin title winner last week gives her a very strong profile for this event.
Jabeur has also benefitted from the draw. She is in the opposite half to Swiatek and has a fairly weak group of seeded players to get past in her quarter. Of course, she was in similar form and well fancied to go well in the French Open, but ended up being the first seed out after losing to Magda Linette from a set up. This can be seen as a negative, but I see it positively. That motivation to nerve have that happen again and also the extra rest and recuperation that would have given the Tunisian might make her a more dangerous animal in this tournament. She deserves some of our support here.
The options are numerous as you look through the draw. Coco Gauff made a big breakthrough in Paris by reaching her first Grand Slam final and she looked good on grass in Berlin as well, only losing to Jabeur in the semifinals. However, her price is fairly skinny now and on this occasion we will pass her over.
Serena Williams’ decision to take up a wildcard here really has ruffled some feathers. One of the all-time greats and seven times Wimbledon champion needs no introduction to the fans but we would surely need our heads checking to be backing her having played no tennis on tour whatsoever since last year’s retirement from the first round here. She won her 23rd and last Grand Slam back in 2017 and at 40 it would be a stretch to think that it’s a good bet that she returns to the winners enclosure here.
However, there is one comeback kid who I do like. Bianca Andreescu has Grand Slam winning pedigree and the 2020 US Open Champion is on her way back to the top of her form after taking a smart decision to have a lay off in the season to give her body and mind some time. Since her comeback there have been sure signs of progression, culminating in a run to the final of WTA Bad Homburg this week.
The Canadian has a strong mentality and in her 2020 best form she showed real big match temperament for one so young. This gives me confidence that when it comes to the crunch that she won’t leave anything out on the court. This might come in handy because she is drawn to meet Iga Swiatek in the quarterfinals here, which makes this bet more sense to be win only. There is the danger that this tournament comes a bit too soon for her, but she has a history of putting long runs of wins together and I’m hoping that momentum can take her a long way to the title here.
This outright bet comes from the opposite half of the draw to the others. Belinda Bencic is another player to come into the tournament in flying form, reaching the WTA Berlin final last week. Her game is really well suited to the grass and she is one of the more experienced grass court players in the field.
The main benefit to Bencic is her draw. Her quarter is fairly weak, with Jelena Ostapenko as her main danger. The pair are scheduled to meet in the quarterfinals and Ostapenko was also a real consideration for the column. In the end though I just about preferred the consistency of the Swiss player rather than the all-or-nothing approach of the Latvian.
Bencic would be an each-way shout as she is likely to be underdog in the final if she does make it and the half the odds pay-out for a final appearance is worth banking if it does happen.
There’s one other bet we can make at this stage which could be good value. Karolina Muchova is a player that isn’t quite back to full speed from her injuries but has the skill set to make a good run at Wimbledon. Her mini-section has the fourth seed Paula Badosa in it, but the Spaniard is in poor recent form and has little grass record to speak of.
Whilst I have my doubts about Muchova as an outright candidate due to fitness concerns and perhaps a lack of power at the top level, she could easily make a run within her quarter. I have her scheduled to face Coco Gauff in the quarterfinals and at a decent price I recommend a small wager on the Czech for Quarter 2.
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How to watch Wimbledon
📅 When is Wimbledon? / Monday, 27th June 2022 from 11am
🏟 Where is Wimbledon? / All England Tennis Club (London)
📺 What TV channel is Wimbledon on? / BBC One/BBC Two