By the close of play on Saturday we will – weather permitting – know the identities of those who will make up the fourth round of Wimbledon 2017.
On the men’s side, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic will both be looking to book their places in the next round with emphatic victories. The latter has been very business-like so far, taking advantage of the withdrawal of Martin Klizan before dropping just five games against Adam Pavlasek. The Serb will have plenty of gas in the tank, and should have no problems overcoming Ernests Gulbis, a player he boasts a 6-1 head-to-head lead over.
It might be a tougher afternoon for Federer, mind you. The Swiss ace was broken early on by Dusan Lajovic, but roared back to take the first set on a tiebreak and close out a 7-6, 6-3, 6-2 win.
His third-round opponent is Mischa Zverev, a German in decent form. He reached the semi-finals in Stuttgart before losing to eventual champion Federer at Halle; a 7-6, 6-4 win for the Australian Open champion. We expect Federer to defeat Zverev once again, but it will be a tough examination of his credentials.
Women’s Draw Wide Open
The early exits of Karolina Pliskova and Petra Kvitova have left the women’s draw ajar, with 17 of the 30 seeded players already on their way home.
So there is a huge opportunity for somebody to follow the lead of Jelena Ostapenko, the French Open winner who had rarely looked likely of winning a major up until that point.
Step forward Johanna Konta then, the bookmakers’ favourite at 6/1 looking to become the first British lady to triumph at SW19 since Virginia Wade. If she can handle the pressure in front of her home crowd, she stands a great chance.
But there will be no shortage of takers for the 10/1 available on Angelique Kerber, who hasn’t been at her best in 2017 to date but who won two Grand Slams in 2016, lest we forget. In a field of players looking to make their major breakthrough, the German’s proven pedigree in the spotlight is a real bonus.
Saturday’s Best Bets
The bookmakers have David Ferrer down as a 7/2 shot against Tomas Berdych, and that is surprising. The Spaniard has beaten the talented Richard Gasquet already this tournament and enjoyed a rest after last opponent Steve Darcis withdrew after just three games of their second-round clash, while Berdych has been put through the ringer in a pair of four-set encounters. You can get 8/11 on Over 3.5 Sets, and that looks appetising value.
If you are placing an acca of some kind this weekend then Timea Bacsinszky is worth adding at 8/13. She and third-round opponent Agnieszka Radwanska have met on two previous occasions, with Bacsinszky boasting a +12 game aggregate lead. The five sets she has played at SW19 this year have gone 6-0, 6-1, 3-6, 6-1, 6-0, so she has certainly not been messing about. In contrast, Radwanska only just got past Christina McHale in her second-round outing.
The bookmakers aren’t all that sweet on Caroline Wozniacki’s chances of lifting her first Grand Slam title, and she’s only 8/11 to beat Saturday’s opponent Anett Kontaveit.
You can kind of see why, with Kontaveit winning the Hertongenbosch tournament not so long ago, but Wozniacki reached the final of Eastbourne (a higher-grade event) and is far more experienced at playing on the big courts at SW19. Her 8/11 price is outstanding value when matched with the other betting options outlined above.