It's been a strange start to Wimbledon 2019 so far with a number of odd results and shocks, although yesterday's action was more from a set scoreline perspective, with Roger Federer surprisingly dropping his opening set against Lloyd Harris, while we saw a topsy turvy fourth and fifth set between Nick Kyrgios and Jordan Thompson, with the latter bagelling Kyrgios in the fourth set before Kyrgios took the decider for the loss of just one game.
A five set epic surely isn't the ideal preparation for Kyrgios to defeat Rafa Nadal, who eased past Yuichi Sugita, although the enigmatic Australian won't be lacking for motivation against the King of Clay following his oft-discussed media comments. Another five set epic saw the end of British player James Ward, who succumbed 8-6 in the decider after being two sets up against Nikoloz Basilashvili.
Anderson arguably the most vulnerable of the heavy favourites
Moving on to today's second round action, we have the usual array of heavy odds-on favourites which we tend to find in the early round of Slams, and Novak Djokovic, Roberto Bautista-Agut, Milos Raonic and Kevin Anderson are all priced around 1.10 or shorter. Of these, I feel that Anderson could be the most vulnerable, against Janko Tipsarevic.
Tipsarevic is obviously in the latter stages of his career, but the former top 10 star's numbers this year aren't an absolute disaster. He's running at just under 98% combined serve/return points won in main tour matches in 2019 and with Anderson perhaps not fully fit following injury, and the match anticipated to be rather serve-orientated, Tipsarevic is capable of keeping this competitive.
Lopez with greater grass pedigree than Khachanov
However, our recommendation comes in the Karen Khachanov against Feliciano Lopez match, with Khachanov a 1.89 favourite for this. We've already opposed Khachanov once this week with Soon Woo Kwon covering the game handicap against the Russian, and I'm not at all convinced about Khachanov's current ability on grass.
Lopez has a solid advantage on 18 month grass data, running at around 104% combined serve/return points won on the surface during this time span, with Khachanov back at just over 100%, and there's a strong argument that the market has the prices the wrong way around - Lopez has much greater grass court pedigree, and considering he turns 38 years of age in September, could well have huge motivation as there's going to be a reasonable chance this will be his last Wimbledon.
Mayer and Chardy capable of solid displays
The other player my model liked, although from a small data sample size, was Leonardo Mayer at 2.92 against Hubert Hurkacz. Mayer is a solid player and probably a touch under-rated on grass, and while Hurkacz has done well this year - he's one of the most improved players - he's got plenty to prove on grass still. The winner of this is almost certain to face Novak Djokovic, who takes on Denis Kudla today.
In other matches, it wouldn't surprise me if Jeremy Chardy gave David Goffin a closer match than the market expects, with the Frenchman more than capable on grass, while the vast majority of the other matches on the card appear accurately priced by the market.