Wimbledon Day Four Women's Tips: Pliskova's strong serve can help cover game handicap

Most of the second round women's singles action at Wimbledon today comes from the top half of the draw, and returning with his thoughts on day four is our tennis columnist, Dan Weston...

Sabalenka almost shocked by Brit Boulter

A number of favourites exited the tournament yesterday, including Amanda Anisimova, Bianca Andreescu, Ekaterina Alexandrova and Sofia Kenin, while Aryna Sabalenka managed to avert a huge shock, needing three sets to get the better of the Brit, Katie Boulter. Boulter took the first set 6-4, and put real pressure on Sabalenka at *4-3 in the final set - she failed to take six break point chances - and the Belarussian will be delighted to have got through a much tougher test than she probably anticipated.

The outright market has viewed this as a real negative, with Sabalenka drifting to 10.0 despite winning the match, and this now means that Ash Barty 6.8 is the only player in single-digit pricing to win the tournament. The Australian faces Anna Blinkova today in her second round match, and it would a be a real surprise if she didn't progress with minimum fuss - she's the shortest-priced favourite in the women's competition today.

Raducanu looking to back up Diatchenko victory

Today's women's schedule looks much more competitive than the men's - how many times have we said that - and there certainly aren't many of the mismatches which are clearly apparent in the men's tournament. Marketa Vondrousova is one of the shorter favourites at 1.40 for her match with the Brit, Emma Raducanu, who really impressed in her defeat of Vitalia Diatchenko yesterday - it will be fascinating to see how Raducanu backs that up, and I think she has some solid long-term potential.

Kerber potentially vulnerable against Sorribes Tormo

There are also some fascinating match-ups, with Angelique Kerber looking vulnerable at 1.31 for her clash with Sara Sorribes Tormo. Of course, Kerber has more of a grass-court pedigree but Sorribes Tormo has been far better than her on tour this season and has markedly improved away from clay - so I wouldn't write off the Spaniard here.

Two players who shouldn't be likely to perform well on grass are Yulia Putintseva and Paula Badosa, and they meet today as well. Putintseva has a mediocre career record on the surface, while Badosa is much more comfortable on a clay court. The market has Badosa at 1.59, probably due to her strong run on clay in recent months, and that looks short-priced to me given her unspectacular record away from clay.

Pliskova's serve should help keep her match close

I also like the chances of Krystina Pliskova on the game handicap against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. The lower-profile Pliskova twin still retains a very strong serve - she's held serve around 78% of the time on grass in the last three years - and this should help her keep it close at least in what is likely to be a serve-orientated match-up.

Pavluychenkova has below a 50% career winrate on the surface so I can't help thinking the market is also influenced here by French Open performances on clay courts - she's 1.30 to get the win and that looks short, in my view.

Pliskova +4.5 games is 1.87 on the Exchange, which looks a reasonable enough option in my view.

In other matches, it will be interesting to see whether Coco Vandeweghe - a real grass court specialist in the past - is still up to that level against Katerina Siniakova, while I wouldn't be surprised if Marta Kostyuk picked up an underdog victory at 2.18 against Anastasija Sevastova. Kostyuk has a lot of future upside, not to mention current ability, and she looks the better value in that clash.

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