WTA Wimbledon Day Five Tips: Zhang value to win battle of form players

Women's singles action continues at Wimbledon on Friday with the third round commencing, and there's plenty to discuss as the tournament progresses. Dan Weston returns with his thoughts...

Market leaders heavy favourites on Friday

Eight matches take the focus on Friday in the women's singles, with action coming from the bottom half of the draw. The likes of Ons Jabeur, Maria Sakkari and Jelena Ostapenko are all strong pre-match favourites to get the job done and move into round four - they are three of the top seven in the outright market at the time of writing and their market support is pretty justified.

Zhang slight lean against Garcia

Two form players on grass meet, with Shuai Zhang facing Caroline Garcia, and it's Garcia who is the 1.84 favourite after disappointing the home crowd on Wednesday afternoon, eliminating Emma Raducanu in straight sets.

Garcia is now seven unbeaten on grass and Zhang (if we don't count her first set retirement loss in the Birmingham final) is has now won her last six on the surface too, so something has to give here. Both players have potential injury and/or fatigue issues, and I'm more tempted to side with Zhang as the underdog here at market prices as a slight lean.

Riske favourite to be rewarded with round four spot

Moving on, grass court specialist Alison Riske is favourite at 1.74 to get past Marie Bouzkova which looks about right to me. Bouzkova got us a win on Wednesday, beating Ann Li without much difficulty, and keeps showing signs of converting her obvious potential into becoming a top 30 player.

Riske loves this surface, and has an excellent career record on grass, but after losing in the final in Nottingham lost twice as favourite in the subsequent grass warm-up events, so is clearly far from unbeatable even against a lower-ranked opponent. This should be a pretty fascinating match with the winner playing the winner of Zhang/Garcia.

Market not keen on Watson to continue run

The other match I want to focus on features British interest, with Heather Watson facing the Slovenian prospect, Kaja Juvan. Watson got past Qiang Wang in an rain-interrupted second round match, but it's worth noting that she has never got past round three of her home Grand Slam in her entire career.

Juvan stands in her way of changing that record, and the market have her onside as favourite, with Watson the 2.68 underdog. Juvan was an injury doubt prior to this event but beat the form player, Beatriz Haddad Maia in round one, before a routine win over Dalma Galfi in round two on Wednesday.

Numbers wise, we are dealing with pretty small samples of data for Juvan on grass over the last couple of years but on what I do have, she looks a justified favourite to me although I do think the 1.51 currently available on the Exchange looks a little on the short side.


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