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IT was the year of the favourite at the All England club this year, with the world number one of both genders lifting the Wimbledon trophy.
The two finals over the weekend had very different levels of anticipation and build-up.
For the men, it was 17-time Grand Slam champion, current world number two and arguably the greatest tennis player of all-time, Roger Federer, up against the unstoppable Serbian machine, Novak Djokovic.
For the women, world number nine 21-year-old Garbine Muguruza was the combatant for the dominant Serena Williams in what was her first ever Grand Slam final.
The Djoker has the last laugh over the Fed
The men’s world number one Novak Djokovic won his second Grand Slam title in 2015, defeating Roger Federer in four sets in the final.
The win hands the Serbian his third Wimbledon title, and his ninth Grand Slam trophy overall.
Roger Federer was denied a record breaking eighth Wimbledon championship which would have affirmed his status as the greatest men’s player to take to the court in London.
Djokovic was too dominant throughout the match despite losing a second set tiebreak.
The world number one hit an incredible 46 winners throughout the match and committed just 16 unforced errors. He was able to do what Andy Murray was unable to in the semi-final, get on top of the Federer serve.
The Serbian world number one made it clear: Federer might be the greatest of all-time, but Djokovic is the best there is right at this moment.
While the record of Federer’s 17 Grand Slam titles is one that is unlikely to ever be superseded, Djokovic – who now sits at eighth in the overall standings of Slams won – has the opportunity in the coming years to rise into the upper echelon of the tennis history books.
“I’m 28,” Djokovic said.
“I feel good. I don’t feel old. I have hopefully many more years in front of me. I’m going to try to push my own limits and see how far I can go really with titles and with myself playing on this high level.”
Legendary American tennis player and current media personality John McEnroe believes that Djokovic will have a long and sustained run as world number one, and can challenge the game’s elite.
“Novak is just coming into his prime and it is pretty hard not to think that he is getting stronger and stronger,” McEnroe said.
“If he stays healthy, he is going to dominate the next couple of years.”
Although the Serbian missed out on winning the French Open this year after falling to Swiss slugger Stan Wawrinka, winning all four major titles will definitely be on the agenda for the world number one.
The fourth and final slam of the season is the US Open, where Djokovic is the overwhelming favourite.
Djokovic is the $2.25 favourite with Sportsbet to win the US Open title.
Former US Open champion Andy Roddick believes it will take a monumental effort for any player to defeat the world number one at flushing meadows.
“We saw with Stan Wawrinka in Paris the type of match that it takes to beat Novak right now,” Roddick said.
“To execute that over the course of three or four hours against the best defensive player on Earth, that’s really hard.
“I don’t think you can take two or three players and make them the favourite over Novak for the U.S. Open.”
Williams completes the Serena Slam
Women’s world number one Serena Williams was at her scintillating best as she made light work of 21 year old Spaniard Garbine Muguruza 6-4 6-4.
The win was Williams’ 21st Grand Slam title overall and completes the ‘Grand Slam’, or the ‘Serena-Slam’ as it has been dubbed, which means the dominant American currently holds the four major Grand Slam titles.
If she is able to claim victory at the US Open later in the year, which looks like a strong possibility given she has won the last three at flushing meadows; she will finish the year holding all four major titles – the first woman since Steffi Graf back in 1998 to complete the calendar slam.
Williams said her dominant 2015 season thus far has come as a complete surprise to the 33-year old.
“I honestly wouldn’t have thought last year after winning the U.S. Open I would win the Serena Slam at all,” Williams said.
“It’s super exciting.”
In the aftermath of her incredible victory, Williams said her focus shifted from London to New York.
“I did the whole presentation, I did the whole walk around the court,” said Williams.
“I was peaceful, feeling really good … a little after that I started thinking about New York.”
If breaking the all-time open era slams record was not enough, the world number one surpassed Martina Natratilova as the oldest woman ever to hoist a Grand Slam trophy in the open era.
The calendar Grand Slam beckons for the world number one, but Williams’ coach Patrick Mourtaglou believes the Wimbledon champion will need a partisan US crowd to help get secure the fourth and final title.
“I think if the crowd helps her, it’s going to be a plus,” Mourtaglou said.
“So of course I expect the American crowd to be the best ever for her because to have an American player like her who is probably the greatest (in) history writing history at the U.S. Open is huge.”
Serena Williams is a $2.20 favourite with Sportsbet to take out the US Open title and complete the calendar slam.
CAN anyone stop Serena Williams in the Wimbledon women’s final this Saturday night? Sure, but you wouldn’t expect the main challenge to come from Garbine Muguruza.
The 21-year-old Spaniard is at very long odds to win ($6.05 at Sportsbet.com.au) and many are expecting her to get trampled by the force that is Serena, but she deserves some credit at least.
Serena Williams is at an unbackable head-to-head price of $1.13 which is only good for some multi-bet value, but there are plenty of line and exotic bets to choose from.
Wimbledon Women’s final odds
As previously stated, there isn’t much value in the head-to-head betting market, unless you’re a devoted fan of Muguruza.
That being said, the ‘game handicap’ line is more to our liking and we see value with the world number one tennis player.
Williams (-4.5) at $1.57 with Sportsbet.com.au
Muguruza (+4.5) at $2.25
We’re sure that when bookmakers opened the market, they expected money to come for Williams at the -4.5 line, but they probably didn’t expect it to be a landfall.
Williams has taken plenty of money and now the line sits at $1.57. That’s good enough for us, however, as women’s grand slam finals tend to be one-sided affairs.
There are other handicap lines available for punters that want more value.
Williams -6.5 ($2.87)
Williams -8.5 ($8.50) at CrownBet.com.au
Williams – 10.5 ($51)
We’re not saying Williams is going to win 6-0, 6-0, but it isn’t beyond impossible. Williams enjoys beating opponents comfortably and we fear for Muguruza here.
If you think the Spaniard has a better chance than the line suggests, bookmakers are also offering additional lines for Muguruza.
Muguruza +4.5 ($2.25)
Muguruza +2.5 ($3.75)
Serena Williams’ road to the final
Williams breezed through her first round match 6-4, 6-1 before winning by the same scoreline in her second match against Timea Babos.
She did have her struggles against Heather Watson in the third round, eventually winning in three sets 6-2, 4-6, 7-5.
She then defeated her sister Venus in straight sets which set up a quarterfinal against Viktoria Akarenka, whom she defeated in three sets.
Maria Sharapova continued to struggle against her nemesis and was dispatched 6-2, 6-4, putting Serena into yet another grand slam final.
“I think it is the best final you can play,” Muguruza said. “You know, to have Serena in the Wimbledon final I think is the hardest match you can have.
“If you want to win a grand slam, when you dream, you say, I want Serena in the final.”
Muguruza is giving her opponent plenty of respect, but we have seen Serena struggle at times throughout this tournament and Muguruza must strike at the right time.
“She’s stronger, good mentality, good shots, power, confident,” added Muguruza. “You know, a lot of things that make her a good player.”
We can see Serena getting this game off to a hot start so take the first set handicap (-2.0) at $2.08 with Sportsbet.com.au.
Garbine Muguruza’s road to the final
Muguruza is no fluke at Wimbledon, having already reached the quarterfinals at Roland Garros this year.
The vastly-improved youngster overcame plenty of adversity to reach the final after winning three of her matches in three sets.
The first came in the second round where she won the final set 6-2 and she followed that up with another three setter against Angelique Kerber of Germany.
She then took out Caroline Wozniacki in straight sets and caught the attention of many after that win. She would later prove her worth by beating the always tough Agnieszka Radwanska in three sets to secure her spot in the final.
Radwanska wasn’t very subtle about Muguruza’s chances of beating Williams in the final.
“I don’t think she can beat Serena in the final,” Radwanska said. “I think Serena’s not going to let her do that, no, no in this tournament. But I wish her luck. It’s going to be hard. If she does that, big respect.”
Wimbledon women’s final predictions
Of the three matches these two have played against each other, Williams has won two, the latest going to three sets at the 2015 Australian Open.
That bodes well for Muguruza who defeated Williams on clay at the French Open last year (6-2, 6-2), so there is a chance she can win.
But, this is a Wimbledon final and Serena doesn’t like the sound of losing to a player seeded 20.
We think Serena will tear through her opponent in record time and she could even notch a scoreline of 6-2, 6-3.
The -4.5 line at Sportsbet looks the good bet of the tournament at $1.57, so get involved as there is limited chances left to bet on grand slam tennis this year.
Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams are the red hot favourites to take out the singles titles at the 2015 Wimbledon Championships, which will kick off in London on Monday, June 29.
Djokovic ($2.25 at Bovada.lv) has not played a competitive match since last month’s French Open final, where he lost out to Stanislas Wawrinka ($15) in four sets.
Wawrinka isn’t the only Swiss star among the favourites, with seven-time champion Roger Federer shortening to $7 in the Wimbledon futures betting after his win at the Gerry Weber Open in Halle, Germany last week.
But it is local hero Andy Murray ($3.75), fresh of a fourth career title at the Queen’s Club Championships, who looms as Djokovic’s strongest challenger.
Murray defeated the current world number one in the 2013 Wimbledon final, but has lost each of their last eight meetings, including the recent semi-final clash at Roland Garros.
However, Boris Becker – who has coached Djokovic since the start of 2014 – warned earlier this week that the Scot’s excellent record on grass should not be underestimated.
“He’s in great form, he’s four times Queen’s Open champion now, one of the favourites to win Wimbledon, but I’m in Novak’s corner so I have to support,” Becker said at a media event on Monday.
On Djokovic’s chances of retaining his crown, the three-time Wimbledon champ added: “We had a spectacular run last year, but it all starts from scratch again.
“First round will be first round for everybody, so it will be another very tough tournament.”
One player who could use that kind of support is Nick Kyrgios ($41), who is without a head coach after severing ties with Todd Larkham in the wake of a poor showing at the Queen’s Club.
But the fiery young Australian has plenty of not-so-secret admirers in the tennis world, and his stunning victory over Rafael Nadal in last year’s tournament remains fresh in the memory of one John McEnroe.
“He is close to being ready to make a big breakthrough if I had to pick one guy,” McEnroe, winner of three Wimbledon Men’s Singles titles, said in the UK press.
“I wouldn’t pick him to win. But I would think, if there was someone other than the obvious guys, he would be the guy that I would pick – more so than a year ago, when I would have said a Dimitrov-Djokovic final.”
Kyrgios, who withdrew from the warm-up event in Nottingham this week through illness, is one of several high-profile players looking to shake off fitness concerns over the next few days.
2014 US Open finalist Kei Nishikori ($26) is managing a calf problem, while French duo Jo-Wilfried Tsonga ($34) and Gael Monfils ($151) are also battling injury ahead of next Monday’s start.
But the biggest concern is in the women’s draw, with reigning Wimbledon champ Petra Kvitova ($4.50 at www.Crownbet.com.au) in doubt after pulling out of the Aegon International in Eastbourne.
“I have a sore throat. I have to stay in bed, drink tea and rest,” the Czech star told the press.
“I didn’t feel well when I came here last Thursday, I had to make this decision [to withdraw].
“I hope to be fine for Wimbledon. I’ll stay here in Eastbourne and then slowly move to London.”
Kvitova’s health concerns would be music to the ears of Williams ($2.75), who is well on the way to a Grand Slam sweep after winning both the Australian Open and the French Open earlier this year.
It would also boost the chances of would-be challengers such as Maria Sharapova ($8), Victoria Azarenka ($10) and Simona Halep ($13), whose prices would surely drop if Kvitova withdrew.
That might not be the case for Samantha Stosur, who is now paying $101 after going down in straight sets to Tsvetana Pironkova in her opening clash at Eastbourne.
But despite an unflattering record at the All England Club, the former US Open champion seemed optimistic about her chances when talking to the media this week.
“You’ve obviously got to put it together in that first round, but I’m still confident I can play well and get some wins,” Stosur said.
“Who knows if that’s going to happen, but I’m at least confident that I can do that.”
Hopes of a classic British underdog story were piqued this week when 16-year-old wildcard Katie Swan secured a shock qualifying win against Kristina Kucova, ranked 118 in the world. Fellow Brits Katy Dunne and Tara Moore also progressed to the second round.
There were more good signs from local ladies Heather Watson ($201) and Johanna Konta at the Aegon, with the latter defeating world number eight Ekaterina Makarova ($51) to reach the third round.
2015 Wimbledon outright betting odds
$2.25 – Novak Djokovic
$3.75 – Andy Murray
$7 – Roger Federer
$11 – Rafael Nadal
$15 – Stan Wawrinka
$21 – Grigor Dimitrov
$26 – Kei Nishikori, Milos Raonic
$29 – Tomas Berdych
$34 – Marin Cilic, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
$41 – Nick Kyrgios
$51 – Juan Martin Del Potro
$101 – Bernard Tomic, Ernests Gulbis, Ivo Karlovic, Jerzy Janowicz, John Isner
$126 – Alexandr Dolgopolov, David Ferrer, Jack Sock
$151 – Feliciano Lopez, Gael Monfils
$201 – Fabio Fognini, Fernando Verdasco, Kevin Anderson, Nicolas Almagro, Philipp Kohlschreiber, Richard Gasquet
$251 – Mikhail Youzhny
$2.75 – Serena Williams
$4.50 – Petra Kvitova
$8 – Maria Sharapova
$10 – Victoria Azarenka
$13 – Simona Halep
$21 – Lucie Safarova, Madison Keys, Sabine Lisicki
$29 – Caroline Wozniacki
$34 – Agnieszka Radwanska, Eugenie Bouchard, Karolina Pliskova, Sloane Stephens, Venus Williams
$41 – Angelique Kerber, Gabrine Muguruza
$51 – Ana Ivanovic, Ekaterina Makarova