No Regard

June 22, 2008

Forget Everything You’ve Heard About Wimbledon

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — hoyler @ 6:21 pm

NadalBored(Courtesy Neil Tingle/AP)

The articles are coming in bunches, all of the essentially leading off with the question of “Is this the year Roger Federer gets knocked off?”

It’s not unfounded. Roger’s started to look human on the big stage, falling in the finals of the season’s first two grand slams. Those losses were to the two guys with the best chance to end Roger’s five-year run at All England, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, so there’s another reason to believe.

But, really, why doubt Federer on grass, in this event, with just two grand slams (and two more Wimbledon titles) standing between him and Pete Sampras? Why doubt that he’ll bounce back? I’m not going to. But who is Roger going to have to face in the final two weeks from today? Djokovic is out of the question since he is in the same draw as Roger, and I fully expect that to be the match we see on July 5. Nadal is the clear favorite on the other half of the draw, coming off a huge win over Djokovic last weekend at the Artois.

There’s just no fun in rooting for or, in the case of this article, betting on the favorites. So, courtesy of my favorite past time, gambling via Sportsbook.com, let’s identify the smartest bets before tomorrow morning’s first serve.

1. Marco Ancic (30-1): The best reason to bet on Ancic is that he is the last guy to beat Federer on grass, beating him in the first round at Wimbledon in 2002. He’s also getting play as a popular sleeper, yet he’s not sitting at an unplayable 10 or 15 to 1, like the two Andys, Murray and Roddick. Ancic has won on grass before, is fully healthy after multiple issues last season and has a very easy path to Federer in the quarterfinals with only No. 5 seed David Ferrer, at best a decent grass player who could be fatigued after just playing in and winning a week-long tournament, in his way. Suggested Bet Range: $20-$50

2. Richard Gasquet (60-1): A quarterfinal appearance at the Artois and a relatively good draw are the best reasons to back Gasquet at this price. He is in Nadal’s draw, so he avoids Federer, and in my opinion his toughest opponents en route to Rafa are Mardy Fish in round one and Andy Murray in round four, so it’s not particularly Murderer’s Row to have a realistic chance at the Nadal upset. Oh, yeah, he made the semis here last season, and while this year has been just poor showing after poor showing for the Frenchman, its called gambling for a reason, so take a chance that the intense and interested Gasquet from Artois shows up. Suggested Bet Range: $15-$30

3. James Blake (80-1): If the draw holds, Blake faces this path to Roddick in the fourth round: Christophe Rochus, Rainer Schuettler, Nicolas Almagro. Again, Blake should drop, at most, two sets before getting to his countryman, and he’s also coming off a good enough draw at Artois to back at this long, long price. Blake is fun to root for, too, which holds a bit of importance in betting, at least for me. We’ll see what happens with Nadal in a possible semifinal, but remember, identifying long shots is also about projecting possible upsets to make said long shot’s route to a championship easier. Maybe Nadal gets knocked out, who knows. Suggested Bet Range: $7.50-$20

Enjoy the two weeks, it should be a great slam.

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