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Neil McLeman: Stars to collide

06 Jul | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Neil McLeman: Stars to collide

Big names survive to set up great second week at Wimbledon

It was a great first week at Wimbledon with British success and shock defeats for Rafa Nadal and defending champion Petra Kvitova.

But most of the top stars survive to be on collision course to make this week even better.

Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray are still set to meet in the men’s final. And Serena Williams still looks set to emerge from the top half of the women’s draw – where Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka are still in – but with No 2 seed Kvitova out, there will be new names in the women’s semi-finals.

One of the trends of this hot grasscourt summer has been huge serving and Murray must tame the fearsome delivery of 6 ft 11 in Ivo Karlovic today. The No 23 seed knocked out Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the third round by winning three tiebreaks.

But Murray has a 5-0 record against Karlovic and the world No 25 has won only 1 out of his last 11 matches against top three players.

His fellow Croat Ivan Ljubicic told me: “I am not surprised that Ivo has not beaten Andy yet but it is tricky. You have to be really, really sharp because one slip, one lapse of concentration and you are down a set.”

With Nadal out, Murray would face a very winnable quarter-final against either Viktor Troicki or Vasek Pospisil. But other big names remain.

The Scot said: “In the top half you’ve got Novak and Stan and Cilic is still in there, Kevin Anderson’s a very good grass court player. Roger is in the bottom half and around where I am there’s a bunch of guys that are 6ft. I mean Karlovic is huge but Pospisil and Troicki are both 6ft 4in, pretty big guys, there’s a lot of big guys with big serves still around.”

Djokovic faces big-serving Anderson and then probably US Open champion Marin Cilic but John McEnroe reckons the world No 1 and Murray are close to unbeatable this week.

“I think those two guys are the likely finalists – and I pick Andy,” he said. “It would take something extraordinary to get in the way. Either like an unbelievable serving day or a guy like the great Roger Federer. But I think on this surface and with the crowd, which Murray seems to be utilising more and more, we even saw signs of that at the French Open, and here I think that will help him that maybe couple of percent that could make a difference. “

The Williams sisters meet for the 26th time today with Serena backing Venus to win. But the world No 1, who survived a scare, is still the woman to beat this week – if she plays like she can.

“It’s all up to her,” Chris Evert said. “When she is at her best she is better than anybody else.”

But she dropped four sets on her way to the French Open final and does look vulnerable. Her biggest threat could be a quarter-final against two-time Australian Open winner Azarenka in the quarter-finals. In the bottom half of the draw, keep on eye on French Open semifinalist Timea Bacsinszky, the former hotel worker from Switzerland, and Madison Keys.

The American world No 21, who faces the lowest ranked player Olga Govortsova in the fourth round, hits her groundstrokes harder than many men players.

Wimbledon – Men’s Singles betting

Wimbledon – Women’s Singles betting

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