Wimbledon Day 4 preview and best bets: Nadal battle-tested after first round

Rafael Nadal celebrates his 2019 U.S. Open title.
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Ricky Dimon

Tennis · 1 month ago

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Since graduating from Davidson (The College That Stephen Curry Built), I have been writing about sports--just about any and all you can think of!--and coaching tennis in Atlanta, Ga. Beyond the four major sports, I am an avid tennis fan and cover the ATP Tour on a daily basis. If I'm not busy writing, you can generally find me on a tennis court or traveling the world wherever a sporting event takes me.

Second-round action at Wimbledon will conclude on Thursday. The bottom half of the men’s singles draw has been decimated by both positive Covid-19 tests and surprising losses, including Matteo Berrettini’s withdrawal that had a big impact on futures odds. Thus the door could be open for Rafael Nadal, who won his first-round match and will be back in action on Thursday.

Before the order of play gets underway, also take a look back on my outright plays in both the men’s and women’s draws. Below are my picks for Day 4.

Botic van de Zandschulp ML over Emil Ruusuvuori (-122)

It is true that Emil Ruusuvuori defeated Botic van de Zandschulp earlier this month in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, but I’m not too concerned by that result. Van de Zandschulp is generally much better at majors and he has also played well since then, reaching the Queen’s Club semifinals while beating Grigor Dimitrov and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina along the way. The Dutchman destroyed Feliciano Lopez 6-2, 6-3, 6-3 on Tuesday and it should be noted that Ruusuvuori just barely beat Lopez 6-3, 6-7(3), 7-6(8) at Queen’s Club.

With the 49th-ranked Finn in far from amazing form, we can treat the recent ‘s-Hertogenbosch result as nothing more than a price reducer. At -122, Van de Zandschulp has good value on getting revenge and advancing to at least the third round of a fourth consecutive Grand Slam.

Parlay: Diego Schwartzman ML over Liam Broady and Alize Cornet ML over Claire Liu (+101)

Interestingly, the only previous meeting between Diego Schwartzman and Liam Broady came in the same round of this same tournament just last summer. Schwartzman dropped the first set but otherwise cruised, ultimately prevailing 4-6, 6-2, 6-1, 6-4. The Argentine is by no means a grass-court guru, but he annihilated Stefan Kozlov 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 on Tuesday. Broady needed 3 hours and 31 minutes to outlast world No. 243 Lukas Klein in a five-set thriller.

You also have to like Alize Cornet’s Grand Slam experience. The Frenchwoman has reached the fourth round of Wimbledon before and she should make it to at least the third round this time around. Cornet is coming off a semifinal effort in Bad Homburg and she beat a tough opponent in Yulia Putintseva in straight sets on Tuesday. Claire Liu can’t be expected to provide much resistance.

Parlay: Rafael Nadal -2.5 sets over Ricardas Berankis and Roberto Bautista Agut -1.5 sets over Daniel Elahi Galan (-127)

Rafael Nadal needed four sets to get past Francisco Cerundolo on Tuesday, but that was the Spaniard’s first grass-court match since 2019 so some rust is by no means alarming. And he should have won easily, leading two sets to love and by a break in the third. Nadal lost focus at that point and then Cerundolo caught fire for a while. The reigning Australian Open and French Open champion won’t make that mistake again, plus Berankis doesn’t have the same kind of offensive firepower as Cerundolo. It’s not like the 106th-ranked Lithuanian can steal a set by serving big, because that isn’t his game at all. Nadal won their only previous meeting in straight sets earlier this year in Melbourne and more of the same should be in store.

Bautista Agut is another veteran Spaniard with a favorable matchup on his hands. In his nine-year professional career, Galan has averaged one match per season on grass (4-5 record). Bautista Agut has won 46 grass-court matches – including five during a trip to the Wimbledon semifinals in 2019. The world No. 19 made mincemeat out of Attila Balazs (6-1, 6-0, 6-3) on Tuesday and he is likely in line for another comfortable day at the office.

The Pickswise tennis handicappers are on hand throughout the entire tennis season, bringing you the best free expert Tennis Predictions and Picks from top events including the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open.

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