We have another big day at Wimbledon on Friday when the second round comes to a close and the third round gets underway which means that for the first time in the tournament we get the chance for seeded players to meet each other.
We have finally started to see some big seeds dropping and that will have the very top names that are on show on Friday on edge as we begin to head towards the second week of the third Grand Slam of the season.
We have a packed day of action on Centre Court where it is the second round that starts out in focus. The number one seed Carlos Alcaraz opens up the show when he meets Alexandre Muller who will be gracing this famous stadium for the first time in his career. We then get to see the conclusion of the excellent match between Andy Murray and Stefanos Tsitsipas with the Brit leading 2-1 in sets. We go into the third round when they are done as the number one seed in the women’s draw, Iga Swiatek, looks to book her place in the second week of the tournament when she meets Petra Martic. A good day of tennis on Centre Court concludes with a match between two Grand Slam champions when Stan Wawrinka takes on Novak Djokovic.
It is the women who will get the action underway on Court 1 on Friday when the number two seed Aryna Sabalenka takes on Varvara Gracheva for a spot in the third round. When they are done the British number one Cameron Norrie will look to make the third round himself. He has a potentially awkward date with the Mallorca champion Christopher Eubanks. There is just one more match on the Court 1 schedule on Friday and it sees the 2022 finalist Ons Jabeur looking to make it into the third round at the expense of Zhuoxuan Bai.
We are still playing catch up after the rain earlier in the week so we have a full singles schedule on Court 2 on Friday. That begins with the former champion Petra Kvitova going up against Aliaksandra Sasnovich before the number three seed in the men’s draw Daniil Medvedev is back on court looking to apply the finishing touches to his match with Adrian Mannarino which was hooked off on Thursday for bad light. Alexander Zverev will be on the court for the second day in succession after that match. He meets Yosuke Watanuki before Liam Broady looks to back up his fine win over Casper Ruud on Thursday when he plays his third round clash with Denis Shapovalov. The last match on this court sees Caroline Garcia going up against Marie Bouzkova in the third round.
We have four matches to enjoy over on Court 3 on Friday as well and we begin with the exciting Holger Rune looking to continue his progression on grass when he meets Roberto Carballes Baena. Once they are done it is third round action all the way with Jannik Sinner first up to take on Quentin Halys who has looked pretty good so far. Jessica Pegula wasted no time in her second round match on Thursday and now faces Elisabetta Cocciaretto for a place in the second week. Two of the more dangerous unseeded players meet to round off the day on this court when Elina Svitolina takes on Sofia Kenin.
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Best of the Rest
The schedule on the outside courts is largely made up with the backlog from the doubles but with the singles action also looking to catch up we have some good matches from the men’s and women’s draw on those courts. Madison Keys is in second round action on Court 12 and then there are all-seeded third round matches between Lorenzo Musetti and Hubert Hurkacz as well as Daria Kasatkina and Victoria Azarenka. Andrey Rublev is also on show on that court while Alex de Minaur, Alexander Bublik, Nicholas Jarry and Belinda Bencic are some of the other seeds who will be on show.
I’ll go with one in the men’s draw on Friday and that comes in the match on Court 1 between Cameron Norrie and Christopher Eubanks, one where I think the American can push the British number one, if not actually dump him out. Eubanks has had a really good grass court season. He won the title in Mallorca in the lead up to this event and is now 11:3 on grass this term, after going 4:2 on it last year so there is something about the green surface Eubanks likes. He is on the crest of a wave after that win in Spain.
Norrie had a very good run to the semi-final here a year ago but I’ve never truly felt that grass was his best surface and he has looked a little sluggish on the grass this summer. He laboured to a win over Jordan Thompson at Queens before Sebastian Korda blasted him off the court and Tomas Machac, ranked outside the top 100 in the world, was more than a match for him in the first round here before his wrist cramped up midway through the third set with the contest level at 1-1. Eubanks has an aggressive game and I think he’ll take a set off the Brit which can keep him within 4.5 games of the more established player.
I’ll take just the one in the women’s draw on Friday as well and we have to wait until towards the end of the day but it is ok because the forecast is absolutely perfect so all the schedule will be fulfilled. It is the match between Marie Bouzkova and Caroline Garcia, one where I very much like the Czech player at odds against. One reason for that is because these two have met twice on the grass and Bouzkova has won on both occasions.
Bouzkova has started this tournament like a house on fire, dropping just eight games in her opening two matches. She has had a very smooth path in the tournament so far whereas Garcia was taken to a deciding set tiebreak by Leylah Fernandez on Thursday in a match which lasted 2.32 which is longer than the two Bouzkova matches combined. Credit must go to Garcia for coming through that but it is going to be difficult to back that up the next day against a much fresher opponent who knows she can beat the player on the opposite side of the net. I like the Czech here.
Back C.Eubanks (+4.5 games) to beat C.Norrie for a 3/10 stake at 1.91 with Betfair
Back M.Bouzkova to beat C.Garcia for a 3/10 stake at 2.10 with William Hill
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