Tues. Jun. 30, 2015
There are a few Canadian tennis players looking to paint the green grass of the All England Club red and white when Wimbledon opens play this Monday. On the men's side, No. 7 seed Milos Raonic and unseeded Vasek Pospisil are representing Canada while Montreal's Eugenie Bouchard is a No. 12 seed in the women's draw.
Raonic, from Thornhill, Ontario, enters Wimbledon ranked No. 8 in the ATP World Rankings but is still considered somewhat of a long shot to win his first Grand Slam title, with oddsmakers Sports Interaction pricing him at +3,500 to win Wimbledon. Raonic could be worth a flyer, posting his best career Grand Slam showing at the All England Club last summer with a semifinal loss to Roger Federer.
The 24 year old benefits from the top half of the draw, avoiding a run-in with any of the Top-6 seeds until at least the quarterfinals. His stiffest competition through the first four rounds is No. 11 seed Grigor Dimitrov (+3,200) and he opens versus Daniel Gimeno-Traver.
However, Raonic has hit a bit of a ceiling in tournament quarterfinals after bowing out in that round in each of his previous three events and has battled a foot injury that kept him out of the previous Grand Slam, the French Open.
Pospisil comes to Wimbledon with far less fanfare than his countryman, priced at +39,900 to do the unthinkable. He could benefit from the luck of the draw. He avoids an early meeting with one of the top seeds and instead is matched with qualifier Vincent Millot. Pospisil has defeated Milliot twice at the minor level on home soil, winning in straight sets both times.
Of course, the odds-on-favorite to win the 2015 Wimbledon hardware is World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, who is installed as +112 chalk. Djokovic is the defending 2014 Wimbledon champion and took his first tournament title at the All-England Club in 2011.
He looked unstoppable early into 2015, winning the Australian Open and four more events before getting stunned by No. 8 seed Stan Wawrinka in the French Open finals earlier this month. Needless to say, Djokovic is eager to put that loss behind him.
Behind the top seed, according to oddsmakers, is Andy Murray (+217) - the 2013 Wimbledon winner - who doesn't get much help from the draw. Murray's path back to the tournament title is littered with big-name adversaries, starting with a possible meetings with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (+4,100) in the Round of 16, No. 10 Rafael Nadal (+1,700) in the quarters, Roger Federer in the semifinals and Djokovic in the championship match.
Rounding out the betting favorites are seven-time Wimbledon champ Federer (+546) and Wawrinka (+1,000), who is hot off his French Open title and also took the 2014 Australian Open. He made the quarterfinals at Wimbledon last summer, which was his best showing in London.
Bouchard enters the women's draw following a tumultuous two months of tennis. She was mired in a nasty losing skid, spanning six matches before advancing to the second round of the Italian Open, only to get knocked off in the Round of 16. Most recently, the 21 year old was forced to retire during the third round of the Aegon International due to abdominal pains but told the media she would be ready to go at Wimbledon.
Bouchard, who lost to Petra KvitovÃ¡ in the Wimbledon women's final last year, is priced as a long shot to take the next step this June, with +3,100 odds to win outright. She does, however, have a favorable draw - given she can shake her current slump and get past opening-round foe Duan Ying-Ying.
Bouchard is expected to play unseeded Tatjana Maria in Round 2 and 21st seed Madison Keys in the third round. Things get more interesting after that, lined up against No. 8 Ekaterina Makarova (+5,900) or No. 25 AlizÃ© Cornet (+14,600) in the Round of 16 before a potential rematch with defending champion KvitovÃ¡ (+360) in the quarterfinals.
Despite being the current holder of the Venus Rosewater Dish, KvitovÃ¡ sits a distant second in the women's Wimbledon odds behind five-time champ Serena Williams (+145), who is coming off Grand Slam titles at the Australian and French Open.
Williams is an overwhelming talent but hasn't won a Wimbledon title since 2012 - a lengthy drought for a player of her caliber. She has a chance to join Maureen Connolly Brinker (1953), Margaret Court (1970) and Steffi Graf (1988) as the only women to sweep the first three Grand Slam events. Those three went on to win the U.S. Open and complete the Grand Slam.
Standing in Williams' way is long-time rival Maria Sharapova (+577) and Victoria Azarenka (+1,300), the latter of which could face Williams in the quarterfinals. Azarenka is 3-16 all-time versus Serena, including two losses to her on clay this year. Sharapova has actually been worse against Williams, with a 2-17 career mark. She edged Serena in the 2004 Wimbledon finals but has paid for that upset ever since.
World No. 3 Simona Halep isn't getting much respect from the betting markets, priced at +1,700. The 23-year-old Romanian has the speed to counter Williams' power and looked to be on her way to a memorable 2014 Wimbledon run before injuring her ankle in the semifinals, losing in straight sets to Bouchard.
All three Canadians - Raonic (-5,000), Pospisil (-275), and Bouchard (-350) - are favored in their opening round matches.
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