Tennis Update:  French Open Recap, Andy Hits the Court, and Wimbledon Look Ahead

This year’s Wimbledon Tennis Tournament starts on July 2. That’s not too far from now. In fact, it’s less than two weeks from the time of this writing.  Wimbledon is the third major tennis tournament of the year.

In this blog, I preview the 2018 Wimbledon Tennis Tournament. Before I do that, I offer a recap of the French Open. I also add a few words about where Andy Murray goes now that he’s got a match under his belt.

Tennis Update:  French Open Recap, Andy Hits the Court, and Wimbledon Look Ahead

French Open Women’s Singles Recap

The number one ranked player on the women’s side finally took down a major championship. In 2017, on the clay courts at Roland-Garros, Simona Halep finished a devastating second to Jelena Ostopenko. I write devastating because Simona felt that 2017 was her year. She thought she’d finally win a major championship.

Going into 2018, Simona’s past failures at major championships had become a mental burden. At the quarterfinals of the Australian Open, she easily handled Karolina Pliskova in the quarterfinals. Halep had a tougher time of it in the Australion Open Semifinals, losing the second set to Angelique Kerber 4 to 6. But, she bounced back in the third set, beating Kerber 9 to 7. Simona failed to beat Caroline Wozniacki in the Australian Open Finals.

That means there was a ton of pressure on Simona heading into the French Open. She responded beautifully in the quarterfinals and semifinals. In the quarterfinals, she put a beat down on Kerber after losing the first set 6 to 7. Halep dominated Kerber 6-3 and 6-2. She then beat up Garbine Muguruza 6-1 and 6-4 in straight sets.

There was some discussion as to how well Halep might play in the French Open Finals. Most of the discussion came from Simona, who had a reason to doubt her ability to win a major championship. When the French Open Women’s Singles Finals began, it appeared Halep might struggle again.

Tenth ranked Sloane Stevens, who can athletically hang with Simona, won the first set 6 to 3. Even in the second set, Stevens appeared to have what it takes to hand Halep yet another disappointment, but Simona dominated the third set. She took down Stevens 6-4 and 6-1 the rest of the way.

It was good enough for Simona Halep’s first major tennis championship win.

French Open Men’s Singles Recap

With Andy Murray on the bench, the biggest question heading into the French Open this year was whether Novak Djokovic could take down Rafael “Mr. Clay Court” Nadal. Nadal’s win percentage on clay courts is 91.9%. Nadal’s won over 400 matches on clay courts. Rafa’s won 54 clay court championship titles.

The man is a clay court beast. Djokovic, though, had beaten Rafa over Roland-Garros’ clay courts in the past. Could Novak pull off the major upset again? Nope, Djokovic couldn’t get past the quarterfinals. He lost 3-6, 6-7, 6-1, 6-7 to Italy’s Marco Cecchinato.

After Rafa beat Juan Martin del Potro in the French Open Semifinals. The Argentinian didn’t put up much of a fight, falling to Rafa in straight sets 6-4, 6-1, and 6-2. The French Open Men’s Singles Finals was more of a coronation than anything else.

The greatest clay court player in history made quick work of Austrian opponent Dominic Thiem. Thiem had beaten Cecchinato in the semifinals. Thiem tried his best, but his best wasn’t close enough. Rafa unleashed a 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 beat down.

The victory was Rafael Nadal’s eleventh French Open Men’s Singles Championship.

Andy Murray Steps Back onto the Court

Andy Murray has finally returned to competitive tennis. Great Britain’s tennis star hadn’t played competitively for 342 days due to a hip injury. On Tuesday, June 19, Murray battled Nick Krygios, a decent tennis player in his own right, for 2 hrs. and 39 minutes in the Fever-Tree Championships at London’s Queen’s Club.

Krygios eventually knocked out Murray 2-6, 7-6, 7-5, but Andy showed grit and determination. Not only that, but the hip didn’t appear to cause Murray any trouble. The real key for Andy Murray moving forward is how strong he can get the hip before the real playing starts.

For Murray, the real playing most likely won’t start until the U.S. Open in late August and early September. No doubt, Andy wants to hit the grass courts in England, his home nation, for Wimbledon. Wimbledon is most likely out of the question.

His hip isn’t close to being strong enough to battle for an entire tournament. Heck, it’s difficult to see Murray making it to the quarterfinals of any tennis tournament. He could use Wimbledon to continue to strengthen the hip.

That most likely won’t fly. If he steps on the grass courts at Wimbledon, he’s going all out. It’s not in Murray’s nature to play half-heartedly. That’s why he gave it his all in Round 1 of the Fever-Tree Championships.

Skipping Wimbledon and strengthening the hip for the U.S. Open seems like the prudent thing to do.

2018 Wimbledon Championships Preview

First, let’s look at the men’s singles side. Then, let’s take a look at the women’s singles side.

On the men’s side, Roger Federer remains the top ranked player in the world. Federer didn’t even hit the clay courts at Roland-Garros. He’s playing the Gerry Weber Open this week. Federer is a solid 6/4 favorite to beat the French Open winner, Rafael Nadal. That makes sense because Federer has won a record 8 Wimbledon titles.

Nadal’s won only 2 Wimbledon championships. Rafa is the second ranked men’s player in the world even though he won the French Open. The reason could be because Federer skipped playing in the French Open. Rafa’s odds are currently at 5/1.

The third player that bettors have decided to back is 20th ranked Novak Djokovic. Tennis rankings, like most rankings, don’t mean much. Djokovic made it all the way to the French Open Quarterfinals before losing to Marco Cecchinato. If Djokovic continues to play well at the Fever-Tree Championships, he could be the player to back at 13/2 to win the Wimbledon Championships.

Novak has won 3 Wimbledon Championships.

Wimbledon Women’s Singles Preview

Top ranked Simona Halep is no where near the favorite to win the Wimbledon Women’s Singles Title this year. Halep’s odds are an overlay +1800. Why? Simona’s not nearly as devastating on grass as she is on other types of surfaces.

The favorite to win on the women’s side is Petra Kvitova. Kvitova, like so many other women tennis players this week, is prepping for a Wimbledon run in the Nature Valley Classic. Kvitova is at +650 odds.

Kvitova’s favored by +350 over second choice Serena Williams. Williams might have won the French Open if not for a slight injury that caused her to pull out of the tournament. If the real Serena is back, no other women’s tennis player in the world will take home the Wimbledon trophy.

Serena remains the best women’s tennis player on the planet. She looked good until leaving the French Open.  Her odds are ridiculously overlaid if she’s 100%.

Garbine Muguruza at +900, Angelique Kerber at +1100, Karolina Pliskova at +1300, and Maria Sharapova at +1500 all have a shot to win at Wimbledon. On the women’s side, the tournament is wide open if Serena isn’t at her best.

A few more words on Simona Halep, her best finish was at the 2014 Wimbledon Semifinals. However, she goes to the UK having won her first ever major. This could be the moment when Simona becomes the best in the world. If it is, the 18 to 1 odds will look like a gift.

What do you think?

Written by D.S. Williamson