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Monday, 19 November, 2018

Maturing Harrison could make life tough for Berdych

Improving underdog capable of testing experienced Czech

Ryan Harrison beat Borna Coric in straight sets in round one
1 of 1

Day four
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Harrison v Berdych
Tomas Berdych will be enjoying the grass season and the seasoned Czech will be hoping to arrest his recent rankings drop by posting a number of victories at Wimbledon.

Some pundits reckon Berdych could do some damage at the All England Club this year, but while the ability remains, it's likely that his questionable temperament will get in the way of any hopes he may harbour of winning a Grand Slam in the autumn of his career.

Berdych, one of the biggest underachievers in the game, reached the final in 2010 when he was found out by Rafael Nadal in straight sets.

That remains his only Grand Slam final appearance and Berdych, who turns 32 in September, tasted defeat to Yoshihito Nishioka and Robin Haase in Dubai and Indian Wells in February and March respectively.

His reward for ousting Jeremy Chardy 6-3 3-6 7-6 6-4 is a date with Ryan Harrison and the American, once reckoned to be the player who could replace Andy Roddick, may finally be playing well enough to cause problems at Wimbledon.

Harrison, who posted a cracking result when ousting Borna Coric 7-6 6-4 7-6 in his opener, can be considered at big prices to upset Berdych, but with the Czech likely to be tough to beat a wager on the outsider to win at least a set looks the way to go.

It's no surprise to see quotes of 2-5 about the clash featuring at least one tiebreak, but there could easily be more and Harrison should be able to win at least one of those.

Berdych took Lucas Pouille apart in their Wimbledon quarter-final last summer, but Harrison could prove a more stubborn opponent for the 11th seed than the French novice was 12 months ago.

Berdych won their first two meetings, on hard courts in Toronto last year and in the Australian Open in January.

Harrison won their first tiebreak 7-2 last year while their second one in Melbourne was closer, but the American is a more confident performer this year and used that to good effect when walking away with his first main-tour title in Memphis in February.

Recommendation
R Harrison to win at least a set
1pt Evs Betfair, Paddy Power


Makarova v Kuznetsova
Dual Grand Slam heroine Svetlana Kuznetsova is enjoying a fine campaign, but grass is probably the Russian's weakest surface and it may pay for punters to take her on in her clash with compatriot Ekaterina Makarova.

Kuznetsova leads their personal series 7-1, which tells you which of the pair has the greater self-esteem, but Makarova's solitary triumph over the St Petersburg ace came on grass in a straight-sets win in Eastbourne in 2010.

Makarova started this year slowly but her game has picked up in recent weeks and having demolished the useful Alison van Uytvanck in her opener, she should be able to take the game to the seventh seed.

The outsider can be considered for the win, but the safer play looks to be to back her to win at least a set.

Recommendation
E Makarova to win at least a set
1pt 4-6 Betway


Kasatkina v Kontaveit
Anett Kontaveit is all the rage after claiming her maiden WTA Tour crown in Den Bosch last month and the Estonian certainly looks pretty comfortable on grass.

But it would be foolish to ignore the chance of Daria Kasatkina, one of the brightest younger players in the women's game, causing Kontaveit at least some grief in their second-round clash.

Both women opened in London with 6-2 6-4 wins, Kontaveit against Lara Arruabarrena, who has been in decent nick, and Kasatkina against Saisai Zheng.

There is little between the pair in age – Kontaveit is 21 with Kasatkina 20 – and it was interesting to see that Natalia Vikhlyantseva made the world number 38 work hard in the Ricoh Open final.

Kasatkina is still reckoned to possess more potential than Vikhlyantseva, so there is a chance that the 29th seed could dominate in at least one of the sets.

An outright interest on Kasatkina could see support, but the chance to back her to win a least a set is the better bet.

Recommendation
D Kasatkina to win at least a set
1pt 4-6 Betway

Berdych took Lucas Pouille apart in their Wimbledon quarter-final last summer, but Harrison could prove a more stubborn opponent for the 11th seed
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