Angelique Kerber

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Venus Williams wins, Kerber loses at Wimbledon

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LONDON– Five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams won and top-ranked Angelique Kerber lost.

Williams, who last won the title at the All England Club in 2008, advanced to the Wimbledon quarterfinals by beating 19-year-old Ana Konjuh 6-3, 6-2 on Monday.

Williams is playing at the grass-court major for the 20th time in her career, with her Wimbledon debut coming a few months before Konjuh was born.

Kerber, who reached the Wimbledon final last year but lost to Serena Williams, was beaten by Garbine Muguruza on No. 2 Court, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.

With the loss by Kerber, either Simona Halep or Karolina Pliskova will take over as the top-ranked player after the tournament.

Williams will next face French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko in the quarterfinals. The 20-year-old Latvian, who won her first tour-level title at Roland Garros last month, beat fourth-seeded Elina Svitolina 6-3, 7-6 (6) on Court 12.

Ostapenko led 5-3 in the second set, but was broken and forced into a tiebreaker. She finally won by converting her eighth match point.

Ostapenko had never before been past the third round at a major tournament prior to this year’s French Open. She was the first woman to win her debut tour-level title at a Grand Slam tournament since 1979.

At Wimbledon, the Latvian is into the quarterfinals for the first time. However, the 20-year-old Latvian won the girls’ title at the All England Club in 2014.

Two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova and Magdalena Rybarikova also advanced to the quarterfinals.

The second Monday at Wimbledon is, arguably, the busiest day in tennis. All 16 fourth-round matches at the All England Club are played on the same day, a schedule that will produce all eight male and all eight female quarterfinalists.

Andy Murray was on Centre Court against Benoit Paire, and Roger Federer will follow.

On No. 1 Court, Johanna Konta was up first, followed by Rafael Nadal. Novak Djokovic is third.

Kuznetsova was the first to finish her match on Monday, beating Agnieszka Radwanska 6-2, 6-4.

The seventh-seeded Russian is a two-time Grand Slam champion who will be playing in the Wimbledon quarterfinals for the fourth time. She has never advanced past that stage.

In the quarterfinals, Kuznetsova will face Muguruza.

Rybarikova, who beat Pliskova in the second round, defeated Petra Martic of Croatia 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 and advanced to the Wimbledon quarterfinals for the first time.

Rybarikova missed nearly seven months after last year’s Wimbledon because of injuries.

Wimbledon: Federer, Kvitova highlight odds for tournament

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It’s as much about the draw as the player in a Grand Slam tournament, and Roger Federer seems to have a favorable path through the draw at Wimbledon. The Swiss great is listed as the +200 favorite on the 2017 Wimbledon men’s champion futures board at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Federer has been enjoying a renaissance this season, with an Australian Open title and a win in a Wimbledon warm-up grass-court event in Halle, Germany. Top-seeded Andy Murray (+350) will be the second favorite on the ATP tennis odds at the All England Club, while fellow high seeds Rafael Nadal (+400) and Novak Djokovic (+600) round out  the top of the board.

If Federer goes down, it might not comes at the hands of one of his Big Four counterparts – each of whom is a problematic play, by the way. Federer’s biggest threat in his quadrant of the draw is probably big-hitting 20-year-old Alexander Zverev (+2000), who’s going to win a Grand Slam title one of these days. Milos Raonic (+1400) is also there but his form and fitness have been off of late.

Murray has been contending with a hip injury and has a familiar nemesis, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (+6600), in his quarter of the draw.

Nadal, infamously, has his greatest difficulties on grass, where he’s won only 10 times since 2012. That’s why he’s the fourth seed. Hulking Marin Cilic (+1600) is the smart high-payoff pick within that quarter of the draw. He’s 1-4 lifetime against Federer (whom he could only meet in the final), but anyone who’s beaten a No. 1 player once knows it can happen again.

Djokovic has had a drop-off in his game and was blown away in the French Open quarter-finals, but he tends to come back strongly at Wimbledon when he doesn’t fare well at Roland Garros. However, he faces a potential third-round match against pesky Juan Martin del Potro (+2800). Feliciano Lopez (+10000), who won the Queen’s tune-up tournament, is also lurking.

One should keep in mind that if Federer winning seems like an inevitability, betting on semifinalists is an alternative but the prices will be shorter.

On the women’s side, Czech countrywomen Petra Kvitova (+500) and Karolina Pliskova (+550) are very close at the top of the board. Kvitova’s price is too short, especially since she is just back from recovering from a knife attack and was limited by an abdominal injury – a symptom of not being in peak condition, perhaps – at the Eastboune warm-up tournament. Pliskova, with her powerful serve, might be a better play.

Garbine Muguruza (+900) has been struggling with her confidence and Angelique Kerber (+1400) also has a mental game that’s in a shambles, while No. 2 seed Simona Halep (+2000) struggles on grass. The value plays on the WTA tennis odds are likely French Open runner-up Jelena Ostapenko (+1400) and Caroline Garcia (+6600). Garcia is in the same quadrant of the draw as Kvitova and has beaten her twice in a row.

Nadal leads Djokovic, Murray, Thiem on French Open odds

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The overarching presence of Rafael Nadal, who has won a record nine times at Roland Garros, has inflated prices on the other top men at the French Open.

Nadal is listed as a better than even money -125 favorite on the French Open men’s champion board at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The Spaniard has won 17 of 18 matches on clay this year and will not have to worry about longtime nemesis Roger Federer, who’s saving himself for the grass and hard courts. The event begins in Paris on Sunday.

While Nadal is undoubtedly the most consistent clay-court player in the world, many threats loom. Novak Djokovic (+300) might be ready to come out of his lull now that he has swapped out his support staff, bringing on Andre Agassi as a personal coach. Nadal and Djokovic are on the same side of the draw, so either would benefit if the other falls prey to an upset.

Dominic Thiem (+900) could also be undervalued, given that he defeated Nadal in the Italian Open, one of the tune-ups for the French.

Top seed Andy Murray (+900) has not won an event on clay this season and his place on the tennis betting lines might reflect the notion that some bettors will always go for a big name with a track record of winning Grand Slams. In terms of someone who is coming into the tournament playing well, Stan Wawrinka (+1000) has had an impressive run at the Geneva Open after having so-so output for most of the clay-court season. Wawrinka is also a recent champion, having won in 2015.

It seems like it is just a matter of when 20-year-old Alexander Zverev (+1400) will win his first Grand Slam singles title. Zverev turned heads when he extended Nadal to five sets in a third-round defeat at the Australian Open in January, and he defeated Djokovic in the Italian Open final to become the youngest player in 10 years to win an ATP Masters event.

As far as the women’s champion board goes, Simona Halep (+450) has top odds but is battling an ankle injury. World No. 1 Angelique Kerber (+1600) has also been inconsistent throughout the season. Young Ukrainian Elina Svitolina (+700) is an intriguing possibility by virtue of her results (four singles titles already in 2017) and her strong return game, since the soft clay at Roland Garros dictates having longer rallies.

Garbine Muguruza (+900) is the defending champion, but it’s a little glaring that she has not reached a Grand Slam semifinal in three tries since that 2016 breakthrough.