Wimbledon 2019 betting tips: Previews & best bets for Thursday's tennis at SW19

Can Serena Williams reach the Wimbledon final once again?
Can Serena Williams reach the Wimbledon final once again?

It's ladies' semi-finals day at Wimbledon on Thursday and tennis expert Scott Ferguson has a bet for each match.

Recommended bets

1.5pts Svitolina to win at 2/1

0.5pt Williams to win in straight sets and to win each set 6-2, 6-3 or 6-4 at 3/1

For details of advised bookmakers and each-way terms, visit our transparent tipping record

Elena Svitolina v Simona Halep

The top remaining seeds do battle in the first of the ladies' semi-finals with Elena Svitolina reaching this stage at Wimbledon for the first time, and Simona Halep in her second appearance, after falling to Eugenie Bouchard back in 2014.

Using the strength of opponent analysis, Halep has had the tougher run, taking the scalps of four players inside the top 55 (one a former number one) and Coco Gauff, who will surely be a top 10 player once she develops and is allowed to play a full schedule. In contrast, Svitolina has faced five players ranked between 24 and 74, and was perhaps a touch lucky to win against the best of those, with Petra Martic well and truly in the match before reaching for her back.

Both players are peaking at the right time, and while the market identifies the Romanian clearly as the favourite, I'm not sure the gap should be substantial. The head-to-head record stands at 4-4, with Svitolina having won three of the last four clashes, all comprehensively, followed by a tight three-set loss in Doha in February where she was points away from a 5-1 lead in the decider.

Svitolina was under an injury cloud coming into the tournament but has shown little sign of that. Expect her to step forward and try to dominate from close to the baseline. Halep will be constantly forced into the corners to chase down balls and unless she can push Svitolina back a few steps, that could continue all match.

This one could go either way but based on their previous record, the Ukrainian is the value at 2/1.

Serena Williams v Barbora Strycova

Betting against Serena Williams over the years has been a costly experience for anyone who chooses to underestimate her and I'll put my hand up for repeating that sin numerous times.

She is desperate to equal Margaret Court's record for major tournament wins in singles of 24, and despite her last Grand Slam tournament trophy being the Australian Open of 2017, she's unlikely to get a better chance than this one.

However, she still has to get past the wily Czech Barbora Strycova who, in the twilight of her career (yes she's almost five years younger than Serena but has discussed retirement), has realised her best performance at a major tournament with some incredible grasscourt smarts. It's easy to dismiss her win in the quarters as being the beneficiary of a Johanna Konta collapse but she did relentlessly impose the pressure that brought about the cracks in Konta's play.

Their three previous meetings have unusually all been in major tournaments but never with so much on the line. Strycova has yet to claim a set but their most recent encounter, at the Australian Open 2017, she did extend Serena to 7-5 6-4. It wasn't Serena's best day, only landing 45% of her first serves and with a poor winners/errors ratio of 28:46.

Sky Bet have a range of Price Boosts and RequestABet specials to make wagering on this match a little more interesting, and I think I've found one worth a look.

Related Wimbledon 2019 links

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