The bottom half of the draw for the ladies championship at Wimbledon has boiled down to a highly intriguing quartet, with two competitors who have previously contested finals at the All England Club and two for whom this is their deepest incursion yet into the grass court Grand Slam.
2011 winner Petra Kvitova faces Belgium’s Kirsten Flipkens – the rank outsider left in the tournament betting at 25/1 – with the latter enjoying her longest involvement in a Grand Slam tournament to date.
Kvitova has endured a somewhat frustrating period since her debut slam success here two years ago, finding it hard to adapt to the psychological burden of being the one expected to win her games, but she seems to have found some form in the nick of time, having been knocked out early in her tournament warm-up at Eastbourne. She’ll need it too, having been beaten in two of her three past meetings with Flipkens, most recently on the Miami hard court in March.
Both ladies have strong winning grass court records, but the Czech has beaten the higher ranked opponents so far and also has the fitness benefit of a second round walkover against Yaroslava Shvedova.
As a result she’s expected to have the edge over her Belgian foe – who has played five sets of doubles tennis since winning her fourth round clash – with a straight sets success, despite her fragile confidence.
Just two rungs separate Marion Bartoli and Sloane Stephens from each other in the WTA rankings and odds-compilers have found it just as tough to call, with both ladies priced up at 10/11.
Stephens has seen off the higher-ranked opponents to reach this stage – her best Wimbledon performance yet – but Bartoli has been beating her foes in more comprehensive fashion.
The American’s last three matches have gone the distance – even letting a bagel set slip to world 196 Petra Cetkovska in round three – and her liability to switch off for a set could cost her against a player of her French opponent’s experience.
Ultimately Bartoli is expected to prevail thanks to Stephens’ inconsistency, but the talented young Florida-native is expected to nick a set by the same token.
Wimbledon ladies’ day nine selections
Petra Kvitova to beat Kirsten Flipkens 2-0 @ 1/1
Marion Bartoli to beat Sloan Stephens 2-1 @ 3/1
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.