Roger Federer will begin his quest for a record eighth Wimbledon crown by taking on unpredictable Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov and may be given a work-out in the first set.
The 35-year-old has won all three of their previous head-to-head encounters in straight sets, the most recent being a 6-3 7-5 6-1 victory at last year’s Australian Open.
Two other meetings in 2014 and 2010 were also relatively tight early on, though, with Federer securing 6-3 and 6-4 opening-set scorelines.
That evidence makes Evens for there to be nine or 10 games in the first set here worth snapping up from the Federer vs Dolgopolov odds.
Dolgopolov showed he can be dangerous at his best when claiming the Argentina Open back in February, beating Kei Nishikori 7-6 6-4 in the Buenos Aires decider.
That was the 28-year-old’s third career title and he did give Stan Wawrinka a decent test at the French Open before going down 4-6 6-7 5-7.
At Wimbledon, he has progressed past the first round on six occasions and once took Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to five sets before eventually succumbing 10-8 in the last.
Two years ago, Dolgopolov crushed Britain’s Kyle Edmund 7-6 6-1 6-2 before pushing Ivo Karlovic hard in round two, losing 13-11 in the fifth set.
A 6-7 4-6 1-6 defeat against Dan Evans 12 months ago was disappointing, but still suggests 23/20 for there to be a tie-break in the match may be fair value.
Of course, Federer is a worthy favourite for outright glory at SW19, having already picked up the Australian Open title this year and Masters 1000 events in Indian Wells and Miami.
Following a rest during the clay-court season, victory at the Gerry Weber Open was gained without dropping a set and he has a 24-2 record in 2017.
The Swiss star will surely power through, but we’re still hoping Dolgopolov will have his moments.
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