Wimbledon 2015 is but nine days away and the lawns of England’s green and pleasant land (and North-Rhine Westphalia) are vibrating with the thunk of balls upon racket strings.
Queen’s, Halle, Birmingham, Nottingham and Eastbourne are all in full swing and seeds have been falling by the wayside across the board.
Rafael Nadal and French Open champions Stanislas Wawrinka in West Kensington, Simona Halep and Eugenie Bouchard in Birmingham and Tomas Berdych in Germany have a been bounced by outsiders as they prepare for the grass-court slam.
Rough passages for those expected to thrive at Wimbledon are the theme of our warm-up best bests, with another big gun expected to bite the dust at the semi-final stage in Halle.
1:30 Angelique Kerber to beat Sabine Lisicki 2/1@ 31/10
It’s hardly surprising that Kerber is favourite for this all-Deutsche duel given she has won all five of the pair’s previous meetings.
However, Lisicki has taken a set off her opponent in three of those, including both encounters on the green stuff, the surface where she is at her best.
2:35 Andy Murray to bet Viktor Troicki 2-1 @ 13/4
The heftiest jolly among our chosen matches, Murray is nonetheless expected to go the distance against the Serbian, who is excellent nick on the surface having reached the final in Stuttgart last week.
Murray has looked less than clinical in recent tournaments, dropping the first set last time out and winning them in seven games twice across his other two fixtures here.
Doing so continued a theme from his Roland Garros campaign where three of his fivewins required more than the three chapters.
3:00 Andreas Seppi (+3.5 games) to beat Kei Nishikori @ 19/20
A tight head-to-head suggests this game should be priced up a deal closer, despite the fact that Nishikori’s game has gone up a level since they last met in 2013.
Two meetings in that year both saw Seppi take a set off the Japanese, with the first of them a 3-2 victory for the former at Wimbledon in what is their sole meeting on grass to date.