In advance of the quarter-finals, which take place today (women’s) and tomorrow (men’s), each contender for the Wimbledon title has now played four matches, and we can have a detailed look at the numbers behind each player’s progress so far in SW19.
Who are the top performing male contenders?
Various statistics for the men’s quarter-finalists are listed below (sorted by combined service/return points won percentages):
We can see from the table above that there are several notable surprises when looking at the numbers. Firstly, Roberto Bautista-Agut is sandwiched between the elite trio of Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic, and while he’s faced an albeit-limited general quality of opponent to get this stage, the Spaniard’s numbers are extremely impressive.
Bautista-Agut is the only player left in the tournament to have won every single match in straight sets, and he has very marginally won the highest percentage of games in matches as well. His service/return points won combined percentage is extremely strong (only Federer can beat it) and his status looks justified as a heavy favourite to get the better of Guido Pella tomorrow afternoon.
Is a Federer v Djokovic final on the cards?
The other main surprise is that tournament favourite Novak Djokovic is just fourth on this list, both from the sorting criteria - combined service/return points won percentages - and also from a games won percentage perspective.
Certainly, in three sets at least of their four, Hubert Hurkacz did some damage to these numbers, and it’s also worth noting that the world number one could barely have hand-picked an easier line-up of opponents to get to this stage - he’s definitely yet to be tested.
Could David Goffin be the man to do so tomorrow? The Belgian is one of the three players seemingly looking like also-rans, with below a 60% games won percentage to get to this stage, and also a below 110% combined service/points won percentage in their four matches so far.
Not only this, but the trio of him, Sam Querrey and the aforementioned Pella have spent the most time on court as well, and Pella - who has barely won over a 100% combined service/points won percentage - has accumulated almost 13 hours of court time to get to the quarter-finals. In Grand Slam tournaments, where avoiding accumulated fatigue is key, this is far from a positive.
So, do these numbers suggest Roger Federer could win Wimbledon? It’s certainly a possibility, and my numbers have him as a favourite against Rafa Nadal in their potential semi-final (without knowing what happens in their quarter-finals first!).
The next hurdle for the Swiss legend is Kei Nishikori, who possesses the best data from Wimbledon this year of all the heavy underdogs in tomorrow’s matches, but it’s also prudent to suggest that Nishikori has tended to struggle against elite level players in recent years, with his serve rather exposed against the best in the world - it would take a monumental effort for Nishikori to defeat Federer here tomorrow.
Which female contenders have impressed so far?
Moving over to the women’s numbers, I produced the same table as I did for the men - again sorted by combined service/return points won percentages:
As most people are fully aware, the current women’s tour is markedly more competitive than the current men’s tour, and this is evidenced by the numbers above. There’s certainly a much smaller gap between the best player at the tournament so far - Serena Williams, just about - and the worst, Alison Riske.
The American duo face each other tomorrow, with the grass-loving Riske coming off the back of a huge upset win over top seed and tournament favourite, Ashleigh Barty, and while another underdog victory her this afternoon is possible, it’s worth noting that she’s spent almost four hours more on court than Serena, and has considerably worse numbers when looking at all metrics.
However, it’s far from a given that Williams will have a procession to the title. There’s less than 1.5% combined service/points won difference between her and the top four in this list, and of the quartet, Simona Halep obviously has the highest profile in the women’s game.
The Romanian is a heavy favourite to triumph over Shuai Zhang today, and while Zhang definitely deserves to be here - her serve/return points won numbers are excellent - it’s also worth noting that she’s overperformed considerably on break points. As I’ve spoken about numerous times before, ‘clutch’ players in tennis don’t really exist in the long-term, and I expect this to mean-revert at some stage.
Could an outsider claim the women’s title this year?
Other surprise names to make it through to this stage are the Czech duo of Barbora Strycova - who does possess considerable grass pedigree though albeit at a veteran age - and the young prospect, Karolina Muchova, who got past her higher profile countrywoman, Karolina Pliskova, in a 13-11 epic final set yesterday.
Strycova’s data is also impressive to get to this stage and based on these numbers, would have a real chance as an underdog of defeating British hope Johanna Konta this afternoon. Konta is in the Zhang envelope - she’s dramatically overperformed on break points and has also won a lot of tight sets. The Brit’s return numbers are by some distance the worst of all players remaining in the tournament.
As for Muchova, it’s going to be tough to know how much that lengthy match against Pliskova will affect her, with the quick turnaround between that match yesterday and the quarter-finals today, and she will need her strong serve to fire again today against Elina Svitolina if she is to progress.
Now that you know all there is to know about the Wimbledon Quarter Finalists, why not head over to our sportsbook and place your winning bets today.