Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Match of the Season: Serena Stunned!

Well, my selections in the outright winner market for the women have left me looking like a right mug! Barthel limped out in pathetic fashion, Cirstea didn't put up much of a fight against the reigning champion and Serena Williams went crashing out against a rank outsider - all in the very first round. Whilst Barthel and Cirstea were just long shots for a bit of fun that I was never likely to make much from, Serena well and truly left me open mouthed.

I wasn't at all surprised that Virginie Razzano gave her a good game. She's a former top 20 player and playing in front of her home fans on a show court, was always going to put in a fighting performance. But to win and in the manner in which she did so (coming from a set and 5-1 down in the 2nd set tie-breaker and then going 5-0 up in the final set) was truly astonishing. It's for matches like this that you fully appreciate the beauty of Twitter because you could really feel the collected sense of astonishment. There was a general feeling of not only shock but awe, as the match unfolded to a spectacular crescendo.

Williams came from 5-0 down to 5-3 and with Razzano cramping and barely able to get the ball over the net when serving, saved 7 match points in the 9th game of the set, a game which lasted 25 minutes!! That final game really had it all, with Serena throwing away several chances at break-point with some shocking returns. She even had help from the umpire, who awarded Williams 2 free points after penalising the injured Razzano for screaming out in pain several times during rallies -  a clear distraction to her opponent. I held my breathe on every point, as my Serena/Novak double looked as though it was going to be safe but remarkably, the French-woman held on to win when she would surely have crumbled had she been pegged back to 5-4. I was annoyed that Williams chose this day to put in such a strange performance (her only loss on clay all year and first ever loss in the first round of a Grand Slam) but to witness such drama was worth every penny I lost.

Fortunately for me, the outright winner market is one I don't pay much attention to (this tournament was the first time I've placed a bet on this market). So whilst my pride is a little dented from the first round at Roland Garros, my actual in-play trading has more than atoned for this. Finally, I am beginning to have  a Grand Slam I can be proud of! And the fact is, I chose to bet on a double because the odds for Serena and Novak to win as singles simply had no value. It saved me from getting seriously burnt, as millions will have been yesterday. This is why I don't and will never, put up single match tips or picks on this blog. In my opinion, there is very rarely any decent value available at pre-match odds in the tennis markets and certainly very little compared to what you will find in-play. I'd say on an average week, I'll be lucky to find more than one match a day where I feel there is significant value pre-match. And more often than not, that one match will provide even better value in-play.

Yet recently, I seem to be seeing more and more people tipping sub-1.5 shots on blogs and Twitter. These people need to wake up; picking a massive odds-on favourite to win is not a decent tip! It's not even a tip, really! They don't seem to realise that it's such a low price because every man and his dog also thinks they are highly likely to win and there is always a damn good reason for that. Even in-play, finding value backing under 1.5 is very difficult but pre-match, it's almost non-existent. Anything under evens is hard work.

Serena Williams was about 1.05 at SP. Nadal was 1.04 when he lost to Verdasco recently. Both were gubbed from 1.01 in-play. If 2 of the best players in the world can lose at such prices, what is it that makes people think a 1.5 shot will be easy money? And to then complain about it afterwards, saying their player didn't try or that it was 'typical WTA' (probably the worst excuse I've ever heard for a loss - if it was so typical, why did you bet on it?!) is ridiculous. No I think the moral of this French Open so far for me has been 'Why gamble when you can trade?'.

The markets are particularly volatile this week and I noticed a significant change starting a week before, in the run up to Roland Garros. The in-play markets have been much jumpier than usual, with prices crazily being offered way out of line with the norm at times. I've  no doubt that this is because, with the football season over and a lull till the Euros, plus the attraction of a Grand Slam, there are a lot more new tennis traders in the market and they are not used to the quick pace and high volatility, so panic very easily. So opportunities are rife but a word of warning to any newbies - be careful! You've now seen with this incredible match (the best I've seen for excitement this year), everything that can happen in a tennis match and a tennis market!

OFF-COURT BEAUTY World number 70, American Sloane Stephens:


  1. I love your blog mate, it's very well laid out and your thoughts are well written. Just something I can't agree with what you said.

    You go on about "value" and that Serena as a single in the outright market was not value. So you instead put her in double and somehow that makes it value because your stake would give a better return. If the single was not value, it is even worse value when put in a double. What you are implying is that the poor value is now not poor value which makes no sense.

    Good luck with your betting and I hope things continue to go well for you.

  2. I thought someone would say that! You are correct but the reason I did it was because the odds I got, allowed me to place a very small stake for a potentially very large return. If I'd just bet on Serena, I would've needed a very large stake for the same return. The risk-reward ratio was the reason for the double.

    Whether it was value or not as a double, is open for interpretation (and in my opinion, the odds were about right) but as it was a one off bet more for fun than to actually make money, I wasn't too fussed because the risk was tiny. It's not ever something I would do regularly as a way of making consistent profit.

    Thanks for you comment mate and hope you keep following :)

  3. Ah of course I will always keep following, I like the blog


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