For many years, the July 4 holiday weekend has been known to Americans as a special mid-summer break known for burgers and brats, poolside diving contests, and top-ranked Polish tennis players losing at Wimbledon.
Yes, you may have missed the weekend’s biggest online sports betting news while you were out celebrating our collective victory over tyrannical British governance.
If so, let me get you up to date: No. 1 Iga Swiatek finally lost a tennis match.
The loss, which occurred on Sunday in the third round at Wimbledon, came at the hands of unseeded French player Alize Cornet, 4-6, 2-6.
The loss is notable primarily because Swiatek had amassed a titanic 37-match win streak before Sunday.
Cornet didn’t have long to enjoy her victory, as she promptly lost to 29-year-old Aussie Ajla Tomljanovic in the fourth round on Monday.
But let’s focus on Swiatek because her loss on the London lawn is one of the overarching stories of the 2022 tournament.
Iga Swiatek: Wimbledon Loss Not Surprising for Tennis Betting Experts
Swiatek has dominated the women’s tennis field since around the time that former No. 1 Ash Barty retired in the wake of her Australian Open victory. Prior to this weekend, Swiatek’s last loss was to Jalena Ostapenko at WTA Dubai on February 16.
Importantly, the bulk of that time is dedicated to clay season on the WTA calendar, and that’s where Swiatek is at her most dominant. She got her first big breakthrough in 2020 when she won the French Open as the No. 54 player in women’s tennis; since then, Swiatek-on-clay has evolved from a fortuitous surface to a Rafael Nadal-esque advantage.
Throughout the 37-match streak, Swiatek won titles at a slew of major WTA 1000 tournaments: Qatar, Indian Wells, Miami and Rome. She also won WTA Stuttgart and, naturally, the French Open.
Grass, however, represented a significantly different challenge. Swiatek – who only turned 21 in May – was a junior Wimbledon champion in 2018; nonetheless, grass is widely understood among tennis players and tennis betting experts to be Swiatek’s most uneven playing surface as a tour pro.
Consider the women’s tennis odds market. Before starting the Wimbledon main draw, Swiatek was priced as a +150 favorite to win the tournament. Given the long winning streak and the basics of marketplace economics, Swiatek had to be priced as the favorite in this spot.
However, compare that +150 price to her -110 price at the start of the French Open. On clay, Swiatek was priced at the top of a true “Iga or the Field” market.
On grass, though, her price went down – despite being fresh off a major championship, with more public bettors running to buy Wimbledon tickets with a far less crowded sports calendar in late June.
The signals here were pretty blatant.
Swiatek still dominated the market, with nearly a third of all tickets and more than half of the entire market handle. But as I pointed out at the very beginning of the tournament, the sharp money was on someone else to win the top quarter of the women’s Wimbledon draw.
Swiatek will bounce back just fine. We should see her return to the hardcourt later this summer after a well-deserved break from tennis.
I wonder whether Swiatek and her team’s decision to abandon any sort of grass tune-up prior to Wimbledon was ultimately a wise decision. It reads now like caution in service of the integrity of her winning streak.
I would think more grass preparation and a deeper run toward a Wimbledon title would be more valuable.
But what do I know? I’m just an American who ate too many hot dogs.