Aegon Championships Queens
It is that time of year again. Grass court tennis! I love the smell of freshly cut grass and tennis balls for that matter. Before we can reach Wimbledon we have to deal with the men’s singles at Queens. London’s second biggest tennis club hosts the Aegon Championships.
It all starts today at Queens who have sold a record number of seats thanks to the expansion of the main court. It will be an even more raucous atmosphere. Well as raucous as a west London Tennis club can be.
Andy Murray is not only a local favourite but also a statistical one. The Scot love Queens, having already won it on six separate occasions. This year does see increased competition though with some big names choosing the Aegon Championships to test where they are at on grass. Among them is Milos Raonic, Grigor Dimitrov, Marin Cilic, Tomas Berdych and Stan Wawrinka. Stan and Andy have already had an epic showdown this month at the French open but with a home crowd, Murray could go one further this time.
As much as we would love to see that we are logical thinkers and Wawrinka has been providing value for money. While Andy Murray is the favourite the Swiss man is always there or thereabouts and has enjoyed increasing success over the last few years. Raonic will benefit from the move to this surface and his big serve will also cause damage. I think Murray is the obvious choice, but Wawrinka could be making his move on grass and it all starts at Queens this year.
T20 England v South Africa
T20 is exciting at the best of times but when it involves nations like England and South Africa there is so much more theatre than a Friday night in Leicestershire watching the Foxes crawl to a win against Derbyshire.
This is a great one for the hardcore fans. Both teams are licking wounds from ICC competition and are resting key test players. England, for instance, won’t have Joe Root, Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali.
South Africa is also resting quite a few big names but importantly in the first game in Southampton AB De Viliers will be part of the batting lineup. Despite this, I think Wayne Parnell is the best bet for top scorer in the first game at 25/1.
Overall with so many players missing it comes to depth of the squad. South Africa are likely to have more firepower and youthful surprises than an England side set in its ways. It is the first game of three on Friday. South Africa might have too much, but its close as they are only at 6/5. For the series, I can see England winning a game but with both teams struggling for confidence and England nervous and inexperienced in front of a home crowd I have South Africa winning the series.
Another year, another Royal Ascot. This is usually the Queen’s favourite week of the year, but with the government in the mild chaos, she may not make an appearance this year.
In terms of racing, it is Sir Michael Stoute-trained Dartmouth who won the Yorkshire cup who will be seeking ultimate victory in the Hardwicke Stakes.
There are quite a few incredible stories happening at Ascot this year like the record amount of American trained racers and the faceoff between Qatar and Dubai amidst the tension.
The best though is that of Michelle Payne who won the Melbourne Cup in spectacular fashion on a 100/1 horse. It was such a good story it is being turned into a Hollywood film! Punters will be hoping for a repeat success. Her horse Kapersky sit at 50/1 this time but if you had to put money on a great story with a great return then this would be the one for us.