Sharapova, Federer faves at Big W

Jun 22, 2008 8:25 PM

by Mark Mayer | Maria Sharapova and Roger Federer each enter Wimbledon as favorites, but with something to prove. Sharapova, the 2-1 favorite at Caesars Palace, enjoyed the No. 1 women’s singles ranking for about a week until losing to Dinara Safina at the French Open and seeing Ana Ivanovic gain the top spot. Sharapova won Wimbledon back in 2004.

Federer has been the world’s top men’s tennis player for an astounding 229 consecutive weeks. The Swiss native is a lopsided 5-9 favorite at Caesars to capture Wimbledon for a sixth consecutive year. However, Federer faces a tough first round foe in Dominik Hrbaty, who has a 2-0 lifetime mark against the world’s No. 1. Neither win, however, game on grass.

On the men’s side, both Australian Open champ Novak Djokovic and four-time French titlist Rafael Nadal are 3-1. Smart money could be on Nadal, who last week beat Djokovic in the final for his first-ever grass court title and downed Federer for the third straight year in Paris. Andrew Murray, the top English hope, is 12-1. Andy Roddick, the No. 1 American player, is 15-1. The field is 8-1.

On the women’s side, the Williams sisters are America’s top hope. Serena is the second betting choice at 11-5, while Venus is 7-2 as she tries to defend her Wimbledon title. Ivanovic, who gained the No. 1 ranking after winning the French Open, is 4-1. Jelena Jankovic, the world’s No. 2, is 7-1. Safina, who lost to Ivanovich in the French final, is 15-1.

If you’re looking to wager on a longshot, try Poland’s 19-year-old sensation Agnieszka Radwanska, who defeated Nadia Petrova last week in the Eastbourne final as the No. 4 seed for her third title of the year. Radwanska opened at 50-1 at Caesars, the same as Petrova. The field in what should be a wide open women’s draw is 10-1.

The most prestigious tournament in tennis continues through July 6 with early round action televised on ESPN2.