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Wednesday, 30 May 2012

French Open Day 4 Picks (May 30th)

Last season, I had around three bad days when making picks from this tournament, but I have had two bad days from three already this season so I have to be careful that I don't dig a big hole for myself early in the event.

There have been some surprisingly lacklustre performances from players that seem happy just to get through rather than spending as little time on court as possible. The underdogs also continue to make hay in the handicap markets meaning the layers are the ones that are currently dominating the event.

Yesterday was an awful day for the picks as they went 2-4 on the day, but the one saving grace was the exit of Serena Williams which has opened up the bottom half of the draw.

I like Serena Williams and have always admired her game, but with Na Li and Maria Sharapova both picked in the outrights, the American's exit leaves me in a solid position with those two players. In fact, Sharapova is no better than 3.50 to win the tournament from here (backed at 9.00) and Li is down to 7.00 (backed at 15.00) and that looks good considering they have only moved on one Round.

Rafael Nadal also moved through without any problems and that is good news with him being my main back in the Men's tournament, while the fact that none of the top 4 have dropped a set yet is also a bonus, although there is still plenty to go in this event.

Day 4 Picks:

Marin Cilic - 1.5 sets v Juan Carlos Ferrero: A few seasons ago, I would have favoured the Spaniard in this clash, but I think he is on the lower point in his career curve than Marin Cilic is right now and I think the Croatian player will do enough to win this one in 3 or 4 sets.

Both players recorded comfortable First Round wins, but it is Cilic that has shown the brighter form in recent weeks as he looks to get back up the Rankings after starting the season with an injury.

He is solid off the ground and has the better serve and that could be the key to him going through in this one.

Juan Carlos Ferrero lost in 3 sets to Roger Federer in Rome recently, but that tournament has been the high point of his 2012 season, while defeats to the likes of Leonardo Mayer, Igor Andreev and Thomaz Bellucci are a worry.

Cilic won their own previous meeting in straight sets on the hard courts of Cincinnati three years ago, and I think he can double his wins over Ferrero here.

Michael Berrer v Nicolas Devilder: This is a surprise Second Round match as both players got through the First Round with upset wins.

Michael Berrer had the tougher day in the office as he had to recover from 0-2 down in sets to win the match against Jurgen Melzer, but that kind of result can inspire a man who reached the Third Round here last season despite not having the tools to suggest he would be that good of a clay court player.

Nicolas Devilder had to come through qualifying, as did Berrer, and lost just 4 games in his First Round win over Filip Krajinovic, but he generally competes at a lower level than his German opponent and he has also lost his last 2 meetings with Berrer.

The last of those came on the clay courts of Casablanca last season and it saw Berrer come through 6-3, 6-3 on that occasion. We have seen other French players become inspired behind a partisan home crowd, but I don't think that will be enough for Devilder in this one and I think Berrer will get through, likely in 4 sets.

Michael Llodra + 7.5 games v Tomas Berdych: I was pleasantly surprised that Michael Llodra has been given so many games against an opponent he has relished playing in the past.

Llodra is not a clay court expert by any stretch of the imagination, but his serve-volley tactics can make life awkward for anybody, especially when he is serving well. I expect him to put the pressure on Tomas Berdych as soon as he has a chance and it can be mentally exhausting for an opponent to continuously try and find the passing shot, even more so against an accomplished volleyer as Llodra.

Berdych is definitely a dark horse on the clay courts, but this match is taking place on one of the courts that seems to have the lower bounces, unlike the two main show courts. That should give Llodra a chance to perhaps steal a set on his way out of the tournament.

It is also worth bearing in mind that Llodra has won the last two meetings against Berdych, both in Grand Slam events and once at the French Open in 5 sets. With the possibility of tie-breaks, the 7.5 games looks a lot to me.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga - 8.5 games v Cedrik-Marcel Stebe: The big handicaps have not been covered much by the favourites so far this tournament, but this looks a good possibility as long as Jo-Wilfried Tsonga can serve well.

Cedrik-Marcel Stebe much prefers the faster surfaces and was the beneficiary of a retirement in the First Round here, while Tsonga punished Andrey Kuznetsov after losing the first set.

I expect Tsonga will be able to pressure Stebe if he is serving well and that could lead to mistakes. The German was comfortably beaten by Sam Querrey on a clay court last week when he just couldn't get enough points off the big serve and something similar may develop here.

Stebe's serve can also be erratic and lead to a double break in one set that should be enough to get this spread covered as long as Tsonga can fight through for a straight sets victory, something I would expect of him.

MY PICKS: Marin Cilic - 1.5 sets @ 2.25 188Bet (2 Units)
Michael Berrer @ 1.73 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Michael Llodra + 7.5 games @ 1.90 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga - 8.5 games @ 2.40 Pinnacle (2 Units)

FRENCH OPEN UPDATE: 5-9, - 5.50 Units (25 Units Staked)

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