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Monday, 11 June 2012

Tennis Picks (June 11th)

I haven't published my recap of the French Open as I await the end of the Men's Final between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic at which time I will also put up the season results and French Open results from the last two weeks.

In the meantime, the grass court season begins on Monday and we have tournaments at Halle, London and Birmingham all beginning. I didn't make any outright picks this week as it can be hard to tell the motivation of some players, particularly at Queens which has one of the poorest fields in recent memory and plenty of doubts over the leading contenders.

Halle have yet to release their prices on the outright market as Rafael Nadal is supposed to go there this season, but his participation is in doubt with the French Open Final running over the scheduled time of finish.


Ivo Karlovic v Lleyton Hewitt: The most famous meeting between these two players is almost nine years old now when Ivo Karlovic stunned then defending Wimbledon Champion Lleyton Hewitt in the First Round of the event in 2003.

Karlovic is not the same player of those days and has definitely lost a step in his game, but I think it is a little disrespectful to have him set as the underdog in a match that really is 50-50 with the slight edge for the big Croatian on what are notoriously quick grass courts.

Hewitt hasn't played much tennis this year as he recovered from yet another injury and he struggles mightily against those players that have big serves and he does have a 1-3 record against Karlovic even though he did win their last meeting in 2009 at the French Open.

I just feel the Australian is more likely to lose points on his serve, particularly when it comes to a tie-break and that can be the difference in the match. As I said, I don't think Karlovic should be the dog in this contest and I will take an interest in him.

Lukas Rosol v Victor Hanescu: I am taking the dog in this contest as Victor Hanescu has never felt that comfortable on the grass courts despite having a decent serve and all around game that should have translated onto the surface more than it has.

Hanescu has had a poor couple of seasons on the Tour and I think he is on the downwards curve of his career. The Romanian is also just 6-7 on the grass courts in recent years, although his opponent is no grass court expert himself.

Lukas Rosol has a big serve and can play some decent tennis when he gets going, although he may be a little confused by the bounce on a grass court judging by the fact he plays so little on the surface. However, I think he has the game that can cause pressure on opponents on these faster courts that generally exist at Queens and he will also have the mental confidence to win the match having met Hanescu earlier this season.

On that occasion, Rosol beat Hanescu on straight sets on the clay courts, courts that Hanescu favours, and I think he is worth chancing as the dog.

Jarkko Nieminen v Lukasz Kubot: This is a pick 'em contest but I am favouring Jarkko Nieminen to come through the contest as long as he has recovered from his mental loss of concentration when losing to Andy Murray at the French Open.

Nieminen has not enjoyed that much success on the grass courts in recent seasons, while Lukasz Kubot did reach the Fourth Round at Wimbledon, although that was the most success the Pole has had on the grass courts himself.

Nieminen has the mental edge in this match as he has won all three meetings between the players including at Rotterdam earlier this season, and this could be another close match after that one had gone the distance and been decided on a final set tie-break.

I just think the Finnish player may just have enough about his overall game to see him through, even if it takes the match going the distance again.

MY PICKS: Ivo Karlovic @ 2.25 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Lukas Rosol @ 2.00 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Jarkko Nieminen @ 1.83 Bet Fred (2 Units)

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