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Monday, 10 June 2013

Tennis Outright Picks 2013 (June 10-16)

Just like that, the second Grand Slam of the season is in the books as Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams both picked up the titles in the Men's and Women's tournaments. They were the two players that started as favourites to win at Roland Garros two weeks ago and barring a couple of blips, they were the two best players in Paris.

The end of the French Open signals the start of the short grass court season and two of the bigger preparation tournaments for Wimbledon, on the ATP Tour, begin on Monday. Queens and Halle have generally had the biggest players in the Men's game taking part, although both Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are two players that won't be playing either tournament this week.

Djokovic has decided against playing one of these events for the last couple of years so his absence wasn't a surprise, but Nadal pulled out of Halle on Saturday citing fatigue from his exploits at the French Open before the Final was to be played.

It is a short turnaround in the next three weeks between the second and third Grand Slam events of the season and it is also wise to keep in mind those players that struggle on the grass, while also being aware of those that seem to come alive for this month of the year.

ATP London/Queens
The Number 1 seed at the tournament in London this week is Andy Murray who makes his return to the Tour after deciding to pull out of the French Open with a lingering back issue. He has been back on the grass courts for around ten days so I do expect he will be feeling better, while the grass tends not to aggravate the injury he has to the same extent as the long, drawn out rallies on the clay certainly can.

I can understand why Murray has been set as the favourite to win this tournament considering he is a two-time former winner of the event here, while he also reached the Final at Wimbledon and won the Olympic Gold on the grass courts last season. I do believe he is one of the more effective grass court players on the Tour, but he could potentially face a very awkward first competitive match back if Nicolas Mahut gets through to face him in the Second Round.

It was Mahut who beat Murray at Queens last season and his serve-volley game is perfectly suited to these courts for the former Finalist who is best known for his epic match against John Isner at Wimbledon in 2010.

Even if Murray can get through that Second Round match, as I would expect, he could face another tough challenge in Michael Llodra in the next Round with potential matches against Lukas Rosol, Alexandr Dolgopolov and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga just to get to the Final.

I do expect Murray to get through to the Final, but there are too many question marks for me to feel comfortable at 3.00 and I will instead look at the other half of the draw.

There are some big names in the second half of the draw with the likes of Tomas Berdych, Juan Martin Del Potro, defending Champion Marin Cilic and Grigor Dimitrov, but I do think it could make the most sense to back a different former winner in the form of Sam Querrey to come through to the Final at the least.

You can definitely question the credentials of every player in the second half of the draw- Berdych has been poor on the grass last season, Del Potro is coming off a lay-off, Cilic has struggled for form, Dimitrov has a tough draw with a potential match against Lleyton Hewitt in the Second Round, and Querrey hasn't won a title since July last year.

So why have I decided to pick the American Querrey? He has a decent record here as a winner in 2010 and reaching the Semi Final last season and he has the game that makes him a big threat on these faster surfaces. Querrey has a big serve and forehand and that certainly gives him a chance against anyone on the surface, while the draw could open up for him if he can come through his first couple of matches.

I am a little concerned that he doesn't have the best head to head record against potential Semi Final opponents like Berdych and Cilic, but the 29.00 being offered on Querrey looks far too big to me considering his previous form at Queens.

Berdych and Del Potro at single figures look remarkably short, while Cilic does not have the best draw and a lot is pointing at Querrey as being the man that could take advantage in this event.

ATP Halle
There was no doubt that Roger Federer would be feeling very disappointed in the manner in which he was beaten at the French Open, but he has been bullish about his chances to win titles now that he is back on his favourite surface. Federer has yet to win a title this season and he went to Paris for the first time in 13 years without having done so and I do believe that a good tournament here is imperative for his confidence ahead of his defence at Wimbledon.

I don't think he can complain too much about the field he faces here at Halle, a tournament he has won 5 times, even if he is likely going to face the big-serving Jerzy Janowicz in the Quarter Final and then a potential match with the defending Champion Tommy Haas or Milos Raonic in the Semi Final.

Haas did indeed beat Federer in the Final last year to make it the third German Champion in the last four years, but the veteran could be a little tired from his exploits in Paris last week and also has been given a very tough draw. His first match is going to be against the winner of the Ernests Gulbis-Marcos Baghdatis match and both could cause real problems while Raonic will likely be awaiting next.

The bottom half of the draw is headed up by Richard Gasquet and I do believe the Frenchman can get to the Final from the section. His biggest threat is likely to come from Philipp Kohlschreiber, the player who won this tournament in 2011.

Both players are capable of performing on the grass courts thanks to their strong first serves and ability to get to the net and volley effectively. However, of the two players, I do think Gasquet has been given the 'kinder' draw on paper and I do think he can ride the momentum of a solid performance in Paris into this tournament.

Even though Federer is the most likely winner of the event, I don't feel comfortable including him in my staking plan this week as he does have some potentially very tough matches to get through. Instead, I will just have an interest in Richard Gasquet to at least get to the Final.

MY PICKS: Sam Querrey @ 29.00 Ladbrokes (0.5 Units E/W)
Richard Gasquet @ 5.00 Bet Fred (1 Unit E/W)

French Open Daily Picks20-15, + 9.18 Units (68 Units Staked, + 13.5% Yield)
French Open Outright Picks: 0-2, - 4 Units (4 Units Staked, - 100% Yield)

Season 2013+ 21.36 Units (658 Units Staked, + 3.24% Yield)

Season 2012+ 49.21 Units (855 Units Staked, + 5.76% Yield)
Season 2011+ 82.02 Units

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