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Thursday, 27 June 2013

Wimbledon Day 4 Picks 2013 (June 27th)

I started the post yesterday stating that there were major headlines after the Rafael Nadal exit on Monday, but the Gods of tennis must have sensed my 'boredom' and decided to really spice things up at this Grand Slam.

In all my time watching tennis, I can't remember the draw in a Major being decimated to the level that it has in the first three days at Wimbledon- in fact, I would go so far as to say I can't remember the last time a Masters event, or Premier WTA event, saw so many of the top players either withdraw through injury or see so many upsets.

Maria Sharapova and Roger Federer were the big surprise losers on Wednesday and it happened to opponents I would never, ever have expected to cause the surprises. Sergey Stakhovsky is the epitome of a journeyman player and he should not be beating Federer on the grass courts, but I do think it is further signs that the 'greatest player of all time' is certainly coming to the end of his career.

Federer may want to stick around until the Rio Olympics in 2016, but I can't see him recovering to become a regular threat at the Grand Slam level these days, especially with his Ranking likely to drop in the near future. I don't think, assuming Rafael Nadal will stick with the Tour for the rest of the season and David Ferrer continues his own terrific run, that it will be a big surprise for Federer to drop outside the top four in the World Rankings over the next six to nine months and life will become even more complicated for him.

It is also true to say that the aura he once had has been eroded over the last couple of years and we may look back at Wimbledon 2012 as being his swansong at the top of the Men's game.

Something very similar was written about Federer after his defeat in the Final of the Australian Open in 2009, but he managed to continue challenging towards the end of Grand Slams. However, 2013 has proven to be a tough season for the Swiss maestro and it does feel like he is much more vulnerable than Federer has been since winning his first Slam in 2003.

The courts have also come under severe criticism early in the week as they have been responsible for a couple of retirements and there have been lots of complaints from the players as to how they are playing. It has really led to a disappointing tournament in the sense that the paying public want to see matches won and lost on the court and not in the medical bay.

It does feel there have been a lot more heavy falls than I have seen in previous years, even though the All England Club have released a statement that they have not changed preparation from previous years. This will definitely be something to keep an eye on as the tournament continues into the second week, a time when the courts tend to become a little more stable than earlier in the week.

Sabine Lisicki - 1.5 games v Elena Vesnina: Forget the fact that Sabine Lisicki has a 2-1 head to head lead against Elena Vesnina from matches played early in her career and I still like her chances in this one.

Vesnina has been playing some very good tennis over the last month as she picked up a title in Eastbourne and she has put her good form down to the fact that she has found love and is feeling better about herself overall.

The Russian has also enjoyed success on the doubles court which has improved her singles performances, but prior to winning in Eastbourne, Vesnina had lost four matches in a row. She has also not enjoyed the same level of success on the grass as Sabine Lisicki has in the past and I do think the latter is more comfortable on this surface.

The grass courts make Lisicki's serve a little tougher to break down and I expect her to have an 'easier' time to hold on to that aspect of her game than Vesnina. There can be times when Lisicki goes walkabout in her matches, but she seems to enjoy playing at Wimbledon and I like her to find a way to win this one in straight sets.

Alexandr Dolgopolov - 4.5 games v Santiago Giraldo: I was at Queens watching these two players compete earlier this month and I remember coming away thinking that Alexandr Dolgopolov was a little unfortunate not to win in far more comfortable fashion than he did.

On that occasion, Dolgopolov won in three sets, but he was a break up in the second which would have led to a straight sets win, while he had a double break in the final set but had to serve for the match on two occasions.

He should be the fresher of the two players after coming through his First Round match with the minimum of fuss while Santiago Giraldo was involved in a five setter against Horacio Zeballos. I have had a problem with Dolgopolov in the past as he is a player that seems to lose concentration too often in matches, but this looks a good match up for him and I expect him to frank the form from Queens and win this one in four sets, 63, 46, 64, 64.

David Ferrer - 7.5 games v Roberto Bautista-Agut: At the start of the season, Roberto Bautista-Agut made some real waves on the ATP Tour, but I think it is asking a lot for him to make life difficult for someone as good as his compatriot David Ferrer on an unfamiliar surface that grass is.

In fairness, Bautista-Agut has played well on the grass over the last couple of weeks, but this is a different test for him as Ferrer will make him play a lot more and will likely expose any mistakes he makes.

Ferrer himself came through a surprisingly testing First Round match against Martin Alund, but the Quarter Finalist from last season was solid throughout and it will take a lot of exceptional tennis for Bautista-Agut to spring the latest surprise at this tournament.

I do think the veteran Spaniard will find a way to crack the serve in the course of this match and I like Ferrer winning this 64, 61, 63.

Feliciano Lopez win 3-1 v Paul-Henri Mathieu: Feliciano Lopez has certainly been enjoying his time back on the grass courts and I think he can win this match against Paul-Henri Matieu, although not as easily as the layers are expecting.

Mathieu is still capable of stringing together winners, although not as consistently as he used to be able to, and that could be enough for him to take a set off a player that he will know very well.

These two players will be playing for the eleventh time and it has to be said that eight of those matches has seen both players win at least one set. They met twice last season with both Lopez and Mathieu winning one of the matches, but I do think the Spaniard is the better grass court player.

It was actually Mathieu that has won their one previous meeting on the grass, but Lopez is a little more comfortable getting to the net and I think he finds a way to get himself through to the Third Round with a 76, 46. 63. 76 win.

MY PICKS: Sabine Lisicki - 1.5 Games @ 1.90 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Alexandr Dolgopolov - 4.5 Games @ 1.85 Pinnacle (2 Units)
David Ferrer - 7.5 Games @ 1.80 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Feliciano Lopez win 3-1 in sets @ 3.75 Coral (1 Unit)

Wimbledon Update: 6-4, + 4.28 Units (20 Units Staked, + 21.40% Yield)

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