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Wednesday, 28 May 2014

French Open Day 4 Picks 2014 (May 28th)

The day started off in decent fashion on Wednesday, but by the end only frustration had set in for myself despite picking up another positive return. That was because one of my outright picks was beaten in a surprising First Round result, although I still have a few running that can be read here.

Na Li's defeat in the First Round meant both Australian Open Grand Slam winners have exited without winning a match at Roland Garros, which would have returned at 87-1 if you had backed both opponents before a ball had been hit in anger.

Li followed Stanislas Wawrinka out of Paris and both had similar reasonings behind their defeats, namely not being able to mentally perform in the second Grand Slam of the year after winning at Melbourne Park. Neither will have much time to find the right formula before the third Slam begins at Wimbledon in a little under a month from now and both Li and Wawrinka will have plenty of soul searching to do to find the reason for their poor exits here.

My mood wasn't helped by a sloppy third set from Andy Murray who was leading Andrey Golubev 61, 64, *10 before deciding he doesn't know how to hold serve and thus winning the match in four sets and missing the cover of the spread by one game.

Dustin Brown looked to be on his way to at least forcing a fifth set against Marinko Matosevic when leading 52 and holding a double break in the fourth set, but then he managed to lose five straight games in a row to exit the tournament.

As I said, the two earlier picks both won to ensure a profit for the day, but I can't help feeling this tournament owes me a little luck, especially in the manner Murray failed to earn a third winning pick of the day.

On Wednesday, the tournament will take on a more regular shape as we will have one half of the Second Round matches scheduled for the courts, unlike the staggered First Round matches that are played over three days. There will be plenty of big names taking to the court on Wednesday in both men's and women's draws and hopefully the day will end with some good profits to show.

Ernests Gulbis - 7.5 games v Facundo Bagnis: One match that would have caught the eye in the First Round would have been Facundo Bagnis' win over Julien Benneteau which ended 18-16 in the fifth set for the young Argentine.

After coming through the qualifiers, it will be interesting to see how much energy Bagnis put into the first match, more mental rather than physical considering the first four sets were relatively quick sets. He will also be challenged by Ernests Gulbis who won the title in Nice last week and is someone that could have his best Grand Slam since reaching the Quarter Final here.

Gulbis came through a tough First Round match against Lukasz Kubot, but he improved after losing the first set and seemed to get stronger and stronger as the match developed. The Latvian has played with more consistency over the last few months than perhaps ever in his career and he has shown enough in his returning game to force a couple of breaks of serve in single sets on his way to winning them.

The clay courts should give Bagnis a chance, but I think he may struggle to keep his mind in the match if he falls a set and a break down and I would think Gulbis moves through with a 64, 63, 63 win.

Novak Djokovic - 9.5 games v Jeremy Chardy: Novak Djokovic showed why he is the favourite to the win the French Open with a comfortable First Round win, but things are going to get tougher for him over the next few days with the potential opponents he could be facing, starting with Jeremy Chardy.

However, Djokovic has won all eight previous matches against Chardy, including some thumping wins in the Grand Slams, and I think his return of serve is going to pressure the Frenchman to cracking point in this Second Round encounter.

As impressive as Chardy was in beating Roger Federer in Rome, his serve can be vulnerable and that is shown by the fact he lost the first set against Federer 61, while he also won just three games in a loss to David Ferrer on the clay courts earlier this season.

Djokovic has won 7 of his last 12 sets against Chardy with either a 62 or better scoreline and I think he will put in a performance that will have everyone sit up and take notice of his credentials to add the French Open to his Grand Slam haul.

Roger Federer - 9.5 games v Diego Sebastian Schwartzman: There were some doubts about Roger Federer and his ambitions in Roland Garros after a poor showing in Rome following his second venture into fatherdom. However, his First Round impressive win showed that Federer comes to Paris with business firmly in the mind and I think Federer will prove too good for Diego Sebastian Schwartzman.

It has already been a good week for the 21 year old Argentine who will feel very comfortable on the clay courts in Paris having won four matches here already.

The problem for Schwartzman is that he has to work hard for every point that he is going to earn and he doesn't really have the power that would worry someone as good as Federer. That proved to be the case when he was dismissed by Rafael Nadal on the clay courts last season for the loss of four games in Acapulco and I believe Federer ends up with a similar scoreline to the one he achieved in the First Round and a comfortable place in the Third Round.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga - 6.5 games v Jurgen Melzer: This is the kind of match that could pose problems for Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, especially if Jurgen Melzer brings his 'A' game into it.

The problem for Melzer fans is seeing that part of the Austrian's game comes ever more rarely these days, although there is a chance he can be inspired in front of a passionate crowd that will be firmly behind Tsonga.

The Frenchman has certainly enjoyed playing in Paris at Roland Garros in the last couple of years and uses the crowd to really get himself involved in matches. He had to struggle through the First Round in the early stages, but Tsonga managed to get stronger as the match with Edouard Roger-Vasselin moved forward and he ran away with his place in the Second Round.

Something similar could happen here against Melzer, a player Tsonga has beaten comfortably three times before and I will look for him to pull away with a 75, 64, 63 win.

Venus Williams - 4.5 games v Anna Schmiedlova: A win for Venus Williams in this Second Round match would likely lead to a Third Round clash with younger sister Serena and I think that is what we are going to get on Friday.

First, I expect Venus Williams to prove a little too strong for Anna Schmiedlova who has enjoyed plenty of success on the clay courts this season, but mostly on the level below the main Tour. In fact, the Slovakian hadn't win a main Tour match on the clay since the First Round of the French Open in 2013 and had been beaten comfortably in her first two main Tour matches on the surface this season.

Her win over Jie Zheng is a good one, although Zheng is hardly a clay court specialist, but that might give Schmiedlova some confidence considering Venus Williams isn't known for her own clay court performances over the last few seasons.

However, if Williams serves as well as she can, she should put too much pressure on Schmiedlova and come through with a 64, 63 win.

Daniela Hantuchova v Claire Feuerstein: Daniela Hantuchova is still hanging around in the top 32 of the World Rankings, but she is definitely in the twilight of her career although I was surprised that she is being priced as big as she is in this Second Round match.

The clay courts are not the favoured surface for Hantuchova, but she has had a decent last few weeks compared with the last couple of years and generally plays at a higher level than Claire Feuerstein.

The Frenchwoman will receive the support of the crowd, but has failed to really take her tennis to the main Tour regularly and has never been past the Second Round at Roland Garros despite being given Wild Cards to the event.

Hantuchova is still good enough to play tennis at a level that will be hard for Feuerstein to keep up with and I like her to come through this Second Round match.

Alize Cornet - 5.5 games v Taylor Townsend: Taylor Townsend is one of the players that the Americans will be hoping can reinvigorate their tennis and the 18 year old has won 11 matches in a row coming into this Second Round match.

However, like many of the North American players, the European clay courts may take some getting used to for Townsend and she is going up against Alize Cornet who is very adept at playing in front of her own home crowd.

Last season, Cornet took Victoria Azarenka to three sets in the Third Round in Paris and she will have the knowledge and experience to work Townsend around.

That could be key because for all of the power and decent groundies that Townsend can hit, her movement is perhaps still too much a weakness for the clay courts and I expect Cornet to move through with a 64, 62 win once she begins to understand her young opponent's game.

Sam Stosur - 5.5 games v Yvonne Meusburger: There were some impressive performances from the players that produced the biggest surprise results of the First Round, but Sam Stosur's dismissal of Monica Puig was right up there in terms of top quality wins.

The Australian is a former Finalist in Roland Garros despite the feeling that the clay courts are not the best for the type of tennis Stosur produces and she can move through to the Third Round without too many issues too.

Yvonne Meusburger had to come from a set behind to win her own First Round match and that also snapped a five match losing run on the clay courts for the Austrian. She can certainly play on the clay courts and cause Stosur some problems, but I think the power advantage comes from the Stosur side of the net and that may prove to be the difference.

The first set should be tight, but I expect Stosur to then pull away and win this match 75, 62.

MY PICKS: Ernests Gulbis - 7.5 Games @ 2.00 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Novak Djokovic - 9.5 Games @ 1.95 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Roger Federer - 9.5 Games @ 1.90 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga - 6.5 Games @ 2.10 Sky Bet (2 Units)
Venus Williams - 4.5 Games @ 1.80 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Daniela Hantuchova @ 1.73 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Alize Cornet - 5.5 Games @ 1.95 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Sam Stosur - 5.5 Games @ 1.80 Pinnacle (2 Units)

French Open Update: 4-3, + 1.64 Units (13 Units Staked, + 12.62% Yield)

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