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Saturday, 31 May 2014

French Open Day 7 Picks 2014 (May 31st)

I had been wondering whether there was going to be some bad luck heading my way after some close calls already this week and it turned out that Friday was going to be that day. Two more outright picks exited the tournament, while the picks made on Friday couldn't produce enough winners.

The second I saw Tommy Robredo had lost the first two sets despite winning five points more than John Isner, I had a feeling that this wasn't going to be a great day and that was the way it turned out. Jerzy Janowicz was a break up in sets two and three and couldn't win either, Roger Federer had numerous chances to break serve against an inspired Dmitry Tursunov.

Any of those players doing what they had the chance to do would have resulted in another winning day, but instead the week's work has been ruined and I rue the Andy Murray miss from earlier in the week that much more.

In saying that, I also feel there will be a day when things all fall into place and I am hoping that will turn around a tournament that has been very successful over the last three seasons. I still also believe in Rafael Nadal and Simona Halep, although both still have to negotiate Third Round matches on Saturday.

David Ferrer - 8.5 games v Andreas Seppi: When I first looked at the number of games on this spread, I was perhaps surprised considering how well Andreas Seppi played in his Second Round win over Juan Monaco. However, Seppi is going to be worked very hard by David Ferrer and I was less surprised that the latter had won all six previous matches between the pair.

Ferrer has won every set they have competed and Seppi has only managed to reach at least four games in two of the twelve sets they have played. His serve won't provide as many easy points as Seppi would likely need in a match like this and that is where Ferrer's consistency, speed around the court and ability to construct effective points helps him dominate the matches.

I have been impressed with the two wins Seppi has secured at Roland Garros to reach the Third Round, but I think he is going to be given a real working over in this match and Ferrer is likely to win one set very easily.

If Ferrer can do that, I see him powering his way to a 63, 64, 62 win and a place in the Fourth Round.

Kevin Anderson - 1.5 sets v Ivo Karlovic: Another player that has had an impressive week so far is Ivo Karlovic who has backed up his Final appearance in Dusseldorf with a surprise win over Grigor Dimitrov and then came through the Second Round very easily.

Karlovic has a big serve and gets to the net to pressure opponents, but the clay courts are not really the best ones for his game and I think he will find it tough to beat Kevin Anderson who has shown more form on the surface in the past.

The big South African did reach the Fourth Round last season and it has taken better clay court players than Karlovic to beat Anderson on the clay this season.

The serve of Karlovic gives him a chance to take at least a set, but I think Anderson puts enough pressure on him with his own serve and forces the win without needing to go to a final set.

Fabio Fognini v Gael Monfils: The Third Round match that could provide the most entertainment for the watching crowds on Saturday could be between the home favourite Gael Monfils and the flamboyant Fabio Fognini.

Both players like hitting flashy shots and both are very adept at playing on the clay courts and this has the hallmarks of a five set classic, although I have a feeling the home crowd may end up disappointed.

Fognini has form- he beat Monfils from two sets down here four years ago, while the Italian has been the better player in the last two matches they have had against one another including on the clay courts of Umag last summer.

These two players are both exuberant on the court, but that can lead to erratic periods of play, but I think the edge may just land on the side of the Italian considering his recent success against Monfils. There should be a lot of breaks of serve and some great tennis to watch when they meet, but Fognini could just prevail in five sets.

Guillermo Garcia-Lopez v Donald Young Over 35.5 Games: Donald Young may have surprised pretty much everyone who watches the tennis Tour on a regularly basis as he moved through two Rounds in Paris. Young has been telling the media it is the first time he has won one match on the European red clay, but he was even more impressive in seeing of Feliciano Lopez and will be full of confidence as he looks to make good on the potential he showed as a youngster.

He gets another real test in the form of Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez who has beaten Stan Wawrinka already in the tournament and who won a title in Casablanca during this portion of the clay court season. The experience could be vital in making the difference in the match as well as the comfort of playing on a clay court but it is unlikely to be straight-forward.

That is because Garcia-Lopez has a serve that is vulnerable to being attacked and he may drop at least one set even in a winning performance. Young has shown enough in the last two matches to get to the Third Round that he can play well enough on the clay to win a set, but also has the confidence to perhaps get more and I would be surprised if this match is a straight sets victory for either player.

With that in mind, I think there is every chance the total games is surpassed as long as the match remains as competitive as I feel it should be.

Fernando Verdasco v Richard Gasquet: Richard Gasquet has come through the first two Rounds in Roland Garros in straight sets, but he has admitted that his back is still bothering him and that he wouldn't have played if this wasn't his home Grand Slam.

Wins over Bernard Tomic and Carlos Berlocq, especially the latter, have been impressive, but Gasquet is going to be tested much more by Fernando Verdasco who has come from two sets down to remain in the tournament.

Verdasco is comfortable on the clay courts and has a big game that could really pressure Gasquet, although the Spaniard may want to be a little more patience before pulling the trigger on his shots knowing his opponent is not feeling the best. He also has won three of the last four matches against Gasquet on the clay courts and Verdasco has a big serve and heavy groundstrokes that can stretch out the Frenchman.

I would have favoured Verdasco if both players were at full health as the underdog and I will back him at Ladbrokes who pay out once the match starts, even in the case of an early retirement from a clearly injured Gasquet.

Petra Kvitova v Svetlana Kuznetsova: Another player that I want to back in her role as the underdog is Petra Kvitova in this Third Round match against Svetlana Kuznetsova, even if the latter has the better clay court pedigree of the two players.

To this point, Kvitova's power has proved to be the difference in three tight matches between the pair, all of which have been won by the Czech player who may feel she can have a real impact in a Grand Slam that is missing the top three Seeds thanks to early defeats.

I respect Kuznetsova as a former French Open winner and she has won a couple of matches here comfortably to reach the Third Round, but I also believe she is a little more erratic these days and may struggle to match the power that comes from the other end of the court.

It wouldn't be the biggest surprise if this match has to go three sets to provide a winner, but it is one that I believe Kvitova can come through as the dog.

Sloane Stephens - 1.5 games v Ekaterina Makarova: Both of these players may not consider the clay courts as they favourite surface, but both Sloane Stephens and Ekaterina Makarova are yet to drop a set at the French Open.

Both have had success at Slam level in the past, although their best results have been on the hard courts of Melbourne Park and I think the edge goes to Stephens in she has shown more form on the clay courts compared with Makarova.

The American reached the Fourth Round here last season and beat Makarova in two tight sets back in 2012 in Paris too. It might come down to which of these players take their chances the best in the match to separate them, but I think Stephens loves the Slams and has played better on the clay courts over the last two years so will back her to come through to the Fourth Round again.

MY PICKS: David Ferrer - 8.5 Games @ 1.92 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Kevin Anderson - 1.5 Sets @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Fabio Fognini @ 1.80 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez v Donald Young Over 35.5 Games @ 1.95 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Fernando Verdasco @ 2.00 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Petra Kvitova @ 2.05 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Sloane Stephens - 1.5 Games @ 1.92 Pinnacle (2 Units)

French Open Update: 14-14, + 0.50 Units (53 Units Staked, + 1% Yield)

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