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Tuesday, 3 June 2014

French Open Day 10 Picks 2014 (June 3rd)

The Quarter Finals at the French Open have been set and the tournament is now heading for the conclusion at a rapid rate with only six days left before both the men's and women's Champions are decided here.

Maria Sharapova goes into the final few days of the French Open as the strong favourite to win the decimated women's draw which is missing seven of the top ten players on the Tour despite the event only reaching the Quarter Final stage. I personally don't think it is going to be as straight-forward as that, especially with players like Simona Halep, Eugenie Bouchard and Svetlana Kuznetsova still involved, but I also can understand why the layers are taking no chances by opposing Sharapova.

More than half of the men's top ten players are still in the draw, which is in contrast to the women's draw, but it is clear that most either favour Rafael Nadal to win yet another French Open title or backing Novak Djokovic to win his maiden title here. Both players have been in strong form through the tournament and are on a collision course for next Sunday in what will be a must-see Final, but again you have to consider it won't be as simple as that.

David Ferrer has beaten Nadal on the clay courts already this season, while the winner of the Tomas Berdych-Ernests Gulbis will have a lot of confidence that they could be competing for the title on Sunday instead of Novak Djokovic.

The final Fourth Round matches that were played on Monday helped move the picks further on the upwards curve that Sunday had provided. With two outright picks still in business, this is still a decent chance for the tournament to end with a similar level of positives as the last couple of seasons, but that will also depend on making a strong end over the next six days.

The first four Quarter Finals (two men's and two women's) will be played on Tuesday and hopefully the positive trend can continue.

Maria Sharapova - 4.5 games v Garbine Muguruza: She has already beaten Serena Williams during the run to the Quarter Final at Roland Garros and now Garbine Muguruza can take out the player who replaced Williams as the favourite for the title. Muguruza has had some big things expected of her, but this run to the Quarter Final has come as a real surprise considering the form of the Spaniard prior to the tournament.

Muguruza has plenty of power and a decent serve and I can see her giving Maria Sharapova some problems if she can hold on to her nerve in a Grand Slam Quarter Final.

She also is dealing with a Sharapova who is very comfortable on the clay courts compared with earlier in her career. It was only two years ago that Sharapova won the title at the French Open and she has the power to compete with Muguruza in this Quarter Final, while her added experience may well be a deciding factor.

Sharapova has also won a title in Madrid during this clay court season and I believe she will prove to be too good for Muguruza in a 64, 63 win.

Eugenie Bouchard v Carla Suarez Navarro: The first six months of the season have been memorable for Eugenie Bouchard as she makes another big impact at a Grand Slam event and the Canadian could reach her second Semi Final at this level of 2014. After winning the title in Nurnberg ahead of the French Open, Bouchard has won nine matches in a row and confidence certainly won't be lacking.

However, Bouchard is going up against Carla Suarez Navarro who is very competent on the clay courts and may well feel her added experience and comfort on the surface is going to be enough to move through to the Semi Final.

The problem for Suarez Navarro is trying to match the power that will come from the other side of the court, while the Spaniard has a serve that can be extremely vulnerable and will likely give Bouchard chances to break in the match.

Nerves are also going to be on Suarez Navarro who has reached three Grand Slam Quarter Finals before but is yet to move further and she may feel her time is running out to do that. On the other hand, Bouchard got to the Semi Final at the Australian Open and has won a lot of matches in a row and can make her power make the difference in this match.

Novak Djokovic win 3-1 v Milos Raonic: I am not the biggest fan of Milos Raonic who hasn't progressed as much as I would have liked to have seen from him over the last couple of years. He is so reliant on his serve, which isn't as effective on the clay courts, but at least Raonic is showing some more aggression on the court.

He still makes far too many mistakes to think he is going to trouble Novak Djokovic in a best of five sets match, especially as Djokovic has the tools to negate the big serve of Raonic. His return is arguably the best on Tour and that should show up even more on the slower clay courts and I expect him to wear down Raonic as the match progresses.

However, the serve gives the Canadian every chance of forcing a couple of tie-breaks as he did in Rome and that gives Raonic the opportunity to avoid a straight sets loss. Seeing him win more than a set would be a real surprise to me, and I think there is a spot of value on backing Novak Djokovic to win this match in four sets.

Tomas Berdych - 1.5 games v Ernests Gulbis: This looks like the match of the day in my opinion, but I was expecting to see Tomas Berdych as a stronger favourite to move through to the Semi Final.

Berdych has been a real disappointment when it comes to the Grand Slams outside of the Australian Open where he has reached the Quarter Final at least in four straight seasons. Since reaching the Semi Final in Roland Garros in 2010, Berdych has had two First Round losses here and this is only the second time that he has been beyond the Fourth Round in eleven appearances in Roland Garros.

Of course, I don't want to underestimate Ernests Gulbis who won the title in Nice prior to the French Open and saw off Roger Federer in five sets in the Fourth Round. However, he was suffering with a couple of niggles in that match and all the tennis he has played could have begun to catch up with the enigmatic Latvian.

Berdych was beaten in straight sets by Gulbis in their sole Grand Slam meeting back at Wimbledon in 2012, but the Czech player crushed Gulbis in Rotterdam earlier this season and has got the better of him the last two meetings. I believe Berdych is going to have too much for Gulbis who may be a little fatigued both mentally and physically and will move through to the Semi Final for the second Grand Slam in a row this season.

MY PICKS: Maria Sharapova - 4.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet365 (2 Units)
Eugenie Bouchard @ 1.85 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Novak Djokovic win 3-1 @ 3.75 Sky Bet (1 Unit)
Tomas Berdych - 1.5 Games @ 1.80 Paddy Power (2 Units)

French Open Update: 23-19, + 7.34 Units (83 Units Staked, + 8.84% Yield)

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