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Wednesday, 4 June 2014

French Open Day 11 Picks 2014 (June 4th)

The expected rain didn't arrive in Paris to disrupt proceedings to the scheduled matches on Tuesday, but Wednesday could shape up to be very different if the forecast holds true. Play is due to start at 1pm local time, but there is every chance the heavy rain that is due at Roland Garros could postpone that and you have to feel a little sorry for the players who are trying to reach the Semi Finals of the Grand Slam.

If the rain prevents play being completed, the two women who come through the Quarter Final matches may have to play on three consecutive days to win the tournament compared with Maria Sharapova or Eugenie Bouchard who will be resting on Wednesday before the Semi Finals that are scheduled to play on Thursday.

I'd be surprised if they asked the winners of the two remaining Quarter Finals to play twice in the same day if these matches are pushed to Thursday so there will be some fingers crossed that the tennis can find the windows to be completed.

All four matches scheduled for Wednesday have the chance of being long affairs and that only decreases the chances of all of them being completed and it may just give those players already through to the Semi Final an edge when it comes to the Finals to be played this weekend.

Tuesday wasn't a great day for the picks as I was caught out by the dominating win for Ernests Gulbis over Tomas Berdych- it is more of a shame considering I have backed Gulbis regularly during the course of the season but have come off the bandwagon at just the wrong time as he reached a career best first Semi Final of a Grand Slam.

Confidence is oozing out of the Latvian, but Novak Djokovic has looked very calm and confident himself and that has all the makings of a fascinating Semi Final on Friday.

I was also surprised by the really poor start by Maria Sharapova in her eventual win over Garbine Muguruza and the young Spaniard has to be feeling good about her future on the Tour. Sharapova moves on to an intriguing Semi Final against Eugenie Bouchard, who had an up and down performance against Carla Suarez Navarro, but who should be better for her experience at this same stage of the Australian Open earlier this season.

Sara Errani - 4.5 games v Andrea Petkovic: Andrea Petkovic has played extremely tough to get to the Quarter Final, but all the tennis she has been forced to play over the last three Rounds may come to haunt her against last year's beaten Finalist Sara Errani.

As much respect as I have for the heart Petkovic has shown, Errani is unlikely to give her an easy route back into the match if she falls behind as the Italian looks to grind down her opponents. Her biggest goal when going onto the court is to make sure her opponent has to play a lot of tennis balls to win points and that is where Petkovic could become mentally and physically fatigued.

Errani will offer chances to break with her weak serve, especially if Petkovic gets a good read on what she is seeing, but I also think Errani will force opportunities on the German's serve.

When they met in Madrid last month, Errani came through a tough first set before running away with the match and I expect this one to follow a similar pattern. If Petkovic does lose the first set, it will be hard to see how she will have enough in the tank to come back, especially if Errani has already worn her down in the first set as she does to so many of her opponents.

Svetlana Kuznetsova + 3.5 games v Simona Halep: Anyone who followed my outright picks at the start of the tournament will be sitting on a nice price for Simona Halep to come through the third quarter of the draw- however, this was the one match that I felt would give her the most trouble in the section.

Svetlana Kuznetsova has won the French Open before and is very comfortable playing on the clay courts with her blend of power and good movement making it tough for opponents to wear her down. There were doubts about her health heading into Roland Garros, but Kuznetsova has alleviated those concerns and has only dropped one set all through the tournament.

The Russian did have to play sixteen games in a third set against Petra Kvitova, but she has shown Halep what she is capable of by beating her in Stuttgart a couple of months ago.

Kuznetsova will have the edge in terms of power in this match, but Halep has looked very comfortable through the first week of the event and perhaps her biggest danger is dealing with her own nerves. As well as Halep has played, she may not be able to dictate the points as completely as she would like and this has the makings of a tight three set battle.

I'll be hoping that Halep can find her way through, but I think Kuznetsova is being given too many games anyway and do believe this will be a keenly contested Quarter Final.

Andy Murray - 3.5 games v Gael Monfils: Andy Murray has described Gael Monfils as the best athlete on a tennis court, but the Frenchman may not be quite up to peak strength heading into this Quarter Final. You can't tell with either of these players as to when they are genuinely hurt and when they are perhaps exaggerating their ailments, but both Murray and Monfils have been guilty of that at times during the last couple of matches.

Both looked remarkably good in their Fourth Round wins, but we are only one extended rally away from seeing one, or both, players clutching either their back, their side, their knees or simply barely moving around the court between points.

That factor does make it a little harder to break down the match, but you would think Murray is a little more solid all around and that will likely make the difference between the players. Both players can play tremendous defence all over the court, but Murray again may have an edge when it comes to consistently moving his opponent around the court.

Monfils almost relishes the defensive work he gets through, but that takes it's toll by the end of these Grand Slam events and that may be the case again. I can see the first two sets being competitive, but Murray should then take control and slowly get the match to the point where he wants it and come through to his second career Semi Final at Roland Garros.

Rafael Nadal - 6.5 games v David Ferrer: Considering David Ferrer has won three of the last four matches between himself and Rafael Nadal, including on the clay courts of Monte Carlo in April, it could be said this handicap is almost disrespectful to his chances of winning the match outright.

However, it also has to be remembered that Ferrer has failed to win any of the nine sets they have competed against one another at the French Open including the heavy defeat he took in the Final last year.

It all makes for a fascinating Quarter Final that is taking place on the faster Suzanne Lenglen court which may aid Ferrer a little more in the match.

The damper conditions that are expected will also be a bit of a leveller for David Ferrer and he may be hoping the rain goes away for enough time to help him come through with arguably the biggest win of his career. Ferrer has been playing well enough to cause a surprise and there have been rumours that Nadal's back has been bothering him, although you wouldn't have been able to tell with the dismissive performances he has put in.

Despite the straight sets defeat in Monte Carlo, which could have gone another way if Nadal had taken more of the chances he had, I still think there is another mental hurdle to overcome to beat him in Paris. That might be too much for David Ferrer to overcome and I can see a tight first set give way to a comfortable win for Nadal and a place in the Semi Final at Roland Garros again.

MY PICKS: Sara Errani - 4.5 Games @ 2.00 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Svetlana Kuznetsova + 3.5 Games @ 2.10 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Andy Murray - 3.5 Games @ 1.90 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Rafael Nadal - 6.5 Games @ 1.92 Pinnacle (2 Units)

French Open Update: 24-22, + 4.04 Units (90 Units Staked, + 4.49% Yield)

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