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World Cup Final 2018 Pick- France vs Croatia (July 15th)

I can't believe a month at the World Cup is about o come to a close on Sunday and I have to say the tournament has been about as good as...

Thursday, 5 June 2014

French Open Day 12 Picks 2014- Women's Semi Finals (June 5th)

The two women's Quarter Finals played on Wednesday didn't really have a lot of drama to them with straight-forward wins for both Andrea Petkovic and Simona Halep, the latter meaning my outright pick for her to win her quarter of the draw has come through.

Both players came through for the loss of just four games each and they will meet in the second Semi Final on Thursday.

On the other hand, the two men's Quarter Finals were a little more competitive, but it was the Andy Murray-Gael Monfils match that had the crowd going wild with the pendulum swinging between the players in the last couple of sets. For the majority of the match, it looked like Murray would dominate and win comfortably and at 64, 61, there wouldn't have been many that would have argued with a straight sets win being the most likely.

A sloppy tenth game in the third set gave Monfils some momentum and then the 61 fourth set suggested that Murray was all but finished unless the light came to save him. Of all the potential scores in the final set, Murray winning to love was the last one on my mind at that point but Monfils fell apart and allowed the Brit to move through.

In saying that, the next two days are critical for Murray to get as much rest as is possible before he hast to take on Rafael Nadal who looked better and better in his convincing four set win over David Ferrer.

Maria Sharapova - 4.5 games v Eugenie Bouchard: This looks a fascinating Semi Final between the veteran Maria Sharapova and the upcoming star in Eugenie Bouchard who is also the only player on the WTA Tour that has reached the Semi Final in both Slams played this season.

Bouchard got away with one in the Quarter Final against Carla Suarez Navarro who had a 52 lead in the first set and a 41 lead in the third set but couldn't win either to make it through to her maiden Grand Slam Semi Final. She played with aggression and went on a couple of real purple patches, but there were also prolonged periods of mistake after mistake and that won't cut it against Sharapova.

It wasn't just the Canadian that had some scares in the Quarters as Sharapova had to come from a set down to beat Garbine Muguruza, but that might prepare her a little for a flashy young player that she will meet in the Semi Final.

If Bouchard allows Sharapova to build up some momentum as she did for Suarez Navarro, it is unlikely that the Russian will take a backward step and allow her back into the match. The experience of the Semi Final at the Australian Open will give Bouchard a chance to perform better here in Paris, but I don't think the clay courts are her favourite surface and she may struggle to get back in the match if she loses the first set.

Last season saw Sharapova dismiss Bouchard for the loss of just six games- this should be more competitive than that, but I also think Sharapova will come through with a little room to breath with a 75, 63 victory to move into her third Final in a row on a surface she once considered impossible to play upon.

Simona Halep - 5.5 games v Andrea Petkovic: Both Simona Halep and Andrea Petkovic won their Quarter Finals with the same 62, 62 scoreline on Wednesday, but they were also both up against opponents that didn't really have a lot left in the tank.

Out of the two players, I would definitely say Halep has shown much more upside during the whole tournament and only nerves can really stop her moving through to the Final and the ultimate proof of her improvements over the last twelve months. Last season, Halep lost in the First Round at Roland Garros, but there has only been an upside curve in her performances since then and she has played wonderfully for much of this event.

Halep has solid movement, very good groundstrokes and a nice balance between attack and defence which is going to give Petkovic a few things to think about.

As well as the German played in defeating Sara Errani, the Italian admitted she had absolutely nothing in the tank yet still had the first break of the match. Petkovic has had a surprising tournament by taking advantage of the exits of the better players in her section with both Na Li and Jelena Jankovic the leading contenders in the final quarter at the start of the tournament.

Unfortunately for Petkovic, Halep is in a very strong place mentally and controlling her nerves should lead to a 64, 62 win for the Number 4 Seed.

MY PICKS: Maria Sharapova - 4.5 Games @ 2.10 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Simona Halep - 5.5 Games @ 2.10 Pinnacle (2 Units)

French Open Update: 26-24, + 3.68 Units (98 Units Staked, + 3.76% Yield)

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