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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...

Friday, 6 June 2014

French Open Day 13 Picks 2014- Men's Semi Finals (June 6th)

Over the last couple of years, the French Open has been a tournament that has proved very successful for the picks but this season is unlikely to follow the same route. I feel very much like Serena Williams in that I have had a decent season to this point of the Tour, but have failed to spark at a Grand Slam where there is more attention and more expectancy from anyone reading these picks.

Thursday's women's Semi Finals proved the same with a couple of points here and there making all the difference in what would have been winning picks and thus ending with two losing picks. It happens during some of the tournaments over the course of a eleven month Tour, but it is a shame that it had to happen during the second Slam of the season.

The two men's Semi Finals look fascinating affairs, especially in light of some of the comments that Ernests Gulbis has made about Novak Djokovic in the recent past. Gulbis is a fascinating character, but he has made his mark on the court with his tennis racquet this week rather than in the media room with his tongue and he is going to very, very confident after some impressive wins behind him.

Rafael Nadal versus Andy Murray is always going to have a lot of attention on the match, especially after their encounter in Rome, but it still looks like being the Final that everyone would have expected through the clay court season.

Novak Djokovic win 3-1 v Ernests Gulbis: Wins over Roger Federer and Tomas Berdych, the latter in a thumping manner, will have given Ernests Gulbis so much confidence and he is playing his tennis with a calm demeanour, while harnessing the aggression to the perfect standard on the clay courts.

The title win in Nice has been followed by Gulbis' best run in a Grand Slam, surpassing his Quarter Final appearance here in 2008 which was ironically stopped by the same player he will be facing on Friday.

Novak Djokovic 'might have a different look in his eyes' according to Gulbis, but his eye is only on one prize in this tournament and that is becoming the eighth player to win the career Grand Slam. He has targeted the French Open for a couple of years and Djokovic has been in impressive form through the tournament and has the return game and movement to trouble Gulbis.

On the other hand, I still expect Gulbis to make this a competitive Semi Final with his heavy groundstrokes which should set up chances to break the Djokovic serve, but the Latvian would have to put in some incredible serving if he is to win the match.

The performances against Federer and Berdych raises doubts in the match, but it would be a real surprise if Gulbis has enough to beat Djokovic in the current form of the World Number 2 and this one should see the Serb come through. However, I wouldn't doubt Gulbis digging deep to take a set in a 3-1 loss in the Semi Final but with something to build upon in the remaining months of the season.

Rafael Nadal - 6.5 games v Andy Murray: This is a lot of games if you take the performance that Andy Murray produced in Rome into account, but Rafael Nadal's level has certainly improved since then. Nadal has also not spent half as much time on court as he was in that tournament compared to what Murray has had to endure in Roland Garros and the match is being played on the Philippe Chatrier court which is much more like a clay court than the Suzanne Lenglen.

With the temperature expecting to be soaring on Friday, conditions should be perfect for Nadal to take advantage of any fatigue Murray may still be feeling from two tough battles against Philipp Kohlschreiber and Gael Monfils over the last week.

Murray has the returning game and competitive spirit to cause problems for Nadal, even on a clay court, but the Spaniard has been in very good form through the tournament and turned it up another notch after going down by a set against David Ferrer in the last Round.

It would take a gargantuan effort for Murray to knock off Nadal in this Semi Final with the fatigue that he has to be feeling and I think it would be tough to pick himself up if he loses the first set with a straight sets loss the result when he met the Spaniard at the same stage in 2011.

The 61 set Murray won in Rome isn't the sole comfortable set he has had against Nadal on the clay courts with 62 set in Monte Carlo a few years ago also in the books, but the World Number 1 looks a man on a mission and I expect he will find a way to come through with a 64, 63, 63 win.

MY PICKS: Novak Djokovic win 3-1 @ 3.80 Sporting Bet (1 Unit)
Rafael Nadal - 6.5 Games @ 1.95 Pinnacle (2 Units)

French Open Update: 26-26, - 0.32 Units (102 Units Staked, - 0% Yield)

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