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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...

Sunday, 1 June 2014

French Open Day 8 Picks 2014 (June 1st)

A retirement, a couple of final sets going the wrong way and darkness meant Saturday ended with a losing day for the second day in a row. It has been a frustrating tournament to this point with the luck not quite going my way despite Petra Kvitova serving twice for the match which would have reversed the results from the day.

The shocks in the women's draw have thus shown no sign of ending with four of the top five women's seeds already on their way out of Paris, while Ana Ivanovic was another player beaten when considered one of the favourites to win the title in Roland Garros.

The fact that all of these players have been beaten before the Fourth Round of a Grand Slam is a real surprise, especially in the women's tournament which has been guilty of lacking the depth of quality that the men's game has had.

Ironically, the top seeds in the men's tournament, bar Stan Wawrinka, are all all still involved as we hit the second week of the Slam. Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic look on a collision course to meet in the Final in seven days time as both continue their serene paths through the draw, although Roger Federer may still have the belief that he can have a real impact here.

The Fourth Round will begin on Sunday, but there are also still a couple of Third Round matches that need to be completed including Andy Murray's match against Philipp Kohlschreiber which is tied at seven games each in the final set.

Tomas Berdych - 4.5 games v John Isner: I think even John Isner was surprised with the amount of break points he managed to fend off in his fortunate Third Round win over Tommy Robredo- Isner won the first two sets despite winning five points fewer than the Spaniard and I think he would need a lot of luck to see off Tomas Berdych in this Fourth Round match.

Berdych had to fight through the last couple of sets against Roberto Bautista-Agut in the Third Round, but it was an impressive performance all around and he has a strong record against the big-serving American.

He has won four of the last five matches between the players including crushing Isner for the loss of five games at the French Open in 2010- there is no doubt that Berdych won't have it as easy as that, but he will have chances against the Isner serve especially on the clay.

The last two Berdych wins over Isner have come on the hard courts and he has taken the break point chances that have come his way. If he can do the same again, I like him to move through to the Quarter Final with a 76, 75, 63 win in his pocket.

Roger Federer - 3.5 games v Ernests Gulbis: I thought the layers would under-estimate Ernests Gulbis way more than they are heading into the Fourth Round match and I think they have gone too far the other way.

Gulbis has been in fine form that comes with winning a title in Nice last week and then coming through three Rounds in Paris with relative comfort. He has shown he can give Roger Federer all he can handle in previous matches and will surely be inspired with such a big match in front of him, but I also think the Latvian has a lot of tennis in his legs and may struggle to keep up if he falls behind.

He has a big serve and decent groundstrokes, while Gulbis is showing more consistency than he has in his career to date and could finally be realising his potential. However, Roger Federer is capable of dictating play behind his own serve and has played well enough to think there is plenty more in the tank to come.

Federer may be able to produce a couple of breaks of serve in a single set, but this is still likely to go four sets before the former World Number 1 comes through 62, 36, 64, 63.

Novak Djokovic - 6.5 games v Jo-Wilfried Tsonga: These two players played a magnificent match at Roland Garros two years ago, but that has sparked Novak Djokovic into a number of dominating wins over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and this Fourth Round match may be no different.

Of course, playing in front of his home supporters will give Tsonga inspiration, but he hasn't been playing as well as his three straight set wins suggest and he is unlikely to get away with the mistakes he made against Jerzy Janowicz.

Tsonga dropped serve in the opening game of set two and three against the Pole, while he was perhaps a little fortunate to win the first set and Novak Djokovic is playing at such a level that it may be tough for the Frenchman to prevent him running away with this Fourth Round match.

In my outright preview for the tournament, I said Tsonga is a tough Fourth Round opponent on his home dirt- that is still the situation, but Djokovic has the return that can cause serious problems and lead to a comfortable 64, 62, 64 win.

Maria Sharapova - 4.5 games v Sam Stosur: The women's draw has been decimated by surprise results on a daily basis over the last six days and Maria Sharapova has a dangerous opponent in Sam Stosur in this Fourth Round match.

However, Stosur has a terrible record against Sharapova and I think she may just have too much of a mental burden to overcome in this match. The Australian has been one of the more impressive players during the first week of the tournament and has reached the French Open Final before, but Sharapova's intensity is hard for her to deal with and the latter is the better player off the ground.

Of course, the serve is going to be all important as that is the best shot that Stosur has and could give her a chance of springing the surprise. The same could be said if Sharapova's serve is not quite at the normal level that provides the cheap points for the Russian.

Barring something special from Stosur, I think Sharapova will end up proving a little too good and she should move through to another Quarter Final here with a 64, 63 win.

MY PICKS: Tomas Berdych - 4.5 Games @ 1.83 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Roger Federer - 3.5 Games @ 2.00 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Novak Djokovic - 6.5 Games @ 1.95 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Maria Sharapova - 4.5 Games @ 1.83 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Fernando Verdasco @ 2.00 Ladbrokes (2 Units) Already advised and leads 63, 62, 22

French Open Update: 16-17, - 1.76 Units (65 Units Staked, - 2.70%Yield)

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