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Monday, 2 June 2014

French Open Day 9 Picks 2014 (June 2nd)

Roger Federer has become the latest big name player to exit the French Open before the tournament really gets going, but you have to credit Ernests Gulbis for coming through a difficult fourth set before winning in five. It was a difficult tournament for Federer considering the preparation he had for it, but I think he is also happier in returning to the grass courts where he has a much better chance to add to his Grand Slam haul.

For now, Federer will have the chance to enjoy life with his young family before Halle which will begin next Monday as he prepares for another tilt at winning Wimbledon.

I have backed Rafael Nadal to win the tournament, but Novak Djokovic has looked incredibly good in seeing off Marin Cilic and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga with barely a sweat broken. Djokovic has played like a man on a mission, although I am sure there will be a few Milos Raonic backers in the Quarter Final that has been set.

Personally, I think it would be a gigantic surprise if Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are not competing in the Final next Sunday as both have looked head and shoulders the best players in the field. There are a couple of problems for the top two seeds to negotiate in the next week, but they will be strong favourites to dismiss all their challengers and set up the Final that most neutral fans would love to see.

Sunday also provided me a winner that looked certain to lose when Maria Sharapova came back from a set down to still cover the games thanks to a bagel last set. That feels like a little make up from some of the poor luck earlier in the tournament and has helped to return to the tournament into a profit.

David Ferrer - 7.5 games v Kevin Anderson: David Ferrer crushed Kevin Anderson in the Fourth Round here last season and I expect him to move through to the Quarter Final with another fairly comfortable win when the players meet at the same stage on Monday.

To be fair to Anderson, he has actually been very competitive on the clay courts during the last few weeks and I expect him to make life a lot more difficult for Ferrer than when he took just five games off of him twelve months ago.

However, I also think the clay courts favour Ferrer significantly as it negates the big serve that Anderson possesses and the Spaniard is also capable of testing the consistency that Anderson has from the back of the court.

Ferrer has been playing well enough to get enough Anderson serves back in play and force break point chances and I would expect him to go through to the likely Quarter Final with Rafael Nadal thanks to a 64, 62, 75 win.

Andy Murray - 2.5 games v Fernando Verdasco: Andy Murray had to come through a 'darkness delayed' Third Round match against Philipp Kohlschreiber in a long fifth set on Sunday, but I expect an 'easier' time against Fernando Verdasco. Murray has dominated Verdasco in their head to head matches, but he won't take the dangerous Spaniard for granted after having to come from 0-2 down in sets to beat him at Wimbledon last year.

You would expect Verdasco to be better on a clay court, but I think he runs out of patience on the surface and someone like Murray could break down the inconsistencies off the ground that the Spaniard has shown for much of his career.

Verdasco hadn't been in great form coming into Roland Garros, but completed an impressive Third Round win over Richard Gasquet on Sunday and will be in confident mood having won a title on the surface in Houston last month.

However, I think he is going to struggle with the Murray defensive skills and I expect he will be worn down although it may take four sets to get the job done. That should still be enough for Murray to cover the games simply because Verdasco can let his head drop and lose a set 61 or 62 without any hesitation.

Andrea Petkovic - 2.5 games v Kiki Bertens: It has been a strong tournament for Andrea Petkovic who has struggled to reach the same level of form that she had prior to a long injury lay off from the Tour. This might represent the best chance for someone like Petkovic to win a Grand Slam with all the exits heading out of the women's draw and she should be confident of seeing off Kiki Bertens in this Fourth Round match.

Bertens has already had to win six matches at Roland Garros over the last ten days, but that amount of tennis can lead to fatigue despite the strong form she has shown on the clay courts. There were little signs of fatigue in her Third Round win over Silvia Soler-Espinosa for the loss of three games, but Petkovic can make life much more difficult.

Clay is the favoured surface of Bertens, but this is a big moment for her with nerves perhaps playing a part too and I think Petkovic uses her added experience to come through.

Sara Errani v Jelena Jankovic: Last season, Sara Errani reached the Final of the French Open and there is every chance she can repeat that performance in an open draw. The Italian wears down players mentally with the long, draining rallies she has come to be known by and that may be enough to see off Jelena Jankovic in three tight sets.

Both players have performed very well to get to this big Fourth Round clash and both have dropped just one set in the tournament while coming into the match with back to back straight sets win behind them.

Errani also got the better of Jankovic when reaching the Final in Rome two weeks ago and I think she will have the mental edge with two wins against the Serb over the last 8 months.

There will be some rallies to enjoy in the match and Jankovic will have the power on her side- however, I think Errani's consistency and recent success over Jankovic may prove too much and I think she can win this match as the underdog.

MY PICKS: David Ferrer - 7.5 Games @ 1.92 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Andy Murray - 2.5 Games @ 1.92 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Andrea Petkovic - 2.5 Games @ 1.80 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Sara Errani @ 2.10 Bet365 (2 Units)

French Open Update: 20-18, + 3.46 Units (75 Units Staked, + 4.61% Yield)

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