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Thursday, 12 June 2014

Tennis Picks 2014 (June 12th)

That was as bad a day as I have suffered during this entire 2014 season as nothing seemed to go as planned and I am going to blame my headache from Tuesday as the reason for the terrible picks I made.

On a more serious note, both Andy Murray and Nicolas Mahut should have won their matches with enough comfort to cover the handicaps that had been set, but both missed plenty of chances and the latter couldn't win the match at 3-0 up in the final set tie-breaker before losing it 7-5.

Some of the picks just plain stunk and I will only have myself to blame for those and not bad luck- simply put, some picks didn't have a chance and that was down to poor research on my part.

Hopefully that isn't something that happens too often, but I have always taken the ups and downs and tried to treat them the same- it is an eleven month season, there will be times when it doesn't go well, but also times when it does and you have to keep level-headed and try and get more of the latter days than the ones we saw on Wednesday.

With the World Cup starting on Thursday, I am guessing tennis will be losing the back pages of the newspapers for the next few weeks, even with Wimbledon starting especially in England where they were dominated with 'hope' of a new British Champion. Now Andy Murray has won that tournament, I can only see a few headlines being kept aside for that event unless England have a terrible Group.

On the other hand, I will be making picks through the next month as I have been for the season and am just hoping for a much more productive performance than I found on Wednesday.

The Third Round is going to be underway at Queens and Birmingham on Thursday and Halle will see the Quarter Final line up completed.

Feliciano Lopez - 3.5 games v Kenny de Schepper: There is no doubt that Kenny de Schepper has a big serve that aids him mightily on the grass courts, but I can't help feel he is also being a little over-rated because of the win he had over Ernests Gulbis on Wednesday.

On paper, that does look an impressive win- but Gulbis was coming off a long two weeks at Roland Garros and has shown little grass court appetite in the past so perhaps it wasn't as big a surprise as initially it seems.

The Frenchman also got to this stage at Queens last season, but he is now coming up against Feliciano Lopez who is very comfortable on the grass courts himself and had an impressive straight sets win over Lleyton Hewitt in the Second Round.

Lopez is very confident on the grass and his slice will pose de Schepper some problems with the big man having to get lower than he may wish to get hold of that ball. It can be tough to do that consistently, while he might not have too much joy against the Lopez serve either if the Spaniard is going anything close to what he was on Wednesday.

Last season, de Schepper took some comfortable losses on the grass courts despite the confidence he must have earned from the wins he had and I can Lopez finding a way to a 76, 63 win in this one.

Tomas Berdych - 4.5 games v Adrian Mannarino: Tomas Berdych didn't always look that convincing in his Second Round win over James Duckworth and I am not sure that his run to the Final at Wimbledon in 2010 is going to be repeated any time soon.

However, he should have too much in the locker for Adrian Mannarino despite the latter having some of his better results on the Tour on grass, including beating Juan Martin Del Potro here three years ago. He also reached the Fourth Round at Wimbledon last year which is a surprise considering the serve he possesses not being a real weapon to earn the cheap points.

Mannarino works hard on the court and clearly can play aggressively enough to come through matches and he has been an easy winner in the first two Rounds here. Of course, Tomas Berdych is another step up in class from what the Frenchman has seen so far and I think the first match on grass gives the Czech man something to build upon.

He will have to play a lot better than on Tuesday, but Berdych should have enough to come through 75, 63.

Grigor Dimitrov - 3.5 games v Edouard Roger-Vasselin: Somehow, from the edge of defeat, Edouard Roger-Vasselin dug deep to beat Nicolas Mahut on Wednesday, but it will be interesting to see how much he has left in the tank as he gets set to take on Grigor Dimitrov in the Third Round.

It has been an impressive week considering Roger-Vasselin was playing in the French Open men's Doubles Final this past weekend although he has needed three sets in his first two wins at Queens. That means he has a lot of tennis in his legs coming into this match and I can see Dimitrov exposing any fatigue that may be beginning to set in.

Roger-Vasselin has played the big points well this week, but Dimitrov has a decent serve (when he isn't throwing in the double faults that were a feature in his first match) and good, solid groundstrokes that should give him the edge in the match.

I do think Dimitrov is in line for a big week and I think he will come through with a 64, 64 win.

Andy Murray - 4.5 games v Radek Stepanek: It was a 64, 64 scoreline, but Andy Murray was far more comfortable than that would indicate in his Second Round win on Wednesday and I think he will only build on that.

That isn't underestimating Radek Stepanek who is very comfortable on the grass courts with the ability to serve-volley and use plenty of variation to make life difficult for his opponents.

However, Murray doesn't mind those fun and games on the court and I think he will use that to his advantage. He will be happy trading the slices and drop shots through the match and I expect Murray to feel very confident on the court and not be worried by the antics of Stepanek.

Murray has dominated the head to head and will know what to expect from Stepanek as he moves into the Quarter Final with a 63, 64 win.

Kevin Anderson - 3.5 games v Sergiy Stakhovsky: Sergiy Stakhovsky will be able to dine out in his win over Roger Federer at Wimbledon in 2013 for a few years, but I also feel that the layers are taking no chances on him because of that one victory on the grass courts.

Stakhovsky is in line to have the most wins in a single season since 2011, but it has to be said that his recent form doesn't come close to matching the Semi Final appearance he had at Sydney back in January. This is only the second time that Stakhovsky has won two matches in a row since then and while he will cause some problems, I would imagine Kevin Anderson being too good for him.

The big South African has a decent grass court pedigree and is a former Quarter Finalist here, although he did need Stakhovsky to retire from a match he was dominating that year to find his way through that Round. However, Anderson is much improved since 2012 and just seems to be a little more confident in his own game since then.

There will likely only be a few points here and there that decides the outcome of this match, but Anderson might find the edge in a 76, 63 win.

Stan Wawrinka - 2.5 games v Sam Querrey: Some of the matches that Stan Wawrinka has played on the grass courts suggests he should have had more success on the surface- that was shown in reaching the Final at Hertogenbosch last season, but following that up with a First Round exit at Wimbledon.

This is essentially the first grass court match he will really have played this season after having just five games against Marcos Baghdatis before the latter retired. Wawrinka will now face a Sam Querrey that has struggled for much of 2014, but has won back to back matches on the main Tour for only the third time this calendar year.

The American is a former winner at Queens, but he was fortunate to come through the First Round against Jeremy Chardy and then beat an overmatched Denis Kudla. This match is raising the level again and Stan Wawrinka should be able to come through, albeit in three sets.

Wawrinka has been a little up and down since winning the Australian Open, but he is looking to bounce back from an early loss at the French Open and I do think he will be too good as long as he doesn't lose confidence early in the match.

Sloane Stephens - 2.5 games v Alison Riske: Sloane Stephens showed what she can do on a grass court with a comfortable win over Francesca Schiavone on Wednesday and I think she can back that up with victory over her compatriot Alison Riske in this Third Round match.

It won't be easy though as Riske has shown plenty of potential on the grass courts over the last few years, including reaching the Semi Final here in Birmingham after qualifying twelve months ago.

However, Stephens was a Quarter Finalist at Wimbledon last season and her power can give her a real edge on the quicker courts, especially one as low bouncing as the grass courts where the ball also tends to skid through the court.

Stephens' focus and concentration can let her down in some of the 'smaller' events on the Tour, but if she can stay tuned into this match, I would expect her to come through 64, 64.

Ana Ivanovic - 5.5 games v Lauren Davis: It was an impressive win for Ana Ivanovic in the Second Round when she crushed Mona Barthel in two sets and I would expect the Serb to back that up with another convincing win over Lauren Davis.

They met earlier this season in a match where Davis won just two games, and the young American has plenty of tennis played already this week with back to back three set wins. Her serve is vulnerable and I can see the aggression of Ivanovic making the difference in the match, especially if the latter is playing as well as she was against Barthel.

There is still some inconsistencies about Ivanovic which is frustrating when backing her to win matches with spreads as big as this, but I also think she is playing some of her better tennis for a couple of years during 2014.

I would hope Ivanovic serves well if she is going to win the match, but I also think she will have a few chances to break Lauren Davis and come through 63, 63.

MY PICKS: Feliciano Lopez - 3.5 Games @ 2.25 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Tomas Berdych - 4.5 Games @ 1.90 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Grigor Dimitrov - 3.5 Games @ 1.95 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Andy Murray - 4.5 Games @ 1.85 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Kevin Anderson - 3.5 Games @ 2.18 Unibet (2 Units)
Stan Wawrinka - 2.5 Games @ 2.00 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Sloane Stephens - 2.5 Games @ 1.92 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Ana Ivanovic - 5.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 5-9, - 8.28 Units (28 Units Staked, - 29.57% Yield)

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