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Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Wimbledon Day 2 Picks 2014 (June 24th)

The rain that had been forecasted eventually came to SW19 on the first Monday of Wimbledon, but it was fortunate that it came at the end of the day and only cut play by about an hour. That means the majority of matches were completed and only a few are going to be carried over to Tuesday.

It was a surprise free opening to the tournament with the big names all moving through the draw and even the exit of Sam Stosur may have been expected considering her poor record on the grass courts here.

The likes of Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Petra Kvitova all managed to record some comfortable wins and the other big names that will be getting their tournaments underway on Tuesday will be hoping to do the same.

It was a mixed day for the picks with the completed matches going 2-2, but I was frustrated that Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will not be able to cover the 5.5 games despite winning sets with 61 and 62 scores. Unfortunately, Tsonga missed a lot of chances to break the Melzer serve and dropped the second and third set by the same 63 score.

Tsvetana Pironkova won the first set of her match with Varvara Lepchenko, but she found herself a break down in the second set when the rain came and I think the American has a huge chance of springing a surprise win if she gets off to a strong start when play resumes on Tuesday.

Richard Gasquet win 3-1 v James Duckworth: I really liked the way James Duckworth played in a couple of matches that I saw of his at Queens and I think he has enough to at least give Richard Gasquet something to think about in this First Round match.

The young Australian has come through the tough qualifiers to reach the First Round at SW19 and he showed in his tight loss to Tomas Berdych that he can be a threat on the surface- there was definitely a little of the Lleyton Hewitt about Duckworth, and I think he would take half the career that the veteran Australian has had on the Tour.

Richard Gasquet definitely is a big test as he feels very comfortable on the grass courts and seems to be over his back injury that bothered him through the French Open. Gasquet reached the Final in Eastbourne last week so should have the confidence to win this match, but he does offer his opponents a chance to get into the match and I do think Duckworth will take that.

As long as the qualifiers haven't taken their toll on Duckworth, there is every chance he can take a set, although winning the match might be too much to ask of him.

Frank Dancevic v Ivo Karlovic: Frank Dancevic has a decent serve which will always give him a chance on the grass courts, even if he got into the main draw at Wimbledon thanks to a couple of withdrawals.

He was actually beaten in the last Round of qualifiers by Jimmy Wang, and Dancevic hasn't had a lot of tennis at this level over the last few years, but the Canadian can play on the grass courts and has every chance of causing a surprise in the First Round.

That is because Ivo Karlovic has regularly failed to perform at Wimbledon despite having all the tools to feel right at home on grass. Even in the last two weeks Karlovic has lost a couple of surprising matches and the lottery of the tie-break always makes him a dangerous favourite to rely upon, even at Wimbledon.

If Dancevic can serve well, he will have every chance of causing the upset and has to be backed for a small interest.

Rafael Nadal - 7.5 games v Martin Klizan: There seems to be a steely look in the eye of Rafael Nadal heading into Wimbledon this season and I think it is going to be a big week for the World Number 1.

There has been a different sort of expectation from Nadal himself at Wimbledon the last couple of years, but he has been reminding people, and most likely himself, that he is a two time former winner here and has also reached three other Finals.

I am convinced Nadal can perform very well on the grass and I am ignoring the loss he suffered at Halle as Nadal regularly fails to perform in the warm up events coming so soon after Roland Garros.

The match up with Martin Klizan is an awkward one with both players being left-handed and Klizan also surprisingly took a set off Nadal at the French Open in 2013. Klizan has a decent serve and can play solid tennis from the baseline, but he hasn't had a lot of success on the grass in the past and it does give Nadal the perfect chance to play himself into the tournament where he has suffered surprising losses the last two years.

The first set is going to be a tight one, but if Nadal can nose in front, I think he will pull away as the match goes on with a 64, 63, 63 win.

Milos Raonic win 3-1 v Matthew Ebden: When I was putting together my research for picks on Day 2 at Wimbledon, I was very tempted to pick Matthew Ebden with a 2.5 head-start in sets in this match with Milos Raonic, especially as it was at evens.

On further analysis, I think it might be asking a lot for Ebden to win more than than a set in this match though and that is why I decided to just have a small interest in Milos Raonic winning this in four sets.

It isn't a unknown fact that Raonic has struggled at times on the grass as he can't quite get the movement right and he is definitely not as comfortable as he feels on other surfaces. The serve is still effective, but players seem to get to Raonic mentally on the grass and these two have met previously on the surface in what ended up being a three set win for the Canadian at Newport two years ago.

If Ebden had been in better form, the shock could have been on in this First Round match, but I don't know if the Australian has more than a set in him to take away from this one.

Tommy Robredo - 2.5 games v Lukas Lacko: A couple of years ago, I really though Lukas Lacko would start making a concerted move up the World Rankings, but his career has stalled somewhat and I think Tommy Robredo is being under-rated in this First Round match.

Yes, the grass courts are not the favoured surface for Robredo, but he reached the Third Round at Wimbledon last year and is certainly capable of putting together results on the surface.

I also think the match up with Lacko is not one that will intimidate Robredo who remains close to being a top 20 player and the longer best of five set matches allows the Spaniard to work his way back into a match.

Both players will have to work hard to win the match, but Robredo should have the slight edge in terms of quality of shot and also consistency off the ground and I was surprised that this handicap wasn't at least two, possibly three games higher.

Monica Puig + 3.5 games v Madison Keys: After winning Eastbourne last week, Madison Keys showed why so many people have tipped her to have a huge future on the WTA Tour and potential Grand Slam Champion.

The big serve and the heavy groundstrokes makes Keys a very difficult prospect to face on the grass courts, but she would be very wise not to under-estimate Monica Puig who reached the Fourth Round at Wimbledon last season.

Puig hits a very heavy ball herself and she certainly has the power to push Keys back in this one and my feeling is that it could easily go to three sets to decide which of the players moves through.

With that in mind, the head-start on the handicap looks a touch high in favour of Puig who can be unplayable at times and I like her to at least cover in a close match, especially one that she could potentially win outright.

MY PICKS: Richard Gasquet Win 3-1 @ 4.00 William Hill (1 Unit)
Frank Dancevic @ 3.50 Sky Bet (1 Unit)
Rafael Nadal - 7.5 Games @ 2.35 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Milos Raonic Win 3-1 @ 3.80 Sporting Bet (1 Unit)
Tommy Robredo - 2.5 Games @ 1.80 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Monica Puig + 3.5 Games @ 2.20 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Tsevtana Pironkova - 3.5 Games @ 1.87 Pinnacle (2 Units) Rain Delay, Pironkova leads 76, 02
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga - 5.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units) Rain Delay, Tsonga leads 61, 36, 36, 62, 54

Wimbledon Update: 2-2, - 0.4 Units (8 Units Staked, - 5% Yield)

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