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Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Wimbledon Day 3 Picks 2014 (June 25th)

The first couple of days of the tournament have been rough for the picks with some strange performances within matches putting me on the back foot. It was the same situation on Tuesday with three main picks all coming close, but falling on the wrong side of the line.

Richard Gasquet dropped the first set, but looked to have control against James Duckworth except he had one poor service game in the third set that led to a 2-1 deficit. I had Gasquet winning in four sets and it made me feel a little more aggrieved that the Frenchman won twelve of the last thirteen games to comfortably go through except for that one poor game that cost him another set.

Both Rafael Nadal and Tommy Robredo came one game from covering the handicap marks and I can point to a couple of poor service games that Nadal played as being the difference despite dominating the last two sets. His fellow Spaniard Robredo had one poor set where he was broken three times to lose it 61, but was a comfortable winner and missed break points in three consecutive Lukas Lacko service games in the final set that would have seen him cover the mark.

It is frustrating when you do get that close, but I am hoping that I will have some fortune on my side going forward as we reach the Second Round with the majority of the big names all still intact. I can see the tournament being one a really good one if we get to see some matches on the grass courts that have a real potential of occurring as the tournament progresses.

One match that has been set is the rematch of Wimbledon 2012 between Rafael Nadal and Lukas Rosol which takes place on Thursday- expect to see plenty of images of that match two years ago over the next couple of days.

There was some criticism of Naomi Broady, one of the few British players that took advantage of her appearance at Wimbledon by coming through the First Round but who decided to go on the offensive against the LTA. Some mentioned that she should have kept her thoughts to herself, but I have no problem with her making a point of the lack of funding and support she has received compared to other players from these shores and I hope she gives another good showing of herself on Wednesday as she takes on Caroline Wozniacki on one of the show courts.

Kevin Anderson - 3.5 games v Edouard Roger-Vasselin: There may be some limitations in his game, but you have to credit Kevin Anderson for getting as much as he is from it and he is a regular in the second week of a Grand Slam, even if he is yet to really become a threat to win at this level.

Kevin Anderson has a big serve, but follows it up with some heavy groundstrokes and has more consistency off the ground than perhaps given credit for. He also seems comfortable on the grass courts, although I don't think he can afford to under-estimate Edouard Roger-Vasselin who is also very comfortable on the surface.

The Frenchman is a solid professional who will give his all in every match he plays so Anderson has to be careful. He is unlikely to believe this is going to be an easy match after having to come from two sets down to beat Roger-Vasselin at the Australian Open and the conditions in London should aid Anderson in winning the match.

The difference may be that Roger-Vasselin does give his opponent chances on his own serve and that could be critical to his chances to win this match- if he goes a break down in sets, Anderson's serve could be a real mental blow to Roger-Vasselin and I like Anderson to win this one 63, 76, 63.

Jeremy Chardy v Marinko Matosevic: This looks like being a big hitting match between two players that can play some big time tennis, but I was surprised that Jeremy Chardy is going off as the slight underdog in the match.

Marinko Matosevic won his first ever match at a Grand Slam event last month at the French Open after previously losing in 12 straight appearances in Slams, but he backed that up at Wimbledon by surprising Fernando Verdasco in the First Round.

That is an impressive win, but Verdasco can be so inconsistent and I think Jeremy Chardy is a more solid player even if he doesn't have the same level of talent as Verdasco. He has a big serve and is comfortable getting forward to the net and I do think the Frenchman will have the belief that he can win this match.

I won't be surprised if this needs four, possibly five sets, to separate the two players, but Matosevic can be so erratic at times that Chardy's more solid game might be enough to make the difference.

Marcos Baghdatis - 4.5 games v Leonardo Mayer: Marcos Baghdatis has struggled with his fitness at times in his career and that has to be the biggest concern with the Cypriot entering a best of five set Grand Slam event, even after taking three months off the Tour to improve that aspect of his body.

He was pushed to four sets in the opening match against Dustin Brown, but that was a 'quick' match with not too many extended rallies and so I fully expect Baghdatis to be too good for Leonardo Mayer on the grass courts.

Mayer is definitely more comfortable on the clay courts, although he stunned Andreas Seppi in five sets in the First Round. He has a decent, solid all around game, but I think Baghdatis has more weapons to his disposal on the lower bouncing grass courts and should prove a little too good for the Argentine.

As longa as Baghdatis can serve well, he should come through with a 63, 75, 64 win.

Mikhail Youzhny - 5.5 games v Jimmy Wang: He may have the best name in tennis and Jimmy Wang has been a familiar name in the Wimbledon main draw, but we saw how good Mikhail Youzhny is on the surface in the way he dismantled James Ward.

Wang is a player that clearly enjoys playing on the grass considering he has come through qualifiers for the third time in a row at Wimbledon, but the difference in quality between these two players should be apparent by the end of the match.

There will be moments where Wang attacks the net and causes problems for Youzhny, but the veteran Russian is very adept at performing on the grass and he should be able to slice and dice through Wang's game.

Every set should be contested very well, but Youzhny may make the big plays necessary and come through with a 64, 63, 75 win.

Gilles Simon - 3.5 games v Robin Haase: Robin Haase wasn't expected to beat Vasek Pospisil in the First Round, but you would think his game should be suited to the grass courts. The problem for Haase is that he can be far too loose with his shots and being broken on grass courts are tough to recover consistently.

I would expect someone like Gilles Simon to extract the errors that can blight Haase's game, although the Frenchman's own serve is extremely vulnerable and he has to work extremely hard to hold on to his serve as he does on every surface.

Simon has shown more ability on the grass courts than Haase in the past, although both players can argue they had bad draws twelve months ago at Wimbledon and perhaps have more to offer in the tank.

However, Simon might just have the edge in terms of playing a game with fewer errors and I am not sure Haase has the consistency to win more than a set on this surface against this opponent. I'd be thinking that the match ends with a 76, 46, 63, 64 win in favour of Simon.

Tomas Berdych win 3-1 v Bernard Tomic: This is the time of the year when Bernard Tomic comes alive and there is little doubt that he loves the grass courts, but the Australian may have to settle with a similar final result as the one he had against Tomas Berdych twelve months ago.

It was an incredibly tight match which saw Berdych's added quality eventually shining through after the first two sets were shared in two tie-breakers.

I do think Berdych is vulnerable on the grass, but Tomic would have to dig a big performance out of himself to avoid a loss and even winning more than one set may be beyond him at this current time.

2014 has been a struggle for Tomic who is 7-7 on the season after winning his First Round match and I think Berdych will take control of the match after splitting the first two sets as he did a year ago and has to be worth a small interest to win this in four sets.

Venus Williams - 5.5 games v Kurumi Nara: Venus Williams had to come through in three sets in the First Round, which was a surprise, but it just underlined that this is not the same player that enjoyed so much success at Wimbledon through her career.

There are just too many mistakes that come off the racquet these days from Williams and that will give Kurumi Nara some hope, although the latter has a very poor record on grass and might struggle to bridge the gap in class.

That is my thinking in going back to the well in backing Venus Williams to cover a fairly substantial spread, but her young opponent has only won one main Tour match on the grass courts in four seasons when coming through the First Round.

Nara has had some big losses in that time and I think Williams should be too good and record a 63, 63 win as long as she can return better than she did at times on Monday.

Petra Kvitova - 4.5 games v Mona Barthel: Mona Barthel had a career high wins in 2012, but she fell fewer than those wins in 2013 and looks to do the same in 2014. On the grass courts, you would think Petra Kvitova is going to be too strong for the German and I would expect her to cover this handicap mark.

The only concern I would continue to have when backing Kvitova is her habit of throwing a sloppy game or two that forces her to dig deep into three set matches, but she has been a little more dominant over the last couple of weeks.

The grass suits the aggression that Kvitova brings to the court whether that is with her serve or with her groundstrokes and the former Wimbledon Champion should be able to impose her will on this match.

Barthel can be a threat when bringing her best to the court, but that has happened fewer and fewer times the last couple of years and I would expect Kvitova to win this 64, 62.

MY PICKS: Kevin Anderson - 3.5 Games @ 1.92 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Jeremy Chardy @ 2.30 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Marcos Baghdatis - 4.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Mikhail Youzhny - 5.5 Games @ 1.73 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Gilles Simon - 3.5 Games @ 1.90 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Tomas Berdych Win 3-1 @ 3.60 Sky Bet (1 Unit)
Venus Williams - 5.5 Games @ 1.95 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Petra Kvitova - 4.5 Games @ 1.90 Pinnacle (2 Units)

Wimbledon Update: 3-9, - 9.9 Units (21 Units Staked, - 47.14% Yield)

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