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Thursday, 26 June 2014

Wimbledon Day 4 Picks 2014 (June 26th)

Most of the big names have progressed through the draw at Wimbledon in the first two Rounds, but Thursday brings about the big rematch between Lukas Rosol and Rafael Nadal in the Second Round.

2012 will live long in the memory of those that watched Rosol beat Nadal in a fifth set under the roof of Centre Court at the same stage of the tournament, but I think the Spaniard might be ready for a spot of revenge as you will see below.

There are some big matches that will be played on Thursday as the likes of Nadal, Roger Federer, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova all look to move their tournaments on to the Third Round. Twelve months ago, three of those four names had exited Wimbledon by the end of Thursday evening so this is a big moment for all of them as they ease onto the grass.

The picks had a decent Wednesday, although a couple of bad calls didn't help myself. I am hoping that I will stop picking those players that are demolished by 61 or 62 scorelines and instead have a few of those ending on my side.

Richard Gasquet - 5.5 games v Nick Kyrgios: There were a couple of lapses of concentration from Richard Gasquet in the First Round that prevented him from having an easier time, but he will have to be better against another young Australian in Nick Kyrgios.

This player has everything to be successful on the main Tour, although Kyrgios has only turned nineteen years old and he might not have the stamina and power to really mix in this company for a consistent period of time.

That was what essentially happened when these two players met in the Davis Cup earlier this season in a 76, 62, 62 win for Gasquet. Kyrgios has also won a Challenger on the grass courts which should prove this to be a closer match than that one which was played on the clay courts, but I still think Gasquet ends up pulling away after taking a close first set and should win this 76, 63, 64.

Philipp Kohlschreiber - 6.5 games v Simone Bolelli: I have suggested that this could be a big week for Philipp Kohlschreiber and I would expect him to be far too good for Simone Bolelli on the grass courts which are not the favoured surface of the Italian.

On the other hand, Kohlschreiber is very happy on this surface and I think the draw gives him a great chance to reach the Quarter Finals at the very least. He was a convincing winner in the First Round and I would expect him to be too good for Bolelli who may already be planning for the clay courts this summer.

Bolelli has done well to reach the Second Round here, but he was a Lucky Loser into the main draw at Wimbledon and has played a fellow qualifier in the First Round. The draw gets a lot more difficult for him now and I think his second serve may prove to be vulnerable in the match.

It won't always be straight-forward unless Kohlschreiber serves well, but I am expecting him to come through 63, 64, 64.

Tommy Robredo - 2.5 games v Adrian Mannarino: One poor set cost Tommy Robredo the chance for an easy win in the First Round, but he still came through in four sets and I think Adrian Mannarino is a touch over-rated in this match.

There is no doubt that Mannarino has enjoyed a lot of success on the grass courts over the last couple of years, including reaching the Fourth Round here last season, but his serve is vulnerable and I think he is perhaps being over-estimated because of those performances.

As I said, the serve will give Robredo chances to break serve and I also think the Spaniard is more comfortable on the grass courts than his record may suggest. He has the edge in consistency, serve and overall quality of tennis and I would be surprised if Robredo isn't moving through to the Third Round at Wimbledon again, even if it takes four sets.

As long as Robredo doesn't throw in another completely shocking set as he did against Lukas Lacko, I like him to win and cover.

Rafael Nadal - 6.5 games v Lukas Rosol: I am sure there will be a fair few people out there that will be backing Lukas Rosol to beat Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon for the second time in three years, but I am of the belief that it was the perfect storm that led to Nadal's demise in 2012.

It was a stunning display of hitting from Rosol with the consistency that has never really returned to his game and Nadal showed he can handle the Czech player when beating him 62, 76 in Doha at the beginning of this season.

Martin Klizan showed that it is possible to get after Nadal on the grass courts and Rosol will take heart from that, but I think there were a few nerves for Nadal after his recent performances on the surface. The win should have settled him down and I think he can weather the Rosol storm before heading off with this match.

As well as Rosol can play at times, he is also just as capable of throwing in a load of errors and I think Nadal will take advantage of those this time and come through with a 64, 76, 62 win.

Stan Wawrinka - 6.5 games v Yen-Hsun Lu: I don't want anyone to think I am disrespecting Yen-Hsun Lu by taking such a big number against him, especially on the grass courts which he has enjoyed in the past.

However, I think Stan Wawrinka is capable of easing past him as Lu has had a few injury issues of late and had to come through a five set match in the First Round. He was also beaten comfortably by Julien Benneteau last week in Eastbourne and I do believe Wawrinka is too powerful for him as long as he can bring in the form that saw him ease past Joao Sousa in the First Round.

Lu has a decent serve that can see him rattle through games, but he has been struggling with that aspect of his game and I think Wawrinka has chances to break the serve through the match. If he takes those chances, it just wouldn't surprise me if the Swiss Number 1 wins this 63, 64, 64.

Feliciano Lopez - 5.5 games v Ante Pavic: There has to be a lot of tennis in the legs of Feliciano Lopez, but he must have been pleased with a straight sets win in the First Round and the fact that he has a day rest between matches. After reaching the Final in Queens and perhaps choking away the title, Lopez bounced back by defending his title in Eastbourne before heading to Wimbledon.

The grass courts suit Lopez' game as he can get forward and be very aggressive and attack the net, while his backhand slice stays low on the surface. With the big serve keeping him out of trouble, Lopez is a real threat this year at Wimbledon- maybe not to win the title, but definitely to cause problems for any of the 'favourites' he may bump into.

Playing a qualifier in Ante Pavic may even up the amount of tennis that Lopez has played, although you can't under-estimate an opponent that has beaten Alejandro Falla in the First Round without dropping a set.

The win over Falla is a good, solid win, but Pavic doesn't play players of the quality of Lopez too often these days and I think the scoreboard pressure may lead to a 76, 63, 64 win for the Seed.

Ana Ivanovic - 5.5 games v Jie Zheng: The winner in Birmingham certainly has the confidence to go deep into the draw at Wimbledon, although Ana Ivanovic may have wished for a slightly easier draw. She was given a tough test by Francesca Schiavone in the First Round, while Jie Zheng has been a productive grass court player in recent years.

However, it has to be said that Zheng isn't the same player of three or four years ago and the aggressive game that Ivanovic brings to the table may cause too many problems to overcome.

Her biggest issue could be herself... There are times when Ivanovic struggles with her serve and allows matches to be a lot closer than they perhaps should be, and that would be a big problem against someone as competitive as Zheng can be.

Zheng had a very good week in Hertgenbosch when reaching the Final, but Ivanovic crushed her opponents while winning the title at Birmingham and a good serving performance could see the same happen here.

Sabine Lisicki - 3.5 games v Karolina Pliskova: The grass court season is certainly the time of the year when Sabine Lisicki really loves to get going and I think she can follow up her convincing First Round win with another, this time over Karolina Pliskova.

That same level of success that Lisicki has had at Wimbledon has not been followed by Pliskova and I think it is going to take a big effort to make this a competitive match after Pliskova needed a long third set to come through her own First Round match.

Fatigue could be an issue, but Lisicki hits big off the ground and has a solid serve and those attributes really suit the grass courts. The German was the Runner Up a year ago and looked in good shape to make another concerted effort to get there this season and I would be surprised if this is anything other than a routine 64, 64 win for Lisicki.

Eugenie Bouchard - 6.5 games v Silvia Soler-Espinosa: As the only player on the WTA Tour to have reached the Semi Final at the two previous Grand Slams played in 2014, Eugenie Bouchard must certainly be confident in her own ability to go deep into the Wimbledon draw.

It hasn't been the kindest draw with both Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova in her quarter of the draw, and that means Bouchard needs to come through her early matches as soon as possible to conserve energy.

Bouchard had an impressive win over Daniela Hantuchova in the First Round, and I think the match with Silvia Soler-Espinosa is a good match up for her in the Second Round considering the lack of success the Spaniard has had on the surface.

The serve and aggressive play of Bouchard is going to be key on the grass courts and I do think she comes through 63, 62 and moves one step closer to a huge Fourth Round clash with potentially Serena Williams.

Maria Sharapova - 6.5 games v Timea Bacsinszky: If Samantha Murray had a little more luck and belief in her game, she would most definitely have given Maria Sharapova more problems in the First Round than what we ended up seeing.

Sharapova admitted the change in surface took some adjustment and she will have to serve better if she wants to win her second Wimbledon title ten years after shocking Serena Williams in the Final.

She should have too much for qualifier Timea Bacsinszky, although you have to show respect to the Swiss player for her performances over the last three weeks on the grass. Most of those have come against players far shorter of the quality that Sharapova brings to the table, but confidence has to be in a good place for Bacsinszky.

Unfortunately for Bacsinszky, she hasn't shown enough on the grass courts in her career to think she can cause a surprise and even getting closer than 63, 62 will be a considerable achievement.

MY PICKS: Richard Gasquet - 5.5 Games @ 2.05 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Philipp Kohlschreiber - 6.5 Games @ 2.10 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Tommy Robredo - 2.5 Games @ 2.05 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Rafael Nadal - 6.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Stanislas Wawrinka - 6.5 Games @ 1.90 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Feliciano Lopez - 5.5 Games @ 2.10 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Ana Ivanovic - 5.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Sabine Lisicki - 3.5 Games @ 1.92 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Eugenie Bouchard - 6.5 Games @ 2.05 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Maria Sharapova - 6.5 Games @ 1.92 Paddy Power (2 Units)

Wimbledon Update: 8-12, - 5.20 Units (36 Units Staked, - 14.44% Yield)

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