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Friday, 27 June 2014

Wimbledon Day 5 Picks 2014 (June 27th)

With Rafael Nadal a set and a break down to Lukas Rosol in the Second Round on Centre Court, there were a lot of people suggesting that lightning was going to strike twice in the same place. On this occasion, Nadal showed all the battling quality that has taken him to nine French Open titles in the last decade as he came back to win the second set and then controlled the rest of the match.

The victory over Rosol moves Nadal into the Third Round and he has to be happy with the draw that has seen dangerous threats like Ivo Karlovic, Richard Gasquet and Gael Monfils all exit his mini-section in the draw. Philipp Kohlschreiber was also knocked out which takes away another decent grass court player ahead of the Semi Finals and the 'daunting' draw that the 'experts' spoke about pre-tournament looks less intimidating now.

Rain shortened Thursday's tennis at Wimbledon which means a number of Second Round matches have to be completed on Friday, while the Third Round also gets underway. This is when the Grand Slams start producing the bigger challenges for those players that want to go all the way to the title and the competitive matches also produce more compelling television for the viewers.

Novak Djokovic - 7.5 games v Gilles Simon: Novak Djokovic played two very strong sets against Radek Stepanek, but he was critical of his own performance in the last two sets as he was pushed to four in the Second Round.

Someone like Stepanek can be very awkward for any player on grass as he has an aggressive style that will look to attack the net, while his character on court can frustrate and put his opponent off their game.

That is unlikely to be the case with Gilles Simon who tries to grind down opponents with a consistent game that won't change too dramatically. His serve can be attacked and I think Djokovic is going to feel very comfortable opening Centre Court on Friday.

These two have had some close matches in the past, but came during a period when Simon was a top eight player and Djokovic has improved from 2009. Their most recent meeting saw Djokovic crush the Frenchman, but that was also four years ago and again I would say Djokovic has improved markedly since then.

Djokovic should be able to dictate the match more than Simon and I do think a 64, 64, 62 win is very much on the cards.

Leonardo Mayer v Andrey Kuznetsov: Leonardo Mayer and Andrey Kuznetsov both won surprising Second Round matches and this represents a great opportunity for both players to reach the Third Round of a Grand Slam.

Leonardo Mayer beat Marcos Baghdatis and Andreas Seppi in the first two Rounds, both times as the underdog, and has spent a fair amount of time on court. His serve has been effective on the grass courts and Mayer has the consistency that comes from playing on the clay courts, although I think he has also understood the added aggression you need on the grass.

He will feel the heavier shots in the match are going to come off his racquet and will look to take advantage of Andrey Kuznetsov's lack of experience at this level. Kuznetsov stunned David Ferrer in five sets in the Second Round, but I would hastily add that the Spaniard came into Wimbledon with big question marks surrounding his health.

Kuznetsov has won a lot of matches recently as he qualified for grass tournaments in Halle and Eastbourne, but he was beaten in the main draw both times at the first hurdle. While I respect what he did to beat Ferrer, I do think he should have been a bigger underdog to back that win up, even if Mayer isn't the best on the grass courts.

Grigor Dimitrov win 3-1 v Alexandr Dolgopolov: With David Ferrer out of the tournament, the winner of this match will certainly feel they should be reaching the Quarter Final at the very least.

After winning the title at Queens, Grigor Dimitrov has made a positive start to the tournament at Wimbledon and it does feel that the Bulgarian is ready to make a real impact at the Grand Slam level.

However, the match up with Alexandr Dolgopolov has the potential to be very awkward, especially if Dolgopolov serves as big as he did in his win over Benjamin Becker in the Second Round. Dolgopolov also uses a lot of slice and spin in his shots which should take to the grass courts very effectively, although he can be mentally a little fragile and not always pick the right shot when it comes to decision making on the court.

That is the reason I believe Dimitrov will prove to be too good for Dolgopolov, but there is every chance that the first two sets are split before one of the favourites to win the title pulls away for a four set win.

Jeremy Chardy v Sergiy Stakhovsky: It might not have produced the same seismic shocks as the victory over Roger Federer twelve months ago, but Sergiy Stakhovsky was back to his 'giant killing' best in dismissing Ernests Gulbis in the Second Round.

That win is a very solid one on paper, but anyone who follows tennis with any interest outside of the grass court season will know that Gulbis was not expected to be a big threat at Wimbledon. Of course the layers kept him onside after a stunning run to the French Open Semi Final last month, but the loss was perhaps not as unexpected as some may believe.

The match against Jeremy Chardy is going to be much more competitive and I do think the only reason the Frenchman is set as the underdog is simply because he has had two long matches already this week.

However, Chardy showed some real resiliency to come through the match with Marinko Matosevic, and I do think he has enough grass court nous to win the match with Stakhovsky. The latter has a decent serve, but throws in a few bad games that Chardy could take advantage of, while he has suffered some poor losses over the last couple of weeks.

It does feel that Chardy would have been the favourite if not being taken to five sets in the Second Round, and I will back him to beat Sergiy Stakhovsky.

Marin Cilic v Tomas Berdych: Tomas Berdych has a 5-2 head to head record against Marin Cilic, but there are a couple of reasons that I believe the Croatian can get the better of him in the best of five set Third Round match at Wimbledon.

The first thing that would have to worry Berdych backers is the fact that he has admitted that he is suffering with a wrist complaint that is affecting his backhand and how he wants to play that shot. The backhand is the more consistent shot that Marin Cilic hits and he could potentially expose that area of Berdych's game in any extended rallies.

Secondly, Marin Cilic beat Tomas Berdych in two tight sets at Queens last year and it definitely feels he has the game that is perfectly suited to the grass courts.

My final reason is that Cilic has been playing far more aggressively this season and has been very strong in the return department and I can see him getting enough Berdych serves back in play to cause problems.

Even though Berdych reached the Quarter Final here last season and is a former Wimbledon Finalist, I have a feeling Cilic can get the better of him in what looks the best Third Round match to be played on Friday.

Na Li - 5.5 games v Barbora Zahlavova Strycova: Barbora Zahlavova Strycova has had another very good grass court season with a couple of impressive wins under her belt in this tournament too. She reached the Final of the tournament in Birmingham in preparation for Wimbledon and I think she has all it takes to give Na Li a really competitive match.

So why do I think Na Li can cover what is a fair amount of games for a two set match? Well, Li seems to have found something of a groove on the grass courts with three consecutive sets won by the same 62 scoreline.

Li has the game to really go deep into the draw at Wimbledon with the power and aggression certainly being a positive on the grass courts. She has also worked with Carlos Rodriguez who has gotten Li to move forward and attack the net, albeit with limited success, and I think she has the better serve of the two players.

I'd expect a tight first set to be replaced with a more comfortable one for Li in this match and a 75, 62 win could be the final result.

Dominika Cibulkova v Lucie Safarova: Having to go deep into a third set in the Second Round doesn't bode well for the long-term future of Dominika Cibulkova in this tournament, but I also believe that has inflated her odds to beat Lucie Safarova in the Third Round.

Cibulkova has enjoyed the match up in the past with three straight wins over Safarova, including at Wimbledon back in 2010, and I think the 'pocket rocket' has enough penetration on her groundstrokes to win this match.

As well as Safarova can serve, she has struggled for consistency on the grass courts as I don't feel she is as comfortable moving on the surface, while she has also been playing with some niggling injuries recently.

The Czech player has had to battle through the first two Rounds too with three of the four sets ending in tie-breakers and the other 75, but Safarova has yet to drop a set. I expect that will change on Friday as Cibulkova proves a bit too much to handle and move through to the second week for the second time at a Grand Slam event this season.

Petra Kvitova-Venus Williams Over 21.5 Total Games: Two players that are very comfortable on the grass courts will meet relatively early in the draw at Wimbledon as Petra Kvitova takes on Venus Williams for a place in the Fourth Round.

They have met four times before and every single one of those matches have needed a third set to decide the winner, although it is Kvitova that has won three of those matches.

I do think the Wimbledon Champion of 2011 is capable of beating Venus Williams on current form, but Kvitova is also going to be put under pressure by the American and I am not going to be in the least bit surprised if this does need a third set to separate them.

The games are a touch on the low side considering both players can serve well enough to see us need at least one tie-breaker and I would be surprised if either player falls away from the competition. I did consider backing this match to go the distance, but I will back the over in the total games market which could be covered in a tight two set contest.

MY PICKS: Novak Djokovic - 7.5 Games @ 1.90 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Leonardo Mayer @ 1.95 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Grigor Dimitrov Win 3-1 @ 3.60 Sky Bet (1 Unit)
Jeremy Chardy @ 2.20 Sporting Bet (2 Units)
Marin Cilic @ 2.90 Sporting Bet (1 Unit)
Na Li - 5.5 Games @ 1.92 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Dominika Cibulkova @ 1.75 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Petra Kvitova-Venus Williams Over 21.5 Total Games @ 1.92 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Feliciano Lopez - 5.5 Games @ 2.10 Paddy Power (2 Units) Already Advised but postponed due to Rain

Wimbledon Update: 13-16, - 3.32 Units (54 Units Staked, - 6.15% Yield)

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