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Saturday, 28 June 2014

Wimbledon Day 6 Picks 2014 (June 28th)

It has been a strange feature of the Wimbledon tournament that we haven't seen the rain that usually affects the two weeks at the third Grand Slam of the season, especially as the forecast had called for a wet couple of days during the Third Round matches.

On Thursday the day ended a couple of hours earlier than expected, while on Friday play was delayed for around an hour, but otherwise it has been a good first week of the event which remains on schedule.

It will be interesting to see how much tennis is played on the courts other than Centre on Saturday considering we are expected to see showers for much of the day and it is going to be a stop-start day at the very least. That may mean the potential for 'People's Sunday' if the Third Round is still to be completed by Saturday evening, although the hope will be that there are enough breaks in the weather that the matches are completed through the day.

Friday turned out to be another positive day as I have clawed back the poor start from the first couple of days and I am not close to getting back into the positive column for the tournament. Unfortunately Dominika Cibulkova was the first of my outright picks made before Wimbledon began who has been knocked out of the tournament, but there are plenty of those that have moved through the draws and look set to get into the second week.

I am not sure how many of these picks will be completed by Saturday evening, but hopefully it can be another positive set of picks even if they have to be played on Sunday/Monday depending on the decision made by the tournament organisers.

Milos Raonic - 5.5 games v Lukasz Kubot: Lukasz Kubot reached the Quarter Final at Wimbledon last season so certainly won't be an easy Third Round opponent for Milos Raonic, although I think the big-serving Canadian is going to be too hot for Kubot to handle.

Both players have had impressive performances to get to this Third Round match, but I can see the serve of Raonic being the difference as it builds scoreboard pressure and perhaps leaves Kubot vulnerable to the breaks of serve.

That was the case when Kubot was beaten by Jerzy Janowicq a year ago when he just couldn't find the consistency to get into the service games and presented opportunities for Janowicz to break the serve.

Raonic has been surprisingly efficient at taking his chances so far this week with seven breaks of serve in his first two matches leading to comfortable straight sets win, which is unsurprising considering how tough it can be to break his own serve. If Raonic gets his nose in front in this match, I expect him to roll to a 63, 64, 64 win.

Feliciano Lopez-John Isner First Set Tie-Break:With the way that these two players serve, and also  the way they return serves, I think there is a better than evens chance that the first set will have to be decided on a tie-break.

Feliciano Lopez has come through in straight sets in each of the first two Rounds, but four of those sets have gone to a tie-break, while John Isner had to win back to back tie-breakers in his straight sets win over Jarkko Nieminen.

If you like big-serving and lots of aces and unreturned serves, this looks the perfect match for you and I do think break points will be at a premium. While I couldn't ever predict we would see a repeat of the John Isner-Nicolas Mahut match, if this goes to a fifth set, we could be in for a long wait to find out who is moving through to the Fourth Round.

Rafael Nadal - 7.5 games v Mikhail Kukushkin: Rafael Nadal exorcised some demons when he beat Lukas Rosol in the Second Round, although even the Spaniard famed for his mental strength must have been wondering what was happening when he found himself a set and a break down.

The fact that Nadal came through that match might stand him in good stead for the rest of the tournament as he gets more and more used to the grass courts where he hasn't spent a lot of time in three years.

The match up with Mikhail Kukushkin may be more to Nadal's liking compared with Rosol and Martin Klizan as I don't think the Kazakhstan Number 1 is as powerful off the ground as those two players. Kukushkin does have a decent serve that can see him stay with opponents, but Nadal plays every point so doggedly that I believe he will wear down Kukushkin as the match goes on.

The first set might be very competitive, but Nadal should eventually prevail 64, 62, 63.

Denis Istomin + 4.5 games v Stan Wawrinka: There are times when I have seen Denis Istomin play lights out tennis, although his consistency leaves a lot to be desired with ups and downs in his performances, sometimes even within the same match.

However, the big stage should at least inspire Istomin to provide his best tennis and I do think he has the serve and heavy groundstrokes to trouble Stan Wawrinka who has just not looked comfortable through the first week.

Wawrinka was struggling with his serve and his return despite what a four set win over Yen-Hsun Lu may suggest and I do think Istomin can cause some issues for the Australian Open Champion to deal with.

They have met before at Wimbledon too, albeit four years ago, with Istomin coming through in five sets and I do think he is being given too many games in this match. If Wawrinka is as loose as he was on Thursday, Istomin has a chance to win one, possibly two sets at least. Personally I hope Istomin brings his better serving to the court if that is to happen, but I do think Wawrinka is being over-rated on the grass courts against a dangerous opponent.

Yaroslava Shvedova + 4.5 games v Madison Keys: They haven't met one another on the Tour in the past, but Yaroslava Shvedova looks to be under-rated to cause problems considering her success on the grass courts in the past.

Of course Madison Keys is the 'flavour of the month' after winning the title in Eastbourne and she does have the serve and groundstrokes to be very comfortable on the grass courts. However, she has played a lot of tennis over the last couple of weeks and is now playing someone who can hit a heavy ball and can use her own serve to set up 'cheap' points.

I still remember a couple of years ago when Shvedova came very close to upsetting Serena Williams at this venue and she has every chance to push Keys all the way too. I can see her doing enough to win a set too and the tie-breaker is a real player in the match which all suggests the games she is being given are too high.

Even in a losing effort, Shvedova may be able to keep this very competitive until the final point is secured.

Sabine Lisicki + 3.5 games v Ana Ivanovic: I have backed Ana Ivanovic to win the Second Quarter of the draw, but this was the one match that I thought would provide the biggest obstacle. I expected it to be close to a pick 'em contest, but Ivanovic is a warm favourite which doesn't seem right on the grass courts.

That is because these courts are the ones that Sabine Lisicki has enjoyed considerable success upon over the last three years including reaching the Final at Wimbledon last season and also beating the likes of Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams.

Of course I picked Ivanovic in the Second Quarter because of her current form and winning the title in Birmingham, but I can't help think the match up is so close that three sets are a real possibility.

Sabine Lisicki also has every chance of winning this outright and all in all, the games being given to the German look too high and I think this is another match that could remain competitive throughout.

MY PICKS: Milos Raonic - 5.5 Games @ 1.95 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Feliciano Lopez-John Isner First Set Tie Break @ 2.00 Coral (2 Units)
Rafael Nadal - 7.5 Games @ 1.80 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Denis Istomin + 4.5 Games @ 1.95 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Yaroslava Shvedova + 4.5 Games @ 1.80 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Sabine Lisicki + 3.5 Games @ 1.95 Pinnacle (2 Units)

Wimbledon Update: 18-20, - 0.48 Units (70 Units Staked, - 1% Yield)

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