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Monday, 30 June 2014

Wimbledon Day 7 Picks 2014 (June 30th)

At the other three Grand Slam events, the second Monday of the event would be known as 'Day 8', but Wimbledon has no play on Middle Sunday and so the seventh day of this tournament comes at the beginning of the second week.

Unfortunately for the event, Saturday's play was heavily curtailed by the heavy rain in SW19 and that also means the organisers have made an executive decision to move some of the Fourth Round matches in both men's and women's draws to Tuesday and not play the entire Round on Monday as is tradition.

I think it was the only sensible thing to do if you are to give every player an opportunity to win the title, although I do feel for the likes of Feliciano Lopez, John Isner, Denis Istomin and Stan Wawrinka as they will have to play three best of five set matches in consecutive days to reach the Semi Final.

That does give the physical edge to those players that are already into the Fourth Round in the bottom half of the draw who will be benefited by having two days off to recharge the batteries before they go again. One of those is Rafa Nadal who might be the big threat now he has three wins on grass under his belt and I feel comfortable having backed him, along with Andy Murray, at the start of the tournament.

However, the first week of the tournament hasn't been all that good news for my outright picks after Serena Williams was dumped from the tournament and showing a worrying trend- the defeat in the Third Round against Alize Cornet adds another surprising name to those that have beaten Williams in Grand Slams over the last couple of years, but the bigger concern is that she has failed to reach the Quarter Finals in four of her last five Grand Slams.

I know pre-tournament that some were suggesting that Williams might be on the downward curve and I think there will be a lot of questions that she needs to answer at the US Open in August- it's almost a 'must win' tournament for Williams' psyche to prove she can win the big events after the disappointments of the last twelve months.

Where do I stand? I still think Williams is the player to beat on the WTA, but she is finding it tougher to grind out the wins when not playing at her best and she is perhaps very, very vulnerable in the first week of the Grand Slam tournaments, more than she has been in the last three/four years.

After the rain of Saturday, fans with tickets for the next week at Wimbledon will be looking forward to the strong forecast of sun and plenty of quality tennis to enjoy. However, the end of the week doesn't look like it will be avoiding the rain and that could mean the tournament being decided on an indoor court, something that could potentially favour players like Maria Sharapova and Roger Federer.

That's all for another day as players will be concentrating on Fourth Round action on Monday/Tuesday and we know how often they will tell the press that they only take it one match at a time.

Marin Cilic - 4.5 games v Jeremy Chardy: I was so impressed with the way Marin Cilic played against Tomas Berdych and I truly believe the grass courts remain his best opportunity to win a Grand Slam title. It may be beyond Cilic to actually get over the hump in this era of men's tennis, but I think he can move into the Quarter Finals with a win over Jeremy Chardy.

The Frenchman has come through the last two Rounds as the underdog, both times while I have picked him too so I do have a soft spot for Chardy and his achievements of the week.

He has a strong first serve that can give him cheap points, but Chardy can sometimes be erratic off the ground and Cilic has been returning with aggression under the tutelage of Goran Ivanisevic since partnering with the former Wimbledon Champion.

That aggression makes him dangerous on the grass courts where the reaction time is made more difficult by the lower bounce, and I think Cilic will force more break point opportunities. He may need four sets to move through, but the Croatian should find a 63, 36, 64, 63 win.

Grigor Dimitrov - 6.5 games v Leonardo Mayer: He had to dig deep in the Third Round, but that might have been the match that sparks a deep run at Wimbledon for Grigor Dimitrov who was clearly over the moon to beat Alexandr Dolgopolov in five sets.

He has had the weekend to recover from those exertions and I think the match up with Leonardo Mayer will be a good one for Dimitrov who is definitely the more comfortable on the grass courts. Mayer has played well to reach the Fourth Round for the first time in a Grand Slam, surprising the likes of Andreas Seppi and Marcos Baghdatis, but this will need another gear or two improvement for another surprise.

Mayer has a serve that can produce the cheap points and I think that will make him competitive, but he could find it tough to stay in the match mentally if he falls behind a set or two and allow Dimitrov to take charge and move clear.

It wouldn't surprise me to see a tie-break in the first set, but Dimitrov to eventually prevail 76, 64, 62.

Andy Murray - 6.5 games v Kevin Anderson: If you have a serve like Kevin Anderson, this amount of games could be very hard to overcome, but he is playing against one of the best returners on the Tour in Andy Murray.

That means I would expect Murray to get plenty of balls back in play and into the rallies, while the variation in the Murray game could see Anderson pulled around the court. The ball stays low on the grass courts anyway, but the Murray slice and drop shots he employs will make it that much tougher for a six foot, eight inch Anderson getting down and and making the difficult balls back in play.

The last time they met saw Anderson batter Murray in Montreal back in 2011, but I think Centre Court has become a very comfortable setting for the British Number 1 and I don't think it'll be anything but a straight-forward win for Murray.

After a tight first set, I expect Murray to take complete control and win this match fairly comfortably while getting over the number.

Novak Djokovic - 6.5 games v Jo-Wilfried Tsonga: Every single Novak Djokovic fan must have had their heart in their mouth when he went down in the third set of his win over Gilles Simon while clutching his shoulder.

It looked extremely serious judging by the reaction of the World Number 2, but I do think it was the shock of the fall that made it all the more painful and I expect Djokovic will be ready to go in this big Fourth Round match.

In the last couple of years, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has proven to be an almighty test on the grass courts, but he hasn't been at his best this year and has had a lot of tennis under his legs in the first week. Tsonga has struggled at times with his serve not being the brutal shot it has been in previous years on the grass courts and mentally this has to be a huge challenge for the Frenchman.

That is because Djokovic has dominated their recent matches including a thumping of the highest order at the French Open last month. Djokovic has won nine in a row against Tsonga and there are so many 61 or 62 sets thrown in that I can see the Serb getting away from Tsonga again and winning this 76, 62, 64.

Lucie Safarova - 4.5 games v Tereza Smitkova: One of the surprises of the tournament to this point is Tereza Smitkova who has come through the qualifiers to reach the Fourth Round at 19 years old.

It has been a surprise in her first professional matches on the grass courts, especially as she lost in the First Round of two 'Challenger' level events in the weeks prior to Wimbledon, while Smitkova hadn't played a main Tour level match since the end of last season.

Add in the factors that she had to win an eighteen game final set in the Third Round to reach this stage and she is coming up against Lucie Safarova from the same country may make it difficult for Smitkova. Playing a compatriot is never easy, but playing one who has represented the country for so long can be tough to deal with emotionally.

Safarova also has a decent serve and heavy groundies to put pressure on Smitkova and I think she will work through with a 64, 63 win.

Eugenie Bouchard - 3.5 games v Alize Cornet: Following up a huge win over Serena Williams might be a tough burden for Alize Cornet to face from a mental standpoint as the expectation soars around her.

However, the grass courts haven't really seen the best of Cornet in the past and I think it is going to be tough to prevent Eugenie Bouchard reach yet another Quarter Final in a Grand Slam event this season.

Bouchard has really come on leaps and bounds over the first six months of the season and she looks very comfortable at this level, while her serve and aggressive groundstrokes makes her a real threat on this surface. I do like the competitive fire inside of Cornet too, but I think it might be a little overwhelming having achieved what she did on Saturday and even her thoughts of following Marion Bartoli might be ended at the first hurdle since the win over Serena Williams.

I think this will be a fun match for the crowd inside Centre Court to open proceedings on Monday, but one that I expect Bouchard to have a little too much firepower and come through 64, 64.

Petra Kvitova - 5.5 games v Shuai Peng: With Serena Williams out of the draw, the layers have installed Maria Sharapova as the favourite to win the Wimbledon title she first won ten years ago... However, a more recent Wimbledon Champion in Petra Kvitova could be the person most likely to take advantage.

The serve has been working this week and Kvitova follows that up with big, heavy shots from the baseline that keeps opponents off guard and she showed that added mental toughness in her win over Venus Williams.

While that match went three sets, albeit expectedly with the nature of the two players on show, Kvitova had run through her previous two matches and I expect her power to ease her through to the Quarter Finals against Shuai Peng.

Peng is a solid competitor on the Tour, but hasn't come close to matching her 48 wins in 2011 over the last three years. She has struggled to deal with what Kvitova brings to the court in her four career losses to her and I also think Peng is going to be under pressure by the penetrating groundstrokes she will be faced with through this match.

It is unlikely that she would just crumble in the match, but Peng's serve is not the most potent and I think Kvitova will be able to force her backwards and eventually come through 75, 62.

MY PICKS: Marin Cilic - 4.5 Games @ 1.95 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Grigor Dimitrov - 6.5 Games @ 1.80 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Andy Murray - 6.5 Games @ 1.83 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Novak Djokovic - 6.5 Games @ 2.10 Bet365 (2 Units)
Lucie Safarova - 4.5 Games @ 1.85 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Eugenie Bouchard - 3.5 Games @ 1.90 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Petra Kvitova - 5.5 Games @ 2.15 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Feliciano Lopez-Feliciano Lopez First Set Tie-Break @ 2.00 Coral (2 Unit) Already Advised
Denis Istomin + 4.5 Games @ 1.95 Pinnacle (2 Units) Already Advised
Yaroslava Shvedova + 4.5 Games @ 1.80 Pinnacle (2 Units) Rain Delay with Shvedova leading 76, 66
Sabine Lisicki + 3.5 Games @ 1.95 Pinnacle (2 Units) Rain Delay with Lisicki leading 64, 11

Wimbledon Update: 20-20, + 3.02 Units (74 Units Staked, + 4.08% Yield)

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