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World Cup Final 2018 Pick- France vs Croatia (July 15th)

I can't believe a month at the World Cup is about o come to a close on Sunday and I have to say the tournament has been about as good as...

Monday, 7 July 2014

Tennis Outright Picks 2014 (July 7-13)

The men's Final at Wimbledon was one of the better tennis matches I have seen, but I will admit that I didn't put it on the same pedestal as a lot of people seemed to be after the conclusion of Novak Djokovic's win over Roger Federer.

For instance, it wasn't anything close to the drama of the Rafael Nadal versus Roger Federer Final of 2008 and even the Andy Roddick five set loss to Roger Federer 2009 at Wimbledon seemed to have more drama attached to it.

If I am being brutal, I think Novak Djokovic would have been kicking himself if he had lost this match as he had a set point in the tie-break in the first set, on his own serve no less, and should have completed the victory in the fourth set. The other two Finals I mentioned had more dramatics about it and more shifts of momentum where you couldn't really pick a winner until the final shot had been played.

That isn't taking anything away from the Final on Sunday as Roger Federer almost found the will to turn around the match and win a record eighth title at Wimbledon and also put another Grand Slam trophy into his cabinet. A lot of people will begin wondering if we will ever see Federer in another Slam Final, although the great Champion feels the last two weeks are a 'stepping stone' for better things to come.

In my opinion, Federer took advantage of a very kind draw in terms of scheduling and opponents at this tournament and whether he gets that 'perfect storm' again is hard to know. I'd always consider the Rafael Nadal match up a terrible one for Federer, but he could come through if on the other half of the draw to the Spaniard even if there are other players that do feel they can take out Federer if bringing their best to the court.

It was interesting to hear Federer speak about the 'new generation' and describing them as 'interchangeable' at the moment and feeling he can take them all on at his best. The US Open are the kind of courts that will work well for Federer's aggression and will remain, along with Wimbledon, the best chance for the former World Number 1 to win another Grand Slam.

I made my thoughts on what I will be expecting of Petra Kvitova going forward after she won her second Wimbledon title, but she has to back that up in the coming weeks and really try and put in a strong showing at the US Open. With doubts about the health of Serena Williams and a slight opening between the veterans and the new faces on the WTA Tour, Kvitova has a chance to exploit those gaps with her own experiences and pick up more major titles.

As sad as it is to see a Grand Slam come to a close, the Tour doesn't stop moving forward during the year and that is the case this week. While the biggest names in both men's and women's Tours all having a week of recuperation, this is a chance for others to get back into tournament play and try and pick up a title.

The final grass court tournament of the season is played in Newport, while European clay court events are held in Budapest (WTA), Bad Gastein (WTA), Bastad (ATP) and Stuttgart (ATP) this week. It will be all change next season with Stuttgart moving into a grass court event in preparation for Wimbledon which would have got through the first week of the event in twelve months time.

ATP Bastad
The tournament in Bastad has been dominated by Spanish players in recent years with six of the last nine winners coming from that country and it is hard to look elsewhere when considering the top three Seeds this week are from Spain.

However, it won't be as clear cut as that with doubts about the fitness of David Ferrer who leads the players at the top of the draw. He didn't look himself at Wimbledon and I am not sure if there is a nagging fitness issue that is preventing Ferrer battling as much as he has in the past, but whatever the reason is has to put off backing him this week.

Tommy Robredo has won this title two times in the past, but he hasn't had the best season to this point and suffered some early losses at this time of the season twelve months ago.

That leaves Fernando Verdasco who was a Finalist here last season and who has won a title in Houston and reached the Fourth Round of the French Open on the clay courts this season. Unlike last season, Verdasco is coming into Bastad off a poor Wimbledon campaign, but the draw looks a kind one with a bye in the First Round.

Inconsistencies blight Verdasco's game, but he should have enough to get through to the Semi Final before facing either Robredo or Jeremy Chardy which will be a tough match, but I do think Verdasco has a few big shots and could be very confident by this point.

Another player that will feel he can go deep into the tournament is the defending Champion Carlos Berlocq, and he has won a title already this season on the clay or Oeiras, but that has been an exception to his 2014 season so far. Therefore I will back Verdasco to go one better than last season and take the title home in Bastad to become the latest Spaniard to win at this tournament.

ATP Newport
It has always felt a little weird to me that the ATP Newport tournament is the final one played on grass and comes after Wimbledon comes to a close, but it represents the chance for someone to pick up a title. The top Seed this week is John Isner and he is also a pretty healthy favourite to win the title, something that I can't disagree with.

Isner won the title here in 2011 and 2012, while his Semi Final defeat last year came after withdrawing from Wimbledon with an injury after playing just two games in the First Round. The draw has been kind to the big-serving American who will begin with a qualifier and won't have many names in the top half of the draw that would intimidate him.

One of those could be Lleyton Hewitt who has been a Runner Up in Newport in the last two seasons, but who is no guarantee to get to the Semi Final stage to take on Isner as he comes up against Ryan Harrison in the First Round. Hewitt also lost to big-servers at Queens and Wimbledon and I think his win over Isner last season came thanks in part to the injury that the American was coming back from.

The lower half of the draw would provide a real challenge for Isner if he does reach the Final with names like Adrian Mannarino, Ivo Karlovic, Sergiy Stakhovsky and defending Champion Nicolas Mahut all capable of playing on this surface.

Picking which of those players is going to come out of the bottom half is a difficult task and there could be some tiredness in those legs that John Isner takes advantage of.

MY OUTRIGHT PICKS: Fernando Verdasco @ 8.00 Ladbrokes (1 Unit E/W)
John Isner @ 3.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)

Wimbledon Daily Final38-29, + 20.94 Units (125 Units Staked, + 16.75% Yield)
Wimbledon Outright: 1-6, - 6 Units (13 Units Staked, - 46.15% Yield)

Season 2014+ 51.76 Units (1048.5 Units Staked, + 4.94% Yield)

Season 2013+ 21.74 Units (1251.5 Units Staked, + 1.73% Yield)
Season 2012+ 49.21 Units (855 Units Staked, + 5.76% Yield)
Season 2011+ 82.02 Units

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