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Thursday, 3 July 2014

Wimbledon Day 10 Picks 2014- Women's Semi Finals (July 3rd)

It was another big day at Wimbledon with the defending men's Champion, Andy Murray, dispatched with ruthlessness by Grigor Dimitrov as many begin talking of a 'changing of the guard' in both men's and women's tournaments.

The last four names in both draws certainly have some unfamiliarity to those that follow tennis for a month of the year and the women's game has definitely seen the rise of both Eugenie Bouchard and Simona Halep. Both of those players must feel they have to underline their improvement on the circuit by picking up a Grand Slam title, but calling it a 'changing of the guard' makes less sense when the last three Grand Slam Champions are Maria Sharapova, Na Li and Serena Williams.

Of course that will change by the end of this tournament, but it might be considered a revitalisation of a player tipped for the top if Petra Kvitova wins her second Wimbledon title after some poor results since winning the title here in 2011.

In the men's draw, Grigor Dimitrov and Milos Raonic are hoping to knock off the 'veterans' Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, and there definitely seems to be a shift in the men's game. That might simply be a move from a 'Big Four' to the 'Big Two' in Djokovic and Rafael Nadal with the rest of the players perhaps seeing the gap closed over the last nine months.

The likes of Dimitrov and Raonic are leading the way and I do think the opportunity to win a Grand Slam may have passed the likes of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Tomas Berdych who have been the 'dark horse' picks of many over the last three years.

Am I ready to write off the four players that made up the 'Big Four'? I always thought it was going to take a special set of circumstances for Roger Federer to add to his seventeen Grand Slam titles (which aren't far away from developing here at Wimbledon), while I wouldn't back Andy Murray until he finds the motivation that seems to be lacking from his game.

However, both Nadal and Djokovic would be favourites at any Slam (maybe Nadal will benefit from the extra week between the French Open and Wimbledon next year) so I think the 'changing of the guard' headlines are yet to take fruition.

Those players may have found some new threats in the draw, but both will be leading contenders to win the US Open and Djokovic is a pretty healthy favourite to end his search for a seventh Grand Slam in the next few days.

Petra Kvitova - 3.5 games v Lucie Safarova: Out of the last eight names in the hunt for a Wimbledon title, Lucie Safarova's has to be the biggest surprise considering the 27 year old hadn't been beyond the Fourth Round in 29 Grand Slam tournaments.

Add in the fact that Safarova has only reached two Fourth Rounds in that run of Slams, albeit one of those coming at the French Open last month, and that she had lost in the First Round at Birmingham and Eastbourne in preparation and the surprise has to increase that she is still in the draw.

Safarova had not been beyond the Third Round at Wimbledon before and while I am happy to see her exceeding expectations, I can't help but feel the match with Petra Kvitova is only going to go the same way as their previous matches.

Both are left-handed players from the Czech Republic, but Kvitova has the power and the knowledge that she can handle being in this position from her win at Wimbledon in 2011. They actually played in Eastbourne and it was clear that Kvitova was dominating the majority of the points, although she did have a let down in the second set which allowed Safarova to come into the match.

Another let down in the Quarter Final almost saw Kvitova extended to three sets and that has to be a concern for her backers, but I do think she has a good match up against Safarova and will feel comfortable on the court.

Kvitova has been playing at a very high level and I think she brings that confidence onto Centre Court and will come through with a 62, 75 win.

Eugenie Bouchard + 2.5 games v Simona Halep: Once both players got through their Quarter Final matches on Wednesday, I had an idea that this might be set as a pick 'em contest with perhaps Eugenie Bouchard going off as the slight favourite.

To my surprise, Simona Halep is a pretty strong favourite for this Semi Final between two players that have been more consistent than most when it comes to the Grand Slams this season, although both are looking for their maiden title at this level.

Eugenie Bouchard has reached the Semi Final in all three Slams played this season, while Simona Halep was a Quarter Finalist at the Australian Open and Finalist at Roland Garros and that consistency will only be rewarded if they win a Slam.

Halep has the consistency, Bouchard has the power and that makes this a fascinating contest- my feeling is that Bouchard has been close to making the step up and her groundies should have more penetration on the grass courts and the serve should set up 'easier' points of the two players.

There is every chance this will need a third set to decide which of the players is going to compete for the title on Saturday, but even this small number of games in favour of Bouchard look too many considering I believe she has every chance of winning the match outright.

MY PICKS: Petra Kvitova - 3.5 Games @ 1.92 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Eugenie Bouchard + 2.5 Games @ 1.90 Pinnacle (2 Units)

Wimbledon Update: 33-28, + 12.96 Units (114 Units Staked, + 11.37% Yield)

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