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Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Wimbledon Day 9 Picks 2014 (July 2nd)

The tournament at Wimbledon had been going pretty well for the favourites in both men's and women's draws up until the beginning of the second week of the event. Serena Williams was the first to exit on Saturday, but Tuesday brought back to back major shocks as Maria Sharapova and Rafael Nadal were both beaten on Centre Court one after the other.

Sharapova's loss to Angelique Kerber was a disappointment, but the German reached the Final in Eastbourne and has had strong runs at Wimbledon in the past so it wasn't in the same ball park as the surprise of seeing Nick Kyrgios beat Rafael Nadal in the next match on Centre.

Kyrgios has a huge future in the game and looks to be the next big star coming out of Australia, even more so than Bernard Tomic, and his big serve and heavy groundstrokes made it impossible for Nadal to deal with. It was a stunning performance and one where I expected him to at least think about what was happening, but Kyrgios held his nerve and moved through to the Quarter Finals.

It will be interesting to see how the players respond to playing on consecutive days, in some cases this being the third day in a row they are out on the courts, in the Grand Slams and you can understand some of the complaints made by the players. Novak Djokovic has suggested Middle Sunday is no longer kept free from the tennis as the old traditions dictate, particularly as tennis is getting that much more physical and it does seem to impact players in times of rain delays.

That might be less of a concern in the coming years with the second roof being put over Court One, but I wouldn't mind seeing Middle Sunday used for tennis, especially with work meaning I can't see as much of Wimbledon as I would like and the weekend with one day missing any action does seem a waste.

With Nadal and Feliciano Lopez exiting the tournament on Tuesday, it does mean that I am down to just two outright picks from this year's Wimbledon- Andy Murray and Grigor Dimitrov meet one another after I backed the latter to win this Quarter and the former to defend his title, but at least the daily picks have been rolling in a positive direction.

Andy Murray Win 3-1 v Grigor Dimitrov: This is the second time these players will meet each other this season after Grigor Dimitrov recorded his first win over Andy Murray in Acapulco, but the grass courts remain the domain of the British Number 1.

Of course, winning Queens has given Dimitrov added confidence while reaching the second Grand Slam Quarter Final of the season shows the Bulgarian that his hard work with Roger Rasheed is beginning to pay off on the court. He is improving all the time and looks a Grand Slam Champion in the making, but this might still be a tournament too early for him.

That is because Andy Murray has looked very calm and collected on the show courts as defending Champion and he has blown past the competition he has faced. I wouldn't expect this match to be as easy as his first four have been and the tournament certainly gets more difficult for Murray from here, but I think he is very comfortable on the grass courts and I expect him to have a little too much for his opponent on Wednesday in this Quarter Final.

It is unlikely to be straight-forward and I do think Dimitrov poses the biggest threat to Murray to this point of the tournament, but I am not convinced this is the time for 'Baby Fed' and I like Murray winning in four sets.

Roger Federer - 4.5 games v Stan Wawrinka: Switzerland may have been knocked out of the World Cup on Tuesday, but the nation can now turn to the tournament at Wimbledon where two of their Grand Slam Champions meet for a place in the Semi Finals.

There is a lot of respect between Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka, and I do think the relationship has developed in recent years, but for the most part it is Federer who has gotten the better of his compatriot.

Of course, the most recent meeting was won by Wawrinka on the clay courts of Monte Carlo in the first Masters tournament the current Australian Champion has won. There is a feeling that Wawrinka now believes he belongs with the best players, but this is his third match in the same number of days and the grass courts are not his favoured surface.

Roger Federer has been in wonderful form and must look at this tournament as producing the best chance to add to his Grand Slam haul, although it is going to be a competitive and tough match to come through. However, the tennis that Wawrinka has had to fight through both physically and mentally may end up taking its toll on the body and I like Federer to find a way to win this one in potentially straight sets.

Novak Djokovic Win 3-1 v Marin Cilic: There is a similar reasoning to the one I have for the Andy Murray-Grigor Dimitrov match in that I think the underdog in this match will have some bite, but the favourite will ultimately prove too good.

Novak Djokovic has beaten Marin Cilic in all nine previous matches, including in four sets at the French Open, but the Croatian certainly feels the grass courts are his best chance of winning a Grand Slam.

In saying that, Cilic has under-performed at Wimbledon in the past but he is playing with a little more aggression over the last twelve months and that has certainly eased his passage in the tournament.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga showed Cilic the blueprint to give Novak Djokovic some problems as his aggression certainly put the former World Number 1 off his stride in the third set. By that time, it was too late for Tsonga and was a little reminiscent of the way Djokovic beat Cilic at the French Open when he dominated two sets, but slipped up in a third set tie-breaker before coming through a hard period to win the match.

I do think Cilic is serving well enough and playing attacking tennis to win at least a set in this one and the value may be picking Djokovic to win this one in four sets. However, my one disclaimer is that Cilic has a confidence on the grass courts to cause a shock as long as he can forget the fact he has never beaten Djokovic on the professional Tour before.

Milos Raonic - 3.5 games v Nick Kyrgios: It has already been a fantastic Wimbledon for Nick Kyrgios which should see his Ranking improve to the point that he will be close to an automatic entry into the next Grand Slam at the US Open, but backing up the win over Rafael Nadal may be too much, too soon.

With no days to rest and recuperate, Nick Kyrgios will be back on the court on Wednesday against the dangerous Milos Raonic who has been playing some very good tennis this week. It is by far the best performances he has put together on the grass courts and Raonic will be confident he can move through to his first Grand Slam Semi Final.

That would follow the career-best performance to this point which came at the French Open in May as he reached the Quarter Final there and Raonic may also have been given some confidence knowing exactly what Kyrgios will bring to the court.

At Roland Garros, Raonic had a straight sets win over Kyrgios and will know about his weapons- of course, if Kyrgios serves as well as he did against Nadal, it will be very tough to break serve and beat him. However, that is going to take some mental strength after all the energy exerted yesterday both mentally and physically and I expect Raonic to pressure the young Australian with his own monster serve.

With the pressure building, Raonic could wear down Kyrgios and eventually prevail with a strong win.

Simona Halep - 3.5 games v Sabine Lisicki: Both of these players know they have to play on three consecutive days if they are to reach the Wimbledon Final and I would usually have been very interested in Sabine Lisicki with the start being given on the handicap.

However, the German was clearly struggling with some kind of injury in the win on Tuesday over Yaroslava Shvedova and I am not sure one day will be enough to get ready for a competitor like Simona Halep.

Reaching the French Open Final has really announced Halep to the world of tennis, but her run at Wimbledon has been more impressive considering how many first time Slam Finalists struggle mentally in their next few tournaments.

The Romanian hasn't had a lot of success on the grass in the past either which didn't suggest a big Wimbledon was in the offing, but she is very confident and her return game should keep Lisicki under pressure.

If Lisicki was fit, I would take the games on her favourite surface, but she has struggled with her serve on Tuesday and that shifts the pendulum in favour of Halep and I think she will move through to another Slam Semi Final with a 64, 64 win.

Eugenie Bouchard v Angelique Kerber: On Monday evening, I tweeted out that I though Eugenie Bouchard will be very happy to be through to the Quarter Finals while the rest of the top half of the women's draw were still to complete their Fourth Round matches. I also believed she would be able to take apart whoever got through between Maria Sharapova and Angelique Kerber as it would be a 'physical and mental challenge' for the winner.

Nothing changed my mind on Tuesday as Kerber was forced to dig deep to hold off Sharapova and even the fact that she is a solid grass court player isn't enough for me to believe in her chances to beat Eugenie Bouchard on Wednesday.

On the grass, Kerber is capable- but she has to be feeling tired and mentally exhausted from the match with Sharapova and Bouchard is capable of exerting plenty of pressure of her own. The young Canadian has a decent serve that can set up the easy points, while the penetrating groundstrokes could sap any energy Kerber has by moving her around the court.

The German defends well, but Bouchard showed she can power through her by crushing her at the French Open last month and I do favour her to reach a third Grand Slam Semi Final of the season.

MY PICKS: Andy Murray Win 3-1 @ 3.60 Sky Bet (1 Unit)
Roger Federer - 4.5 Games @ 2.14 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Novak Djokovic Win 3-1 @ 4.00 Coral (1 Unit)
Milos Raonic - 3.5 Games @ 2.05 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Simona Halep - 3.5 Games @ 1.80 Stan James (2 Units)
Eugenie Bouchard @ 1.80 Stan James (2 Units)

Wimbledon Update: 30-25, + 11.66 Units (104 Units Staked, + 11.21% Yield)

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